OtterBox, a company best known for its rugged case, has developed a $30 clip that allows you to connect your phone to an Xbox controller for gameplay. Called mobile game clips, these clips are part of the growing trend of accessories for playing cloud-based console games right on your phone. What makes OtterBox’s clip different is that it can also act as a phone stand apart from the controller. The phone stand feature isn’t as powerful as I expected.
OtterBox’s clips are specifically designed for Xbox controllers and work with controllers built for Xbox One, Series X/S, or Elite Series 2 controllers. There are also some holes for the charging ports. This means that if you need to connect your Xbox controller to a USB cable, you don’t need to remove the clip from the controller. You can also remove the arm from the clip itself and use it as a stand to hold your smartphone for tabletop games, watching movies, or making video calls.
With the launch of xCloud by Microsoft, a number of mobile gaming accessory companies, including OtterBox, Razer’s Kishi, and 8BitDo’s SN30 Pro for Android, are working with multiple manufacturers to deliver a diverse experience. Microsoft is aiming to have a huge ecosystem of gaming peripherals as cloud gaming services become more widely available.
Setting up an OtterBox mobile game clip is easy. Connect the Xbox controller to the phone, connect the clip to the controller, mount the phone, and start the game. It requires more power than other game clips to connect to the controller. When properly installed, the clip will fit securely all over the controller, so you don’t have to worry about getting loose or falling off.
Some mobile gaming clips, such as PowerA’s MOGA Mobile Gaming Clip, tend to be out of balance, especially on large or heavier phones or phones with bulky cases. OtterBox’s mobile game clips have better weight distribution, giving the controller a more balanced feel.
One of the reasons is that OtterBox’s mobile game clips have a “quick adjustment feature” that allows you to adjust the angle of your phone when using the clip. The clip’s arm is slightly extended so you can experiment with any angle you like. The arm of the mobile game clip has a latch that can be secured to keep it from moving during use.
There are three claws to keep your phone in place. The bottom claw is extended to extend a few centimeters to fit a larger phone accessory. This makes it easy to fit a larger phone into your game clip. It doesn’t prevent the claw from touching the iPhone XR’s volume or power buttons, but it’s a bit cumbersome to have to unlock your phone while using the mount because the mount is on the side. This design also allows you to use a pair of wired earbuds or connect a charger to charge your phone while you continue gaming.
I had a few problems when trying to mount my phone. The phone case I use was mostly so thick with a PopSocket attached in the center that made my phone less secure from the clip. It even popped out with a slight movement of the clip. Whenever I wanted to use the clip, I had to remove the case from my phone. If your phone doesn’t have an accessory like the PopSocket, the clip will work in almost any standard case.
The most interesting feature of OtterBox’s mobile game clips is the tabletop mode. By removing the arm from the clip part of the accessory, you can switch to tabletop mode on the controller, so you can use the game clip as a gaming stand or even watch movies and TV shows. The tabletop feature is an ambitious idea, but it’s more of a kickstand than a real stand. In this mode, the ability to adjust the angle of the phone is limited, and the phone cannot be lifted off the table in any way.
However, the tabletop mode option solves one of the biggest problems with mobile gaming clips: the hand fatigue caused by the combined weight of the controller, phone, and clip. OtterBox helps solve this problem by giving you the freedom to continue playing on your phone with a brief pause in the game clip.
Over the past few years, the cloud and mobile gaming market has become an even more exciting space in the industry with successful free-to-play titles such as: Call of Duty Mobile Microsoft really started playing cloud games. As cloud games continue to grow, the availability and diversity of game clips like this will expand significantly. That said, if you don’t like the options currently available on the market, a similar product is likely to launch in the coming months and years.
OtterBox’s mobile gaming clips aren’t the perfect mobile gaming accessory, but it’s one of the better mobile gaming accessories available right now. This allows you to use a controller you own, not a controller designed for a specific product (except for the fact that it should be an Xbox controller). It’s also a bit more flexible in how to use compared to other mobile gaming accessories like the Razer Kishi, which includes a mobile phone in a pair of controllers.
For $30, OtterBox’s clip is cheaper than these solutions, but if you want to clip your phone to an existing controller, there are cheaper options. The clips are not unbalanced when attached to the controller and the tabletop mode is also interesting. But it feels like I thought of it later because of how limited the clips are when used on a table. But what OtterBox’s mobile gaming clips do right is enough to justify the $5 to $10 price premium over other options available on the market.
Photo from Taylor Lyles / The Verge