It’s no secret that ergonomics for mobile gaming, without any accessories, is poor. Unless the phone is on a table with your wrists properly elevated, chances are that your mobile gaming experience will never be a pleasant one. As such, people have turned to the only ergonomic gaming solution on the table: controllers. And while there are several of them available on the market, not a lot of controllers are compatible with iPhones. PS4 controllers are a popular option with their attractive colors and overall quality, but they’re still not the best option in terms of comfort. Fortunately, San Francisco startup Backbone Labs has got you covered.
The Backbone One is an expendable snap-on controller that’s exclusive for iPhones. It can fit every type of iPhone after 6, including the Plus models. It’s carefully designed using the latest PCB technology to provide the most seamless and comfortable mobile gaming experience possible. For those who are unfamiliar with what a PCB (printed circuit board) is — it’s the part of an electronic device that holds most of the main parts, like its power source, microprocessor, and CPU. It doesn’t use any wires, allowing manufacturers to insert and connect powerful components without needing additional space. The Backbone One’s tiny but integrated hardware is a great example of how today’s PCBs are changing the gaming experience.
Pressing the orange button on the controller automatically opens the Backbone app, turning the iPhone into a pseudo-console. The app compiles all your games into one convenient library, similar to turning on a Nintendo Switch or pressing the “Home” button on the PS4.
As long as the mobile game is controller compatible, it doesn’t need to be launched from the Backbone app to use the device. However, the Backbone app is packed with a ton of features that may change your mind. For example, you don’t need to open the iPhone’s window to switch screens. Since the Backbone app serves as your game library, you can use it to switch games at any moment.
The Backbone App also has two additional features: screen capture and social integration. The controller has a create button. Press it once to start a recording, and press it twice to take a screenshot. Since it saves on your phone, sharing the moment on your preferred social media platform is easier than ever. Social integration works a little like Discord and PS Play. If you have a friend who owns a Backbone app, you can use it to initiate voice calls. If you play a lot of PUBG, Mobile Legends, and other arena games, this is an efficient way to team up.
With such a powerful controller, you’d think that it’d eat a sizable amount of stored power. However, the opposite is true. Over ten days of intensive testing, the app and controller only accounted for 3% of an iPhone’s battery. Plus, the Backbone One supports passthrough Lightning charging, so you can charge your device when gaming.
It also supports passthrough audio via a 3.5mm port. Newer iPhone models won’t need an adapter when the Backbone One is attached.
The Backbone One is available for $99. It’s purchasable through the Backbone app, which has been available on the App Store since October. Overall, it’s a good investment—especially when you play a lot of open-world games, platformers, and arena titles.