Android gaming is only as good as the gear you have. Unlike console gaming, the speed of your device can give you an edge. Thanks to Android’s durable platform, we can play against each other on screens ranging from a few inches to several feet. With such a wide range of possibilities, only the best accessories will work.
If you’re looking to take your Android gaming to the next level, here’s the gear you need to crank up the music, speed up processing, and bring unparalleled control.
10. LG Rolly Keyboard 2 ($114.99)
LG’s original rollable, Bluetooth keyboard only had four rows. This design crammed a lot of numbers, symbols, and functions into the top row, making it difficult to use as a keyboard. There was no denying the convenience of an external keyboard on Android devices.
In Spring 2016, LG released the latest iteration, the LG Rolly 2, which adds an additional row (for a total of five) of keys, a universal smartphone dock, and connection of multiple devices via Bluetooth 3.0. With the Rolly keyboard, you can use your Android device for gaming and productivity almost on the level of a laptop.
9. Nvidia Shield TV ($299.99)
Released in May 2015, Nvidia’s Android-powered gaming console is one of the best ways to bring Android functionality to the big screen. Featuring 4K visuals, 500GB hard drive (on the pro version), and both gaming and TV controllers, Shield TV was discontinued by the manufacturer in September 2016.
Industry analysts and gaming critics assume this is to encourage sales of a new Shield console releasing for the holiday 2016 season. Shield’s controller, tablet, and TV have all been heavily praised by critics and each is holding up well with time. If you haven’t tried one yet, you need to, for GeForce Now alone.
8. BlueParrott S450-XT Headphones ($179.99)
Although far too many games (looking at you, Pokemon Go and Hearthstone) don’t allow you to listen to external music while playing, plenty do (check out Final Fantasy Brave Exvius). Personally, I love blasting the bass-heavy rhythms of artists like Lil Wayne while pwning fools online. Unfortunately most earbuds and wireless solutions are difficult for me to use because I’m so tall.
Enter BlueParrott’s over-the-ear headphones that connect to your Android device via Bluetooth 4.0. Crystal clear sound quality, serviceable bass, noise cancelling, voice activation, and low latency make this headset one of my personal favorites.
7. TactSlider Game Controller ($19.99)
Android and mobile gaming enthusiasts are generally aware that controlling many games can sometimes be a pain. Most Android games are programmed with virtual controllers on the touchscreen, and TactSlider took advantage of this feature to develop a controller that sticks to your screen.
At less than $20 and available in a wide array of colors, TactSlider is a great stocking-stuffer accessory for the Android gamer in your life. Just apply it to your mobile device screen to make it feel more like the console controllers you’re used to gaming on and provide a higher level of control over your gaming experience.
6. Synology DS216Play NAS ($299.99)
Android is a mostly cloud-based ecosystem, which mean you’ll constantly be downloading data from the Internet to keep your games, videos, and other entertainment needs going. To make things easier, we’ve started using network-attached storage solutions to create personal at-home networks.
Thanks to the Synology DS216Play, you’re able to take some of the processing needs off your PC and other connected devices. This 2-bay NAS solution is able to transcode 4k video and, with a little networking know-how, can serve as a hub between all your devices both at home and on the go.
5. DJI Phantom 3 4k ($599.99)
Drone simulators are a popular genre of Android games (check out Drone Shadow Strike if you haven’t already), but there’s no better feeling than using your mobile phone to control and monitor a real-life drone. Having been to CES and seen the latest drone lines, the DJI Phantom 3 4K is still the best.
DJI also hosts an annual DJI Drone Games, a drone Olympics in which drone pilots race against each other in a series of challenges and obstacle courses. If you’re into drones, also check out QR games like Air Hogs and Sky Viper, which turn real-world drone adventures into digital gaming experiences.
4. Rowkin BitCharge Earbuds ($129.99)
Although the sound quality isn’t as good as over-the-ear headphones for music-listening purposes, Rowkin’s wireless earbuds are a great, stealthy way of keeping your ear on your phone while in meetings, class, and other places you probably shouldn’t.
With about three hours of listening time, Rowkin’s Bit earbuds are easy to pair with each other and any Android device within seconds. Even outdoors, the noise-cancelling properties of these earbuds held up well enough to make a phone call, though voice navigation was dampened by the background noise. Check out a more in-depth review.
3. Qwerkywriter Mechanical Keyboard ($349.99)
I was a hipster way before it was cool, and as a lifelong writer and typist, I can appreciate the look and feel of this vintage-inspired Bluetooth keyboard. As a gamer, I also know mechanical keyboards are great for gaming applications.
The Qwerkywriter mechanical keyboard was released this year and features an old-school look that can dock any smartphone or tablet and provide the feeling of typing back in the 1980s, when ribbons and paper were needed to create professional-looking documents. It’s definitely a step up on the feels than the Rolly.
2. Zeiss VR One Headset ($129.99)
Samsung and Oculus get most of the fanfare when it comes to Android-based VR gaming, but this Zeiss VR One headset is easily the most comfortable and highest quality I’ve tested. The only better lenses are Wearality’s, and even the standalone Auravisor isn’t as well put together.
The Zeiss VR One fits nearly any Android smartphone and supports Google’s cardboard standard, and it’s one of the few headsets you can wear over your glasses. You can even pair it with your DJI drone to be immersed in a first-person view while flying.
1. Razer Serval Controller ($79.99)
While Nvidia’s Shield controller (not including the original Shield portable, which is in a class of its own) is a close second, Razer’s Serval controller remains a favorite among hardcore Android enthusiasts. Featuring an ergonomic design refined through their console controller’s, Serval is solid, feels great in your hands, and can take the abuse of being thrown in a backpack and lugged around.
If you’re looking for the ultimate control over your Android gaming experience, these controllers are the way to do it.