Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition promises to bring the experience of using the excellent PlayStation 5 controller to your mobile phone while you stream your PlayStation, Steam, Xbox, or other streaming games. Does the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition give that experience better than all the other mobile phone controllers out there, or is it just some fancy PlayStation-sponsored shell with buttons on it? The only way to know for sure is to attach the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition to your Android device and find out for yourself… But I might have some thoughts before you do…
Product Name: Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition
Product Type: Controller for Mobile
Compatible With: Android Mobile Phones
Price: USD$99.99 / AUD$179.00
Backbone One – Technical Specifics
If you’re looking for something lightweight and easy to keep with you in your bag while you travel, then the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition is perfect for you. The Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition is basically a connected controller for the sides of your Android phone (There is an iPhone version for those of you who enjoy owning a brand over a good phone… Fight me!), and that’s it.
This controller is very bare bones and has next to no weight to it since there is no battery in the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition itself, relying on your own phone’s battery to power the controller. While the official Tech Specs (image above) says that the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition uses minimal battery from your phone, during my playthrough, I found my battery going from 100% to 90% in about 20 minutes. This means that you drop about half a percent per minute, leaving the actual life of the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition with streaming a game to about 2-3 hours in total.
Luckily, Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition has a USB-C connector to it so you can charge from a power source (or portable battery) so that you don’t run out of power quickly. As a reminder, though, using 4G/5G for streaming vs. Wifi, the phone signal will use different levels of power, so Wi-Fi is recommended over 5G for connections for longer battery life.
One of the other things that Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition has is a 3.5mm single audio jack, so most wired headsets will be compatible with the device. This is because the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition, again, has no battery, so running Wifi or Bluetooth is not something that is possible, but most phones can also connect earbuds or headphones via Bluetooth anyway, so no real need to double up in the technology.
Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition also has some additional buttons for the launching of its own App, which I’ll discuss later, and a screenshot button that will save images to your phone with ease and no need for additional software to do so.
For something that is just a very simple controller (with no vibrate or gyroscopic functions), the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition has a lot going for it over other brands that just take an Xbox controller and attach a stand to it. The Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition simply attaches to the top and bottom of your phone, with a single side having a USB-C connection that works with your phone’s USB-C charging port for connection. You do this by stretching the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition open, putting your phone (without case) inside, and sliding it shut.
Backbone One – Positives
The Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition is probably one of the best-looking and simple-to-connect controllers I’ve ever used for mobile gaming. While it doesn’t do much with the simple games that I play on the mobile, that’s not the purpose of something like the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition. What the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition does really well is working as a portable controller for games that either support a controller like PUBG Mobile, COD mobile, etc, as well as being a replacement for the controller to a PlayStation 4/5 or Xbox One/Series S|X.
After connecting the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition to the USB-C port of your Android phone, you can either push the button on the front of the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition and go right into its own Backbone One app, where you can launch all sorts of supported games as well as the launchers for remote play apps like PS Remote, GamePass, Steam, etc. You DO NOT need to use this app to launch everything if you already have the remote play apps you want already installed, but it’s nice to know that you can have everything in one place.
While the Backbone One app is good as a “home base” for all your gaming needs, there is a little reason why you are recommended to use this app… Because it has a membership that unlocks a lot of features for the device/app, including unlocking the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition for use on PC, Mac, and iPads (those with USB-C connections), capture and edit 1080p video, in-game voice chat, and live streaming capabilities. Honestly speaking, I don’t find there to be a need to get a membership or use these options, but they are there for those who want to get them.
Using the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition as a replacement for the Xbox or PlayStation controller while streaming your games via their remote play apps is seamless too. The apps know and understand all the movement and button inputs without any real delay at all, and work fine for just about everything you would expect from having a normal controller in your hands. The only thing you personally will need to remember is when playing games via the Xbox GamePass app where your buttons are and what they stand for since there is no interchangeable stickers on the buttons. So remember Triangle = Y, Circle = B, etc.
Backbone One – Negatives
I wouldn’t call the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition a perfect device, but more of a branded value device. Meaning that the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition is good for what it is, but without the PlayStation official license on it, you wouldn’t be hearing about it. In all honesty, the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition is very fragile in its design, with the bulk of the controller attaching to your phone with a plastic “backbone” that stretches via a VERY tight spring system in that “backbone”. Attaching via a spring system really isn’t a great idea since the spring will loosen over time, meaning the phone won’t be held in place tightly after long use. This means that the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition doesn’t have a very long shelf life before physical issues will arise.
Outside of the fragile nature of the frame for the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition, the other issue other people might find is that if you have anything bigger than a Samsung Galaxy phone, you might not get it to fit with the controller as larger phones are not supported correctly due to the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition having curved frames on either internal edge that are designed for single screen phones… So those with large square fold-out phones should stay away from the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition as it is not made with you in mind.
I know I did praise the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition for not having a battery for things like Bluetooth, vibration functions, etc… But… After playing with the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition for an extended session, I got annoyed that my battery was running low, and I had three options available: Connect the controller to a USB-C power plug, losing the mobile nature of the device. Connect the controller to my portable battery, adding weight to the device and having me carry more.
Finally, when it comes to the Backbone One app, learning that things like PC usage (along with MAC & iPad) are locked behind a subscription paywall pissed me off. I know I said that it wouldn’t be a good controller to use for a PC, but sometimes you don’t have an option. When I game on my PC away from home, this would have been a great lightweight option to have, but I’m not paying yet another overpriced subscription to do that. Also, knowing that you could use this on an iPad, which would be good for me also, is again locked away. Fuck that noise. I’m done with all these subscriptions for just about everything technical in this world. It was fine for a few things, but this is coming off as pure greed, and I’m sick of being a walking wallet for every company that comes along wanting my hard-earned money!! /rant
I’m not really sure where to place the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition. On one hand, it is a good basic controller that is perfect for mobile gaming if you want to do something like stream your game via Wi-Fi from your office to your bedroom, but outside of that, it’s still a bare-bones basic controller that is missing a lot of features that most people expect from a controller, mobile or not.
The features locked behind the Backbone One app’s subscription paywall are something that just stinks of greed, and I’m done playing that game. I paid for the device, I should be allowed to use the device on the devices that it will work on, not have to pay extra to unlock a software lock or buy a second one of these to use with an opposing phone OS. Headphones don’t do this, microphones don’t do this, and 99% of mobile accessories don’t do this. So what makes this an exception? There’s a PlayStation-branded Backbone controller for iOS, so why lock them? Profit, that’s why.
Look, the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition is good. But do your research and make your own decision when it comes to buying one. If you are a purely Android phone user and you love the look and feel of a PlayStation 5 controller, then the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition is for you. If you want something that is just a controller that works with all types of phones and tablet devices, go buy something else, as this won’t be worth your money. I leave the decision to you… Good Luck.
Review Disclosure Statement: Backbone One: PlayStation Edition for Android was provided to us by Bluemouth Interactive for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please go review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
For a simple controller addon device, Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition does it very well with minimal fuss. While some people might want more things like vibration and gyroscopic movement like a PlayStation 5 controller, these types of features are quickly forgotten as you just play the games you enjoy via your mobile device. Some might be tempted to use the Backbone One App to get more features, but you don’t really need them… Unless you want to use the Backbone One for Android PlayStation Edition with a PC, which I wouldn’t recommend anyway.
- Simple plug-and-play device
- Works seamlessly with the PlayStation and Xbox Apps
- Has a USB-C charge-through available
- A slight push to use the Backbone One App/membership
- Missing Bluetooth/USB connection for audio connections
- Locked to one mobile platform