The Backbone One mobile game controller is 30 percent off right now

Most smartphone games are designed to be played with touch controls first and foremost. But if you want to stream games from an Xbox or PlayStation, or if you gravitate toward games with more complex control schemes like Call of Duty: Mobile or Diablo Immortal, a mobile gamepad like the Backbone One can make things more comfortable. 

If this sounds appealing to you, Backbone is running a sale that brings the Lightning-based version of the One down to $70 at Amazon, Best Buy, Target and its own online store. While that’s not an all-time low, it’s still $30 off the controller’s usual going rate.

In general, discounts on the device have been uncommon. The offer applies to both the standard black model and the PlayStation-branded white model, which are functionally the same but use different icons. The discount technically started earlier this week, but Backbone says it’ll run through March 10. Unfortunately, the sale does not extend to the USB-C version of the device, so Android users or those who plan on upgrading to an iPhone 15 anytime soon should pass.

If you plan to play on an iPhone 14 or older for the next couple of years, though, this deal should be worthwhile. As my colleague Mat Smith noted in his review, the One fits snugly and works immediately with remote streaming apps and virtually every iOS game with controller support. It has all the requisite buttons to play modern games, including pressure-sensitive triggers and analog joysticks, along with a built-in headphone jack and a pass-through charging port. Its clicky face buttons are on the noisy side, and its d-pad is somewhat spongy. Still, its rounded grips keep it comfortable to hold over time, and it balances its weight better than an Xbox or PS5 pad hooked up to a mobile gaming clip. It also comes with a handy companion app, which you can use to quickly launch games and start party chats. If nothing else, it should be a more cost-effective alternative to cloud gaming handhelds like the PlayStation Portal.

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