Best Gamepad for Android TV Box 2017

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Today´s Android TV boxes are getting increasingly more powerful. With their multicore CPUs and graphics processors, they are able to cope with more and more demanding games. And, because the Google Play store provides access to countless gaming apps, Android set-top boxes present a cheap yet very capable alternative to traditional game consoles with their high price tag and expensive games. In this article, we look at the best Android TV box game controllers on the market.

Best Android TV Gamepads Featured in this Review

Most media players ship with fairly cheap remote controls that are clearly not built for gaming.

Playing video games is supposed to be an immersive experience. Precision control is of utmost importance. It should be you versus the game. But, any standard remote control ruins this experience.

Ultimately, the whole fun of gaming is ruined as you are struggling with your controls. Anyone that has tried gaming using a standard remote or air mouse will instantly recognize that feeling of frustration.

frustrated gamer

Therefore, we decided to look at all the popular game controllers currently available and reviewed the best gamepads for Android TV boxes.

Gaming on Android Set-Top Box

Chances are, you didn’t buy your Android TV box specifically for playing games. Most likely, it was the streaming capabilities that convinced you to get your set-top box. The ability to easily stream movies and shows to your TV via Kodi, Netflix or any of the other streaming service is the most popular use of these Android-powered streaming media players.

However, all that hardware that allows you to stream crisp HD content can do much more than you might have thought. Any of the current Android media players sport the latest generation quad-core processors with enough processing power to put your aged office PC to shame. Paired with 2 GB of RAM and a dedicated multi-core graphics processor, these small powerhouses run even the most demanding 3d games.

These are just some of the gaming friendly Android boxes currently available:

Nvidia Shield TV gaming android box

Of course, these Android boxes can’t compete with the high-end gaming consoles. Maybe with the exception of the Nvidia Shield TV which is purpose-built for gaming. Also, the Nvidia box comes with a great looking and game controller that performs exceptionally well. But, a PS4 or Xbox One will set you back hundreds of dollars. Additionally, the pricing of games is simply ridiculous. Especially when compared to the price of games on the Android Play store.

Gaming on Android TV Box Rocks

An Android media player is the ideal living room gaming device for casual gamers. Below are some of the key reasons why gaming on Android boxes is experiencing such an influx in popularity:

  • Low price of games
  • Insane amount of available games for every type of gamer (see some recommendations here)
  • Cheapest way to turn your existing living room TV into a gaming hub
  • Very powerful yet affordable Android TV boxes available

Google Play Games for Android Box

However, nearly every media player currently on the market is not fit for gaming right out of the box. One thing that you will find missing is a high-quality Android gamepad.

The Perfect Android Box Game Controller

So what should you look out for when shopping for the best gamepad for your new Android TV box?

  • Durability: Buying a cheap controller that breaks easily is the most obvious mistake you could make. Sometimes, things can get a little heated when trying to beat that end-boss. Opt for a quality product that survives a fall or a frustrated toss.
  • Precision & Feedback: Gaming is about skill and timing. A great gamepad gives you adequate stick precision and registers every press of a button without any hiccups.
  • Connectivity: Opt for a wireless controller to avoid having to deal with wires. Also, keep an eye out for battery life as you don’t want to take an unplanned break because you run out of juice.
  • Full size and familiar layout: Let’s not reinvent the wheel. Console controllers are tried and tested designs. All the gamepads we recommend below closely mimic their layout and size.

The Best Android Gamepads for 2017

Many manufacturers have released gamepads in recent years due to the increasing popularity of gaming on set-top boxes. However, many of these controllers are cheap and unreliable. Below are the top 5 gamepads for Android media players to ensure you’ll enjoy your living room gaming to the fullest.

Mad Catz C.T.R.L.R

Mad Catz C.T.R.L.R
146 Reviews
Mad Catz C.T.R.L.R

Pros

  • Premium brand
  • Multimedia buttons
  • Mouse emulation mode
  • As precise as a console controller

Cons

  • Clicky buttons
  • More dead zone in left stick than we’d like to see

Okay, we’ll give Mad Catz the benefit of the doubt and just assume that there was an online petition to name their newest Android controller. And an eight-year-old apparently won. However, apart from the overly edgy name, there is very little wrong with this gamepad.

To be honest, it is great to see one of the big gaming brands entering the Android gaming market. Mad Catz is a respected company amongst enthusiasts, well-known for its quality products. And, without a doubt, their expertise shines through in this product.

mad catz ctrlr android box game controller

The Mad Catz C.T.R.L.R is an absolute beast. It’s built like a tank, able to cope with the most aggressive button-mashers out there. Rest assured that this device will easily survive an accidental drop. Also, anyone with previous gaming experience will feel immediately at home when they pick up the C.T.R.L.R. All the buttons and sticks are exactly where you’d expect them. Additionally, the controller has a good weight to it.

Obviously, one of the most important aspects of any gamepad is precision. All the buttons and sticks have a snappy feel. You won’t struggle for control with this gamepad. However, the buttons tend to be a bit clicky. This is annoying but doesn’t impact the performance of this device. But, there is one downside: The dead zone on the left stick. This might be a personal preference, but we’d like to have a smaller dead zone than what is present on the C.T.R.L.R. Still, you get great precision and no noticeable lag with Mad Catz’ Android gamepad.

mad catz gamepad for android set top box

Connecting the controller is super easy. Simply pair it via Bluetooth and you are ready to go. Thankfully, Mad Catz added an auto-off feature to the C.T.R.L.R, which ensure that you don’t drain the battery when the gamepad is not in use.

Additionally, you get dedicated multimedia buttons, making this one of the best gamepads for Android TV boxes. This allows you to control your favorite streaming apps without having to switch between the controller and your remote.

Lastly, the C.T.R.L.R comes with different usage modes, allowing you to use the controller as a mouse or as a traditional gamepad.

mad catz ctrlr streaming media player

Without a doubt, the Mad Catz C.T.R.L.R is probably the top gamepad currently on the market with a very reputable company behind it. If you can afford it and are serious about your gaming, then definitely consider this fine controller.

GameSir G4s

Sale
GameSir G4s
331 Reviews
GameSir G4s

Pros

  • Changeable position of D-pad and left joystick
  • Textured materials for secure grip
  • Feels similar to Xbox controller
  • Lightweight
  • Comes with a separate wireless USB dongle

Cons

  • Average battery life
  • Shoulder buttons are a bit wonky

gamesir g4s gamepadThe GameSir G4s is the second premium gamepad in this roundup. While it certainly isn’t the cheapest in this list, the quality of this device is second to none. The G4s is made out of durable materials, yet is surprisingly light. Also, the texturing of the product ensures a secure grip even in the sweatiest hands.

Compared to the C.T.R.L.R, the design of the GameSir pad is less flashy. It’s all black with some chrome-like finish on the top. Overall, it looks a bit more mature and won’t stand out in your living room as some of the other brightly colored game controllers.

In terms of functionality, the killer feature surely is the G4s ability to switch the D-pad and left joystick. Every gamer has their own preference here, but having the ability to adapt the layout to your liking is great. Even more so if you have friends over who might be used to having the D-pad on the top left. However, the D-pad itself isn’t the greatest out of all the gamepads we looked at. It certainly gets the job done. But, it does feel a little inaccurate and might require some time to get used to.

gaming controller for android

Additionally, the shoulder buttons aren’t the best either. They work perfectly fine when pressed on the outer edges. However, because the hinges are on the inside of the pad, shoulder pad presses towards the middle of the controller don’t register well. Apart from that, tough, all the buttons and sticks are extremely precise and have great haptic feedback.

When it comes to battery life, the GameSir G4s can’t cope with marathon gaming sessions without a recharge. Expect to hook up this controller every 4 to 5 hours of heavy use. But, on the plus side, charging the batteries is quick and easy with the supplied cable.

G4S streaming android box game controller

If you ask us, the GameSir G4s is the best Xbox-like controller for Android set-top boxes despite some of its minor flaws. The layout, size, and ergonomic design are very close to Microsoft’s gamepad and provide great value for this controller’s price.

Matricom G-Pad BX

Sale
Matricom G-Pad BX
792 Reviews
Matricom G-Pad BX

Pros

  • Great value for money
  • Solid battery life

Cons

  • Can be a challenge to pair with your Android box
  • Charging cable easily loses connection to the controller

Matricom is well known for manufacturing great Android boxes, such as the G-Box Q2. It doesn’t come as a surprise that they would also sell a controller to go with their powerful streaming media players. However, unlike their set-top boxes, the G-Pad BX does have some flaws.

matricom g-pad wireless controller for android boxBut, before we look at where the controller falls short, let’s focus on where Matricom beats many of its competitors. Of course, the main advantage of this gamepad is its price. It is significantly cheaper than most other devices. And, you get a lot for that money.

 

The battery life is truly impressive. You can get many hours of gaming out of a single charge. However, charging can be frustrating. This is because the USB cable doesn’t have a solid connection to the gamepad. Worst case, you wait for your controller to charge only to find out that it wasn’t properly plugged in. And that sucks!

The G-Pad BX feels very solid and ergonomic. There are no issues when it comes to the button and stick layout. Also, the sticks and D-pad are precise and just feel right. However, the buttons have a tendency to wear down over time, losing their crisp feel you initially get out of the box.

wireless g-pad box gamepad for kodi

Additionally, the triggers are not analog. This means that they are either on or off. Therefore, we can’t recommend the G-Pad to racing simulation fans as you lose a lot of control without analog triggers.

Lastly, pairing the G-Pad to your Android box isn’t as easy as with other controllers. The process is a bit cumbersome and you might have to take out the instructions every once in a while to get the G-Pad paired up again with your set-top box.

G-pad for android box

However, despite all of these small issues, the Matricom G-Pad BX is still a decent controller at a very reasonable price. If you are in the market for a cheap gamepad for your Android media player, the G-Pad is a good choice.

BEBONCOOL Bluetooth Game Controller

Sale
BEBONCOOL Bluetooth Game Controller
66 Reviews
BEBONCOOL Bluetooth Game Controller

Pros

  • Backlit buttons
  • D-pad and left analog stick are swappable

Cons

  • Buttons feel ok
  • D-pad too stiff

Gamers love LEDs. Whether it’s a keyboard, mouse or a controller, gaming enthusiasts somehow are naturally attracted to brightly glowing gear. So, it’s no surprise that we have one of these flashy devices in our round-up. And we’ll be honest, the BEBONCOOL controller does look great. It is black with a subtle red finish. The buttons are backlit by bright LEDs. This gives late night gaming sessions a really nice vibe. And, these LEDs also serve a greater purpose. If the battery is running low, the lights will flash slowly to warn you.

rechargeable wireless controller for kodi box

Apart from its great looks, the BEBONCOOL also feels good in your hands. There aren’t any sharp edges or awkwardly placed buttons. Also, because the analog stick and D-pad are swappable, it is very versatile and easily adapts to any playing style.

wireless gamepad for android closeupOverall, the buttons feel good, but not exceptional. They aren’t as snappy as some of the more expensive gaming controllers we reviewed here. But, they do their job well and don’t seem to wear out easily.

Also, the D-pad is rather stiff and requires more input force by the user. The analog sticks, on the other hand, feel great and give you maximum precision. There isn’t any unnecessary dead zone to overcome and the resistance is well balanced.

Despite the bright LEDs, battery life is on par with any other controller we looked at. Charging is easy and fast with the included USB cable. Also, the integrated sleep mode ensures that no power goes to waste when the gamepad is not in use.

beboncool wireless gamepad beboncool bluetooth android gamepad

All in all, the BEBONCOOL Bluetooth Game Controller is a great Android gamepad that performs well and looks even better.

Baile 2.4G Wireless Game Controller

Baile 2.4G Wireless Game Controller
73 Reviews
Baile 2.4G Wireless Game Controller

Pros

  • Best for gamers used to Playstation controllers
  • Cheap

Cons

  • No Bluetooth support
  • Not rechargeable

You don’t need to be a design expert to see that the Baile wireless controller is quite clearly inspired by the widely popular Playstation gamepad. And this isn’t a bad thing. The Sony controllers are fantastic in terms of ergonomic design and ease-of-use. But has Baile managed to create a gamepad that can live up to the original?

Of course, the biggest argument for the Baile is the price. You will have difficulties finding a wireless gamepad at this price point that performs nearly as well. However, that doesn’t mean that it is without its flaws. As always, you get what you pay for. Buy cheap, get cheap.

baile wireless usb dongle gamepad

While the gamepad mimics the look and feel of the original PS3 controller fairly well, you tend to notice that Baile cut some corners to keep the cost down. The buttons don’t provide much feedback and have a tendency to stick from time to time. However, the D-pad and analog sticks both feel good and give you plenty of control.

wireless gamepad for kodi boxAlso, the controller doesn’t support Bluetooth. You do get a wireless USB adapter to plug into your Kodi box. But, with limited USB slots on your Android box, this could be a problem.

Lastly, the Baile pad is not rechargeable, so what you save on the product you will spend on batteries. But, this does have the advantage of not having to wait for the device to recharge when you run out of juice.

baile 2.4g controller for android tv

Despite all its flaws, the Baile 2.4G Wireless Game Controller still presents good value for money and should please any recreational gamer on a tight budget. However, if you take your gaming serious, look at a more expensive option to ensure you get a quality product that will last a long time.

Verdict

Which Android gamepad you should go for ultimately depends on how often you think you will be using it. If your streaming media box will primarily be playing videos, and only once in a while you might jump into a game, then opt for a cheaper controller. The G-Pad BX or BEBONCOOL will still give you a good gaming experience and plenty of fun.

However, if you take your gaming a bit more serious, then considers higher priced controllers. Both the C.T.R.L.R and GameSir G4s are able to compete with the popular console gamepads and are excellent choices for intense gaming sessions that require precision and accuracy.

Last update on 2017-09-23 at 10:44 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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