Comfortable, responsive controls
Variety of viewing angles
Too bulky to be portable
Clunky Lightning cable
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The RiotPWR’s feature list is rather limited. The wired Apple Lightning Controller stands out, as does the “Zero Gravity” smartphone grip. There’s a distinct lack of features that might help in gameplay, like trigger locks or rear paddle buttons. It does, however, feature a 3.5mm headphone socket and integrated DAC.
The phone attachment can be removed at any time if you want space between the controller and your iOS.
The RiotPWR Cloud Gaming Controller, like so many modern game controllers, could be mistaken for an Xbox Wireless Controller at a glance. It offers a similar design with offset thumbsticks and an identical face button layout. Sticking to the ABXY Xbox layout is a safe choice that doesn’t ask players to retrain their muscle memory.
But there is one quirk that sets this controller apart: a rubber flap in the center of the gamepad. It can be removed to secure RiotPWR’s “Zero Gravity” device holder, a plastic clamp that turns a connected iPhone into an all-in-one mobile gaming device.
RiotPWR places the clamp in the center of the gamepad’s face, which makes the overall layout slightly more compact than alternatives like the Steelseries Nimbus Plus and budget HyperX Clutch.
Unlike most mobile controllers, the RiotPWR doesn’t connect wirelessly. It instead uses the Apple Lightning connector to connect with an iPhone and older iPads. A provided USB-C cable extends connectivity to newer iPad models that have a USB-C port (and future iPhones once Apple switches over). The controller doesn’t work with MacOS, however, or with other devices and game consoles.
Opting for a wired Lightning connector makes setup simple: just plug and play. You won’t have to worry about battery life, but the wire can tangle and could snag in your bag if stored with a device attached.
Versatility is limited, too, as the controller can only be used with iOS devices. RiotPWR does toss in an iOS home button which can open the Game Center, but there’s otherwise little iOS-specific functionality for the controller to hook into.
Home button aside, the controller’s other buttons work as expected and feel good while playing. The face buttons have a slightly mushy throw but activate firmly, not unlike an Xbox Series X|S controller. The thumbsticks seem precise, the triggers operate smoothly, and the D-Pad provides competent control in old-school games.
However, it lacks extra features. Most gamepads in this price range offer some extra spice. The Guilkit KingKong 2 Pro Wireless has Hall Effect joysticks and supports more platforms, Sony’s DualSense has a built-in touchpad, and PowerA’s Fusion Pro 2 has four extra rear paddle buttons. RiotPWR’s Cloud Gaming Controller offers none of the above.
RiotPWR at least provides pressure-sensitive Hall Effect triggers. They’ll be most useful when streaming titles from Xbox Game Pass or other cloud services, or remote play. Apple Arcade titles tend not to use this feature, and many don’t use the triggers at all.
A perfect addition for iOS users who are dedicated gamers. No, it is not an Xbox controller.
The RiotPWR Cloud Gaming Controller might make sense if you’re a dedicated Apple Arcade gamer who only plays on an iPhone or iPad. Despite its limitations, the controller’s wired Lightning connector offers guaranteed connectivity. Just plug it in and go.
Pricing, however, seals the RiotPWR Cloud Gaming Controller’s fate. It retails for about $70 exclusively through the Apple Store. The HyperX Clutch, which also supports iOS (plus PC and Android) and also has a smartphone grip but sells for just $50. And if you’re after portability, spending an extra $30 on the Backbone One or Razer Kishi might be a better idea.
If you don’t game on an Apple device, however, the RiotPWR’s appeal falls off a cliff. The controller won’t work with other game consoles in your home or with a PC or Mac, or even Android. That’s a huge problem. Most gamepads that support those platforms also work with iOS. Put simply, the RiotPWR delivers less, and costs more. That’s a losing proposition.
Buy the RiotPWR Cloud Gaming Controller
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
Matthew S. Smith
Matthew S. Smith is a veteran tech journalist and general-purpose PC hardware nerd. Formerly the Lead Editor of Reviews at Digital Trends, he has over a decade of experience covering PC hardware. Matt often flies the virtual skies in Microsoft Flight Simulator and is on a quest to grow the perfect heirloom tomato.
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