Today we are taking a look at the official PlayStation Backbone one controller. It comes with full support for the iPhone and PS5 including the various buttons, Remote Play and of course its awesome design.
Now I’ve only been using this for a few days, but I already think this could be the ultimate mobile gaming, or even PS5, accessory to buy right now.
Straight out of the box you notice it’s clearly on brand with the PlayStation 5, in fact it looks like every official accessory we’ve seen from Sony recently.
Inside the box we get the Backbone One controller itself which looks awesome, then there’s an adapter for the larger iPhones, a quick start guide and a safety sheet.
So first impressions on this controller, I really like the colour and design. I know it’s similar to the original Backbone one controller, but this clean black and white PS5 design is nice. It also matches the DualSense controller if you’re still using the white one.
Looking around there’s a Backbone logo on the front, which will be covered once a phone is installed. And on the back there’s a PlayStation logo which is a nice touch. But yeh, this looks nice.
When it comes to setting it up, it’s a simple plug-and-play. Pull the controller apart and slide your phone in. Just make sure it fits into the lightning port as this is how it connects to your iPhone, it’s not via Bluetooth.
Now this does support and fit every iPhone since the 6S, so anything up to and including the 13 Pro Max. Some iPhones will need an adapter to fit it due to the camera bump, but this adapter is included in the box. I’m using the 13 Pro Max here and it fits fine with the adapter, although I did need to remove my case first. And I’ve also tried it with the 13 Mini without the adapter.
Once fitted you just need to go ahead and download the Backbone One app and the PS Remote Play app.
As for the controls, we’ve got pretty much every button you’d expect to see. It really is like a mini PS5 controller. There’s the D-pad with that transparent design going on, these feel nice and are quite clicky/rubbery to the touch. And then the triangle, circle, cross and square icon buttons on the right.
Now the thumbsticks are different to what you’d expect on an official PlayStation controller. These are more like the Xbox or Switch controllers with the asymmetrical layout. They are also very small and not as big as the normal console controllers, but they are clickable and feel firm.
We’ve then have 4 extra buttons. One is the share or screenshot button as you’d use on the PS5, and the other is a screen recording button. This actually lets you record your gameplay straight to your phone.
On the right side we have a dedicated backbone app button. And next to that the start or menu button.
Across the top we have the L and R buttons and triggers which feel nice. These are actual triggers too rather than digital buttons, so in some games you’ll have a more linear response rather than just on or off.
The quickest way to do this is to use the orange button on the controller. Now this app is optional and is not required to use the controller at all, but it’s actually very good. The interface is nice, and it carries over the PlayStation blue theme, and you’re able to see the games or streaming apps available.
You can navigate around using either the controller or the touch screen, there are popular and featured games listed. Not all of these are installed, some are just recommended games to download and play.
There’s also the Remote Play app and the Xbox app which when you tap will jump over to those apps instead.
PS5 Remote Play App
To use the PS5 you will need the PS Remote Play app installed on your iPhone. You then need to make sure remote play is also enabled on your PS4 or PS5. Without that it simply won’t work.
Click on the PS5 and it’ll start searching your network and will remotely switch it on. Then you’ll have full control of the PS5 via the iPhone. Obviously this feature isn’t new, we’ve had this app for a while now, but being able to navigate around with the Backbone One controller is so much easier. It’s far easier than using the touch screen controls anyway.
So my PS5 is wired to my network, which is going to be the best option when it comes to reducing the input lag. As I navigate the dashboard it’s near instant, there’s no delay at all.
Now both my iPhone and PS5 are on the same network, but they don’t need to be. As long as they both have a good internet connection you can still login and play. If you want to use mobile data you can too, you just need to go into the settings on the app and enable it under mobile data.
But again, there’s little to no lag considering even when accessing the PS5 via my mobile data rather than local WiFi.
So the share button acts the same way as the share button on the DualSense, you can capture gameplay and share it through the console. Then the other button is for capturing gameplay directly to your iPhone, so this is a cool feature if you want to keep it locally.
And if you wondered what happens to the PS5 while you’re logging in remotely, it does turn on as normal, so anyone watching it will see what you’re doing.
Now I’m not sure playing games like Warzone will be ideal over remote play, but the fact is I can play them if I want to. I mean the input lag is fast, but it’ll be too slow for playing FPS games where you need lightning fast reactions.
But any other games that don’t need that instant response are fine. Gran Turismo 7 works well, and the triggers feel great. And as mentioned before the triggers, or L2 and R2 buttons, are linear, so you can adjust how much power you wish to use.
While you’re gaming you can either use wired or wireless headphones. So if you have some AirPods for example they will connect as usual via bluetooth. But if you have a pair of wired headphones, you can use the 3.5mm headphone jack on the controller instead.
And also while gaming you can still charge your iPhone as there’s a USB-C port on the bottom. Plug that in and it’ll provide passthrough charging, so that’s a cool feature.
But yeh, remote playing games on here is easy, fast and they look great. It really is like having a portable PS5 in your pocket. The controller feels nicely balanced too, not too heavy and not too cheap and plasticy.
Non PS Games
But you’re not only limited to playing PlayStation games or using the PS Remote Play app. As long as the games you’re wishing to play have controller input support, you can use it with anything.
So if you’re on Xbox, you can use the Xbox app to control your Series X or S and play games. Or if you wanted to play some mobile games instead, like COD Mobile, again this will work.
I’ve also tried a few Apple Arcade games and games from the App Store, and as long as controller support is listed, they work well.
I’m not subscribed to Stadia or Nvidia’s streaming services, but this will work with those too.
As for the price, the Backbone One is just under £100 or $100 if bought directly from their website. It was the only place I could find them when I bought one earlier this month, and delivery did take 3 weeks.
It might seem expensive for a mobile controller, but I feel it’s actually worth it with the design and functionality you’re getting.
It also comes with a 30 day no-questions-asked money back guarantee, as well as 12 months warranty.
Now of course if you’ve already got an iPhone and a PS5, you don’t technically need one of these to use remote play. You can just use the normal controller and connect to it via bluetooth. It’ll work, but it’s not going to be as good as the Backbone One.
So my final thoughts on this PlayStation controller for iPhone, I really like it. I mean what’s not to love? It’s on brand with the PS5, it fits my 13 Pro Max and it’s small enough to store away when I’m not using it.
I also think this is far better than just using a DualSense controller over bluetooth.
So until Sony release an updated PS Vita, this is the best and cheapest option right now for mobile gaming.