A Backbone One PlayStation Edition for Android (USBC)

Backbone One PlayStation Edition Review (Android)

Mobile Gaming Evolved for Android

The Backbone One PlayStation Edition is a controller extension compatible with Android or Apple devices, each sold as separate editions. The PlayStation Edition upgrades your experience, presenting an officially licensed PlayStation product featuring button styles synonymous with the PS5 Dualsense controller. The PlayStation Backbone comfortably accommodates most Android and Apple devices. My Google Pixel 6a fits perfectly. Simply attach it to your device via the charging port, and your mobile gaming adventure begins.

In this comprehensive review, we’ll delve into the Backbone One PlayStation Edition features to help you evaluate its fit for your gaming needs.

Backbone One PlayStation Edition Review (Android)

Here is a quick trailer:

Streaming Games

Prior to exploring the Backbone in-depth, let’s clear up the concept of game streaming and its limitations. Apps like the Backbone or PS Remote Play allow you to view a stream of the game on your device while it actually runs on your console. The streaming quality significantly depends on your internet speed and the type of wifi chip in your device. Slow connections could increase latency, affecting your gaming experience. Remember that even with the best internet, some latency may be unavoidable. It’s important to manage expectations when venturing into the world of game streaming.

Layout

The Backbone One PlayStation Edition flaunts a classic PlayStation-style layout featuring triangle, square, X, and circle buttons. The joysticks are placed bottom-right and top-left, a layout similar to Xbox controllers. While PlayStation users may need time to acclimate to this arrangement, it doesn’t detract from the gaming experience.

Button layout of the Backbone One PlayStation Edition for Android
The layout is clean and ergonomic

Although a design closer to PS5 Dualsense would have been a bonus, it doesn’t impact the controller’s efficacy. A four-direction D-Pad resides at the bottom left, while the classic R1, L1, R2, and L2 triggers occupy the top. The orange Backbone button on the controller functions as the PlayStation home button. The Backbone, however, lacks a feature equivalent to the PS5 Dualsense touchpad.

Features

The Backbone One PlayStation Edition outshines its competitors, such as the Razer Kishi, with two valuable quality-of-life features. The controller’s bottom houses a USB-C charging port (for the Android edition), enabling you to charge your device while playing. Additionally, it includes an auxiliary headphone jack for easy headphone connectivity.

The headphone jack and USBC ports on the PlayStation Edition Backbone One
Ports for both charging and audio are excellent and welcome additions

Just like the PlayStation Dualsense, the Backbone comes with share buttons, allowing you to capture gameplay via the Backbone app. This is a boon for streamers and content creators. Ergonomically, the Backbone offers comfort for extended gaming sessions, outshining even the Nintendo Switch in this respect. The weight of your device might affect comfort, but overall, a pleasurable gaming experience awaits.

Game Tests

During my playtest, I experimented with MLB the Show, Fortnite, and the Binding of Isaac on PS Remote Play. These games, offering varied but precise gaming experiences, are excellent benchmarks for the Backbone. MLB The Show, with its extensive use of buttons for hitting, pitching, and fielding, performed exceptionally well with the Backbone. Despite the smaller buttons, the gameplay felt intuitive and responsive.

Fortnite, a more joystick and trigger-intensive game, also performed well. The compact joysticks felt more sensitive compared to console gameplay, which required a slight adjustment period. Once acclimated, however, the gameplay was smooth and responsive.

A side view of the Backbone One PlayStation Edition
The compact joysticks make FPS and shooters a little more difficult to play

With games like The Binding of Isaac, the Backbone really shone, providing the same quality of play as on PlayStation or Switch. In my experience, the Backbone should deliver a satisfying gaming experience across the board. However, the performance outside the controller will greatly depend on your internet connection.

Drawbacks

The Backbone One PlayStation Edition is a high-quality piece of equipment, but it does come with a couple of compromises. One noticeable miss is the lack of haptic feedback. A lot of modern games utilize haptics as a form of sensory feedback, which can enhance the overall gaming experience.

For instance, when playing MLB the Show, the absence of haptic feedback slightly reduced the satisfaction of hitting a home run, but it wasn’t a dealbreaker. Similar effects were noticed in Fortnite, where gunplay felt a tad less engaging without haptic feedback. The Backbone’s competitor, the Razer Kishi, does include haptics, so this could be a deciding factor for some gamers. It’s worth noting, however, that haptics can contribute to faster battery drain, which might explain its omission from the Backbone.

A significant limitation that could impact PlayStation gamers is the absence of a feature that mimics the PS5 Dualsense touchpad. Games that heavily rely on this feature may be challenging to play on the Backbone. Although incorporating such a feature could be difficult, it’s something to keep in mind depending on your game library. While I did not encounter any such issues personally, as the games I primarily play don’t require touchpad use, this may not be the case for all gamers.

Verdict

The Backbone One PlayStation Edition is a high-quality, affordable alternative to dedicated game streaming devices. It’s a fantastic option if you have a reliable internet connection and a high-quality phone. However, older devices might benefit more from a dedicated handheld gaming device. At $99.99, the Backbone One PlayStation Edition provides excellent value for the price. While the cost may seem high for a controller, it’s a bargain when compared to similar high-quality devices. With a quality device in hand, the Backbone should be your first choice for mobile game streaming needs. Whether it’s PS Remote Play, mobile games, Xbox Game Pass, or Steam Link, the Backbone One provides a cost-effective solution for gaming on the go.

Get it now on Amazon: Backbone One PlayStation Edition.

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Avatar of Tyler Vareski
Tyler has over 11 years of experience playing strategy games. He has a particular fondness for Europa Universalis IV, of which he has logged over 900 hours. Despite the challenges that come with playing a complex game like EU4, Tyler finds it incredibly rewarding and loves sharing his knowledge and strategies with fellow gamers. Outside of EU4, Tyler is a massive Star Wars junkie. He also likes 2K too much and doesn't eat enough vegetables.