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Backbone One (2nd Gen) For iPhone (Hardware) – Review

Backbone is a great product released by Backbone Labs Inc. that transforms your boring old mobile phone into a gaming machine, and there are a couple of different options you can choose from. The first option is similar to the Xbox controller, while the other is more of a Playstation configuration. Once you’ve decided on that, you’ll need to select either USB-C or Lighting Connector, depending on your device, and recently MKAU Gaming was lucky enough to try out the Backbone One V2 for iPhone, and needless to say, I’m impressed.

There is something about just looking at the packaging before unpacking what lies inside that makes hardware reviews exciting. I’m a simple person, and Backbone has hit the nail right on the head with their packaging for the Backbone One V2. It consists of a white cardboard overlay on a black box which looks great with a picture of the device on it with their name proudly presented across the top – it is simple, straight to the point, and perfectly reflects what is inside. Opening the box the Backbone One V2 sits front and centre.

It feels like a high-quality product, featuring a metal spine, or the middle section, and two halves of a controller to hug the sides of your device, and the matte black finish complimented my black iPhone really well. Another small box houses a couple of interchangeable ends that allow you to use phone cases while using the Backbone One V2, and obviously, there’s some paperwork, regarding warranties and quick setup guides.

Being the second generation, the first noticeable update is that it now features two sets of magnetic adapters, allowing you to interchange the controllers for a better fit for your phone and giving you the ability to use it with a case on. Having said that, I had to remove my case as QuadLock cases are really bulky compared to some.

The other noticeable change that anyone who has used the previous Backbone will notice is that the D-Pad has been reshaped and played with so it now enhances responsiveness, feels superior, and allows you to excel in multiple different game genres.

I loved the convenience of not needing to charge yet another device. It’s just a matter of connecting your phone and it works. This is great – I have enough to charge without adding another item. The company said this is the lowest latency handheld controller on the market at the moment and I agree with them. I had no delay when playing games such as CoD Mobile, which was great for those sweaty little plays, and just to make sure, I connected an Xbox Controller. There was certainly a noticeable input delay when compared to the Backbone V2.

When it comes down to audio there is an auxiliary port on the bottom of the backbone, so if you really want to plug in some earphones, you can, but I would recommend using some wireless earbuds. Due to the positioning of speakers on most devices, and where the Backbone One V2 pieces connect to the phone, trying to just use the phone speakers becomes muffled.

The other side has a plug-in port, letting you plug the Backbone One V2 into a Tablet, iPad or even a PC, if you are so inclined, so while it’s advertised as a mobile controller you can use it with most gaming machines, adding another level of convenience. I also loved that when you were scrolling through games, it would give you recommendations of what you might enjoy, and it’s a great way to potentially expand your catalogue.

Backbone has put in all the hard work and made your gaming needs as easy as possible with their official Backbone App, found on both the Google Play Store and Apple App Store. It’s super simple to use and brings more convenience to gaming on your mobile device.

There is a list of compatible games on the Play Store and App Store that you can use the Backbone One V2 with, but I spent more time playing my Xbox through my phone from the comfort of my bed.

They’ve included options for Xbox Cloud Play, Playstation Remote Play and Steam Link, which is great if you don’t feel like sitting on the couch or if you want to spend a couple more minutes on the throne for that little bit of quiet time.

There are some other great features built into the app, triggered by some of the buttons on the Backbone V2. You can capture, record and edit gameplay from within the application, and with certain devices, this includes 1080p 60FPS recording. The software itself is super user-friendly and does not take much to get used to.

I loved the convenience of using the Backbone One V2. I’ve been pairing my Xbox Controller to my phone to play some games for a fair while now, but the convenience of having a dedicated device has made it so much easier. Being able to plug it into the phone and pick up where I left off meant that I could jump straight into the action.

The Backbone One V2 is built super well – it felt rugged, so I didn’t feel like it was going to break. If gaming on the go and convenience is your thing, I would encourage you to invest in one of these. You can pick one up for AUD 179.00 from their website (HERE), as well as other leading tech companies.

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The Good

  • Solid Platform Not Flimsy
  • Great Simplistic Packaging
  • No Charging Needed
  • Great User Interface On App

The Bad

  • Case Removal Needed For Handheld

Written by: Hayden Nelson


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