Using a PlayStation 4 controller with a smartphone used to a complicated endeavour that required rooting or jailbreaking your device. More recent versions of Android an iOS, though, are natively compatible with the PS4 gamepad—making a controller phone mount a much more practical thing to own than it was even just a couple of years ago.
For that, the Powerwave PlayStation 4 Controller Phone Mount is a very good option. It strikes a great balance between being sturdy, reliable, and inexpensive.
One of the best things about this mount is, quite simply, that it’s tailor-made for the PS4 controller. Other options I’ve tried all suffered from the same problem: they aim for compatibility with a wide variety of different gamepads, and end up never fitting quite right. Sometimes they just clip to the underside of the controller without being able to hold tightly in place; other times they obscure buttons or the PS4 pad’s USB connection.
By contrast, the Powerwave mount wraps snugly around the centre of the DualShock 4, snugly fitting around all the buttons and ports. It clips into itself, so it’s not just relying on the grip pressure to hold in place—it literally can’t move until you unclip it. The fact that you can still use a USB cable at the same time is particularly noteworthy, because even though both Android and iOS now support bluetooth connection with the PS4 controller, lag can still be an issue. Sometimes, a wired connection is the only way to go.
(It’s worth noting that there’s an Xbox One version too. I haven’t tried it out, but judging from photos, it seems to be identical in design, only made to fit the Xbox One controller rather than the PS4. I’d safely assume it’s just as reliable—perhaps even more so, since the Xbox controller doesn’t have a touchpad to contend with.)
The part of the mount that holds the phone is surprisingly sturdy, too. Out of necessity, this does rely on the strength of its spring-loaded grip. It wouldn’t really work to have something wrap around the whole phone and cover part of the screen, and it needs to account for a lot of variation in size between phone models. I never ran into any issues with my phone getting dislodged or falling out of the mount, even when lying down with the phone above my face, pitting the mount directly against gravity.
The Powerwave controller mount boasts a 180 degree adjustable viewing angle, with knobs that you can tighten to hold the angle in place. Once locked into place, I had no issues with viewing angle shifting under the weight of my phone or due to me changing my own sitting or lying position—when it’s locked, it’s locked. This mechanism also means that, when you’re not using the mount, you can fold it closed completely, with the arm sitting neatly between the controller’s thumbsticks. It’s perfect for carrying in a bag, with the controller and closed mount combo leaving little more of a footprint than the controller alone.
The one frustration I have with the Powerwave PS4 controller mount is that the shape of it makes pressing the Options and Share buttons slightly awkward. The plastic frame that wraps around the control runs down each side between the touchpad and Options/Share, pushing right up alongside the buttons. The buttons themselves are small, which isn’t an issue when you’re using the PS4 controller on its own—your thumb just naturally covers the whole thing with a bit of overhang on each side. But with the mount, you can’t really press the buttons without digging your thumb into the plastic frame, or trying to press the button more with your thumbnail than your thumb itself, neither of which is a particularly comfortable option. They’re not buttons you’ll be pressing constantly, but as the PS4 pad’s equivalent of Start and Select, they’re still used frequently enough for the discomfort to become noticeable.
Even with that issue, though, the Powerwave PS4 Controller Mount is one of the better options I’ve tried. It perfectly fits the PS4 pad, and offers a sturdy, reliable way to turn your phone into a bona fide portable gaming device.
(PS, for any Final Fantasy XIV players out there: a phone mount coupled with the Steam Link app means you can now grind out dailies or crafts or whatever while lying comfortably in bed. You’re welcome.)