Mobile gamers looking to upgrade their ability to control in-game characters with a great mobile console do not have a shortage of options to choose from. But HyperX seems to have realized one big thing missing from the market: a console that emulates the excellent ergonomics of an Xbox console while still having the versatility needed for a portable console.
This is where the HyperX Clutch Android console comes in. While the best game controllers for Android all offer a lot of different gameplay and a lot of different form factors, none of them are quite as close to an Xbox console as the Clutch. To me, this means that the HyperX Clutch is not only instantly convenient but also familiar. This certainly isn’t always something to be said for other consoles, no matter what features they offer.
On top of sheer convenience, the HyperX Clutch makes it easy to switch between wired, RF, and Bluetooth modes, meaning you can quickly and easily use the same console, PC, and mobile with a simple push of a button. People looking for a console that integrates their phone like the Nintendo Switch should probably stick with something like the GameSir X2, but for folks who want a more Xbox-like experience, the HyperX Clutch is as good as it gets.
Price and availability
The HyperX Clutch Android console was introduced at CES 2022 and is available at Amazon, the HyperX website, and a few other online retailers. The MSRP for the clutch control unit is $50.
HyperX ships the Clutch Console with the phone holder attachment and USB RF adapter. This USB adapter can be connected to a PC or other compatible system and used to play wirelessly with the Clutch console.
What makes the HyperX Clutch Bag so cool
People familiar with any modern Xbox console – by that I mean Xbox One and later – will feel right at home with the HyperX Clutch. The overall look and ergonomics are almost identical to Microsoft’s premium console, and it always feels like a pleasure to use. The biggest differences you’ll notice right away are the palm grip on each side and the elongated stimuli around the back.
These palm grips are important while using the console with a connected phone because the weight balance becomes completely uneven. There’s not much HyperX can do about it from a console size/shape perspective, so adding knobs better ensures that the heavier, lopsided combo doesn’t easily slip out of a player’s hands. I wonder how this stuff will hold up over time, but it’s very convenient at the moment.
These extended triggers make it easier to press and hold for longer periods of time – think mining in Minecraft, for example – but I’ve found that they can also make pressing the bumpers above take a fraction of a second longer if your fingers naturally gravitate toward the longest part of the trigger . Not a big deal, but for games that use the bumper buttons a lot, you may need to reset them a bit.
All the buttons and even the D-Pad felt great to use. This is a suitably connected D-Pad, not one of the discrete PlayStation-like D-pads, so playing games that require diagonal motion with the D-Pad is very convenient and easy to use. Likewise, the control arms were nice and narrow and had a nice grip feel to them. It’s a little narrower than the Xbox joystick, but I found that I liked it because it gave me more control over the small movements in games like Fortnite.
My favorite part of the console is the mode switch on the bottom. While it’s nice to have a phone holder that can easily dock into the slot around the top, this mode switch means that switching between portable console functionality and one that works perfectly with a PC is an actual flick of a switch. All you have to do is click the home button after pressing the switch, and the console is instantly transformed.
Using this 2.4GHz USB RF adapter to control games on my PC in my living room was perfect as well. I haven’t had any noticeable range or latency issues while playing any game, and that’s from a good range of 10 feet away from the receiver.
The phone clip itself is surprisingly versatile, as it can be used to hold the phone while attached to the console or fold up and use as a stand for playing at the table. Think of something like a Nintendo Switch on a table with its kickstand, and you’ll get the idea.
I really liked the HyperX springs used in this clip as well. Some phone mounts are incredibly narrow and a little worrisome to use at times — I’m looking at you, GameSir X2 — but the springs used in the HyperX Clutch were easy to open and put my phone in. There is also a nice bracket on the inside of the stand that accommodates the volume buttons, so phones with different volume rockers positions won’t see those buttons constantly pressed while in the stand.
The controller comes with a built-in 600mAh rechargeable battery and has power LEDs right on the front, making it easy to know when your controller batteries are running low and need to be recharged. I’ve been using the console for about two weeks now and have only seen the battery gauge drop by one degree (out of four), so battery life seems to be pretty excellent. It’s a simple USB Type-C port on top, so most chargers should work just fine.
What can be improved
Off the bat, my least favorite thing about the console design was the brightness levels of the power LEDs. Even taking photos in a well-lit environment shows some noticeable glare from the very bright LEDs. I’d like a way to reduce this stuff, because it’s really obnoxious.
Second, it was my inability to use a larger phone like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 with the included phone holder. While consoles like the GameSir X2 – my other personal favorite design – can stretch to accommodate larger devices like this, the HyperX Clutch is clearly made for feature phone shapes. You won’t have any trouble fitting a phone with a big screen like the Pixel 6 Pro or Galaxy S22 Ultra here, but smaller tablets and larger foldable gadgets don’t need to apply.
I’d be remiss to mention that since the included console stand can convert into a tabletop stand, you can use these larger ones in this position. In fact, this method worked well for the Fold 3 but it is irreplaceable to connect the phone to the console for adequate mobile operation.
The turbo and crisp phone buttons are great for people who want to use more robotic controls – like if your thumbs feel mining fatigue from pressing triggers too long in Minecraft. However, I also wanted to see a screenshot or some other type of media share button somewhere on the console. I’ve spoiled this option on other consoles, and it’s hard not to have it to record great moments during the game.
Finally, I found that the hole cut into the phone attachment isn’t big enough for most USB Type-C cables in my work. People with a wired setup probably won’t have a phone connected, but it seems a mistake not to make this slot a little larger to accommodate a wider range of cable sizes and shapes.
The Razer Raiju is a bit full-fledged and even has an app that lets you customize stick sensitivity and other options. It usually retails at three times the price of the HyperX Clutch, but as of this writing, sites like Walmart and Amazon list it for around $45-50. This makes it an excellent alternative, even if it has a much worse ergonomics than HyperX Clutch.
People looking for a more Nintendo Switch-like experience where the phone is docked between a pair of controllers might want to check out the GameSir X2 USB-C or the Razer Kishi. Personally, I prefer GameSir’s design better because it fits my Galaxy Z Fold 3 well and makes the mobile experience amazing. If you have a smartphone of a more standard size or type, Razer Kishi may provide a more convenient working environment.
Should You Buy the HyperX Clutch Android Console?
A must buy if…
- You love the feel of an Xbox console.
- You want one console for mobile, PC, or something else.
- You are a first person shooter who needs tight joysticks.
You should not buy if…
- Rubber grip handles.
- You want a design that looks more like a switch.
HyperX Clutch is the new favorite mobile gaming controller. The Xbox-like ergonomics make it impossibly comfortable throughout, and the D-Pad’s excellent design and narrow joystick make it a joy to use for a wide range of games. In fact, first-person shooters will find these sticks to be better than most on the market because of their feel.
While the power LEDs are annoyingly bright, and I wish there was a media sharing button, these small flaws consist of the controller’s incredible versatility and built-in rechargeable battery. In general, this is very close to the Xbox-style portable game console.
If you are looking for a controller with a great ergonomics similar to an Xbox console and the ability to work with a phone or PC, then the HyperX Clutch is the controller for you. The cool button and trigger capability meet the narrow joysticks, a D-pad that really works properly, and a nice rubber grip so your heavy phone won’t slip.