Video games are now a huge part of tablet and smartphone use and getting a set of accessories may help you get the most out of your play.
With state-of-the-art graphics, enhanced functions and multiplayer options, gaming on a tablet or smartphone is not always as simple as tap and swipe anymore. That means getting the most out of mobile games can require new equipment.
Here are some noteworthy recommendations.
Mad Catz L.Y.N.X. 9 Mobile Hybrid Controller, $300
Touch-screen controls can be tricky; one slip of the thumb and it’s game over. For less than $100, you can improve your gameplay immensely with a handheld wireless game controller.
Or you can spend three times that amount for the L.Y.N.X. 9 Mobile Hybrid Controller for Android devices, from Mad Catz. The controller is built like a Swiss Army Knife, foldable for portability and with modular accessories like a smartphone clip, a tablet frame and ergonomic handles.
Need a microphone for voice commands? Check. Want an app to customize the controller’s responses? Bingo. How about a full Qwerty keyboard for email and social media? It has that, too. The only downside is the $300 price tag.
Mophie Powerstation, $40
Mobile games can be huge battery hogs, so a backup power source is crucial. For its latest generation of Powerstation portable batteries, Mophie has slimmed down the package while bulking up the selection. The new line comes in five sizes, offering one to eight times extra battery life; all but the smallest ($40) come with dual USB ports for charging two devices at once.
The Powerstation’s thinner design and aluminum finish make it easy to grip, which comes in handy if you want to play and charge at the same time. An LED indicator lets you know how much power is left, or you can use Mophie’s power-management app.
Skylanders SuperChargers Starter Pack, $75
Mobile games often fall short of their console counterparts, but Activision brought a full console version of “Skylanders SuperChargers,” the latest video game in the Skylanders franchise, to Apple devices, including the iPhone, iPad and Apple TV.
The starter pack comes with a wireless portal and three toys that are brought to life in the game; players simply download a free Skylanders app and turn on Bluetooth on their mobile devices to get started. The starter pack includes a wireless controller, but the game will also work with touch-screen controls or an Apple TV remote.
The game features an adventure storyline and a racing mode in which players can test their driving skills online against their friends. For continuity across Apple devices, players can save their game with iCloud and pick it up on another Apple device.
Turtle Beach Ear Force Recon 50, $40
Mobile games are a quick and easy way to pass the time on your commute, but have some pity on fellow commuters and get headphones. The Ear Force Recon 50 gaming headset from Turtle Beach offers everything you need at an entry-level price.
Despite being a no-frills version of Turtle Beach’s high-end offerings, the Recon 50 has features including an adjustable boom microphone, in-line volume controls and full-range speakers that deliver surprisingly good stereo sound.
The headset is compatible with most mobile devices, as well as PCs and Macs, and its lightweight, over-ear design is sturdy and comfortable, even on long commutes.
Speck MightyPack, $80
Mobile devices and their accessories require protection, especially when you are on the go. The MightyPack backpack from Speck was designed with mobile devices in mind, with a padded base and durable sleeves inside that are large enough to hold a tablet and a 15-inch laptop.
The backpack features interior mesh pockets to organize devices and their accessories, and pass-through slots for charging between compartments. The top front pocket, which Speck calls a tech locker, is reinforced with molded foam and a plush lining, providing extra protection for fragile items like sunglasses and headphones.