Earlier this year at CES 2022, HyperX launched its first-ever gaming controller for Android, the HyperX Clutch. The controller is designed to be used with an Android device and Windows PC. In this review, I will go through all the information that you need when considering this gadget for a better gaming experience.
Design and Hardware
HyperX Clutch comes with an Xbox style and layout which is perfectly fine by me. It feels very firm and comfortable when grabbed in my hands. Pretty sure the textured grips did the trick to ensure the firm grasp. The last Android controller I have tried was a Razer Kishi which costs a price nearly double the HyperX Clutch. Am I going to say it? Yes, the previous one was terrible. None of the problems I have had with Kishi occurs on HyperX Clutch based on my experience. There is a very good first impression of HyperX Clutch. Buttons are crispy, not mushy; triggers are resilient, not scratchy; D-pad is responsive, not squishy.
At the bottom of the controller, there is a switch for three different connection modes – USB, wireless (via dongle) and Bluetooth. If you are going to use Clutch on PC, I would recommend going with the first two options to achieve minimal latency. There is a USB-C port on the Clutch for charging. A 3-metre USB cable is included in the box, which should be long enough if you decide to go with a wired connection. It is worth noting that the outer ring of the keycaps of the joysticks also has a textured design – my left thumb enjoys an incredibly stable control on the joystick all the time. This mobile controller is boosted by a 600mAh battery. According to HyperX, players will be able to enjoy 19 hours of ongoing gameplay with a full charge. During my test, I have never been interrupted by a low-level battery. Besides, there are four dedicated LEDs in the centre of the front panel to indicate the current battery level.
Durability and Responsiveness
The build quality is solid. Usually, I would not be surprised to hear a rattling sound in controllers, especially when it is made by a third party. I have been using this controller for roughly one to two hours daily, mostly with my Android mobile and tablet. According to my experience, all the buttons and triggers are correctly registered and never missed an input. The game that I play the most is Dead Cells. This game can get unbelievably difficult when playing at Nightmare or Expert level, which also brings the controller a harsh test. I did not encounter any issue when playing Dead Cells using Clutch. All the moves of the game character performed as expected with no misoperation caused by the controller.
Compatibility and Performance
HyperX Clutch works perfectly on Android, whether on a mobile phone or tablet device. For convenience, I have been using a Bluetooth connection most of the time. I have tested with Type-C cable and 2.4GHz just to confirm all connection modes work for Android, and the result was satisfying. I am not going to reiterate how much I like Dead Cells, but this controller really works well with platformer games. Blizzard recently (and finally) made Diablo Immortal available on Android, iOS and Windows, creating a perfect opportunity for the test of this controller.
On my Android device, I placed the mobile on the clip-on phone holder attached to the controller. I don’t use this add-on very often due to the less-than-ideal comfortability caused by the unevenly distributed weight, especially after long use. Interestingly, unlike other brands, HyperX added a tip of creativity to the phone clip and you can detach the clip from the controller and use it just like a normal phone holder. This small innovation impressed me because it improves the overall gaming experience due to the less weight on hands. The gameplay of Diablo Immortal with HyperX Clutch was satisfying and worked like a charm as you would expect. The same game was tested with Clutch on Windows, too. Unsurprisingly, I was able to enjoy the game without a problem.
I am a big fan of retro gaming, all the android devices I have ever owned have emulators installed. After hours of gaming on PPSSPP, DraStic, John NESS and Pizza Boy GBA, I can tell this controller ticks all the boxes on my list.
On Windows, I have always kept it connected via the USB dongle, just to distinguish the different use case scenarios and save time from pairing on Bluetooth. I have done some extensive testing on games including Dark Souls, Genshin Impact, Life is Strange, Control, Diablo Immortal, and Rise of the Tomb Raider. HyperX Clutch is supported directly by those games without the aid of Steam. The setup remains the same as the Xbox controller and does not require any additional steps unless you want to change the button layout to suit your preference. However, you may find the controller to be unresponsive after switching the connection type. For example, the Clutch is connected to my mobile via Bluetooth, and I want to use it on Windows. So I switched to dongle mode and the controller vibrated, indicating it successfully detected the dongle on my PC. I can see Windows recognise it in Bluetooth devices, however, there is a chance it doesn’t work at all in games. I am not too sure if this is expected behaviour, but the quick workaround is to press down the ‘home’ button on the controller for a few seconds to power off and press it again to turn it back on. From there, everything just goes back to normal. I don’t think it will bother the user unless one constantly switches between Android and Windows.
HyperX Clutch Gaming Controller is priced at $79 in Australia. In my opinion, this is a very competitive price and you can barely find a similar product that offers the same range of features as a reputable brand. As I mentioned earlier, I paid more than $120 a while ago for a Razer Kishi mobile controller for Android, and I don’t feel that is any better than the Clutch controller, not to mention the latter is available at a more friendly price. In addition, Clutch supports Windows games while it is missing from the other one. It feels like you only paid for a medium-sized popcorn but they gave you an extra-large combo instead.
HyperX Clutch is overall an excellent wireless gaming controller. It is very hard for me to fault it, especially for this price point. This is a decent controller that works flawlessly on Android devices with three methods for the connection. It also supports games on a Windows PC and works exactly in the same way as an Xbox controller.
There is a detachable clip-on phone holder which can be used either with the controller as one unit or as a standalone phone stand on a desktop separately. The workmanship of the controller exceeded my expectations. This is mainly because I have never used a HyperX gamepad before, and this is the company’s first attempt at a wireless controller on Android. As far as my review goes, it will be very difficult to be disappointed by this controller. If you are looking for a wireless controller that works well on both Android and PC, don’t miss HyperX Clutch!
- Textured grips
- Works for Android and Windows
- The innovative design of the phone clip
- Lack of compartment for the dongle
- Buttons are loud (compared to DualShock 4 and Switch Pro Controller)