Best Amazon Fire TV Game Controllers in 2018
The Matricom G-Pad XYBA Wireless Gamepad Joystick is the best game controller for Amazon Fire TV.
It costs less than half the price of the $50 Amazon Fire TV game controller. It’s a rechargeable game pad through its USB connection, so you don’t need any batteries. The Matricom G-Pad XYBA works with PC games, Android smartphones and tablets.
When connecting to the Fire TV or Fire Stick, these gamepads need to be added as a Bluetooth device and not a controller.
If the Matricom G-Pad XYBA Wireless Gamepad isn’t available, there are a number of wireless and Bluetooth game controllers worth buying. I’ll outline below what makes these picks the best gaming controllers for Amazon Fire TV.
- Matricom G-Pad XYBA Wireless Gamepad
- Mad Catz Micro C.T.R.L.R. Mobile Gamepad
- Evolved Dimensions BT Motion
- DualShock 4 Bluetooth Controller for PS4
- Xbox 360 Wireless Controller
- Logitech Gamepad F310
- Transmort Mars G01 2.4 Wireless Game Controller
- Logitech Gamepad F710
Amazon Fire TV controllers in 2018: What’s changed?
The price for an official Amazon Fire TV game controller is still $50, but you may have some limitations with it.
The landscape of Fire TV devices changed in 2018 with the third-generation Fire TV pendant-shaped streamer. This Fire TV model is compatible with third-party Bluetooth gamepads, but the 2nd generation Fire TV box has more support. And you can add a MicroSD card to store more games. So the 2nd generation Fire TV box is still considered the best model for gaming. If you already own a Fire TV pendant, you should know that the headphone jack won’t work on official Fire TV gaming pad. The Fire TV Edition televisions made by Element are not compatible with the current Fire TV Game Controller.
The Amazon Fire TV game controller fully supports the Fire Stick and Fire TV box (which you can buy refurbished). You can use it for Alexa voice-control commands or searches just like on a Fire TV remote.
So if you want to bark into your controller to pull up the latest Jessica Jones episode on Netflix, you can do that.
It also has outlet for private headphones or kids headphones, which are sold separately. Onboard trigger buttons allows you to control the volume of the game. Another upshot of this controller is that since it’s an Amazon product, it will get regular firmware updates just like your Fire TV device. One downside of this controller (aside from the price) is its lack of an on/off button. So if you have the game controller synched to the Anynet+ function on your TV, it will turn on the TV when you accidentally bump into it.
What is a Bluetooth game controller?
Before you buy anything, it’s important to know there’s a difference between simply buying a wireless gamepad and a Bluetooth gamepad.
With a wireless gamepad, the controller uses WiFi (2.4GHz) to connect to your Amazon Fire TV or Fire TV Stick. You will need a dongle specific to your controller to hook it up to an Amazon Fire TV. The official Amazon Fire TV voice remote and 2nd generation Fire TV game controller already uses a WiFi direct connection.
A Bluetooth game controller is similar to wireless, but uses Bluetooth technology that enables it to exchange data over short distances using UHF radio waves between 2.4 to 2.485GHz. Amazon Fire TV streaming devices are Bluetooth compatible. But you need to make sure your third-party gaming controller has dedicated key layout files for the controller as well. So you don’t want to buy just any third-party gamepad that looks cool.
5 tips on finding the best Amazon Fire TV gaming controllers
- A game controller with dual-mode Bluetooth works with older and newer devices. It’s also going to match up with newer hardware as it rolls out. This is known as a “future proof device”. So, if you end up buying the new Fire TV device expected to roll out later this year, you’ll already have a game controller that’s compatible.
- The best game controllers generally work on more than just an Amazon Fire TV streamer. Even if you’re not into PC or mobile gaming, you might pick it up in the future. Pick a game controller that’s going to bring you the most value over the long haul.
- Look closely at what kind of Amazon game controller that you’re buying. If you own a Fire Stick, you’re probably going to need a Bluetooth gamepad. Remember, a wireless gamepad usually requires a dongle plugged into a USB port. There is no dedicated USB port on a Fire Stick. So stick with a Bluetooth gamepad.
- If you’re having trouble with using an Xbox 360 wireless controller on the Fire TV, make sure USB debugging is turned off on your device. A PlayStation 4 controller will work fine with Fire TV. Just go to your settings on the Fire TV and connect to it using your Bluetooth connection option.
- If you own a Fire Stick and already have a wireless gamepad around the house that requires a dongle, you could try using a Micro USB Host to connect them. I’m not sure if it works, but you’re risking a whopping 35 cents to try it.
Best Game Controllers for Fire TV and Fire Stick
After using the Matricom G-Pad XYBA Wireless game controller for more than a year, it’s easily among the best Amazon Fire TV game controllers. When I first bought my Amazon Fire TV, it was strictly for the purposes of cutting the cord and ditching my cable company. Being able to play games like PacMan 365, Beach Buggy Racing and Grand Theft Auto titles was a real bonus.
The Matricom proved to be well worth the money, especially since you can recharge it with the included USB plug. It saved me from having to buy batteries at Costco or Walmart. I have also used this gamepad quite a bit for gaming on my PC using my Steam account. The Bluetooth connects to my Steam account but I had to adjust my settings so the key layout was being properly read. You might not want to bother with figuring that out. So just use it as a wired USB connection for PC games.
When connecting to the Fire TV, you’ll want to pair this device under the Bluetooth device pairing option under Settings. You’ll also want to select the “Keyboard Input” option, holding the Mode button and the A button. The controller will stay connected when you are actively using it.
Being $33 lower than the Amazon Fire TV controller, the Matricom G-Pad is a great deal. The analog sticks are a bit stiffer than an Xbox controller. The top of the controller has a soft rubber-like surface. The bottom has a hard plastic. The rubberized coating feels good on the hands. Overall, the controls are very responsive and buttons maintain a nice spring to them.
MadCatz C.T.R.L.R. Mobile Gamepad
The MadCatz C.T.R.L.R. Mobile Gamepad is a dual-mode Bluetooth controller – a “future proof” game controller – that has remote-control functionality for Netflix, Hulu and Pandora. This controller can also work on your PC and on mobile devices. Note that this is a smaller game controller, but with good button placement and overall feel.
The MadCatz controller also requires that it’s connected as a Bluetooth device on a Fire TV and not a game controller. It serves a multi-purpose gamepad that can work with PC games, smartphones, game consoles and Macs. The “auto-off” feature protects your battery life by powering the gamepad down when you’re not using it. The MadCatz comes with an Android smartphone for mobile gaming.
Evolved Dimensions BT Motion
Evolved Dimensions BT Motion Gamepad resembles an Xbox 360 controller with a similar 10-button layout. The Evolved Dimensions gamepad works on Fire TV and Fire tablets. When pairing it as a Bluetooth device, you’ll need to press the home and start button simultaneously.
But once connected, the gaming is pretty good and the controller feels comfortable in hand. It’s a rechargeable gamepad so you won’t need to buy extra batteries.
The BT Motion works well for playing PC games on a Steam account. It has an “auto-off” feature so it will power down when you’re not using it and conserve battery life. It’s a wireless gamepad and USB rechargeable and has a money-back guarantee.
DualShock 4 Bluetooth Controller for PS4
With millions of PlayStation 4 game consoles in circulation, there’s a good chance that one might already be in your home. If that’s the case, then there’s no need to buy a game controller for Fire TV or Fire Stick.
The DualShock 4 is an improved design from the first PlayStation game controller introduced back in 1998. But it’s price point is a little too steep for just Fire TV gaming. So this is only a decent pick if you already own a PlayStation 4 or you’re planning to buy one and need an extra game controller.
Best USB connected game controllers for Fire TV
You might already have an Xbox 360 controller around the house. If you have a wired controller, it’s a decent option for people who sit fairly close to their Fire TV box.
With 2nd generation Fire TV streamers, you might have to go to settings and select USB debugging to make sure the Xbox controller works properly. If you have more than one wired controller that you want to connect, there’s an easy way to do it.
Let’s say you have a wireless X-Box controller. If you get Microsoft’s Xbox 360 Wireless Receiver for Windows, then you can use it to connect either to a Fire TV box or PC for gaming. A wired or wireless Xbox controller will work well with a Fire TV box.
The Logitech Gamepad F310 is a wired controller will give you basically the same layout and performance of its more expensive brother. The F310 is a plug-and-play device, so once you plug it in to the USB port, you’ll be ready to start playing games on the Fire TV box. The Logitech F310 can also double as a controller for PC games.
The Best Wireless Amazon gamepads
Priced at $28, the Transmort Mars G01 is a wireless game controller has the look and feel of an Xbox 360 controller. It comes with a 2.4GHz receiver, so you don’t have to buy a dongle separately. The Transmort is ideal for a Fire TV (2nd generation) box that has a USB port.
Transmort has an easy plug-and-play set up. So you can quickly start playing games once you attach the dongle to the back of the Fire TV. It also comes with a Micro USB cable. It works with Android phones, PlayStation 3 and Android tablets and TV Boxes.
The Logitech Gamepad F710 comes with a USB receiver and requires no special setup. Just plug in the USB dongle and you’re ready to start playing on the Fire TV. This game controller has dual vibration feedback and customizable controls.
The F710 works with a 2.4GHz receiver and operates with two AA batteries. There are two vibration settings, and the buttons maintain a decent spring in them after a lot of gameplay. Logitech is known for making hardware that’s compatible with many devices. The F710 works with a PC, and comes with an auto-off feature.
There are plenty of other third-party gamepads that work with Fire TV and the Fire Stick. The Matricom G-Pad definitely gives you a lot of value for its price. That’s what made it my top pick for 2018.
I’ve tried to sum up what I think are the best gamepads worth buying. What do you think is the best game controller for Amazon Fire TV? Tell fellow readers in the comments below.
MENTIONED IN THIS REVIEW
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble