Sega Saturn Smartphone Controller - Review

What is the Sega Saturn Smartphone Controller?

Putting it simply, the Sega Saturn Smartphone Controller is a bluetooth gamepad made for Android and Windows devices. I’ve spent a few days with it now playing the Sega Classics games on the Android and a few games in my steam library. I’d first come across the gamepad in a local CEX and thought I’d pick one up from Amazon. It took just a day to arrive (thanks Prime).

Aesthetically it looks the part at least. It has the classic shape and the black textured finish we all know and love. The nostalgia is very much alive in this controller.

Overall, I’ve found my response to the controller to be a resounding “Meh”. Read on to find out why.

Sega Saturn Smartphone Controller - Review

What does the Sega Saturn Smartphone Controller do well at?

Far away from the original, this modern take on the Sega Saturn controller is wireless via bluetooth and it connects easily to any android and windows device. With a simple hold of the start button it will forget and pair easily enough. 

Sega Saturn Smartphone Controller - Review
Even my massive Sony Xperia 1III fit snugly in the holder.

In fact, I tried a number of devices and they all paired well – all except ios devices. That is right, this controller is not compatible with iPhones or iPads so please be aware of that.

The holder that comes with the controller adjusts to fit any modern Android phone and if necessary can be removed by using a button on the back, which is a really nice touch. Especially when using the controller with a tablet or game on windows.

Another plus point is that it comes with a guarantee that it works with all the Sega classic games on the Google Play Store – a real nice touch considering many bluetooth controllers can be hit or miss. Sadly, this is where the positives generally end.

What are the negatives then?

The controller looks the part, is easy to set up and is generally compatible with a lot of different devices. So just what is wrong with it? Dear reader, the sad truth is that the controller is just not very good. 

The D-Pad and Action buttons are clunky, respond poorly and feel cheap. Really everything it needs to do to be a decent controller it cannot, at least consistently. Occasionally the controller will drop out or become unresponsive, thankfully this was few and far between.

“Dear reader, the sad truth is that the controller is just not very good.”

It is also battery powered, meaning it doesn’t need to be charged so can be considered a postive if you don’t like charging anything. Yet I feel it is certainly a step backwards.

Final verdict

I really want to like the Sega Saturn Smartphone Controller – truly. The price is very affordable and it looks great but feels cheap and a little too light in the hands. Sadly, for this controller, there are others out there that do the job better for around the same price and that is disappointing. 

Yet I was using the controller when I finally beat the first stage of Vampire Survivors on steam, it made me smile when I opened the box and it does in fact work with all Sega classics on the play store. For a dose of nostalgia or as a gift for the Sega fan in your life, get it if its on sale (which it often is!).

Sega Saturn Smartphone Controller - Review
It would be wrong of me to say I only beat the first stage of Vampire Survivors because I was using the controller, but maybe it made me feel a little luckier.


  • Looks authentic
  • Affordable
  • Holder is removeable
  • Android/Windows compatible


  • Feels Cheap
  • Too light
  • Unresponsive
  • Poor Quality

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You can pick up a Sega Saturn Smartphone controller on Amazon now. If you’re after a better alternative, try the Sega Megadrive Bluetooth Controller. Want to pick up a good retro console? Try the Sega Mega Drive Mini, it comes with two controllers and over 40 retro games including Sonic the Hedgehog 1. Ecco the Dolphin and Vectorman.

Anthony Jansen
Anthony is a gaming advocate. He has been playing video games since the early nineties and has a real passion for the 16 bit era. He believes that every game deserves a chance (except Treasures of the Deep - which scared him as a child).
sega-saturn-smartphone-controller-reviewWhilst the Sega Saturn Smartphone Controller looks great and scratches that special nostalgic itch, it just lacks the quality of a decent gamepad. The clunky buttons and functionality let it down, even for its very affordable price tag.


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