HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller review: Great for mobile gaming, acceptable for PC
Quick verdict: HyperX’s Clutch Wireless is a pretty blatant Xbox clone controller, but that imitative look is one of its biggest strengths, especially if you’re into mobile game streaming. For PC users, it’s a passable controller, but you can do better.
- Works across Android and PC seamlessly
- Responsive sticks and buttons
- Mobile clip also doubles as a stand
- Long battery life
- Turbo and Clear buttons don’t seem to do anything at all
- Power lights are very bright
- Too light in the hand for PC gaming
- No adjustable angles on mobile clip
HyperX's Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller can't – and doesn't – hide its inspiration all that well. It's a fairly shameless clone of the Xbox game controller, built around the premise of offering joint mobile and PC gaming compatibility.
It won't be the ideal choice for every mobile gamer – it's explicitly not supported on iOS, for a start – but its responsiveness is good, and it's nicely flexible for those who might also need a PC game controller in a pinch.
HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller: A classic design that's dropped serious weight
Take one look at the HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller and you'll likely find it familiar. That is if you don't pick it up outright thinking it's an Xbox controller, because the only thing missing from that front face is that iconic Xbox logo.
You're still faced with dual analog sticks with a full D-Pad sitting between them, standard coloured XYAB button configuration and dual triggers at the back.
The HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller also features Turbo and Clear buttons for… doing something.
Turbo would seem to be self-explanatory, but it's never mentioned in the accompanying manual, and I could never get either button to do anything at all. Even when connected to a Windows PC, neither button could be configured for extra functions, which is truly weird.
The shaping of the HyperX Clutch Wireless is just a little different to the standard Xbox controller if you do put them side by side. There's a rubberised grip on the handles of the HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller that makes it easier to grip, and the rear R2/L2 triggers have a more flared finish leading out to plastic tabs.
It's maybe a little less stylish than the full bumpers of the Xbox controller triggers, but I found it a touch easier for resting my fingers on during play sessions.
Pick up both controllers, and you'll immediately notice that the HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller is considerably lighter than its design inspiration.
At just 270g, this isn't a heavy controller, but that also means it doesn't quite have the heft in a standalone configuration of the full Xbox model.
The other big design difference is that the Xbox controller doesn't have a big slot in the top for a mobile phone mount. This is actually why the HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller is so light, because adding the weight of a phone to a full Xbox controller leaves you with a very heavy brick that's uncomfortable to use over longer gaming sessions.
The HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller's mount is an interesting one. It slots in very securely, and will hold most phones, including larger models such as the Google Pixel 6 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G without issue, even within cases.
It's also got a tiny, but very significant tweak to its design. The holding clasp has a small ridge on it, and this might seem insignificant. What it allows for is slipping the clasp over a phone's power or volume buttons without hitting them. It will cover them if you need to adjust volume, but you're also not stuck with screens firing off or volume increasing the way that more solid clips will do.
One feature that I would have liked to see on the HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller is a tilt on the mobile phone stand itself. It's at a fixed angle, and while I could always tilt my wrists to allow for sunlight or other viewing angles, other mobile game controllers do offer that kind of adjustment.
While larger standard smartphones do fit in the HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller, you've got no chance if you're rocking, say, a Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, or an Android tablet.
Yes, I did try to place the Z Fold 3 into the HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller, and it didn't work… at first.
The trick here is that the same clasp that locks nicely into the top of the controller can also be folded out to accommodate larger devices. It's not going to fit every device, for sure – I can't imagine that the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra will fit onto it in any way – but the Z Fold 3 worked like a charm.
In the box with the HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller you'll also find a tiny USB A receiver, used if you're connecting wirelessly to a PC, as well as a lengthy USB C to USB A cable, which can be used for charging, but also if you prefer a wired PC controller connection.
Performance: Great for mobile gaming, workable for PC
The HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller has a switch at the base for turning it on, working either to the left with the dedicated, tiny and easy to lose USB receiver, or to the right in Bluetooth mode.
Annoyingly you can't connect to a PC via Bluetooth, and before you ask, no, it's not directly Nintendo Switch compatible either. You might be able to hack that in with a Bluetooth adaptor for a Switch, but I can't confirm that would work either.
Pairing to a variety of mobile devices is quick, and as long as you're sticking to just the one device, quite painless. I tested across a range of phones and found I often had to fully forget and re-pair the HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller if it had been talking to other devices. However, that's not really likely to be an issue for most gamers.
In play on mobile, I was genuinely impressed with in-game response, whether I was playing a full mobile game or streaming through Microsoft Xbox GamePass or Antstream.
Face and trigger button responsiveness was always snappy, and for fighting games the D-Pad responsed well with few of the issues you can get with a split-type pad. Stick control was also very good. The largest issues I hit were with game streaming response, and that was almost certainly server-side issues rather than joystick response. While I still would have liked to be able to adjust the tilt of a connected display, I had few issues whiling away some happy hours mobile gaming.
Switching to PC, and the HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller certainly works, but it wouldn't be my first port of call. That's not so much to do with response as it is the lighter weight of the controller. When there's a phone clipped onto it, it makes sense, but for PC gaming it feels just a little off and weird. Not so much as to be unusable, but at this price you wouldn't have to shop around much to get an actual Xbox controller instead. If you think of PC gaming as a nice extra, rather than the primary reason to buy, it's fine, but I wouldn't buy one directly just for that function.
The 600mAh battery in the HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller might not sound like it's that impressive. If this was a smartphone, you'd wonder if it had fallen right out of 2002, or something.
For the purposes of gaming, however, it's quite workable, with a claimed battery life of up to 19 hours.
A battery indicator ticks down quite slowly during gameplay. I can't claim to have managed any 19-hour straight sessions, but over a week's testing I've only managed to deplete 2 of those bars.
In a picky sense, the lights are quite bright, and that could be problematic if you were (for example) gaming at night or on a long haul flight where other lights were down, because they can be rather bright.
Should you buy the HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller?
- Buy it if you want a flexible mobile controller that can also be used occasionally for PC gaming.
- Don't buy it if your mobile needs cover iOS, or you’re just after a PC game controller.
The HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller wants to be all things to all gamers, and it's not quite that. There's no point if you need an iOS compatible controller, or a Switch compatible controller, and its pricing puts it within firing range of a standard Xbox controller, which would be my go-to for straight PC gaming.
However, if you're mobile gaming, whether that's with straight Android titles or via game streaming, it's an easy recommendation. It takes the base core of the Xbox controller, makes it considerably more mobile friendly and lighter to boot. What's more, if you do switch between PC and mobile (especially for Xbox GamePass gaming) then it's capable across both platforms without you having to learn a "new" controller each time.
HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller: Pricing and availability
The HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller retails in Australia for $79
How we tested
The HyperX Clutch Wireless Gaming Controller used for this review was supplied by HyperX. It was tested with a range of mobile phones including a Pixel 6 Pro, Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Not surprisingly, I played a lot of games with it, because that's what it's for, splitting my review time over a week between pure mobile games with gamepad support and streaming game services, mostly Xbox GamePass but also retro-themed service Antstream.
The reviewer has more than 2 decades of tech product reviewing under his belt and is a multi-time Australian IT Journo award winner, including awards for best reviewer and best technical journalist.