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Hardware Review: Backbone One: PlayStation Edition – The Best Way to Enjoy Remote Play



Like it or not, mobile gaming is a big deal. Sony has attempted to enter the space in the past with varying degrees of success, but now after establishing a mobile division within PlayStation Studios and adding Savage Game Studios to its first-party ranks, it seems that The company is finally doing things right. The Backbone One: PlayStation Edition, a dedicated controller attachment for smartphones, is further evidence of this new push, even though it’s essentially a reskin of an existing product.

Based on Backbone’s well-received peripheral, this PlayStation-flavored version offers the same controls, but it’s now compatible with your PS5. Those who love to play games on their smart devices may already know about Backbone One, but this PlayStation edition has caught the attention of Sony fans recently. So, what exactly is This thing, what does it offer, and is it really any good? After spending a good chunk of time with it, let’s answer these questions.

What is Spine: PlayStation Edition?

As mentioned, Backbone One: PlayStation Edition is a game pad-like cradle for your smartphone, allowing you to play games on your mobile as if it were a dedicated handheld. This particular version of the Backbone One is functionally identical to the previous iteration — it’s just white and black, compatible with the PS5 and DualSense, and features the familiar face buttons.

The idea is simple: you pop your phone into the middle of the device, snap it into place, and launch the dedicated Backbone app. From there, you can launch mobile games that support controllers, PS Remote Play, and even Xbox’s cloud gaming service.

It’s worth noting that the PlayStation edition is currently only available for the iPhone, but an Android model is on the way.

What’s in the box?

Backbone One: PlayStation Edition Box
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Inside the box, you have the Backbone One: PlayStation Edition, of course, an adapter for the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max models, basic installation instructions, and a safety guide. No charger included; The device turns off power from your phone.

It is being set

Preparing Backbone for use is very straightforward. By holding both sides, you can pull to extend the middle section, which allows you to pop your smartphone inside. First, though – if your phone is in a case, take it out. Unfortunately, Backbone doesn’t accommodate cases, so you’ll need to remove any outer layers before setting it up.

So, take your bare phone and put it on the top left-hand side. Next, slide the backbone to the right, and line up the phone’s charging port with the dock. Bring the backbone back together so it plugs into your phone with a snap. easy

Along with this, you will need to install the companion app, which will open when you press the Backbone button on the device. You’ll be asked to create an account or sign in, so just follow the instructions and you’ll find yourself at Backbone’s all-encompassing menu.

Design, quality and comfort

Backbone One: PlayStation Edition 3
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The design of the Backbone One is quite clever. Its sliding cradle allows it to be used with smartphones of almost any size, and extending the controller and inserting your device is easy and intuitive. The fact that the Backbone app pops up at the press of a button also makes the whole thing as seamless as possible. While it’s a shame you have to take your phone out of its case before using it, the controller is as user-friendly as one could hope for.

The PlayStation Edition ditches the all-black look of the regular model, opting instead for the same white plastic with black accents seen on the DualSense and PS5. It doesn’t make a PS Pad very closely, though; It sports asymmetrical thumb sticks, a one-piece d-pad, and option and capture buttons on the bottom rather than the top. Still, the button layout works perfectly given the size of each grip. The shoulder buttons are tightly packed, so it can be easy to accidentally press R1 when you want R2, say. The fact that the triggers have a bit of analog travel, however, is impressive.

Backbone One: PlayStation Edition 4
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In place of a phone, the Backbone is comfortable to hold and use, sitting well in your palms. The phone feels secure once locked, no need to move it around once. The face buttons are a bit too clicky for our taste but work perfectly, and the thumb sticks are somewhere between the PS Vita and Nintendo Switch in terms of size. and amount of travel.

We must quickly specify the ports in the bottom of each handle. On the left side you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone socket, allowing you to keep your gaming headset close at hand, and on the right side is a Lightning port, which enables you to charge your iPhone in the backbone, which is very handy. .

Overall, the build quality and design of the device is very good. It feels solid in the hand and does what it sets out to do without any issues or fuss.

Playing mobile games

Playing native mobile games using Backbone feels amazing. Not all smartphone games support controller peripherals, but it’s relatively easy to find ones that do. Obviously, the touchscreen controls work perfectly in most cases, but the extra control provided by a full suite of buttons really elevates some games.

Playing mobile shooters, for example, is great with Backbone, and racing titles such as Asphalt 9: Legends It also benefits. Anything that requires more precision than touch control can feel great to play — Sonic the Hedgehog and Brawlhalla are two others we’ve tested, and playing them without proper buttons really compares. does not

PS Remote Play

We’d argue that, if you’re interested in the PlayStation edition of Backbone One, you probably already own a PS4 or PS5. In that case, a big draw would be the ability to use the Remote Play app without having to sync a touch control or console controller. Enabling Remote Play and using Backbone, this is almost certainly the best way to enjoy the function on your smartphone.

Obviously most games on modern consoles are designed to be played on a large TV, so some small text or UI elements may get a little lost when transposed to your mobile. However, you can usually play most PS5 or PS4 games perfectly, thanks to almost all the buttons in place. We’ve tested a wide range of games like Multiverse, DIRT 5, Returnal, and Arcade Paradise, and they’re all as playable as you’d expect. The touch pad is the only thing that isn’t physically represented, but using the touchscreen for this one function is enough.

An important aspect to bring up is that Backbone One cannot solve any latency issues you may have when using Remote Play. From our experience, we only had one or two issues where the app dropped the connection for a few seconds, but most of the time it was fine – with very little speed with the console. Again, your experience will vary depending on connection speed and how many devices are active on your network, so keep that in mind. Backbone doesn’t help on that front, but it does make your favorite PS5 and PS4 games look great on the go.

Should you buy Backbone One: PlayStation Edition?

Backbone One: PlayStation Edition 5
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We are very impressed with Backbone. It successfully turns your smartphone into a handheld gaming device, elevating mobile-native games and making enjoying remote play much easier. It manages this using an intuitive, simple design with decent ergonomics. The companion app that pulls everything into one place is the cherry on top, giving your mobile gaming a unified experience.

The question of whether or not you should buy one depends on what you want to do out of the device. The PlayStation Edition has a pleasant, familiar look for fans of Sony’s hardware, but has many uses depending on your gaming habits. Remote Play is, as mentioned, supported, and the appropriate mobile games work well with it, but you can also stream Xbox games through its cloud service, using Steam Link to stream PC titles. Yes, you can connect with other users in chat rooms, make game captures, and more. If any of these appeal to you, we’d say Backbone is worth considering.

Note that most of the app’s functionality is tied to a Backbone+ subscription, which costs £44.99/$49.99 per year. You get a free monthly trial, and we’d say the subscription is worth it if you plan to play games on your mobile. The Backbone One: PlayStation Edition itself costs £99.99/$99.99, which we’d say is a fair price to turn your mobile into a viable gaming platform.

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What do you think of Backbone One: PlayStation Edition? Do you use a controller like this to enhance your mobile gaming? Let us know in the comments section below.


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