Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller review - small but mighty

Ergonomic excellence

Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller
Great Value
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller is the perfect match for those who want the ability to game on the go without the hefty price that comes along with portable gaming devices.


  • +

    Fantastic portability

  • +

    Sturdy and cool design

  • +

    A massive upgrade to mobile gaming


  • -

    Analogue sticks can be finicky

  • -

    Limited color options

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The Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller is small but wonderful; with it at your side, you can take your average mobile gaming experience and give it a serious upgrade. Compact and lightweight, it’ll take up little space in your bag, lending it an excellent level of portability. Once set up, switching between your phone's standard capabilities and it as a portable gaming device is easy as pie, meaning you can enjoy a ton of fantastic iOS games at a moment's notice.  

If you're a fan of mobile first-person shooters like Call of Duty: Mobile, then this is somewhat of an essential buy. It'll elevate your game exponentially and allow you to have some serious fun on your phone.

Price and availability

The Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller isn’t the most expensive iOS controller on the market; the Backbone One tops the charts at $100/ £100. Instead, the Atom's price tag falls in line with mid-range gamepads like the Xbox Wireless Controller and DualSense. You can pick it up right now for $79.95 / £69.99/ AUD$189.95 from the official Turtle Beach Store.

At this price, you’re getting a quality build that is sturdy, portable, and stylish. If you’re looking for something to elevate your gaming experience and don’t want to dish out for a Nintendo Switch or Steam Deck, then this is a top-notch substitute with the bonus of making it easier to play the best Apple Arcade games.

While the iOS version only comes in one color, there is more availability in the Android version, as colors come in red/black, black/teal, and black/yellow. You can purchase these either at the Turtle Beach store or Amazon

Design and features

Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller

(Image credit: Future)

The design for the Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller is sizable, but also manages to be lightweight. This means you can hold it up for hours while enjoying your iOS games in a new way. It doesn’t strain your arms, nor does it become uncomfortable after long uses.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many options for the iOS version in terms of color. So if cobalt blue isn’t your first choice, you may want to look elsewhere for palletes that suit your aesthetic. Obviously, this is a very small gripe, but at this price range, having basic color options would be nice. 

However, for what the Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller lacks in style, it makes up for in portability. Both ends of the controller easily slot into one another, making transport easy and efficient. It also means that there’s less of a chance of it breaking while you transport it in your bag. 

The Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller also slots into your iPhone with ease, meaning that as long as it is newer than iPhone 11, you can use it on any device, no matter the size. This was incredibly helpful, especially when it came to sharing the device among the household, so everyone could enjoy it a bit. It’s also not USB-based, so you don’t have to worry about messing around with a lot of cables. 

Performance and battery life

Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller

(Image credit: Future)

Using the Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller was straightforward. Setting it up took minutes, as all you had to do was charge the device and then pair it with the phone via Bluetooth. After this, it was ready to go for repeated use, for up to 20 hours. It charges up quickly, too, going from empty to full in approximately two and a half hours. 

The low-latency Bluetooth connectivity also ensures that there’s a stable connection to your device at all times. This prevents any mid-game freezes and noticeable input delay, meaning you’ll be able to play at the top of your game at all times. There’s also an Atom compatibility app which allows you to easily customize your controller, tweaking stick responses, dead zones, and helping to ensure that it’s up to date with the latest firmware. 

For the most part, I played Call of Duty: Mobile and Honkai: Star Rail with the controller. The Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller greatly improved my experiences with both of these. However, the advantage given by this controller was almost unfair at times. Even when placed into matches with other handheld controller users, I still averaged 30-0 in most games (a true champion). This being said, the analog sticks and direction pads occasionally became stuck, making it hard to switch between loadouts and sprint across maps. 

Overall, my time using the Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller has been full of fun. It’s changed the way I game with my phone for good, finally convincing me that gaming on the go, even with big-ticket games like Call of Duty Mobile, is incredibly fun and definitely worthwhile. Touchscreen controls can be incredibly finicky and slow to use; you end up stumbling over aiming and firing all too often, so a proper controller which speeds up and simplifies the process is more than welcome. 

Should I buy the Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller?

Buy it if

You’re a fan of gaming on the go
The iPhone is now capable of some truly marvelous things, as we’ve seen in the most recent reveal of the iPhone 15 proves that it can hold its own among gaming consoles. This controller just helps it realize its true potential.  

You’re a fan of mobile FPS games
The Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller gave me such a noticeable advantage whilst playing Call of Duty: Mobile; it seems as if this accessory is a must-have if you’re a fan of this FPS game.

Don't buy if

You don’t want to spend a sizable amount of money on iPhone accessories
While this controller is a lot of fun and reasonably priced compared to others on the market, it’s still a lot to spend on gaming accessories, so it may not be best for those on a budget. 

How we reviewed the Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller

I tested the Turtle Beach Atom iOS controller over the course of a week. Every chance I got to sit back and relax I clipped on the iOS controller with ease and passed the time crushing opponents in Call of Duty: Mobile. It also travelled really well being light and taking up little space in my bag, meaning I could enjoy it while sat relaxing on the train. 

Check out our lists of the best PS5 controllers as well as the best Xbox controllers that are available to buy right now.

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.