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Backbone One review, Android

Backbone One, from a design point of view the name fits. From a purpose point of view the name fits. What we have here is a very sleek and functional way to access remote play gaming on your phone.

As a late night gamer I’m always torn between finishing a dungeon in Diablo before bed and respecting myself in the morning. The Backbone One gives me a great option, thats not the Switch.

Gaming on the go with Backbone One

In the days of the PS4 I rushed out and bought a PS Vita months before the PS4 launched. The reason was the dawn of accessible remote play. The Vita and PS4 did it so well. Slipping from one device to another and being able to move around the house was a game changer.

The infrastructure was so good, I’m still blown away that the Vita connectivity wasn’t carried over to the PS5. I mean we do have a dedicated device coming this year, but… To be honest, I still use the Vita to remote play on my PS4, sometimes the PS3 when I feel the need.

Fast forward to today.

Mobile devices have become beasts, their native games are good enough to stand alone. Not to mention the explosion of Gamepass for Xbox, and to a lesser extent PSPlus. With this accessibility, improvements in WiFi access and the quality of the devices in our pockets of course remote play has come back to the fore.

Why carry a console around, when your phone can play what’s on it?

The Backbone has gone through a few revisions, the Playstation Backbone One was sent to me for review. It’s a terrific unit, the build quality is solid, the way it extends and snaps in your phone (Android for me) is satisfying. It has a native app that serves as a good launcher and you can jump directly in from your console’s app too. It’s also worth noting that the unit provides a 3.5mm audio jack, and a pass-through power port. Worried about the low latency power usage? Worry no more, you can keep your phone up in the high 90% no problem.

It’s also very light, and while smaller than the Switch I find it’s much more comfortable to use for extended periods. Case in point I tried the Xbox Cloud Gaming one night in bed and 2 hours later I’d completed ‘A Short Hike’.

The buttons feel responsive, and the sticks while short do a decent job. That said, they’re not really fun for FPS games, obviously. Vampire Survivors, yes. Call of Duty, No.

Xbox you say? On the Playstation Backbone?

Well, yes. While the Backbone One is beautifully branded and styled to match the PS5 it works very well with the Xbox. That coupled without the need to use the screen as a makeshift Touchpad makes it a winner.

Either way, playing games away from the console is a win whatever your platform. I’ve had the Backbone running at work, at the shops, in the next room and even in my sauna. 

Given Remote Play is not for everybody and not something that will be your first choice. But when the opportunity or need arises I love having a plan. The Backbone One is so much more robust and practical than clipping your phone to a controller like we used to. Apart from a few mis-steps where I’ve pressed the wrong button and exited the app, it’s been great.

A solid bit of kit that does the job really well. Worth a punt unless you are waiting on the Playstation Portal remote player.