Mobile gaming controllers are a dime a dozen nowadays, letting you play games on your smartphone with ease. I’ve long held Razer Kishi in high regard as being one of the most comfortable you can get your hands on. It still is, of course, but there’s a new contender on the market with Serafim S3.
It’s come a long way from the original wrap-around gamepad, with a much more refined design. Showcased at CES 2024, Serafim S3 has two standout features. First, there are interchangeable grips with two in the box: one thick and one thin. Second, Hall Effect joysticks are on hand to combat pesky dead zones and stick drift. This even sets it ahead of celebrated controllers like the Backbone One.
Like the Backbones, the brand includes an app to help you game and stream. Serafim Console collects supported apps, like Google Play, Xbox Games Pass, Nvidia GeForce Now, Steam Link, PS4/PS5 streaming, Amazon Luna, and more, putting them into a single place. This app also features direct streaming to Twitch, screen recording to capture all your moments of glory, and video editing. It feels noticeably smooth to navigate, giving me Steam Deck vibes.
Serafim claims that the pad can fit over a bunch of different cases, so you won’t need to take your device out every time you want to play. I didn’t see that for myself, as all floor units used unsheathed handsets. Still, the mechanism has enough headroom for thinner protective cases. You might struggle with thicker shells, though.
There is a caveat in that Serafim 3 only supports USB Type-C devices. Newer iPhones will be just fine, but older ones with Lightning connectors are out of luck. To make up for covering the only ports on your handset, the pad has pass-through charging so you can keep your phone topped up, and even a 3.5mm headphone jack for old-school users.
We don’t know when the device will be available or how much it’ll cost just yet. You can sign up to the Serafim newsletter to be notified when more information is available. All we can tell you is that it’s comfy to hold and certainly means business. Razer, Barebones, and GameSir better watch out.