OtterBox Xbox MagSafe Clip review: Simplicity cuts the clutter

The easiest way to mount your iPhone 12 to an Xbox controller — magnets.

OtterBox MagSafe Xbox Clip
(Image: © Matt Brown | Windows Central)

The OtterBox MagSafe clip is the latest in a sea of mobile Xbox accessories, as Microsoft pushes further into your phone through its cloud gaming services. While game streaming remains far from mainstream, with a handful of kinks looming overhead, it's now a viable way to experience full-fledged games on the move. Better yet, it's spurred a new era of wacky peripherals that make your iPhone feel like a handheld console.

OtterBox is among those with a series of Xbox mobile accessories, working with Microsoft to launch its first gaming line earlier this year. The manufacturer, best known for its hard-wearing phone cases, now has all types of premium cases and protective gear, including one of the best Xbox phone clips, mounting your device to an existing Xbox controller.

The latest iteration of this clip now has MagSafe, embracing the magnet-binding technology found inside the latest iPhones. It's a glimpse into the future MagSafe ecosystem to come, with some handy improvements over standard clips, if you have the proper hardware. Here's what I've learned about the OtterBox MagSafe gaming clip after one week with the device.

OtterBox Xbox MagSafe Clip: Price and availability

The OtterBox mobile gaming clip for MagSafe delivers a new Xbox-compatible entry in its iPhone lineup, designed for MagSafe-equipped devices like iPhone 12 and the upcoming iPhone 13. The accessory provides several changes over its existing mobile gaming clip, including MagSafe attach for easy magnetic mounting.

OtterBox currently stocks the new mobile gaming clip for MagSafe exclusively via the OtterBox online store, priced at $40 in the U.S. This demands a $10 premium over its existing, generic mobile gaming clip.

OtterBox Xbox MagSafe Clip: What's good

OtterBox MagSafe Xbox Clip

Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

Mobile gaming remains more prominent than ever, and with cloud services bringing full-fledged console games to phones, the accessories also matter. When getting started, dedicated phone clips are one of the most straightforward solutions, retrofitting a phone mount to existing Xbox controllers. It makes cloud gaming incredible accessible (and affordable) by turning your smartphone into a makeshift Xbox handheld.

MagSafe connectivity makes this accessory unique, embracing the magnetic connector found across the entire iPhone 12 family, also set to feature in 2021 products. The new Apple connector supplies speedy 15W power via chargers and supports snap-on accessories like wallets and portable battery packs. OtterBox has translated this same fastening to its gaming clip, secured using a magnet array, automatically binding to devices.

Gaming clips are a natural application for MagSafe, maintaining a robust grip that even holds the weight of the larger iPhone 12 Pro Max. It also incorporates an orientation magnet, one attribute of the MagSafe specification, designed to prevent devices from spinning on the magnetic ring. The position of this orientation magnet can also be adjusted, providing complete 360-degree flexibility between landscape and portrait orientations.

OtterBox MagSafe Xbox Clip

Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

The MagSafe connector solves several qualms a physical clamp might face, alleviating the clutter with a more elegant solution. It also fixes a common issue with some cheaper clips, clamping down on power and volume buttons, impeding functionality. MagSafe has a generally strong bind, but it's far from perfect, regularly falling off the clip in my testing.

The MagSafe connector is simple, elegant, and solves common qualms — while also carrying its own pitfalls.

But the MagSafe gaming clip remains one of the better choices available, retaining everything that made the original non-MagSafe clip so great. The product boasts inventive design considerations, coupled with robust build quality that will hold up on the road. It might be more durable in the long term, too, eliminating that mechanical, spring-loaded clamp.

The clip has an adjustable design compatible with Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S controllers, plus older Xbox One controllers. It also supports Xbox Elite Controller Series 2, the latest premium controller from Microsoft. In short, this clip supports all official Xbox controllers with onboard Bluetooth.

Our hands-on with earlier OtterBox Xbox accessories also stressed the convivence of its gaming clip, partially down to a "RapidAdjust" system. The same lever returns, which, when raised, unlocks the mounting arm to adjust the phone's positioning. This locking mechanism proves far less tedious than alternatives, many still using an array of thumbscrews. It's one of the most straightforward phone clips to use, and when coupled with MagSafe support, helps justify the premium over cheaper rivals.

While OtterBox previously delivered a best-in-class Xbox phone clip, its latest redesign throws MagSafe into the mix. It's a convenient alternative to the standard clamp clips for iPhone 12 owners, axing the clutter and fixing some previous frustrations in the process. However, MagSafe also introduces additional challenges, depending on how and where you play.

OtterBox Xbox MagSafe Clip: What's not good

OtterBox Xbox Cloud Gaming Clip

Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

The switch to MagSafe brings some much-needed convenience to mobile gaming, helping counter the absurdity of fusing an Xbox controller with your phone for some bootleg handheld. The magnetic connector makes this all relatively effortless, fulfilling the initial promises of MagSafe when Apple unveiled the technology in 2020. But your mileage may vary, meaning that for some, the standard gaming clip might work best.

The magnetic connector retains its grip on devices, supporting the weight of the latest iPhones from Mini to Pro Max. It keeps devices locked in place through light movement, although any sizeable shake will dislodge the phone. Lightly knocking or rotating the phone has similar effects, misaligning those magnets, and disconnecting. It's fine when sat on the couch or in bed, but something I'd be hesitant to take elsewhere.

Those familiar with the MagSafe ecosystem will also find this isn't the strongest magnet out there. I'm an avid proponent of MagSafe, having migrated to MagSafe pucks and the MagSafe Duo charger for everyday charging. But those official accessories offer much stronger magnetic connections than the OtterBox gaming clip. While MagSafe works, I've seen far better options out there.

You also need the proper hardware — and that's not just an iPhone 12. Cases are critical here, making a MagSafe-enabled case mandatory to use this clip. While my official "MagSafe Clear Case" kept a passable grip in testing, even the thinnest non-MagSafe cases will fail. The OtterBox MagSafe gaming clip works best for iPhone 12 users tightly nestled in the Apple ecosystem. However, those using other cases, or wanting a tighter phone grip, should look for alternatives.

OtterBox Xbox MagSafe Clip: Competition

OtterBox Xbox Cloud Gaming Clip

Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

This phone clip is just one in an up-and-coming accessory ecosystem — although it's the only option with MagSafe compatibility right now. The closest alternative without MagSafe is the standard OtterBox phone clip, delivering the same fundamentals but supporting more devices and cases. The telescopic clamp provides a firm grip on phones of all shapes and sizes.

We continue to round up the best Xbox controller phone clips, with several budget-friendly options also available from other manufacturers. The PowerA MOGA Phone Clip 2.0 continues to offer incredible value, supporting all modern Xbox controllers, with a robust design. While it's a little more cumbersome than OtterBox clips, there's a significant saving over the competition.

We also recommend considering a phone controller designed for Xbox cloud gaming, providing a more cohesive mobile experience. The Backbone One controller is easily the best option for iPhone users, mimicking a Nintendo Switch, and boasting incredible iOS software integration.

OtterBox Xbox MagSafe Clip: Should you buy it?

OtterBox MagSafe Xbox Clip

Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Matt Brown | Windows Central)

You should buy this if ...

  • You have an iPhone 12, or newer, using no case, or a protective case with MagSafe support.
  • You want to use an existing Xbox One or Xbox Series X|S controller with your iPhone.
  • You're looking for an easy, clutter-free phone clip for mobile games or streaming services like Xbox cloud gaming.

You shouldn't buy this if ...

  • You have an iPhone 12 or newer, using a protective case with MagSafe support, or case.
  • You're looking for an easy, clutter-free phone clip for mobile games or streaming services like Xbox cloud gaming.
  • You want a phone clip with a tight grip on your phone for regular travel or for use on public transport.

The OtterBox MagSafe phone clip is another option for any iPhone 12-series device, swapping out its mounting clamp for a dedicated MagSafe puck. It's a distinct alternative that makes other clips look cumbersome, albeit limited to a select number of devices and MagSafe-compatible cases. It's also not the best option for those on a budget, with its $40 asking pricing considerably higher than other recommended products.

MagSafe brings various benefits to Xbox phone clips as a clutter-free solution for effortlessly mounting modern iPhones. The deal-breaking pitfalls of this clip mirror those for other MagSafe accessories, although the magnet array used is weaker than many official Apple products. But if you want easy mounting for your iPhone 12, it doesn't get much simpler than this.

Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.