So you might have heard about Samsung Dex, Samsung’s desktop-like experience, and you’re wondering if you can play games with Samsung Dex. It can be great for entertainment while you’re stuck in a hotel with a TV and nothing else.
Or maybe you just want to play a mobile game on a larger screen. Either way, in this article, I’m going to walk you through how to play games with Samsung Dex, which accessories are best, how to stream PC games, and some other gaming-related subjects.
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Can You Play Games with Samsung Dex?
Yes. You can easily play Android games with Samsung Dex, it’s a great way to play Android games on a bigger screen. You can use controllers too, but not every game works perfectly with Dex, so you’ll have to test them out.
Steps to play games on Samsung Dex:
- Insert Your Phone into a USB-C Adapter.
- Run an HDMI Cable from the Adapter to Your Display.
- Insert Input Device Into a Spare USB Port (Keyboard, mouse, controller, etc)
- Wait for Samsung Dex to Launch.
- Open a Game (or a Streaming service)
- Enable Fullscreen (top right corner)
There are two ways to play games with Samsung Dex; directly from your phone (mobile games) or stream from a PC (game stream).
Playing Android games on your phone with Dex is the easiest because you only need your phone; simply launch Samsung Dex, open the game, and tap fullscreen. Not all games are optimized for Samsung Dex, so you might encounter some issues. On that note, other apps that are designed for Android, such as emulators, will work well too.
Samsung Dex not working? Read this guide on how to fix common Samsung Dex problems.
The second option, streaming PC games with Samsung Dex using apps like Steam Link, Moonlight Game Stream, and others, is a bit more complicated, but it can be doable. I personally don’t recommend this option because I ran into more issues than I can handle, such as weird input delays, frame rate loss, and others.
You need to have a separate PC and both devices need to be connected to the same network. If you’re interested in learning how to stream games to Dex, read this section of a previous article. While that tutorial is designed specifically for Chromebooks, the steps are the same.
What You Need to Know About Gaming with Samsung Dex:
Before we continue, there are a couple of things you need to know about Samsung Dex. For one, it’s limited to your phone’s hardware.
1 – No Triple-A Games
You won’t be able to run any high definition triple-A games directly from your phone, at least not for quite a few years. When it comes to direct-play, Samsung Dex is limited to the apps and games that you can download from Google Play.
To expand on that, when you see people playing graphically-intensive games with Samsung Dex, what’s happening is they’re streaming the game from another device that’s capable of running the game.
2 – Streaming PC Games Requires Good Wifi
Secondly, if you’re planning to stream games to Samsung Dex from either your PC or gaming console, you need to consider your Wi-fi speed. For local single-player games, the speed of your internet won’t really matter, the speed and quality of your local area network are more important.
Speaking of that here’s an easy way to play PC games on a TV. While you probably don’t need a super-fancy router (I’ve been streaming games to my phone with a potato from 2008) it does need to be relatively stable with a strong connection.
So now that you understand the basics of how gaming on Samsung Dex works, let’s move on to the best accessories for this kind of setup.
Docks and Adapters for Dex:
So you probably noticed that external input devices work best with Samsung Dex, ideally a mouse and keyboard, but controllers can work too. Below are some recommended peripherals for playing games on Samsung Dex.
The Dex station is perfect for playing games because it charges your phone and also provides you with two (sometimes more) USB ports for controllers. It’s a little pricey, but definitely worth a look. Another plus is it provides fans for your phone!
I recommend buying a USB-C HDMI hub with multiple USB ports for extra devices. Having extra USB ports attached to your phone can help a lot because it won’t limit you to Bluetooth. If you have a USB dongle, then you can use your current controller, keyboard, or mouse via a wire.
Something like this, click for Amazon Link:
Note: A common bug that plagues Android users is controllers refuse to connect over Bluetooth, or they connect for a second and then disconnect. You can find some fixes for that problem over at my article on how to connect a PS4 controller to Android. The same fix applies to other Bluetooth controllers.
On another note, not every mobile-game supports controllers or mouse & keyboards. It’s best to research the specific game that you want to play and find the list of officially supported input devices before you make a purchase.
These adapters are often much cheaper than a Dex station.
Best Bluetooth Controllers for Gaming on Samsung Dex:
SteelSeries is a really well-known electronic brand, their input devices and controller are top-notch. The Stratus Mobile Gaming controller looks much like an Xbox or PS4 controller, but it is designed specifically for mobile devices. It has built-in Bluetooth, so you can easily pair it to almost any device.
The controller uses a lithium-ion battery that has a 20+ hour lifetime and can be recharged via a Micro USB cable (similar to the PS4 controller).
The Stratus Duo version can be used on both Android and PC (the PC version includes a 2.4Ghz USB dongle) and it’s the version I recommend. If you play games like Fortnite mobile, then this controller might be what you need.
Note: This controller seemed to be the easiest to connect over Bluetooth, the other ones struggled to pair to Androids.
2 – PS4 Controller (Wired)
The PS4 controller is a classic and my favorite controller. The only problem is it doesn’t work great with Android, at least not over Bluetooth.
To make the most of it, I recommend buying a USB-C hub with HDMI and USB ports and then plugging the controller into one of those free USB ports.
It should work with no problems. I have confirmed this method works over Samsung Dex, but I wasn’t able to get the Bluetooth to pair. The plus side is it works great with Windows!
Be careful. I only recommend buying PS4 controllers from the official PlayStation Amazon store because there are lots of fake PS4 controllers out there.
The Xbox One wireless controller is another classic, and there’s a good chance you have one lying around. Much like the PS4 controller, it has built-in Bluetooth, so you can try pairing it to your phone to use with Samsung Dex.
Once again, it has some issues working over Bluetooth. Some phones can connect while others cannot. I believe the best way to use it is via a wire, or run through the list of fixes in the article at the beginning of this section.
If you’re going to use Samsung Dex for office tasks, then a keyboard and mouse is required. You can also play most games with a standard keyboard and mouse.
Remember, if you have an extra USB port on that hub, then you can use it for a 2.4GHZ wireless keyboard and mouse, which tend to be a little cheaper.
Note: The wireless keyboards mentioned in my best keyboard for writer’s article can work well here too!
The Bottom Line:
To summarize, if you have a Samsung Dex compatible phone, then there’s no reason not to use it to play games. Playing games with Samsung Dex requires a bit of fiddling around, it shouldn’t be too complicated.
It’s a really cool way to bring games to the big screen. I don’t use Samsung Dex to play games very often because I have a PC for that but for portable office work it can be very helpful.
Another cool thing that you can do is use Samsung Dex with a portable monitor, to create a complete laptop-like experience, for a fraction of the cost. There are a lot of interesting uses for this app that’s for sure, and new features will probably be added soon.
You might as well use it!