Smartphones have evolved so much in the past few years that games which can be played on such a device can be simply mind-blowing. Considering the fact that nowadays, a medium-range phone has a dual-core processor and some models break the boundaries with quad-core CPUs built using NVIDIA technology, we can safely assume they can offer great performances. And what’s the best use of computer performance for a regular user, if not gaming?
Well, besides the need of a strong technical configuration, the experience is also influenced by the way the game is played. In our particular case, we make note of the fact that a touch screen panel cannot offer the most out of a title. Here’s where controllers intervene, when standard clips cannot.
Top 9 game controllers for mobile devices
Mobile controllers for Android and iOS alike have raised all of the sudden, and most of them offer quite a sparking interaction. While the trend nowadays is to pair such a device with a smartphones using the Bluetooth wireless connection, some implementations go beyond this point and actually offer a docking station for the phone, which binds both devices into a single, portable assembly. But let’s see which options are the best on the market:
Simpler than its name, the 60Beat controller works with most iOS devices around, including the iPad, the iPhone and iPod Touch. It connects to the host using a 1 meter long cable ended with a standard 3.5mm jack, which can be inserted in the head-phones port. It’s white, as most Apple-made gadgets, has a sleek and classy design and his main advantage is that it does not require any batteries to function, with the power being fed through the cable. The 60Beat GamePad has a nice $50 selling mark and a wide availability, but only 40 titles are compatible with the gear.
Don’t get fooled by the”i” tag placed at the start of its name, cause the iControlPad is a device compatible with numerous phones, iOS and Android-based alike. It even offers compatibility for the BlackBerry Torch and its simple, geeky style will surely conquer hearts. The iControlPad has a simple, candy bar design which reminds me of old video-game controllers from Nintendo and this is what probably producers wanted to appeal to.
Although the accessory comes with pretty standard features, as a wireless connection and all the buttons that a gamer needs, it has a detachable stand which may accommodate the size of most smartphones. Once these side-stands are attached, the phone is placed above the controller and the connection is made through a Cydia application. The downside is that it requires jailbreaking for unsupported titles (only 30 of them), it utilizes a battery and at the moment, developers are gearing up to release a second version of the device, so it should be wise to wait until then.
iCade Mobile is pretty similar with iControlPad, in the way that it straps the device inside its bearings, while offering the two gamepads on the sides of the phone. It has no analog controls, supports only iPhones / music devices and costs around $80. And might I add that’s a fair bargain for a wirelessly connected game-pad, with support for over 400 games.
OnLive is actually a full gaming service, which offers near 200 controller-based games, 25-touch compatible titles, a USB bundle and of course, their wireless controller. The gadget itself has a pretty contoured design, more buttons than we’ve seen on any competitor and wireless connection. It has the ability to function on AA batteries and has been deemed compatible with many smartphones, tablets and even PCs/Macs. All for $50.
Snakebyte’s controller is a real mean piece of machine. It has a dashing look and in many ways, resembles with the classic PlayStation controller. It works with both iOS and Android devices, and has been tested successfully on Gingerbread and Ice Cream Sandwich. The unit is dressed in a soft-touch coating and has lengthy arms.
On the inside, it offers the user five modes with which to connect, a wireless setup and an LED indicator to display vital info. The battery lasts for around eight hours and for $40, you can purchase it from the official website.
Nyko launched the Playpad series a couple of months ago, and it is composed out of two members. The one we will present today is the little member, which has been optimized for tablets and even comes with a tablet stand and case. The Controller packs dual analog sliders, a candy bar suit and has been deemed compatible with Android 3.0 and above. The connection is set up wirelessly, requires no rooting and developers may sign for the Playground program, to include legacy apps in the compatibility scheme. Its price varies from one retailer, to another.
Power A Moga
The Moga controller from Power A comes with a very useful design, where the smartphone is strapped above the controller making use of the flip-up holder. Once the device is attached, the assembly reminds of a Nintendo DS. The design is simple, the connection is made wirelessly and the device feeds on two AAA batteries. However, app support is fairly limited (around 12 apps at the moment) and the product will only release at the end of 2012.
Gametel Portable Controller
Coming with support only for the Android platform (2.1 and above), Gametel’s controller connects via Bluetooth, has 9 hours of battery life and can accommodate a larger display using the HDMI output. The unit also acts as a docking station, by strapping smartphones above itself and transforming the assembly into a portable, fully-figured, gaming unit. You can get one for around $60 on Amazon.
The PhoneJoy controller is compatible with more than 100 Android games, the Windows platform and iOS is said to be arriving very soon. Using Bluetooth, the connecter links itself to the smartphone while offering two analog sticks, multiplayer-modes, 14 programmable buttons and 10 hours of battery life. The design has been kept simple and can be seen as borrowed from Sony. PhoneJoy can be purchased for $50 from the official website.