Gamevice Controller for iPhone Review
|Product Name:||Gamevice Controller|
|Platform:||iOS (iPhone 6/6 Plus, iPhone 6s/6s Plus|
|Features:||Dual analog joysticks. Audio DAC and headphone out. A, B, X, Y fire buttons. Patented flex bridge technology. 400 mAh battery and power pass through to charge iPhone while you play|
When I recently wrote about gaming controllers for the iOS devices, I was trying to look for that one product that would really set the precedence for other product offerings out there. I figured later on that the Gamevice controller for iPhone would be the best place to start.
The first thing I am assuming will get your attention from that quick product overview is the price – at practically USD 100, it definitely looks to be on the higher end of the pricing spectrum. If you were prudent, you would most likely get turned off.
Why would we want to spend this much after already spending on your iPhone?
Technically, you could pay a little less to get a Dual Shock 4 and figure out some firmware protocols in order to connect to your iPhone via Bluetooth and be on your merry way. And for the casual gamers out there, that may be the most cost-efficient and logical option.
I do believe, however, that hardcore gamers who spend time away from their consoles but try to get as great gaming experience on their iPhone would appreciate the features that you can find in the Gamevice.
Gamer ad-VICE-ory: Portable gaming should not come unhinged.
I’ve always wondered why handheld gaming as literally “held up” over the years, and I believe that it has something to do with how your grip on the device does not hinder your screen and access to buttons. As early as the Nintendo Gameboy and Sega Game Gear, to the recent times with the PSP Vita and Nintendo 3DS, there was always a sense that everything you need when you play would be right at your fingertips.
There was definitely a bit of a paradigm shift when smartphone gaming got its wings – devoid of the buttons you need, gamers had to learn a different control style which involved tilting the phone as well as tapping and swiping on the screen.
This works out great for majority of the games on the App Store, but when it comes down to playing games that require quick response, sudden shifts in movement and the need to avoid crowding the screen, this new convention for controls has become pretty challenging.
Things changed again with game controllers for smartphones.
Game controllers for these devices solve two ergonometric issues – the need to physically clamp the smartphone to the controller, and the need to keep the screen clear from constant visual disruptions that could block crucial on-screen events. And while a vast majority of these products do a similarly good job, the Gamevice stands out significantly.
The Gamevice clips the iPhone into both short ends, significantly deviating from the standard clamp at the top of a mobile controller. This initially makes the product smaller and slimmer than the others, but the benefit is that it secures the phone tightly without worry that it would fall out of its clamp.
I like this because it does not treat the device as a separate entity from the controller…
Rather it becomes one with the controller, and with the ability to extend/shorten the flap length to accommodate the iPhone Plus models, they guarantee a comfortable clasp onto your device.
I also like that the button layout on the Gamevice takes as much provision as possible for what buttons and controls you would need when you play. The product has 2 analog sticks on opposite sides, a directional pad, 4 face buttons, 2 shoulder buttons and 2 triggers – pretty standard compared to the familiar console controllers.
No need to crowd your screen anymore if you have enough buttons mapped outside of the touchscreen – instead, you now have immediate access to all your buttons so you can focus on what is happening in your game.
Connectivity and Game Control that go hand in hand.
These days, Bluetooth has become a norm when it comes to mobile connectivity, and it is very assuring that majority of mobile game controllers make use of Bluetooth. What does become a concern, however, is that Bluetooth is low-frequency radio signals being sent from one device to another, and this kind of wireless protocol can contain some issues in terms of latency.
This is a big deal when playing games, especially competitive ones, as latency problems for games can spell the difference between beating on the competition and getting hit in your virtual face.
I definitely feel for hardcore gamers when it comes to something like this – just the mere mention of latency problems drive a shiver down the spine. I definitely know this feeling – losing out by just mere miliseconds when that timeframe could have easily tipped to my favor irks me to no end. When I press a button on my device, I expect that the action associated with that button to happen immediately.
Gamevice does away with Bluetooth and instead goes for a staple in Apple Devices – the Lightning port.
Inside the right-side piece of the Gamevice’s controller is a Lightning connector. When connecting the product to the iPhone, you first make sure to plug the into the Lightning port in the phone’s base to establish connectivity. What this does is provide a low-latency pairing to the phone where there is a much smaller distance traveled from the button in the controller to the device.
Because of this short travel of information from controller to phone, the Gamevice assures gamers of quick response controls in any game that they use the controller for – definitely a welcome bit to have and deal some serious gaming wins for you!
Consolidated battery charging is pretty cool.
When it comes to gaming, I like the thought that you can run a single power source across two devices. Although to be honest, I much like it when there are less cables to worry about that could cause clutter, tangling, and overall lack of portability (and freedom of movement, too).
As with game controllers and similar peripherals, each item runs on some form of rechargeable battery that can be replenished by plugging into either a wall outlet, a car charger, or any place that has a USB port. A game controller and an iPhone have separate ports, and imagine the hassle of losing battery on either device, rendering either unusable until a full charge is committed.
Gamevice’s setup for charging is a wish come true.
The Gamevice’s packaging includes a mini-USB cable that connects the smaller end into the controller. The main USB end allows you to connect it to your computer, to a wall outlet using a plug converter, or even your portable powerbank.
The product does a good job of giving a gamer an accurate depiction of its own battery life by having a light indicator on the side of the product, so they can see how much battery they have left or still need to fully charge.
What is especially nifty about this setup is that if you have your iPhone connected to your Gamevice controller, and you decide to charge the controller itself, you end up passing the charge current to your iPhone as well! Now you can be sure that both devices will have a full charge anytime you want to do so.
Talk about hitting two birds with one stone.
Also, the Gamevice’s battery itself is extremely competent – a full charge lasts several hours (practically more than the iPhone itself, definitely perfect for grinding it out your favorite game on your iPhone for long periods of time. Not bad for optimal and economical value!
Gamevice Live – a quick way to find your play!
A large concern about new game controllers is being able to find a substantial number of games that you would want to play. And to go with that, an ideal scenario would be to have a place where you can easily see this said list of games that you can try out with your new controller.
This for me is a crucial piece of any new gaming peripheral and with very good reason.
I remember when I picked up my Kinect a couple of years ago, and when I did, I knew that there was gonna be a handful of games that I could play on it – namely the entire Dance Central series. It was great for me, because I always enjoyed that franchise, but for friends and guests who were not inclined towards gyrating in front of a motion control, there really was a very limited assortment to choose from.
And over time, what was once a great source of cardio and gaming enjoyment became a serious point of disappointment for myself and guests, as we would find the Kinect library of games severely limited and leaving so much to desire.
Thus the constant hesitation to adapt to new peripherals in any game console. Thankfully Gamevice has offered a great solution for gamers – Gamevice Live!
When you connect your Gamevice to an iPhone, it will immediately prompt to open the Gamevice Live app (on the first attempt and you confirm opening Gamevice Live, it will bring you to the App Store for installation). Once the app is up and running, Gamevice Live presents the gamer with a continuously expanding list of controller-supported games that are available on the App Store, whether they be paid or for free.
This is definitely handy for those who wish to jump into a new game when they connect their Gamevice.
What is also interesting is that Gamevice has worked hand-in-hand with a bunch of these game developers in providing a handy guide for control mappings – these games will provide images of the controller with the corresponding actions/controls you can use in the game. And when you are finally ready to play, confirming the game will redirect you to the App Store for purchase or installation.
This is a feature that I like – although I am a very patient person when it comes to finding games that have compatibility with peripherals, I find that there are days where I just want to plug them in and play these games immediately. Gamevice Live provides a quick and easy solution so that you can immediately take your controller right into the action!
I found that there is so much to like about the Gamevice controller – the aforementioned features really seem to position the product at the forefront for mobile gaming with iOS controllers. And as an added bonus, this product scores very high in terms of portability – the Gamevice collapses down accordion-style, and the backs of each controller’s end are magnetized so they are all held together in a compact package.
This is perfect if you only have a couple of small pockets in your bag or pants!
There were a couple of things about the Gamevice that come to a hardcore gamer’s attention, and while some may just be considered as “nigglies” (negligable), others may be a deal-breaker:
- Quality of the analog sticks. The two convex sticks, despite being lower in terms of height, are a bit on the thin side, especially towards the edges. This is a bit uncomfortable as it not only creates a mark on your thumbs, but it instills some fear of breaking due to excessive force. Perhaps placing analog stick covers will not only provide rounded edges, but also protect the sticks from damage.
- Phone speaker is covered. If you are a gamer who is particular with sound quality, you will notice that the Gamevice covers the phone speaker. This does not mean that no sound will come out, rather it reverberates through the back of the controller – a little muffled but not too bad. If this proves to be worrisome, then you can always use a Bluetooth headset or plug earphones into the controller’s mic jack.
- There are some minor kinks when navigating Gamevice Live. Not that there would be anything that compromises the responsiveness of the iPhone’s screen, but it is noticeable that when you tap on a button or rollover image in the app, it does not immediately open up the next page or the link. It is also challenging to view images of the controller settings per game as the enlarged view of the controller settings images are not as large as can be desired. An app update should do the trick to resolve the usability woes, though.
- The Price. My goodness, I think this one is the biggest issue. It is significantly more expensive than other iOS game controllers out there, and for some gamers, it will be very hard to justify paying this amount for a controller when you have other versions out there that are just as good but cheaper. As mentioned at the start of this post, why spend USD 100 more if you already spent a good amount of money on your iPhone? Is it worth it?
My answer? A definitive yes.
The first 3 concerns have plausible workarounds, and if they did not, it still would not compromise the overall performance and gaming value of the product. You are still getting a product that clamps onto your iPhone tightly and provides quick response in-game, not to mention has ridiculously-long battery life and a ever-growing library of games that it supports.
Besides, the controller gives off that PSP feel to it, so the product’s form and function are really worth the price you pay, and will be further justified with the amount of games that you can use the controller with.
I highly recommend the Gamevice controller – it is definitely worth the money for all the features mentioned in this article. It is built for the mobile gamer with a hardcore streak in them and wants to unleash it subtly while in transit. This product also comes in an iPad version for a little bit less. Feel free to pick the version that suits you and your device, and be ensured that this product will not disappoint!
Grab Your Gamevice Controller Now While Supplies Last!