I’m going to be straightforward with my review, and say that the iControlPad may look like a shabby piece of plastic, but using it tells me quite a different story. It is compatible with a variety of iOS and Android games. Although this is an independant, small company, everything, from the designing to the development, is done with high standards. Read on for the full review:
In The Box
- Universal Phone Holder with Pins
- Controller Side Grips
- Controller Side Clamps
- USB Charging Cable
I will have to say, the material used in the plastic for the iControlPad isn’t really all that attractive. Despite it’s rough-looking exterior, the feel and comfort of the controller as well as the methods implemented to hold any phone in place have been executed well and make up for it.
iControl Pad offers users 2 ways to use the device, using side clamps or a universal device-holder. While the side clamps are specially design for the iPhone by allowing access to various ports and buttons, the universal holder uses adhesive foam pads to create a snug fit.
The mechanism for universal devices is nicely laid out, however, there is a problem about it. Removing and putting on the device becomes a huge problem as the process takes a while to do. Besides the two aforementioned problems, the design of the iControlPad is top notch.
The iControlPad offers users a total of 8 buttons, a d-pad, and 2 joysticks, and all of the controls are within a finger’s distance, although the L and R buttons could have been better positioned. Since the iControlPad works through Bluetooth, it kills the iPhone’s battery life. Disregarding that, the device connects perfectly most of the time. I’ve tested it various emulators and games all working flawlessly. The responsiveness of the controls is instantaneous, with no controller lag detectable whatsoever, no matter the game.
To sync the controller for App Store games you must use the iOS Bluetooth function, while emulators use BTStack found in Cydia. What is rather awkward about the controller is the multitude of modes it has, such as HID Gamepad, HID Keyboard, and special Keyboard Packet Mode which is needed for Vertex Blaster. Due to the numerous modes included, finding out what mode to use for what app was frustrating. While Vertex Blaster didn’t appeal to me at first, playing it with the iControlPad became crazy addicting.
I’ve found that the joysticks are smooth, the buttons aren’t sticky or hard to press, and are rather easy to manipulate. The things that bother me are the hindrance of switching modes depending on the game, and the awkward reach for L and R. Although, the mode switching is partly Apple’s fault due to the way iOS handles keyboards and Bluetooth devices. For the intended functionality of the iControlPad, disregarding Apple’s obnoxious restrictions, it works exactly the way it should.
The build quality on this device is rather good, considering the weight of the controller and its parts. It doesn’t scratch very easily after prolonged use. The case has a textured feel, so even if scratched it’d be somewhat hard to notice it. In addition, the universal phone holder is durable since it’s just a strip of metal. The metal isn’t flexible, making it a durable add-on.
The side clamps for holding iPhone 4′s are very sturdy. In other words, they won’t break in half unless you’re determined to break a hole in them. Although it’s plastic, the casing is still extremely sturdy and rugged.
The iControlPad is available for purchase with different components. The unit I received is worth $69.99 MSRP, and controller only at $54.99. The Bluetooth connectivity is near flawless, and astoundingly, feels like the controller is directly connected. Sometimes it’s hard to even realize that you’re playing it on an iPhone.
While the controller is definitely worth the price due to above average build and fantastic, flawless functionality, there currently aren’t too many games that support it yet (~40 App Store games, ~5 Cydia Apps). Sure, it might pay off when you’re playing Pokemon, Super Mario, Sonic or Vertex Blaster, but eventually you’ll run out of games to play using the device.
While it is likely that the database of supported games will grow, currently it isn’t very large. Overall, I feel that the iControlPad significantly increases the fun value of supported games and the price is well worth it. Although, I wish that there was a greater variety of games that I can purchase and play.