Controllers

DroidBOX Play Gamepad Pro Review: Bluetooth Controller for Android Devices

DroidBOX are back with their new Bluetooth controller,  the DroidBOX Play Gamepad ProFeaturing wireless Bluetooth connectivity, textured grips, and an integrated smartphone stand, is it any good? Read on to find out!

I want to say thanks to DroidBOX for sending me a sample to review.

The DroidBOX Play Gamepad Pro is available from DroidBOX or Amazon.

Check Price at DroidBOX

What’s in the Box?

In the box, you get:

  • DroidBOX Play Gamepad Pro Controller
  • USB Adapter
  • Micro USB charging cable
  • English Instruction Manual

Oddly, the instruction manual doesn’t mention a USB receiver but lists a tablet stand instead so I’m not sure whether there was some form of mixup with my unit.

DroidBOX Play Gamepad Pro Review: Hardware

The DroidBOX controller mimics the popular Xbox design, with an XABY button layout and asymmetrical analog sticks.

It’s also fairly light. It’s definitely not flimsy but doesn’t feel as high end as an Xbox One controller or GameSir G4S.

That’s not to say it isn’t comfortable. I found it sits nicely in the hands. There’s even a grippy texture applied which does a good job keeping the controller in place – even if your hands get sweaty during an intense gaming session.

In terms of buttons, you’ve got the obvious XABY face buttons, d-pad, start and select buttons, shoulder bumpers, analog triggers, an Android home button and a button which toggles mouse mode.

There’s also a set of media controls and status LEDs hidden underneath the smartphone holder in the center. I really liked having media controls on the controller, as it means you don’t need to grab the remote if the controller is nearby.

This convenience extends to the mouse mode that allows you to emulate a mouse using the right analog stick and triggers for left and right clicks. I found myself using this quite a bit whenever my air mouse wasn’t in reach.

It also came in handy for playing one-touch games like Jeypack Joyride which don’t support controllers out of the box.

In terms of gaming on the DroidBOX Play Gamepad Pro, I found the face buttons feel nice and responsive and the d-pad feels fairly better than the d-pads found on cheap controllers.

The twin analog sticks also performed well. I found they were quite accurate, with a small deadzone that allowed for precise movement.

Unfortunately, the shoulder buttons and analog triggers aren’t as refined. Both feel somewhat mushy compared to higher end game controllers.

The smartphone holder supports phones up to 5.5 inches which should cover most devices. It securely holds your phone and can be adjusted to two different angles.

DroidBOX Play Gamepad Pro Review: Performance

Connecting It Up

Pairing the controller is easy. Holding down the power button will put it into pairing mode. Then you just need to pick the DroidBOX controller from your smartphone or TV boxes Bluetooth menu.

Gaming on the DroidBOX Play Gamepad Pro

To test the DroidBOX Play Gamepad Pro, I used it with several Android devices and games/emulators, including my DroidBOX T8 Mini and Samsung Galaxy S7.

Android support was good in both games and emulators. As the DroidBOX Play Gamepad Pro uses Android’s controller standard, games like Beach Buggy Racing worked out of the box. When using EPSXE, it correctly detected the controller and I just had to map the buttons. Afterwards, everything worked flawlessly.

Range

Range was good. I didn’t have any issues across my lounge room (~6m between the box and controller) though DroidBOX state a range of 6-8m so make sure you’re mindful of your space.

Battery Life

DroidBOX claim that the DroidBOX Play Gamepad Pro should be usable for up to 20 hours of gameplay. Several multi-hour gaming sessions didn’t drain the battery so this seems reasonable.

The controller will also shut off after 10 minutes to save battery which is a nice touch.

Verdict

DroidBOX Play Gamepad Pro

The DroidBOX controller is a decent Bluetooth controller. Bluetooth connectivity and the smartphone clip make it a flexible accessory.  I loved the media controls and mouse mode too.  However, serious gamers will probably prefer something more substantial like the GameSir G4S.

Pros

  • Nice-feeling Controls
  • Integrated Smartphone Stand
  • Mouse Mode

Cons

  • Should buttons/triggers feel mushy
  • Controller feels too light

Where to Buy the DroidBOX Play Gamepad Pro

The DroidBOX Play Gamepad Pro is available from DroidBOX and Amazon.

Check Price at DroidBOX

8Bitdo Release Retro Reciever for SNES

8Bitdo have unveiled their latest product, the Retro Receiver for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System (SNES).

Following up on the popularity of the Retro Receiver for the NES, the new gadget allows you to hook up 8Bitdo’s retro controllers to the original SNES hardware wirelessly.

You’ll also be able to use PS3, PS4, Wii remote and Wii U Pro controllers.

The retro receiver appears to get it’s power directly from the controller port and supports Bluetooth 2.1 for wireless connectivity.

Interestingly, the technical specs also mention that the Retro Receiver can be used as as a Bluetooth dongle for X-Input on Mac OSX/Windows too.

I’m a massive fan of 8Bitdo’s controllers for their quality and authenticity so being able to hook them up to a retro console wirelessly is great.

Where to Buy the 8Bitdo Retro Reciever for SNES

You can pick up the 8Bitdo Retro Reciever for SNES from Play Asia for around $24.99.

Gamesir G4S Android/Windows Controller Revealed

Gamesir have just taken the wraps off their latest controller and follow up to the amazing Gamesir G3 (aka my favourite multi-platform controller).

Called the Gamesir G4S, the company’s latest controller features a number of improvements, including a new design, added grips and improved analog sticks and d-pad.

Compared to its predecessor, the Gamesir G4S now features rubberised handles for added grip and the company says they have made improvements to d-pad and analog stick sensitivity for more precision when gaming.

You can swap the d-pad and left analog stick functionality, allowing you essentially change between Playstation and Xbox-style controller layouts.

A turbo feature also allows you to emulate pressing keys rapidly by just holding the key down.

There’s a 800mAh rechargeable battery inside which should be good for around 20 hours of gaming.

The controller maintains both Bluetooth 4.0 and 2.4GHz wireless support across both Android and Windows. This makes it one of the most compatible controllers, beating the near-ubiquitous Xbox 360 controller due to the integrated Bluetooth radio for wireless Android gaming.

Where to Buy the Gamesir G4S

The Gamesir G4S isn’t available for purchase yet but expect it to appear on Gamesir’s official store and various online retailers.

iPEGA PG-9055 Bluetooth Controller Review: Transforming Phones into Consoles

The iPega PG-9055 is the latest Bluetooth controller in the company’s growing stable. Titled “Red Spider”, it features the usual full set of controls, but also offers adjustable handgrips and the ability to stretch – allowing it to fit pretty much every phone you can throw at it.

I want to say thanks to GearBest for sending me a sample to review.

Use coupon “HDVG1” to get it for just $24.99.

Check Price at GearBest

iPega PG-9055 Technical Specifications

  • Bluetooth Version: V3.0
  • Range: Approx. 8m
  • Battery: 300mAh
  • Charging time: Approx. 2 hours
  • Working Time: Approx. 12 hours

What’s in the Box?

iPega-PG-9055-Review-Inside-The-Box

Inside the box, you get:

  • iPega PG-9055 Bluetooth Controller
  • Micro USB Charging Cable
  • English Instruction Manual

iPega PG-9055 Review

The IPEGA PG-9055 looks like a futuristic take on a typical controller – apart from the gaping hole in the center which I’ll get to later. It uses the familiar black and red color scheme that is a staple of iPega controllers.

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There’s a full set of controls here, with dual analog sticks, d-pad, 4 face buttons, 4 shoulders buttons as well as Start and Select. L3 and R3 are also supported by clicking down the thumbsticks.

The face buttons follow the Xbox 360’s XABY layout and use attractive colored labels inside clear resin buttons.

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There’s also a button to check the battery status, a slider to toggle between Android and iOS modes and 4 status LEDs. These show the battery status and which mode the controller is in.

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The handgrips themselves are quite comfortable and sit nicely in the hand. They’re also adjustable, with the small screws in each handgrip allowing you to extend their length.

That said, whilst the adjustable grips is a great idea in theory, it’s not so great in practice. I found that my fingers sat inside the groove created. Combined with the harsh angles of this expanded section, it’s not particularly comfortable so I tended to keep these sections retracted.

iPega-PG-9055-Review-06Now, let’s talk about the controller’s main feature – its ability to expand.

The iPEGA PG-9055 is one of the few controllers designed to accommodate huge devices in its integrated holder.

The controller opens up using telescopic sliders. They’re spring-loaded too, keeping your device in place and automatically closing the controller when not used. Supporting devices from 2.2 – 6.3 inches, it’ll hold most devices pretty comfortably.

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That said, whilst it does a good job holding everything in place, the sliding mechanism does have some play in it, slightly twisting the more it’s extended, though I didn’t find it to be an issue when gaming. Also, unlike the iPega PG-9023, it’s not big enough to hold a tablet in landscape mode which is a shame but most large smartphones (such as my Samsung Galaxy S7) fit perfectly in landscape.

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iPega PG-9055 Review: Using It

Using the controller is as easy as powering it up by holding down the Home button for a few seconds and selecting the iPega PG-9055 from your smartphone’s Bluetooth menu.

Android and iOS modes are changed via the switch on the side. In Android mode, there’s a number of additional modes (Gamepad/Keyboard/Mouse) that can be toggled by holding down one of the face buttons when you turn the controller on i.e. X+Home activates the Android controller mode. The controller reconnects pretty quickly too.

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iOS mode only supports the iCade standard unless you’re using a jailbroken device though I couldn’t get it to work. Given developers are moving towards Apple’s MFi controller standard, the iPega PG-9055 is probably not the best option for iOS gamers.

The Android experience was excellent, with most games I tested automatically configuring themselves for the controller.

The face buttons and d-pad has a nice tactile feel. The L2/R2 triggers do feel a little soft however. They’re also not analog, despite their appearance, which is a shame.

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The controller’s deadzones are quite good according to Game Controller Tester, leading to precise movement. Games such as GTA: San Andreas and Dead Trigger 2 worked perfectly though I did struggle with Modern Combat, despite turning down sensitivity to the minimum, though I feel like it’s more of a game issue.

Bluetooth range was good, with the controller all working all across my lounge room.

Battery life also seems to be good, quoted as being around 20 hours. After several hours of gameplay, the controller was still going.

There are a couple of minor annoyances though. If you’re using the controller with your phone mounted in landscape mode,you won’t be able to charge the phone as the grip blocks the charging port though this isn’t an issue if you use your phone in portrait mode.

Also, on Android, holding down the Home button to turn the controller off send the held “Home” command before it powers off. This kept bringing up Google Now before the controller powered off. It’s slightly annoying but not a major problem.

Verdict

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The iPega PG-9055 is another solid Bluetooth controller from the company. Though the sliding mechanism could be more rigid and the controller has a few design quirks, the controller itself worked well and is also one of the only controllers that will let you use your phone in portrait mode which is a massive plus for retro gamers.

If you’re looking for a flexible controller that gives you that portable console feel, the iPega PG-9055 is great entry.

Where Can You Buy The iPega PG-9055?

The iPega PG-9055 is available from GearBest for around $25.

Use coupon “HDVG1” to get it for just $24.99.

Check Price at GearBest

Alternatively, it’s available from GeekBuying, Banggood, Amazon and AliExpress.

DroidBOX Play Bluetooth Gamepad Review

The DroidBOX Play gamepad is a wireless Bluetooth controller from the UK-based company that boasts Android and iOS compatibility and an integrated smartphone stand. How good is it? Read my DroidBOX Play review to find out!

I want to say thanks to DroidBOX for sending me a sample to review.

Check Price at DroidBOX

What’s In The Box?

DroidBOX-Play-Gamepad-Review-Inside-The-Box

Inside the box, you get:

  • DroidBOX Play Controller
  • Micro USB Cable
  • Tablet/Smartphone Stand
  • English User Manual

I’m actually pretty impressed that DroidBOX have included stand inside the box. It’s a small addition but one that’s appreciated. I do feel that it should be green to match the company’s color scheme but that’s just me.

DroidBOX Play Review: Design

The DroidBOX Play gamepad is a serious looking controller. Roughly the size of an Xbox 360 controller, it follows the traditional boomerang shape with nice rubberised grips.

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The controller has a full set of controls, including dual analog sticks, d-pad, ABXY face buttons, four shoulder buttons, a Home button and start and select buttons. There’s also a power switch and micro USB port for charging located at the bottom of the unit.

The layout is almost identical to that of the Xbox 360, with one of the analog sticks located under your thumb whilst the d-pad and second analog stick sit at the bottom.

However, things get a little odd when it comes to the shoulder buttons. The L1 and R1 buttons are when the L2/R2 triggers are normally, with the L2 and R2 buttons located on the rear of the controller. It’s a little uncomfortable compared to traditional controllers but you get used to it.

Also note that even though the L1 and R1 buttons look like triggers, they’re digital, not analog.

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The controller’s buttons are smaller and a more “domed” than those on the Xbox 360 pad. This means the contact surface is smaller so they’re not as comfortable as the flatter buttons on the Xbox 360 or PS4 controllers.

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The d-pad does sit on the stiff side and can be a little sensitive on the diagonals but it’s definitely functional.

The controller’s deadzone is actually really good, with analog inputs offering plenty of range.

For those wanting to game on the go, there’s also a built-in smartphone holder which was a complete surprise. It’s spring-loaded with soft rubber to both protect your phone and keep it in place.

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It’ll accommodate most smartphones too. I was able to fit in my Samsung Galaxy S7 in its case but it was a pretty tight fit.

DroidBOX Play Review: Using It

Pairing the controller up was simple. Just hold down the Home button and slide the switch to the on position. Then pick the “EG001” from your device’s Bluetooth menu.

The controller has a number of modes, including Android, iCade (for iOS) and Mouse. These are toggled by pressing the Home button plus one of the home buttons.

On Android, the controller was picked up in games such as Beach Buggy Racing and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas without any configuration required. Everything worked perfectly.

iCade support was fine but with Apple’s MFi controllers being the norm for iOS devices, supported games are pretty limited.

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The controller’s Bluetooth connection was solid, without any dropouts during gaming.

DroidBOX claims the in-built battery should be good for around 40hrs of gameplay. I didn’t verify the 40 hour number but it kept playing after several hours of gaming.

Verdict

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The DroidBOX Play gamepad is a respectable Bluetooth controller for Android devices. Whilst it does have some unusual design quirks such as the odd shoulder button layout, it works well and the integrated stand is a nice touch.

Getting One

The DroidBOX Play is available from Amazon or from DroidBOX directly.

It’s also included in the DroidBOX T8-S Plus Gamers Edition bundle.

Check Price at DroidBOX