iPega

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?

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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.

iPega PG-9052 and PG-9053 Bluetooth Controllers Released

The iPega PG-9052 and iPega PG-9053 are the latest Bluetooth gamepads in company’s controller range.

Both offer compatibility with a variety of Bluetooth devices such as Android phones, iOS and Windows devices.

They also feature a built-in 300mAh lithium battery and telescopic stand which can hold smartphones with a screensize up to 6-inches.

However, with drastically different form-factors, each targets a different use case.

I’m a big fan of the company’s products, having used them for a number of years. In my recent iPega PG-9025 review, I found the controller had solid build quality and excellent compatibility, so I’m expecting the new controllers to maintain the status quo.

iPega PG-9052 Bluetooth Controller

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The iPega PG-9052 is a compact controller much like the incredibly popular iPega PG-9017. Armed with a 300mAh lithium battery that is said to last 20 hours of use, the controller manages to pack in two analog joysticks, d-pad, 4 face buttons, 4 shoulder buttons, start and select buttons in addition to a phone holder that should fit a 6-inch phone.

iPega PG-9053 Bluetooth Controller

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The iPega PG-9053 clearly targets the “hardcore” market, much like MOGA’s Pro controller range. The PG-9053 fits in the same buttons as the PG-9052 into a larger frame that should be more comfortable for extended gaming sessions.

Getting Them

For those of you interested in getting one of the controllers for yourselves, they are available from GearBest for around $25 at the following links: PG-9052 and PG-9053.

 

iPega PG-9025 Review

It can be a nightmare trying to find a good Bluetooth controller for your phone, tablet or mini PC. And whilst touch gaming is acceptable, nothing replaces the tactile feel of a gamepad. I had a chance to test out the iPega PG-9025, a Bluetooth gamepad featuring dual analog sticks and media playback buttons. iPega have a history of developing a number of Bluetooth controllers that boast iOS and Android compatibility out of the box and the PG-9025 is no different.

I want to say thank you to Tmart for providing me a sample to review. You can purchase one from them here.

 iPega PG-9025 Technical Specifications

  • Operating System Compatability: Android 3.2+, iOS 4.3+, WinXP/Win7/Win8
  • Connection: Bluetooth 3.0
  • Range: 6-8m
  • Battery: Built-in Lithium battery (380mAh)
  • Size: 16x6x14cm
  • Weight: 0.270kg

What’s in the box?

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The iPega comes with the basics you need to start gaming:

  • 1 x iPega PG-9025 Gamepad
  • 1 x Micro USB Cable
  • 1 x Instruction Manual

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iPega PG-9025 Design

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The iPega PG-9025 definitely follows in its predecessors steps, the PG-9017, and at first glance, you’d almost get the two confused.  The iPega PG-9025 adopts a layout almost identical to the Xbox 360 controller. Using the familiar “boomerang” silhouette, gamers will be at home with the dual analog sticks, d-pad, and the start select, shoulder and face buttons. All the face buttons and the devices home button are made of a nice, transparent plastic with the labels under the surface. It all looks very nice.

A set of media player buttons, consisting of volume, skip and play/pause, are located between the d-pad and right analog stick.

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The older iPega PG-9017 (top) with the iPega PG-9025 (bottom)

The shoulder buttons (note: not triggers) are located at the top and rear (?!) of the device. L1 and R1 are located at their usual locations, however, in order to allow for the phone mount on the device, the L2 and R2 buttons have been moved to the back. They remain relatively comfortable to press and your fingers rest nicely into their contours but I still felt like I was making a bit of a claw to press them. A reset button also makes an appearance here, allowing you to reset the device should anything strange happen.

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Rear L2 and R2 buttons. That’s different

The top of the device features a spring-loaded telescopic device holder that’s capable of extending far further than expected. I decided to test out just how much the phone holder could take and there was no issue with the Samsung Galaxy S4. I had plenty of room to spare – perfect for those with phablets. Rubber grips hold the device into place and I didn’t have any concerns that the phone would fly out during a particularly vigorous gaming session.

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The device has two lights on the front of the device. The search light will blink orange when connecting via Bluetooth and turn solid when paired. A charging indicator below illuminates when charging the internal battery via the bottom micro USB port.

Whilst its not the smallest controllers, it’s probably about 2/3rds of the size of your standard Xbox 360 controller and roughly the size of the Moga Hero Power. I’d definitely still consider the whole thing portable however, and it would make an ideal partner for gaming on the go.

The whole thing feels very solid and not cheap at all. The device has a comfortable grip, using a rubbery plastic which ensures no slippage if you get sweaty hands.

An inbuilt 380mAh battery simplifies the whole device, offering roughly 20 hours of playtime or 100 hours of standby.

Using It

The first thing I did after unboxing the device was plug it in to charge the inbuilt 380mAh battery using the provided USB cable. After about two hours, the charge light went out to signify charging was complete and I was ready to go.

The iPega PG-9025 supports a number of modes, which grants it compatibility with such a large number of devices. Holding a face button and holding down the Home button will switch modes and begin the syncing process: X for Android gamepad, A for Keyboard, B for iCade (iOS) and Y for a touch mode which uses a separate APK driver.

Android

Connecting the device to Android was painless, using a Galaxy S4 as a guinea pig. Holding down X and Home, the device appeared as an “ipega media gamepad controller” in the Bluetooth menu. Clicking on it caused the two devices to pair and we were ready to go.

I opened up Beach Buggy Racing and the iPega PG-9025 was recognized as a connected gamepad automatically. Racing was great, with the controller feeling responsive and lag-free. Moving across to Mupen64+AE, I had no issue mapping all the keys and analog sticks.

Testing the media controls, I jumped into our old friend Kodi to see how if it worked. Thankfully, it did, with the volume play/pause and skip buttons working perfectly!

Some people mentioned that they had issues with the on-screen keyboard not appearing with the gamepad connected but I had no issues.

iOS

Connecting to an iOS device was painless. Using an iPhone 6, holding B+Home caused the “ipega media gamepad controller” to appear in the list of Bluetooth devices. A touch and the controller was synced.

iOS compatibility needs a little explanation. Prior to Apple’s official controller support in iOS7, the iCade standard was developed and the iPega PG-9025 supports it but not Apple’s official API. Luckily, there are plenty of excellent games out there that support iCade so you should have no issue using this controller. Just check that your game is iCade compatible first. I tested out No Gravity and had no issues blasting enemy ships out of the skies and many more popular titles are supported.

Windows

I paired the controller with a PiPO W2F Windows 8.1 tablet without any issue. For games where you can remap the keys, the controller worked perfectly. Those that didn’t (Asphalt 8, I’m looking at you!) weren’t really playable as the controller keys were different from those expected by the game.

But how does it feel?

So everyone’s probably wondering “how does it feel to use?”. Thankfully, I can say pretty darn great. There’s a healthy amount of resistance in the analog sticks ensuring that movements are nice and precise. Releasing them causes them to promptly snap back into position. The face and shoulder buttons feel nice to press and respond well.

I never had any concerns about lag and it was great being able to connect my phone wireless and have a portable gaming console or connect it up to my Android PC and play games from the comfort of my couch. Bluetooth means there are no wireless dongles to lose or take up those precious USB ports either.

However, all is not perfect. I did find the d-pad a little stiff at times, meaning that a little extra pressure was required than I’m used to. It’s also only 4-way, making some of those Street Fighter special moves a little tricky at times due the lack of “true” diagonals.

The face buttons do have a tendency to be a bit louder than its console brethren too, with a slight “click” when pressed. Lastly, the odd placement of the L2 and R2 buttons make them slightly difficult to press and I could see situations that required them to be held down for long times could get uncomfortable after a while.

Getting One

My iPega PG-9025 was provided by Tmart and you can purchase one from them here.

Alternatively, you can purchase one from GearBest, Geekbuying, or Amazon.

iPega PG-9025 Additional Photos