The smartphone revolution was huge for gamers. No longer are we chained to a TV or PC monitor to get our gaming fix. And today’s mobile devices are powerful enough to handle PC and console games from just a few years ago. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find a major gaming franchise that hasn’t made the leap to smartphones and tablets in one form or another (excluding, of course, first-party Nintendo franchises–we’re still scratching our heads over that missed opportunity). But for those who’re looking for anything more than a casual experience, touchbased controls are oftentimes maddeningly inaccurate and force you to cover the screen with your thumbs.
To make the most of your mobile gaming, you need buttons, joysticks, and something to hang onto. Thermaltake’s iOS-compatible (iOS 7 or later) CONTOUR mobile gaming controller delivers all of these and then some, letting you move from crushing candy and drawing things with the tip of your finger to racing for pink slips, cappin’ aliens, and embarking on epic adventures. The black plastic controller features a matte finish and a red rubber-lined clamp for holding your phone. We managed to fit our iPhone 6 Plus, and the rather-thick case it features, between the adjustable pads, and it remained tight enough that the phone never felt like it would slip out. We also tried it with a smaller phone that features a 4-inch screen and it too was held fast. When you want to use it for an iPad, the clamp folds flush with the face of the device. There are X, Y, A, B buttons, two off-set joysticks, a directional pad, and a small pause button. There are two shoulder buttons and a pair of triggers, and the overall button layout will be instantly familiar to users accustomed to using an Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller. The unit uses Bluetooth to communicate with your phone or tablet, and pairing it with our iPhone was a breeze. There’s a built-in Lithium-ion battery that should last ten or more hours and four red LEDs on the face of the controller let you keep tabs on the remaining battery life. If you have Apple’s Lightning Digital AV Adapter, you can even use your iOS-based device as a home console. The unit also works well with Apple TV, both the previous and current 4th Generation models. The controller supports a dizzying number of games, but you can see if your favorite titles work by visiting http://bit.ly/1lxnb3M. We tested it out on Minecraft Pocket Edition, Bastion, and Star Wars: Knights Of The Old Republic and found the gaming experience to be vastly superior compared to using the touch controls. Not all functions were properly mapped to the CONTOUR’s buttons, but this is a game-specific issue. If you’ve kept mobile gaming at arm’s length in the past due to shoddy touchscreen controls, check out the Thermaltake CONTOUR mobile gaming controller. It lets you enjoy a deeper and more satisfying gaming experience on the go. Wireless mode: Bluetooth; Battery life (in-use, as advertised): 10+ hours; Compatible devices: iPhone 5 or newer, iPad Air (both models), iPad Mini (1/2/3), iPod Touch (5th Generation).