Many people now carry pocket-sized computers around in the shape of smartphones, and the processing power and graphics capabilities offered by modern devices means that gamers can now enjoy a mobile experience that's not too far removed from console gaming - albeit on a much smaller scale. Unless you've opted for Sony's Xperia PLAY, though, smartphone gaming can be distinctly lacking in the level of control that console gamers are used to. With six face buttons, two rear trigger buttons and a digital D-pad, the iControlPad Bluetooth gaming controller aims to address this issue. It's compatible with just about all smartphones, and there's even an adjustable metal clamp to hold the phone securely in place above the controller.
Originally developed as a clip-over, wired smartphone gaming controller by a self-funded team of mobile gaming enthusiasts, the iControlPad has since gone stand-alone and wireless thanks to a built-in Bluetooth module, and can also be used with almost any tablet or computer - it's even compatible with fully-grown gaming consoles. The front of the controller will be familiar to most console gamers - featuring a directional pad, four action buttons, two analog gaming controls and Select and Start buttons. Left and right trigger buttons also feature on the rear.
A universal holder was recently developed for the controller, that's been tested with a long list of mobile devices for compatibility - such as the Blackberry Torch, Samsung's Galaxy2 and 2S, the iPhone, HTC's Desire HD and the LG Optimus S - and can be added or removed as needed. The built-in 1350mAh battery not only powers the iControlPad but can also juice up a user's smartphone via a USB adapter. It also features a flash chip that's ready and waiting for future upgrades.
Manufactured in the UK and Germany, the controller offers iCade emulation to cater for jailbreak-free iDevice gaming and is compatible with a growing number of multi-platform apps and emulators. It can also function as a Bluetooth mouse, keyboard, and Human Interface Device (HID) joypad.
The iControlPad Bluetooth smartphone controller package with included universal phone clamp costs US$62.49, but there are other configurations available to suit different needs.