We got an exclusive first look at the Gamevice Flex, an upcoming game controller for iOS and Android that aims to fit almost any phone while keeping your protective case on.
Gamevice has been around for a few years now, making accessories that can be attached to your phone or tablet to turn it into a portable gaming machine. These started out as tailored options for a particular phone’s needs. For example, Gamevice for Samsung Galaxy phones was different than Google’s Pixel phones.
Then, with the Kishi, made by Gamevice but sold as Razer, the company managed to make its design more adaptable. As phones – and especially Android phones – have continued to get bigger, there is now a need for one even more versatile controller.
Ahead of its launch this fall, the folks at Gamevice were kind enough to show us what they have in store for their upcoming premium controller for iPhone and Android. Since this is still an early prototype of the controller, you’ll see some rough edges and unfinished designs that won’t be present in the final version this fall.
At first glance, the Gamevice Flex looks a lot like the popular Razer Kishi controller, but closer inspection reveals plenty of refinements. To better understand what’s changing, I spoke with Phillip Hyun, CEO of Gamevice. He explained that when designing this new generation of mobile controllers, Gamevice focused on three fundamental principles: muscle memory, compatibility and portability.
For portability, the Gamevice Flex retains the foldable design of previous models, making the controller easy to throw in a bag until you need to use it. It’s still a bit too big to fit in your pocket, unless you’re a fan of cargo shorts, but it’s far more portable than many competing controllers.
Central to the Gamevice Flex’s design is the idea of ”muscle memory”—more specifically, the ability to play on your mobile device at the same skill level as you would with a traditional console controller. With the advent of cloud gaming that allows players to start a game on their Xbox at home and continue the same game on their phone via Game Pass Streaming, it’s never been more important for your mobile controller to feel comfortable . The same as your primary controller.
To that end, the Gamevice Flex has a slightly larger, more rounded design, with room for your hands to comfortably grip it and wrap it around. The company has also put a lot of effort into making the buttons less “clicky” and the D-pad less squishy.
The same idea applies to the new Hall Effect triggers, which are now much smoother to trigger and look similar to what you’d find on an Xbox controller. Your games can even sound just like at home because the Gamevice Flex includes a convenient 3.5mm port to plug in your favorite headset.
These tweaks, along with a few others, go a long way towards creating the perfect controller to use on the go, turning your iPhone or Android into the equivalent of a Nintendo Switch, PlayStation Vita or Steam Deck. In my first tests with the Gamevice Flex prototype, I found it comfortable and accurate like I was on a normal Xbox controller.
But where this controller stands out from the competition and deserves its ‘Flex’ name is the way it can be customized to fit your phone. and his case. One of the biggest faults with most mobile game controllers is that they are designed and optimized for phones without a case. Unless you’re using a specific small phone or an ultra-thin case, it usually won’t fit properly in a grip controller while still in the case.
Everyone’s experience will be different, but I personally wore out my Pixel 6 Pro case in less than a year by taking it on and off for different controllers. Even if you ignore potential damage to the case, your phone becomes more susceptible to damage while in the controller, and you also need to store your case somewhere while you play.
Gamevice engineers have created a solution, although it may be a little too smart. The Gamevice Flex comes with a collection of specially designed spacers. Depending on the phone of your choice and the thickness of the case you are using, insert two spacers into the controller, one on the left and one on the right. Alternatively, softer protective spacers are included for those who prefer not to use a case.
Essentially, these spacers act as a way to ensure that your phone is firmly gripped by the Gamevice Flex with little to no wiggle room, while also ensuring that the Lightning or USB-C connector is at the correct depth. To help you set up your favorite case, the company lists recommended spacers for the most popular cases for various iPhone and Android device models. And if your phone and case haven’t been tested yet, finding the right fit should only take a minute or two of trial and error.
More importantly, unless you’re the type to change cases often, the Gamevice Flex only needs some setup. once. Each time after that, your phone simply clicks into place and within seconds you’re ready to start playing.
One thing to note, though, is that wide foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Fold won’t fit into the Gamevice Flex, given the controller’s structural design. Instead, the company focuses on the traditional smartphones that most people have today.
The Gamevice Flex launches this fall for Android and iPhone, and pre-orders for both models are available now. The iPhone model (MFi certified) will cost $109.95, while the Android version will be a bit more affordable at $99.95.
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