At CES 2018, we got to check out GameSir, a gaming company specializing in gaming controllers. At the show, they were showcasing their new gaming controller for mobile devices, the GameSir G5. We just got our review sample and we can’t wait to try it out! However, while we were waiting, we were not exactly empty handed. We were busy playing around with the GameSir F1 Joystick Grip, a phone grip that adds an analog joystick and handles to your mobile device, giving you more control over your mobile games.
How simple is it? You just plop your phone into the controller and flop over the analog joystick. No Bluetooth, batteries, or additional software, just plop in and play. Best of all, you can have this simple but effective device for less than 20 bucks! That’s definitely worth a deeper look, no? Let’s get into the details.
The GameSir F1 Joystick Grip handles expand sideways and clasps onto your mobile device. The analog joystick is on a sliding hinge, where the joystick can be slid upward, downward, or simply removed if you only wanted a pair of handles for gaming on your mobile device. The side of the analog stick that touches your screen uses a suction cup to both stay in place and simulate the pressing of the human thumb onto the screen. On the side that touches your thumb, you have an easy to finagle thumb knob that gives you full 360 degree control over your in-game movement. As long as your thumb is in contact with the conductive metal center, you maintain full control of your character’s movements.
The F1 Joystick Grip even doubles as a stand with five adjustable angles.
The GameSir F1 Joystick Grip uses its simple physics and build to give you tangible controls in your mobile games, making it perfectly platform agnostic. It is primarily designed for MOBA games and also seems to play well with games where you have a top-down view of your character. I spent most of my time with the GameSir F1 Joystick Grip playing Bleach: Brave Souls, a top-down action RPG. Its control scheme follows the mold of many mobile MOBA’s: Left thumb swiping for movement with a set of cool-down attacks to tap on the lower right of the screen.
Off the bat, the joystick of the F1 made character movement feel immediately more natural. Having an analog control that you’re physically pressing and pushing simply felt “correct”. My in-game character moved with precision, allowing me to focus more on my attacks and cool-down times. The handles allowed me to grasp my phone in a more ergonomic fashion, allowing me to stretch out my thumbs more than I could by holding the phone directly. On the right side of the screen, all of my on-screen controls and attacks were easier to tap and reach for. Simply speaking, the GameSir F1 Joystick Grip executes it goal; it made playing top-down mobile games easier and more comfortable.
Now, knowing that the F1 is designed for mobile MOBA’s, I couldn’t help but to be teased by other potential applications, such as with fighting games. Unless the game added some nerf-y “special” button, you’d probably find that even executing quarter-circle-forward attacks to somewhat wonky. It gets even worse with supers. So I decided to experiment with the GameSir F1 Joystick Grip outside of its intended use case, and I used it on King of Fighters 98 for Android. I have to say, that the F1 actually improved the game play. All I had to do was resize and replace the touch arcade stick right under where the F1’s joystick would cover it perfectly.
After about two minutes of adjusting, even King of Fighters 98 was actually more playable with the F1!
For only $16.99, the GameSir F1 Joystick Grip gives you more control in top-down games while giving you zero lag. If you just want a simple set of handles for gaming on your phone, just take off the joystick arm. If your phone is within 5.5 to 6.2 inches in size, then you can rest assured that the grip will hold nice and tight. Even when we tried the F1 with a Samsung Galaxy Note 8 without a phone case, the F1 held on tight with no hints of the phone sliding out. I’m not sure what impressed me more, the F1’s effectiveness or its price. Either way, GameSir F1 Joystick Grip is an excellent bang for your buck that you need to check out if you want to up your mobile gaming. At that price, you don’t have much to lose.
Do check out the GameSir F1 Joystick Grip for yourself here…
† GameSir F1 Joystick Grip review unit provided by GameSir Marketing.