After seeing Fructel’s Gametel at CES 2012, I was eager to see the device in action personally. See my preview coverage of Gametel here. Repeating from my previous article, the device is compatible with Android devices running Android 2.1.1 Éclair or later, Apple iPads running iOS 3.2 or and iPhones supporting iOS 4.0 or later. Once the device is paired with a phone or tablet, it automatically connects once powered on. It is compact, supports a nine hour battery life, and charges via a standard micro USB port on the bottom of the game pad. Free Gametel apps are available in both the iTunes App Store and Google Play which assist with the device pairing and lists compatible games. The device can also be used on Windows and Mac computers.
Controller Layout, Physics and Comfort
In this video you get to see the controller close-up. Notice the classic SNES-esque button layout: D-Pad, Select and Start buttons, 4 right-side buttons, and two trigger buttons on the top. The built-in clamp is strong and sturdy as it handles the widest of phones. I tested it in this video with a HTC EVO 4G LTE, a phone that is 2.7 inches wide. This allows your more “active” gamer to keep their mind on the game instead of worrying about holding the device-combo gently. And for games with on screen special controls, you can move your thumbs between the screen and the game pad itself with some ease. After a short period of use with a smartphone, you’ll gain confidence in the clamp and you’ll lose the “top heavy” worry that you’d inevitably start with. It won’t take you long to figure out how to hold the device comfortably.
Button Mapping and Response Time
In this video you get to see how good the response time is between the controller and the game you’re playing, even though I am bit rusty with Mario Kart. Since the button layout reminded me of so much of the SNES controller, and because SuperGNES was one of the suggested Gametel Google Play apps, I thought “why not try out a Super Nintendo game”. Now, depending on which game you use the controller with, you wont be able to experience the true value of the button layout unless the mapping is already configured, either by Gametel’s firmware or your efforts. That said, I was at least able to map the controller to SuperGNES quickly and accurately, allowing for that traditional console feel.
Playing Mario Kart with the controller not only brings you back, but it will remind you that the majority of the more intense and/or involved games out there are meant to be played with tangible peripherals as opposed to on screen controls. Overall I consider this device to be a great buy for the gamer on the go. It’s highly portable, multi-platform, easy to handle for the casual gamer, and much appreciated by a hard-core gamer like myself.