How to turn almost any phone into an Xperia Play beater

Features Damien McFerran 16:03, 10 Oct 2011

We look into how the brilliant iControlPad is making mobile gaming even more precise

When we reviewed the iControlPad a while back we were very taken with its ability to turn almost any smartphone into a fully-fledged portable console. However, our biggest problem was the lack of app support and the fact that the clamps it came with only fit a handful of handsets.

A few months on and that situation has changed. Not only are there more games then ever offering iCP support, but the brainy boffins who designed the unique controller have dreamt up a solution to the phone compatibility issue - a universal clamp.

This unassuming piece of metal clips onto the back of the iControlPad using a plastic bolt. There are several holes on the back that allow you to grip your phone tightly. There's also a sheet of foam stickers supplied, which you can use to ensure the metal doesn't damage your phone when it's in the clamp.

The final piece of the puzzle are two rubber bumpers that fit onto the side of the iControlPad - in the same place the original plastic clamps went. These make the controller easier to hold and essentially turn it into a stand-alone pad when you're not using it with a phone.

We've tried it with our Android tablet and it works like a dream - especially if you've got HDMI-out and can hook up to your large-screen TV. Since we reviewed the iControlPad, a wide range of games and retro emulators have been re-tooled to offer direct support.

For example, with the excellent Android-based MD.emu and SNES9X EX, you can link up the iControlPad from within the emulator's options screen. All you need to do is enable Bluetooth, set the iControlPad to 'search' and tap the relevant command in the emulator. The process takes a matter of seconds.

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