Mobile gaming, whether console purists want to admit it or not, is huge part of the market—maybe even bigger, in some ways, because of how accessible and cheap games are. But even after all these years, playing on a touchscreen isn’t the most elegant way to navigate virtual worlds. There are certainly no shortage of Bluetooth keyboards available, but the PhoneJoy is unique in its execution, and a nice travel companion to boot.
Equipped with a spring-loaded “EasySlider” expansion mechanism, the PhoneJoy is capable of playing nice with any type of phone available today, from the Nexus 4 on up to the Galaxy Note 3; the device can expand up to 3x its size. Securing a device in place is a little tricky—you have to hold one side open and then kind of leverage the phone in there—but you get the hang of it over time. The EasySlider is strong and secure, too, meaning your phone will be safe and sound sandwiched between the PhoneJoy’s two sides.
PhoneJoy says the controller works with phones, tablets, PC, iCade and OUYA, so you have plenty of flexibility between a wide range of devices. When the PhoneJoy is closed, however, it’s a little on the small side, meaning if you have larger hands they’ll probably get cramped and uncomfortable. That’s kind of the experience all around, actually; in an effort to stay portable, PhoneJoy compromised a little on comfort and usability, so only those with the smallest hands (kids) will be able to game for long periods.
Otherwise the PhoneJoy feels relatively solid for what it is. Made out of a durable plastic, the buttons have a nice tactile feedback, and the thumbsticks are pretty easy to maneuver with over 255 steps of sensitivity. Setting it up is easy, too; PhoneJoy is compatible with over 400 games between Android and iOS. It’s just a matter of setting things up and finding the right titles. There are also three different modes, including GamePad, iCade and TV/Navigation.
Many of todays most popular mobile games use simple touch gestures to control the experience. But if you want something more powerful, PhoneJoy is a unique controller that offers plenty of flexibility and great design to push your device’s gaming to the limits. So long as you’re willing to pay $69.90 (there is also a $79.90 “advanced” package, and another that’s $89.90.