Made by: Phonejoy
Price: $69.90, $79.90, $89.90 – depending on the bundle

Hardware/iOS Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
Usability Rating: ★★★★½
Reuse Value Rating: ★★★★½
Build Quality Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Bottom Line: The Phonejoy bluetooth game controller is a slick little attachment that accommodates all sorts of devices and orientations.

It’s important to note before I get too deep into this thing that the Phonejoy is currently not available as an MFi controller. It does work with iOS games that still support the iCade, however, and there’s the added benefit of being able to use it with Android devices as well. But if you’re on the fence, it’s something to keep in mind. At least until an MFi model might become available.

The Phonejoy uses a similar button layout to most console controllers, with four primary face buttons, four shoulder buttons, two analog sticks (left and right), a start and back button, and a digital pad. It’s also very well put-together. The plastic doesn’t look or feel cheap like with some mobile controllers, the buttons are solid, and the sliding mechanism on the inside uses what looks and feels to be some pretty nice springs and metal plates. The surfaces on the analog sticks are a teensy bit slippery, but they don’t move very far so you thumbs aren’t really likely to slide off.

phonejoy5An official Phonejoy app is available that lists compatible games and tells you how to properly connect everything. I’m not entirely sure why the directions on pairing the Phonejoy – hold B and the Back button until the light turns red – couldn’t be included in the written instructions, other than to drive downloads of the app I suppose, but having the list is handy. Unfortunately some of the games don’t seem to work quite right anymore (Terra Noctis was something of a distaster, truth be told), but there are still several that I’ve tested that play incredibly well with the physical controls. Stealth Inc., Metal Slug 3, pretty much anything by Orange Pixel, and a whole lot more all work perfectly.

There’s no hardware connection required to use the Phonejoy (it uses bluetooth), so all you have to do to set it up is set your device in the middle and turn it on. The controls will connect wirelessly, and the force of the springs will keep a firm grip to make sure nothing slides out of place – both in a vertical and horizontal orientation. As an added bonus, since you never have to physically hook anything up you can just use the Phonejoy like a regular wireless controller if you prefer.

phonejoy2Adapters may also be connected to your device that will allow you to use headphones or charge it while you use the Phonejoy. Both came packed in with the Pro Gamer set I received ($89.90), along with a portable tablet stand and travel case for the Phonejoy itself, but you can also purchase them separately if needed. The only problem is that the power adapter is micro USB only, so no charging while playing for iOS users. The headphone extension will works just fine, though.

If it weren’t for the lack of MFi options, the Phonejoy would be an easy recommendation. Although even without them it’s a solid controller that works very, very well with the games it is compatible with – and that list is still pretty long.

Posted in: Hardware Reviews, Reviews

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