I wonder what happens if I pull this thing and - oh, a full-sized console controller. That's kinda neat, even if the extended handles do look a little too much like scissor blades. What happens if I put this little plastic bracket on...
Not content with making a stylish Android set-top box, Razer is also planning on attacking the Android gaming market on its home turf. The Serval is a full-sized, console-style Bluetooth game controller that's compatible with both Razer's Forge TV and direct connection with Android phones and tablets. It's far from the first controller made with Android in mind, but it's the first to come from perhaps the most high-profile game peripheral company out there, and is thus worthy of examination.
Update 11/17/14: The NES30 has been restocked after quickly selling out back in September.
Last weekend we published an exhaustive review of the 8BitDo NES30, a Bluetooth controller designed for phones and tablets with the looks of the original Nintendo Entertainment System but the extra buttons from the Super NES. The reviewer came away impressed thanks to solid functionality, a smart button layout, and a slavish dedication to the classic NES aesthetics.
Anyone looking for a solid Android gaming controller need look no further than the MOGA series. The original controller launched a year ago, and while there were and remain some drawbacks to the bundled software, the hardware itself is top notch. The latest generation hopes to address a fundamental drawback to gaming on a smartphone, the inescapable battery draining forces at work whenever you fire up a graphically intensive game and attempt to play it using a Bluetooth controller.
Update: It looks like we might not be able to plug our phones into our controllers just yet. The Amazon link has already changed to say that the MOGA Hero Power is temporarily out of stock. Keep an eye out, as it will probably reappear before or around the launch of the MOGA Pro Power.
Android games are consistently getting better, but there's a drawback. As new titles task players with taking control of more detailed character models, paint surfaces with higher resolution textures, and follow up attacks with an increasing number of particles, phones with passable battery life soon find that they can hardly make it through morning.
Gaming on Android has come a long way since the early days - we're even starting to see console-quality games show up for certain devices. However, there is one major shortcoming: touch controls, for the most part, are complete crap. They're a little more manageable on a device like a tablet, but they're downright unusable on a smartphone.
The solution? A controller. This is becoming a more and more widely adopted feature, thanks to things like the Zeemote.