Gamevice Flex review: Finally, a controller that works with iPhone cases

Gamevice Flex review: Finally, a controller that works with iPhone cases

The Gamevice Flex works with your iPhone case




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The Gamevice Flex takes a familiar formula for iPhone-Connected Drivers and enhances it with a simple feature: the ability to keep your iPhone case on during use.

Gamevice offered one of the first game controllers that took advantage of Apple’s MFi program and plugged into the sides of the iPhone or iPad. Since then, the company has reiterated that idea with a handful of useful updates.

There are some notable differences between the Gamevice Flex and the cheaper Gamevice model. The most significant update, however, is the ability to use most iPhone cases with the controller attached.

Gamevice Flex Design

Anyone who has used Gamevice controllers in the past, or some Razer Kishi models, will be instantly familiar with Gamevice Flex. The controller stores compactly, then can be folded up and “clipped” around the iPhone to transform it into a small game console.

Connect Gamevice Flex to turn your iPhone into a handheld game console

Connect Gamevice Flex to turn your iPhone into a handheld game console

Gamevice Flex uses the classic band and spring method to connect the two sides of the controller. Each controller hides a spring-loaded mechanism connected by bands that meet a solid plastic piece in the middle.

When the controller is unfolded, it is loose and hangs from the connector bands. Other modern controllers use a rigid slider mechanism like the spine one and the Razer Kishi V2.

In general, the design of the controller has not changed, although it has larger grips and more face buttons. Gamevice added a screenshot button and a launch apps button.

Fold the Gamevice Flex when not in use

Fold the Gamevice Flex when not in use

What sets the Gamevice Flex apart is its ability to connect to an iPhone with a case attached. The controller comes with various adapters that plug into the controller to ensure a firm grip on the iPhone.

A measurement tool included in the box tells you which adapter to choose for the left and right sides of the controller. Measures up to a box size of approximately 0.5 inches thick. It works with thicker protective cases, but don’t expect thicker cases like the Otterbox Defender to fit.

The adapters slide into the Gamevice Flex and click into position. They can be exchanged for different sizes if the user changes the case.

Using Gamevice Flex

The Gamevice Flex works like any other iPhone controller of its kind. Once the iPhone is connected, it connects via the Lightning port for lag-free gaming input.

Hall effect triggers feel great when pressed

Hall effect triggers feel great when pressed

The buttons are clicky and responsive, though not overly loud. Hall effect triggers feel great when pressed and add a physical element to some games like shooters or racing sims.

The screenshot button can be used to take screenshots with a double press. A screen recording starts with a long press.

The Gamevice button on the right side of the controller launches the Gamevice Live app. It works similarly to the Backbone One launcher, except it lacks a few shapes.

Gamevice Live app is poorly optimized and doesn't gain the dedicated hardware button

Gamevice Live app is poorly optimized and doesn’t gain the dedicated hardware button

First, the Gamevice Live app is not optimized for the iPhone 14 Pro line up. The dynamic island covers the UI elements in the left sidebar.

Second, selecting a game in the app doesn’t always launch it. It is usually directly linked to the app store or a “how to play” document, then the user has to navigate from there.

We’ve found that simply navigating to the game we want to play is much easier than using the Gamevice Live app. It also lacks social features or any compelling reason to use the app, so the dedicated button feels wasted.

Charge iPhone while gaming using the transfer port

Charge iPhone while gaming using the transfer port

The Lightning port allows pass-through charging while playing, and the headphone jack allows for lag-free audio. These features are standard on any controller of this style.

Despite the terrible app and wasted button, everything else about the controller is excellent. While we prefer the rigid slider mechanism of other controllers, the bands aren’t much of an issue as the controller can be folded up for storage.

As we said earlier, the selling point of this controller is its ability to work with a case attached. The only downside is that it’s hard to change inserts, and you’ll also need to keep up with the box of inserts.

A box of inserts is included, although the inserts can be difficult to change.

A box of inserts is included, although the inserts can be difficult to change.

Other controllers have been built to fit almost exactly the shape and size of the iPhone. The Backbone One, for example, didn’t account for an increase in the size of the camera bump and needs an adapter to work. It certainly won’t work with a case attached, no matter how slim it is.

Should you buy the Gamevice Flex?

Anyone who wears a case on their iPhone and wants a controller like the Gamevice should get the Flex, hands down. The fact that it can be used without removing the holster more than makes up for the spring and strap design of the grips.

Spring and band mechanism connects the two sides of the controller

Spring and band mechanism connects the two sides of the controller

However, this controller physically connects to the iPhone through the Lightning port. Apple is rumored to be moving to USB-C in the next year or two, so keep that in mind.

Those who intend to keep their current iPhone for another couple of years will get their money’s worth. Anyone looking to upgrade their iPhone in 2023 may no longer be able to use the Lightning-based Gamevice Flex or any Lightning-connected controller, for that matter.

Gamevice Flex Pros

  • Connects to iPhone without removing the case
  • Large grips and familiar button layout make gaming comfortable
  • Dedicated screenshot button is useful
  • The headphone jack is nice for those who play games with chat features or need lag-free audio

Gamevice Flex Cons

  • The Gamevice Live app is almost useless, making the dedicated button a waste
  • Lightning-based accessory might not be useful on future iPhone models
  • Changing adapters can be difficult

Rating: 4.0 out of 5

Gamevice Flex is a significant improvement over previous models. The score would go up if the adapters were easier to change.

The adapters click into place, but have no way to slide out without force

The adapters click into place, but have no way to slide out without force

This device would get a perfect score with two spot changes. First, move to a rigid slider mechanism instead of the spring and band. Second, make the Gamevice Live app gain the dedicated button on the controller.

Where to buy the Gamevice Flex

Gamevice Flex is available for iPhone and Android, so make sure you buy the compatible version. It costs $109.95 and is available at Gamevice website either Amazon.

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