October 25, 2022
mobile game controller
$99.95 (Android), $109.95 (iPhone)
How has it been eight years since the first Gamevice was released and we are only now getting to the point where users can use a controller on their mobile phone without having to remove the case? Sure, there have been some like the Gamesir X2 that use Bluetooth via regular Type-C or Lightning port connections, but if you want a controller that plugs directly into the controller without cables or clips to keep your phone suspended, I’d generally go for it. you have to strip your phone. Ever since I came back from Samsung to iPhone, I have gotten my hands on various mobile controllers for the sake of cloud gaming. I must say that the Gamevice Flex is a case study of how to do it right.
At first glance, Gamevice Flex matches the design of an earlier version from 2022 (simply called Gamevice for iPhone) that was sized to fit the iPhone 13 (and 14) Pro Max. Two things are immediately noticeable when the Gamevice Flex is closed for travel: two extra buttons and a 3.5mm headphone jack that feels more like a luxury than a standard feature on mobile controllers, even in the $100 range. However, it’s when you unfold the Gamevice Flex that its most unique feature comes to the fore.
The secret feature is spoiled when the end user takes the Gamevice Flex out of the box to find a size chart and various component boxes with odd numbers on them. The purpose of those plastic pieces becomes apparent when gamers discover that they are, in fact, used as spacers on both sides of the internal Gamevice Flex grips. What Gamevice has created with its Flex is a sizing system that allows users to find the perfect fit for the phone of their choice, with or without a case.
Now, it should be pretty apparent given the form factor on the Gamevice Flex, but it doesn’t quite fit the Samsung Z Fold 4 (it would need a minimum clearance of 15.8mm, while Gamevice Flex for Android can fit up to 14.1mm, which is still a modest range for phones and cases). There are some other limitations to what it can fit for obvious reasons, like phones that have a dust cover to block the charging port (you’d have to cut them to fit) or those with multiple pieces that snap together like the Otterbox Defender line.
In full transparency, Gamevice also offered to ship a case along with the Gamevice Flex to test the adapter’s functionality, and I received an Otterbox Symmetry case with MagSafe for my iPhone 14 Pro Max a couple of days before the Gamevice Flex arrived at my door. When I was finally able to unbox the Flex, I was greeted with those five boxes of adapters: one box of left parts, two boxes of right parts, and two boxes of phone adapters. Those phone adapters are designed for when you use your iPhone out of its case, so for my purposes, I tried the rubber molded parts, and as the name suggests, only the full-size adapters would fit the iPhone 14 Pro Max. .
With the Cardboard Case Adapter Selector in hand along with your chosen phone and case, it’s as simple as sliding the side of your phone into the key holes one by one until you find the right cavity that fits perfectly. to your phone without giving too much or strain to fit. For the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Symmetry case, I went with L25 on the left side and R15A on the right. The piece on the right side is actually more difficult to figure out, as the Gamevice Flex includes different thicknesses on the backplate that lines up around the Lightning port. I first tried the R15B with a raised edge, and while the phone fit securely, the combined adapter and case were too thick to connect through the Lightning port. Once I switched to the R15A variant, everything worked as intended and I was greeted with a blue illumination of the new Gamevice button on the controller to show that it was receiving power.
One area of concern with the Gamevice Flex case adapters is installation and removal. Since these are essentially ground pieces of plastic, they don’t have much bending strength and can be prone to breaking (if you don’t lose them first). To install the adapter, simply slide the adapter plate face up through the guide holes on each side of the case until it snaps into place. Once in place, there is a slight horizontal movement for the cape, but the rivets should keep the adapter from falling out. However, removal requires a bit of finesse to get out. To reliably remove the adapter plate, you would have to simultaneously lift the adapter plate while tilting it to the side to release the adapter from the controller housing. It’s an awkward transition to remove the plates, but unless you change cases every day of the week, you should be fine to find the right fit and leave it in place. I have tossed the controller in my bag and traveled or biked and no amount of pushing and jerking has resulted in any part of the adapter falling out when not in use.
Gamevice has a very unique design to fold up the controller when not in use, with the two rear pieces snapping into each other. It takes some practice to get the phone to fold neatly on itself and this would be a point I would give to similar devices like the Spine One that simply pulls out horizontally to accommodate your phone. Also, the Lightning port remains exposed even when the controller is folded, so be careful not to carry open candy or soda in your bag when traveling with the Gamevice Flex.
Once the Gamevice Flex is plugged in, gamers can easily access Call of Duty Mobile, Xbox Cloud Gaming, PlayStation Remote Play, or whatever controller-enabled apps they have on their phones. However, with a new button dedicated just to launching the hub, Gamevice would very much like gamers to use that button for quick access to their new Gamevice Live app. From here, gamers are greeted with a variety of games and services that Gamevice says will work with your controller. However, it is the illusion of a caster. Choosing a game from the list gives the player a trailer, the option to add it to favorites, and a How to Play guide that links viewers to a YouTube tutorial showing how to access that particular streaming service. Despite signing in to the Xbox Cloud Gaming website, there is no link to switch from the Gamevice Live app to the Xbox, Stadia, Geforce Now or any other app. Fortunately, Apple Arcade and App Store titles can be downloaded directly from these game pages with just a quick tap of the Install button and the Get button that appears. It’s not possible to remap that dedicated button, nor is there a way to disable it without completely uninstalling the Gamevice Live app from your phone.
I’ve talked for so long about the Gamevice Flex’s capabilities and limitations for holding cases that it’s about time I mentioned something about the controllers. The triggers are easily the star of the show, with the Gamevice Flex boasting the same Hall effect on previous models but with a much smoother pull with a well-defined amount of tension. Whether you were playing a first-person shooter or an RPG, they were comfortable for longer stretches with a large lip on the concave curve to keep your fingers in place. Likewise, the joysticks don’t compromise on what gamers can expect from the big three console makers and held up through dozens of hours of use with no scratches on the textured grip around the edge or anywhere else. However, the D-pad and buttons still leave a lot to be desired (and let’s be honest, most mobile controllers don’t have the right D-pad). Both sets of inputs have a soft membrane feel underneath that is such a different shock feel than the finesse of triggers from the same driver manufacturer. While it’s certainly not the worst directional pad I’ve gotten my hands on over the years, it simply lacks the satisfaction of multiple inputs or even rolling in a full 360 motion. Positives I have to admit for the Gamevice directional pad Flex is the one-piece design and raised edge around the end of each direction, giving the gamer’s thumb a soft place to rest when not using the left analog stick.
Let’s get this out of the way: Gamevice Flex is the best controller the company has ever put its name on. With a single adapter and sizing design that accommodates a wide range of phone cases, it’s great to see companies realizing that gamers don’t want to compromise between gaming and durability for their phones. While some features of Gamevice’s weaker aspects are still present in the Flex, this is a controller that deserves to be on your holiday wish list.
Review unit provided by the manufacturer.
Products mentioned in this publication.
The first mobile game controller of its kind with case adapters for a wide range of phones, the Gamevice Flex fits a unique niche of gaming peripherals for those who want to jump into Xbox Cloud Gaming on the go without removing their phone from their hands. its protective cover.
- No need to remove most phone cases thanks to the unique case adapter design
- 3.5mm headphone jack
- Hall effect triggers and full size joysticks
- Box adapters will not randomly fall off during transportation
- Lightning passage and no noticeable change in phone battery life
- Currently only available directly from Gamevice or Walmart
- $10 premium for iOS version without additional features
- The directional pad leaves a lot to be desired
- The Launch New App button cannot be reassigned and always opens the Gamevice app unless uninstalled
- No Lightning data transfer so can’t be used as a wired controller like the Backbone One
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