Mad Catz C.T.R.L.

Does the first full-size iOS game pad give you the full con­sole ex­pe­ri­ence?

Mac Format - - RATED | KIT - £50 Man­u­fac­turer Mad Catz, Bat­tery life 35 hours Works with iPad 4 or later, iPad mini or later, iPhone 5 or later, iPod touch 5th gen­er­a­tion or later Re­ally nicely made Com­fort­able de­sign A few de­sign nig­gles Still is­sues on the OS side

This is the first iOS gamepad we’ve seen that’s ac­tu­ally a full-size con­sole-like op­tion – no clamshell de­sign or tiny but­tons. Com­pro­mise-free gaming on iOS, then? Well, yes and no.

The C.T.R.L. it­self is re­ally nicely made, and will feel fa­mil­iar to those who have used an Xbox 360 con­troller a lot. It has a nice weight, and the matte plas­tic on the rear is tac­tile un­der the fin­gers. The ana­logue sticks are fairly re­sis­tive, but not overly so – there’s more of an is­sue with the sur­face on the top of th­ese sticks; it’s quite slip­pery, so your thumb tends to slide slowly over them when push­ing the stick hard to one side. This didn’t cause us any dis­as­ters, but grip­pier would be bet­ter.

The D-pad is lovely and crisp when you press it, though it of­fers almost no feed­back when you roll your thumb from one di­rec­tion to another. The trig­gers are ex­cel­lent, and we hope some rac­ing games will use th­ese to their fullest. Our only other lit­tle nig­gle with the con­trols here is that the B but­ton is loud when it pops up – pos­si­bly to the point of ir­ri­ta­tion for some­one watch­ing TV or try­ing to sleep next to you, for ex­am­ple.

The C.T.R.L. takes AA bat­ter­ies for power, which is in­ter­est­ing. It’s great in that you can pop a fresh set in im­me­di­ately when they go flat, but a built-in recharge­able unit can be more con­ve­nient in other ways. We don’t mind the AAs, but you might.

The C.T.R.L. comes with a clip that at­taches to the top that holds an iPhone or iPod touch, which is a nice touch. It works well, and can even hold an iPhone 6 Plus (though the screw that sits there when it isn’t at­tached is un­sightly).

The big­gest prob­lem with the C.T.R.L. though, is that support for con­trollers in iOS is still spotty. There’s of­ten lag be­tween when you press the but­ton and the re­sponse on-screen, which can vary be­tween games, or even just in one game (and some games han­dle gamepads awk­wardly gen­er­ally). We’ve seen it with other con­trollers, so we’re not blam­ing the C.T.R.L. ex­plic­itly, but it does af­fect the ex­pe­ri­ence. That said, this is cheaper than pre­vi­ous iOS con­trollers at £50, and there’s a smaller, cheaper ver­sion com­ing.

The C.T.R.L. may not be per­fect, then, but it’s the best iOS con­troller we’ve seen so far. Matt Bolton

The best op­tion for iOS gamers right now, and at a good price, but iOS con­trollers still aren’t per­fect yet.

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