Mad Catz C.T.R.L.
Does the first full-size iOS game pad give you the full console experience?
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.