Samsung’s doing what it does best - making a product that’s already available in the market. Case in point - a gaming controller for Android devices.
But unlike SteelSeries’ Free Mobile Wireless Controller, the Samsung Smartphone GamePad (wow, such naming creativity) is equipped with a cradle that grips an Android device. Screen sizes between 4in and 6.3in will fit, which means the Sony Xperia Z Ultra is out of the question. Size-wise, we feel that the GamePad's width, measuring 86.47mm, should give a better grip than the SteelSeries’ controller, which is impossibly small and hard to hold with its 55mm width.
The usual suspects are found on the controller - an eight-way directional pad and two analog joysticks for your thumbs to fiddle with. There’s no lack of buttons too - four action buttons, two trigger buttons, Select, Start and a Play button. The Play button triggers the pairing process between the controller and Android device. It also downloads the Samsung Mobile Console app, which shows you a list of GamePad-supported games on the Google Play Store. As of now, 35 games are compatible with the GamePad.
Though it’s a Samsung-branded controller, it’ll theoretically work with any Android devices since it connects via Bluetooth. Setting up is relatively easy, seeing how the device comes with near field communication that lets you tap and link controller and NFC-enabled devices wirelessly.
The downside? A 160mAh battery powers the controller, which is a tad too weak if you’re doing a gaming marathon. Since the GamePad will be used on Android smartphones with at least 3000mAh batteries, an option to siphon some juice from those high capacity batteries to the controller would be nice.
The GamePad is currently available in select European markets, and will be available in additional regions in the coming weeks. We're checking with Samsung right now for confirmed updates about Asia availability.