Mobile gaming has never been easier thanks to the Gametel Controller
There are many fantastic games available for Android devices these days. Most such as Fruit Ninja & Angry Birds are designed to be used with simple touchscreen gestures but there are a few games catering for the type of user that remembers the good old games of waggling joysticks and bashing buttons. Retro remakes like R-Type & Sonic the Hedgehog have hit Android in a big way but for many playing these games using a touchscreen isn't a great experience. For a better experience you could purchase a Sony Xperia Play which features a slide out joypad for gaming the way it's meant to be played, but what if you already have a great Android device? Enter the Gametel controller.
The Gametel is a Bluetooth game controller roughly half the size of a smartphone which attaches itself to your smartphone by using a rather ingenious spring loaded clip. In testing this clip held a Nexus S very securely but, thanks to the clips being made out of a rubber type material, no damage is caused to your device.
The unit itself has a lovely rounded D-pad, 4 buttons in a diamond configuration, select and start buttons, and two shoulder buttons. Sadly there are no analogue controls on the unit which means that some games such as Asphalt 6 just don't want to work - the same game works fine on the Xperia Play which does have analogue controls. On the bottom of the unit is a micro USB port for charging the internal battery which gives 9 hours playtime.
As the Gametel controller is Bluetooth it is very easy to connect to an Android device. Gametel provide a free application available from the Android Market which assists in pairing the Gametel controller to your Android phone. The application can pair up to four units to a single device which is great for tablet users - four player Gauntlet via MAME4droid anyone? One of my favourite functions of the application is the facility to remap the controller buttons. This is very useful for any game that doesn't provide it's own way to do this and also allows you to create and save your own custom keymap profiles.
To test the Gametel I spent several days testing several games and emulators. Games such as Sonic CD worked beautifully with the Gametel and the gaming experience is so much better than using the touchscreen. It's worth noting that the Gametel uses the same key codes as the Xperia Play so if a game supports this device then it'll probably work with the Gametel. However I say probably because there is one issue - any game that requires analogue controls will sadly not function. A few games I tried such as Reckless Racing 2, Real Racing 2, and Asphalt 6 just did not want to work as they were expecting analogue input. It's a shame that Gametel didn't add an analogue controller but I can understand this would had pushed the price up.
One area the Gametel does really well in is emulation. Anybody that is a hardcore emulation addict will know that playing the classic games using a touchscreen is a pretty bad experience. The Gametel really allows you to play the games properly and makes fighting games such as Street Fighter 2 so much better to play. The buttons and D-pad can take a battering and no matter how hard you play, the Gametel keeps on running.
The Gametel is compatible with all Android phones running at least Android 2.1 and Android tablets. The controller itself can be switched into different modes for use on different systems such as Android, iCade emulation, HID gamepad and HID keyboard. In HID mode it can even work with your computer if you have a Bluetooth dongle.
If you are really serious about your gaming on Android and you don't own an Xperia Play then the Gametel is a great thing to own. Whilst the lack of analogue controls will be off-putting to some people it is still a great purchase and really goes well with the many emulators and platform games available on the Android Market. Quite simply if you are into your retro games then you need to buy this controller.
The Gametel controller is available from Amazon.co.uk for £49.99 - Link
See Gametel.se for further details