Monday, 6 February 2012

Product Review- PhoneJoy

Last week we at the Mobile Phone Tips and Tricks Head Office in sunny England got a nice large box sent to us from “PhoneJoy Solutions” the people behind the “PhoneJoy” controller. The control which resembles the Dual Shock control from the Playstation line of home gaming consoles is one of a handful of Bluetooth based gaming controls that can be used to play games on Android phones, though how good is it?

Firstly we had to set the control up for the phone, to do this we followed the very straightforward guide on the PhoneJoy website (click here to read that guide) and with in 10 minutes the phone and control were paired by bluetooth and we were ready to go. Next we had to find something we could test the control on, for us it was obvious, we were going to use the emulators we had on the phone which allowed us to test a lot of the control such as it's flexibility and it's re-activeness.

After booting up N64oid we quickly mapped the N64 controller to the “PhoneJoy” and we were ready to go with games such as Goldeneye, F Zero X, Diddy Kong Racing and Banjo Kazooie. It didn't take long at all (30 minutes tops) to get used to the control and it soon became second nature. As soon as we got the hang of the control the racing games were a real joy to play, it was smooth, responsive and incredibly easy. F Zero X had become the game we'd all loved from the 1990's, Diddy Kong Racing was the same ludicrous fun that we all knew and loved...and then we got to Goldeneye and this was where we had one of the few niggles we had. The analogue stick just seemed a little bit too jumpy for the accurate shooting sections in the game and instead of allowing us to get clear head shots we were really having to rely on the auto-aim far too much for our liking. We've read that this is actually down to the software or the emulator rather than the control though it is incredibly irritating who-ever we are to blame. I'm willing to give the control the benefit of the doubt (due to how well it works with the other N64 games) though it is still worth noting for people who are big FPS fans. We've also had issues using the “Analog” setting of the control though at the moment I'm still putting this down to the software more than the actual controller, hopefully we will see this sorted out in the future as this is really the only issue regarding how it works.

The second, much bigger issue we have with the control is it's portability. We know it's based very blatantly on the Dual Shock controllers used by Sony in their Playstation consoles though whilst it's a good design and it's very easy to hold and use...it's also rather large. The control won't easily fit in your average pocket and for something that is trying to make gaming portable that's not a good thing. What also doesn't help is that the control can't be “bracketed” or physically “connected” to the phone like a number of the other devices on the market. Instead the control comes with a stand that the phone can sit on whilst you use the control and in some environments this is fantastic (at home, at a friends or even on a train) in other environments however this is difficult (think sitting in a car or a bus). It's a sort of weird pay off, you get a very usable and natural controller that you'll be used to using though it's not the most mobile or one you can use in every situation.

Now we've gotten the big issues out of the way we'll be honest we really like it. We think it helps you get a lot more out of emulators and some Android games (though we mainly used it on emulators). It has got it's issues and it's not perfect though we're not going to have a “perfect” control for a while yet and this does what it needs to do wonderfully well, the battery is incredibly long lasting and easy to charge the stand has a number of uses outside of just gaming and the control is a joy to use. It's made playing games from my our childhood much more enjoyable than using the poor on screen controls and really brought to life what the Android can do with the right kind of accessories.

At around $35.00 each they are worth the price if you play emulators on your phone (we advise using a top phone though such as the Samsung Galaxy S2 or HTC Sensation XE, as most others will struggle with the better emulators). The pros certainly outweigh the cons and when you think of all the games you really open up as a result of the control it's easily the worth. If you want to think of it in another way a working N64 alone costs about the same price as the control and the control can play a lot more games than just an N64.

Official website:
http://www.phonejoy.net/

Pros-
Very affordable
Easy to use
Easy to set up
Long lasting battery
Useful Stand
Bring Android Gaming to a whole new level

Cons-
Does seem to have some issues with accuracy*
Analog doesn't seem to have been perfected*
Not the most portable of devices
No "bracket" fitting

*We think these are software issues

4 comments:

  1. what version of bluez ime and n64oid were you using?

    n64oid v2.6 is supposed to help with analog accuracy issues.

    do u have an update?

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  2. Hi Mat, I am using N64ois 2.6.3 and can safely say I am still having those issues. Sorry about that.

    Scott.

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  3. Hi, I am the author of Bluez IME.

    It is important that you connect to PhoneJoy from inside the N64oid app.
    If you connect from BluezIME, N64oid will not read the analog data, and thus only get "emulated keypresses", meaning if you press the analog stick more than 50% in a direction, it appears as a normal digital keypress.

    If you connect from within N64oid, it should be able to read the full range, meaning that you get 127 steps in each direction for each analog direction. Also, be sure that you have analog mode enabled on the controller, otherwise it will send emulated keypresses as well.

    If there are still accuracy issues, please create an issue on the Bluez IME website, and I will try to work it out, but I have not seen other complaints for PhoneJoy.

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  4. Hi Kenneth,
    It seems as soon as I press the analog mode on N64oid the control ends up going a bit crazy and becomes impossible to play with. I'll leave a comment on the Bluez IME website in a few minutes. I'm really not sure why this happens though as I know you're right and the analog mode shouldn't be doing this.

    Don't think I'm being negative about Bluez IME though as I am genuinely a huge fan and need to thank you for writing such a fantastic piece of software.

    ReplyDelete