The Gamevice Flex controller for Android and iPhone (compensated affiliate links) is the subject of my latest video review. If this looks like the Razer Kishi that I reviewed a year or two ago it’s because Gamevice manufactured that device for Razer. Razer went in a different direction for their version 2 controller.
The biggest challenge any of these slide-in controllers have is finding a way to make things fit properly given how every phone is a different size. Phone cases complicate this problem further. Gamevice attempts to solve this problem by including dozens of slide in adapters to ensure a snug fit. They also have a compatibility guide on their website to provide further peace of mind.
I tried a couple of phones, some with cases, some without. I was able to get all of them to fit snugly, unlike the Kishi that always felt a little loose. It’s not all that difficult to slide out the spacers and put new ones in. But you’ll definitely want to hang onto the original packaging so you don’t lose them. Gamevice says they can fit up to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra but it’s not big enough to accomodate larger devices like tablets. So the iPad Mini is a no-go here.
On the Android side you’ll need a phone that has a USB-C port that supports OTG data devices (most meet that requirement these days). The iPhone version uses a lightning connector and it will fit everything from a small iPhone 6s all the way up to the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Both versions offer a passthrough charging port, with the Android version supporting USB-C and the the iPhone version using a lighting connector. You’ll also get an actual 3.5mm headphone jack on the left-hand side of the controller!
The controller interfaces with its USB or lightning connector to the phone, meaning it’s not using bluetooth. It therefore doesn’t need to be charged and it shouldn’t draw all that much power from the host device. This will reduce input lag a bit but the performance will vary based on the phone and the USB controller in use. I have found even some of the best phones are not great when it comes to input latency, however.
From a gameplay perspective the Flex solves a lot of the problems I had with the Kishi. Gone are the analog deadzones and oversized thumbsticks. Controls are very sensitive and begin responding with just a slight movement on the stick. The d-pad is better too but still not perfect. I found that it would sometimes register errant diagonals when playing 8-bit NES games.
All in I found the Flex to be very competitive with my favorite mobile controller, the Backbone One for iPhone. The d-pad is better on the Backbone but the Backbone won’t work with phones in a case. The Flex appears to be a nice improvement over the original Razer Kishi design.