GameVice iPad Pro REVIEW Upgrade Your iOS Device Into a Gaming Juggernaut

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Portable gaming has definitely come a long way from the original boxy Gameboy, released in July of 1989 (America). I can remember long car rides with my parents and using countless AA batteries, at least until I bought a PowerPak. From the Gameboy Color, through the Gameboy Advance to the New 3DS XL and now the Nintendo Switch, I have enjoyed portable gaming. To you Sony and Sega fans out there, I was not solely a Nintendo Fanboy. I have owned and enjoyed PS Vita and a Sega Gamegear as well. I have had the luxury of growing up within a pro-gaming household. I have so many fond memories watching my father play games on the NES, Super NES and games like Kings Quest on his PC. Once I reached high school and into college, my father and I spent innumerable hours scouring the zones within Dark Age of Camelot. Now that I have children of my own, I get to switch roles and usher in a new generation of gamers. The major difference, my kids want to play games on their iPads.

The Gamevice devices are currently available for iOS and Android phones/tablets. Unlike the iPhone Gamevice (reviewed previously), there are different SKU for iPad Mini, iPad 9.7″, iPad pro 10.5″ and iPad Pro 12.9.” I was pleased to learn that Gamevice chose a fit your machine approach instead of attempting a fit your iPad to a universal machine approach. The 10.5″ iPad Pro Gamevice arrived in a rather large 14 7/8 inches long by 6 1/2 inches wide by 2 5/8 inches thick retail package. The cover displayed an image of an unadorned, case free iPad Pro 10.5″, with surrounding MFI (made for iPad) Gamevice grip-controllers. The full-sized cover art masterfully demonstrated the product. Utilizing the top and back of the package, Gamevice provided details about the product in nine different languages. Interestingly, the multi-lingual approach was not too terribly busy and actually worked well with the size of the packaging. The device will connect by lightning connection, requires iOS 7 or later and with the use of the Gamevice LIve App, you can enjoy hundreds of games. One should not need to state such nonsense, but the packaging does state “iPad not included.”

After you remove the lower tape, you can remove the top of the packaging like a shoebox. With the lid set aside, you will immediately notice the 14 1/2 inches long by 5 1/2 inches wide by 2 1/4 inches thick device. Each of the black grips measures just at 3 inches wide and the gap between them is spanned by a rubberized backing of ~8 1/2 inches long. The back of each of the side controllers is raised and allows for a comfortable grip. Atop each of the controllers, you will find two triggers, which will accommodate your pointer and ring fingers very well. The left controller has a 15/16 inches tall by 15/16 inches wide D-pad and then a 5/8 inch diameter thumbstick to the upper-left of the D-pad. The right controller has a similarly shaped thumbstick along the top right, a 5/16 inch diameter black dome-shaped “menu” button and four 7/16 inches diameter A, X, B, Y dome-shaped buttons. Similar to the Xbox One controller, the buttons use the same green, red, yellow, blue coloration. However, instead of the Green A, Red B, Yellow Y and Blue X color scheme utilized on the Xbox One, the Gamevice device rotated the colors 90 degrees counterclockwise. Beneath the right controller, you will find a lightning input port, which will allow you to charge while you play. The rubberized backing was thicker than the handheld iPhone version and provided much-needed protection for the back of the iPad Pro 10.5″.

Beneath the game controller, Gamevice included a cardboard box with included Gamevice decal, a 90-day warranty guide/instructions to not return to the store/satisfaction information, and a multi-lingual instruction manual. To install the Gamevice device, insert the lightning adaptor of the right controller into the lightning port on your iPad Pro 10.5″. Once installed gently pull outward on the left controller and then slide your iPad Pro 10.5″ into the groove of the left controller. There are crescent cutouts on each of the inner borders, with the right controller’s cutout allowing access to the home button. Once installed, navigate to the iOS App Store and download the Gamevice Live App. From there, you can search through a variety of games, review the control scheme and enjoy a Switch-Like experience. My biggest concern about the Gamevice for iPad is that you cannot use any kind of case with this device and the left/right side of your iPad are not protected. Since the iPad version of the Gamevice does not fold down and there is no carry case for it (like the phone version), I wish that the backing was taller and would wrap around the iPad. When ready to remove the iPad from the Gamevice, securely hold the right controller and pull outward on the left controller. There was a small degree of extension within the left controller, allowing you to slip the top of your iPad out of the left controller groove.

Once you download the Gamevice Live App from the App store, you will be taken to the “Our Favorites” page. The homepage will scroll games like Evoland II, Temple of Spikes, Portal Knights, Alto’s Odyssey, Bouncy Smash, Death Squared, Monster Hunter Freedom Unite, Lineage Revolution, Street Fighter IV Champion Edition (Chrono Trigger, GRID Autosport, The Walking Dead, Minecraft Season Two Story Mode, Turbo Engine, Riptide Renegade and the ability to fly a DJI spark or a Sphero Star wars droid (BB-8, BB-9E, R2-D2). Along the top right of the app, you will see a magnifying glass and a staggered four horizontal bar icon. Tap the magnifying glass to search through the games or tap the horizontal bars to change the view. With the new layout, you will see a list of categories to the left and the games with icon to the right. The default “New” category contained 294 games, the featured category had 78 games, free had 533 games, paid had 591 items and in total “all” there are 1124 compatible games. From action to adventure to arcade to racing and role-playing and so much more, everyone should be able to find a game that interests you. If you see a title that tickles your fancy, touch the app. The app will take you to a secondary screen, which shows the app icon, the controls for the game and provides a brief description of the experience with some reviews. My current favorite iOS game is “War Robots,” a free-to-play (transaction) mech six-on-six battle style game. From within the second page, you can tap “Download on the App Store” and you will be linked to the game on the App Store.

As with the iPhone version of the Gamevice, I used the device to test the controls of multiple Apps. I enjoyed multiple rounds of Modern Combat Versus and War Robots. Additionally, since retro is back, I enjoyed a little retro Sega action with Altered Beast, Golden Axe and Sonic the Hedgehog. This review is not capable of summarizing the pros/cons of all of the 1124 games available. There are many high quality paid and free games to choose from. The buttons were incredibly responsive, had a very pleasing click-feel and enhanced the overall gaming experience. After watching the team control a DJI Spark Drone at CES, I am looking forward to getting my own Spark or a BB-8 to control with the device. If you are looking for a console-esque experience on your iPad Pro 10.5″ device, I would encourage you to evaluate the Gamevice controller. I wish that there was more protection of your iPad or that it had a case/silicone bumper available. There is no travel kit/bag for the controller and it is thus less portable. I do not want to travel with my iPad out of the case and this does limit the use, at least for me. The controller was fantastic, the buttons were responsive and the device was incredibly comfortable to hold/operate. The triggers lined up perfectly, and the screen of the iPad Pro 10.5 was absolutely stunning. I missed the portability that the iPhone version provided, by folding into a small carry pouch. I felt that the lack of a carry case was a prominent disadvantage to this kit. Despite the limitations, the controller was amazing. I would rate the controller at 5/5 stars but the product as a whole at 4/5 stars due to lack of portability.
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Originally published at macsources.com on March 16, 2018.

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