Once-and-former gaming specialist Razer has announced a somewhat device-limited controller for smartphones, the Junglecat, which owes a certain debt of gratitude to Nintendo's Joy-Con design.
Designed, Razer claims, to allow for fluid control of mobile games without touching the screen, the Junglecat turns any smartphone into a Nintendo Switch-style handheld console. Like the Switch's Joy-Cons, the Junglecat comes in two parts which can be used independently or jointly while physically attached to the smartphone or to a bundled controller grip. Like the Joy-Cons, it includes analogue sticks with a digital direction pad at one side and four diamond-configuration buttons at the other, plus triggers at the top side of each - but has no motion control functionality.
'Mobile gaming is hampered by players having to put their fingers on the screen to control the actions,' opines Alvin Cheung, senior vice president of Razer's peripherals business unit. 'The Razer Junglecat improves the mobile gaming experience substantially with two feature-rich controllers, giving players an unobstructed view of the action and easy access to game features without interrupting play.'
In either mode, the Junglecat controllers connect to the mobile - which must be running Android 7.0 or higher - over Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) with a claimed hundred-hours-plus of active battery life. A bundled Gamepad application runs, oddly, only on Android 8.0 or higher, and for those who want to actually use it in Switch-style handheld mode on the phone itself the compatibility list is short: US customers receive cases for the Razer Phone 2, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, and Samsung Galaxy S10+; international customers get cases for the Razer Phone 2, Huawei P30 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy S10+. The controller can also be used on Windows devices from 8.1 upwards.
For those with one of the above phones, the Junglecat is available now priced at an eyebrow-raising £99.99 (inc. VAT) from Razer's official webshop.
January 24 2020 | 12:00