Given that the Nintendo Switch is essentially a tablet which you can add gamepads to, it was always just a matter of time before somebody took the idea and scaled it down for smartphones. Yes, there may be around 20 million Switch consoles already in the wild, but there are over two billion smartphones, so the potential is unquestionably there.
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Like Nintendo’s Joy-Cons, the controllers attach to either side of the phone screen (via a case that connects the two), adding various buttons along the way. The left-hand side features an analogue stick and four directional buttons.
The right side adds X, Y, A and B buttons as well as a touchpad. It’s a little odd that Xiaomi would consider throwing in a touch pad to a device that already has a big old touchscreen, but there we are. Both attachments also throw in two shoulder button and a couple of triangle-shaped inputs at the bottom of the pads.
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It’s a pretty good cover version of the Nintendo Switch, but there’s a massive elephant in the room of course: with a few notable exceptions, smartphone games are barely designed for any third-party controllers, let alone one with 14 buttons, an analogue stick and a touch pad. So while the functionality may very well be there, the games to actually use it with are most certainly not.
And barring a massive shift in the Android gaming landscape, that makes the Nintendo Switch a far more compelling purchase.
Would you consider the Xiaomi Black Shark smartphone with the Gamepad 2.0? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews