LAS VEGAS – Could you justify spending $300 on an Android controller? Peripheral manufacturer Mad Catz thinks that the answer will be "yes" — at least for a significant minority of mobile gamers. The Lynx is a gorgeous and comfortable mobile controller with a high price tag, but if mobile gaming reaches its full potential within the next few years, it just might be worth the cost of admission.
Mad Catz showed me the Lynx at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015, and whatever else I have to say about the controller, one thing is clear: It's a gorgeous device. With a full metal body and an angular design that looks like something out of a James Cameron film, the Lynx is a far cry from the standard "basically the Xbox 360 controller" design of most mobile peripherals.
The Lynx folds in on itself for safe, easy travel. In its unfolded state, it has everything a mobile gamer needs: a directional pad, two analog sticks, four face buttons and two shoulder buttons on each side, as well as two optional pads to help players get a better grip on the handles. Users can use a tiny sensor like a touchpad, activate voice commands (for products like the Fire TV or the Nexus Player) or attach an included keypad and type longer messages. It also works on Windows PCs.
The most unusual feature of the Lynx is arguably how it interacts with tablets. While it comes with a phone holder attachment, it also comes with a tablet stand. For tablets seven inches or less, the Lynx comes apart at the seams and attaches on either side of the device, making something that looks the idiosyncratic Wii U controller.
There's no denying that the Lynx does just about everything a mobile controller should, but on the other hand, for $300, it had better. At present, though, Android's selection of games that make the most of a traditional controller is limited. Mad Catz expects this number to grow exponentially within the next few years, which should help justify the Lynx's cost.
Right now, the Lynx is only right for a few people, but it may look quite different if the Android core game market catches up to it. The device will be available in March.
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