Signal RP One Delivers Console Controls for iOS —  For a Price

You can get iOS games that rival PlayStation 2 titles in sophisticated graphics and gameplay, but controlling hardcore experiences with a touchpad isn't always ideal. Because iOS7 offers third-party controller support, Signal has stepped in with the RP One Bluetooth controller. The device works, but seems expensive for what it offers.

At CES 2014, Tom's Guide had a chance to go hands-on with the RP One, which will be released in the first half of 2014 for $100, to see how the device handles in real life. The good news is that the controller has a recognizable design and functions as promised, but the controller's feel leaves something to be desired.

The RP One is roughly the size and shape of an Xbox 360 controller, and has a matte silver finish. It has everything you'd expect from a modern controller peripheral: dual analog sticks, a D-pad, four main buttons and four shoulder buttons.

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The button placement is comfortable, but the controller lacks a certain weight. The device itself is extremely light and feels somewhat flimsy. Pressing the buttons requires barely any pressure. This never created a problem in terms of gameplay, but it made us feel a little disconnected from the action onscreen.

While gaming, the controller's functionality is beyond reproach. We tested it with both "Dead Trigger 2" and "Riptide GP2," and in both the first-person shooter and the jet-ski racing game, the movement and action controls were both accurate and responsive.

The biggest question about the device, at present, is whether there are enough hardcore games for iOS7 to justify buying a $100 controller. Playing "Grand Theft Auto III" or "Max Payne" with a controller is a step up from using a touchscreen, but iOS games, by and large, are still casual and touch-based.

Now that iOS7 supports controllers (previous versions did not), perhaps core developers will embrace the system. Otherwise, the RP One could be a huge boon for hardcore gamers who travel frequently or want to sync it with an Apple TV for a big-screen experience. Other gamers might find purchasing it harder to justify.

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