Nyko has long set the standard for aftermarket controllers for your consoles and PC, as well as offered add-on attachments for them as well. The newest edition to the controller line up is the Playpad and the Playpad Pro, a bluetooth enabled controller that gives you the familiarity of the XBox controller layout in the size of an SNES controller.
Pairing by bluetooth is both straight forward and easy for both Android and iOS devices. For the iPad and iPhone you can search the market for Playpad and locate any currently compatible games. The native Playground App for Android is much more intuitive in that it will locate the Apps that work currently with the Playpad, but that is just the start of the extra features exclusive to Google’s OS.
The Playground App is easy to use and well laid out, and most importantly it is free. For most games that require you either touch the screen or use your QWERTY you can now use the Playpad by mapping those functions to the D-Pad, 4 triggers, 4 buttons, and 2 analog joysticks. You can also use it as your mouse and it is currently compatible from the start with 100′s of Applications.
The controller makes playing games on the iPad much more enjoyable, and for the iPhone and Android phones it is a must. Anyone with average sized hands knows that 1/5 of the screen or more is covered by your thumbs when using the onscreen virtual joystick. For any FPS game the more screen the better, and it makes playing old-fashioned side scrolling games a breeze to play.
One of the most important needs for a wireless controller be it for the 360, PS3, or Wii U is battery life. The Playpad has that in oodles with up to 30 hours on a single charge. The controller also comes with a carry case, a USB adapter to charge it, and a dock to set it on. The controller charges on the standard Android charger, and the dock to set the controller on doubles as a stand for an iPhone or Droid phone as well to keep it upright while you play.
For everything that Nyko gotten right with this controller, the one glaring oversight is one of comfort. The 2 analog controller grips where you place your thumbs. Where most controllers opt for a rubber or at the very least rubberized coating, the Playpad uses a series of 4 plastic nubs that border on being sharp. They are incredibly uncomfortable if you plan to play for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. This may seem a minor issue for a controller whose ergonomics, as far as size and shape, are spot on. Unless you have incredibly small or extremely large hands all the buttons are easy to reach and laid out exactly like the 360 controller and requires a minimum learning curve in the sensitivity area alone.
The Playpad is a home run for portable gaming controllers and will give most of the competitors options a run for their money at a price of just $39.99. Not much of a premium price if you consider that teaming this up with an Android device running some emulators and a few Roms it turns your phone or tablet into a classic console.