Interested in learning what’s next for the gaming industry? Join gaming executives to discuss emerging parts of the industry this October at GamesBeat Summit Next. Register today.
The rise of cloud gaming services means that phones and tablets have the potential to be prolific gaming devices. But a device like the iPad is not really comfortable to use with touch controls. Enter the Gamevice for iPad, a new controller attachment from the company of the same name, which turns the tablet into handheld gaming device.
The Gamevice is a scaled-up version of the company’s iPhone and Android attachment, altered slightly to work with non-Mini Lightning-based iPad models. It’s a plastic controller grip with a rubber back, that can adjusted to fit a few different models of iPad. The Gamevice has bumpers, triggers, two analog sticks, and a button arrangement comparable to an Xbox controller. It comes with a pass-through charging port, but does not itself require charging. It also adds a headphone jack to the iPad.
Once attached, the Gamevice works with any iPad game with controller support. This includes Apple Arcade games, as well as any game on cloud gaming services, such as Xbox Game Pass, GeForce Now, Google Stadia, etc. As it is a connected controller, it has virtually no input lag or latency issues. Gamevice is the same company that worked on the Razer Kishi, so this is a comparable product.
So is this worth the buy for iPad owners? Does it stack up against similar handhelds, such as the Switch and the Steam Deck? Is there even a point in comparing the two? Respectively, I say yes, sort of, and yes — to a point.
Ultimate screen real estate
The Gamevice’s purpose is to transform the iPad into an oversized Switch-like console. This makeshift handheld, when combined with the many cloud gaming and streaming services out there, gives gamers both the means to play and access to hundreds of games. That’s not a unique claim in this market — the Switch and the Steam Deck are both handhelds that offer access to hundreds of games. But the Gamevice stacks up to them both by virtue of what it is: An augmentation to an existing piece of hardware with more general utility.
The biggest advantage the iPad has is its enormous screen. The iPad models that work with the Gamevice have much larger screens than the Steam Deck and the Switch OLED — roughly 11 inches to the latters’ 7 inches. Having such a large screen with which to play games is so good it might spoil you. I played Ori & the Blind Forest on my iPad with the Gamevice, and it looked every bit as gorgeous as it did on my PC.
The drawback to having such a large screen is that the controller clipped to it must be of a comparable size. And the Gamevice certainly is that. It measures nearly 14 inches at its widest point, and the controller grips are five inches high and two inches at their thickest point. This makes the Gamevice a difficult device to store when it’s not in use. It folds, thanks to its rubber back, but no amount of folding can make it less bulky.
This also means that the iPad becomes much heavier. And because the weight is concentrated in the controller grips, that makes balance difficult. Freeing up a hand to reach for a glass of water is a swift way to drop the whole apparatus into your lap, as I found out the hard way.
Its weight aside, the Gamevice is a comfortable and responsive controller. I never noticed any latency issues, and it functioned exactly as it needed to in every game. The controls can be slightly clumsy compared with a dedicated controller — while playing Forza Horizon 5, I noticed I oversteered sometimes, more so than I did while playing on the Series X. But it still offers the same general utility as your average controller.
Competing in the handheld market
Had the Gamevice come out even a couple of years ago, it might not have offered as much benefit as it does. But the rise of game streaming on mobile means that you can play far more than just mobile-only titles on an iPad. Whether it be Game Pass or GeForce Now, the industry offers more options for users on mobile devices.
The Gamevice app, which users can install with their controller, gives one the option to collate a library of their favorite games on each service, to be more easily accessible. It’s a little simplistic, but it gets the job done. The device also works with any mobile-native game that supports controllers.
What makes the Gamevice especially appealing is that the iPad has other uses besides just a games console. That’s why I say the comparisons to the Switch and the Deck only work up to a point: The Gamevice lets a multipurpose tablet pull double-duty as an alright handheld console. The Switch and Steam Deck are handheld consoles first, which also pull double-duty as stationary consoles with multipurpose uses.
That’s why I say the Gamevice is a great companion for an iPad owner who has access to those game libraries. It offers a comfortable, adequate way to play without input lag.
However, there’s a caveat to this: If you already own an iPad and wish to turn it into a gaming device, then the Gamevice is a fine addition strictly from a mechanical perspective. But at $100 for a new model, the Gamevice is on the pricier side. Since Apple expanded its Bluetooth to work with virtually all controllers, there are a myriad of cheaper options in both tablet attachments and wireless gamepads.
Let me put it another way: If you don’t already own an iPad, then the cheapest (new) model will be about $330 at time of writing. That, combined with the price of a Gamevice, puts an iPad+Gamevice in the same price range as a Steam Deck, and well above the price of a Nintendo Switch. My point being that, if you’re simply in the market for a portable gaming device, then the iPad+Gamevice combination is not a particularly cost-effective option.
Who is this product for?
I think iPad owners who also wish to be gamers might find the new Gamevice model appealing. What it lacks in sleekness or portability it makes up for in ergonomics and efficiency. And it makes the most out of the iPad’s large screen.
It’s not a replacement for other handhelds on the market, as it doesn’t offer the same kinds of games they do. It won’t play your Steam library or your Nintendo games, for example. And if you have a USB-C iPad, then you’re just out of luck. So the audience for the Gamevice is not as broad as it could be.
But for those who own the requisite hardware, the Gamevice is a good, if slightly expensive, option to bring some of the cloud gaming goodness to your life.
GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. Learn more about membership.
For years, USB technologies have been an alphabet soup of terminology—when, really, all consumers care about is how fast the USB connection is. But now, finally, a new USB logo scheme solves this problem.
The USB Implementors Forum unveiled new logos on Friday for laptop ports, chargers, and cables that actually try to communicate what each one does. It’s a far cry from the nightmare naming scheme that the USB-IF implemented in 2009. It’s worth noting that the names of each specification apparently haven’t changed, but the logos have, and that’s all that matters.
USB-IF executives said the new logos were established alongside the new 240W USB-C power specification, which can now charge USB-C powered laptops at the levels required by even some gaming laptops. Now, the various USB specifications are defined by their speed. Charging specifications are defined by their wattage, with logos that actually indicate this.
“With the new higher power capabilities enabled by the USB PD 3.1 Specification, which unlocks up to 240W over a USB Type-C cable and connector, USB-IF saw an opportunity to further strengthen and simplify its Certified Logo Program for the end user,” said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF President and chief operating officer, in a statement. “With our updated logos, consumers can easily identify the USB4 performance and USB Power Delivery capabilities of Certified USB-C cables, which support an ever-expanding ecosystem of consumer electronics from laptops and smartphones to displays and chargers.”
Check out the new logos, which will be used on packaging, ports, and device power ports:
About the only drawback? There’s no obligation for device makers to actually inscribe the logo on their laptops, which could mean a continuation of the confusion around ports.
The new USB cable logos also feature clear communication of their speed as well as their charging capabilities. The big question is whether these cables will support Thunderbolt, or DisplayPort, or USB4 —any of the protocols, that is.
OLED monitors, with their vibrant colors and perfect black levels, are some of the very best screens you can connect to your PC. Unfortunately, they’re also crazy expensive: with only a few models on the market, the cheapest is still more than a thousand bucks. That might be changing soon, if a report on OLED mega-manufacturer LG Display is accurate.
OLED-info.com quotes unconfirmed news out of China’s manufacturing sector, saying that LG is ready to start manufacturing smaller OLED panels for smaller TVs and computer monitors. Specifically, it’s preparing to ramp up smaller displays using the cheaper WOLED panel technology, which can be produced much more economically than the older types of OLED panels seen in high-end televisions.
Despite being ubiquitous on smaller gadgets like phones and smartwatches, and extremely popular in high-end televisions, OLEDs have been slow to come to the PC market. We’re just starting to see them become a popular option on more and more laptops, but you can count the number of commercially available desktop OLED monitors on one hand. And, of those, LG’s own offerings have been focused on the ultra-high-end professional media market — it’s only this year that the company has begun supplying panels for gaming monitors to companies like Alienware and Corsair.
While we can’t verify the news without a more conventional source, it makes sense. The high-end television market is currently saturated (no pun intended) with OLED screens since there’s been relatively little innovation in the last few years and huge numbers of consumers upgraded their home theaters during the pandemic. OLED manufacturing technology is poised to go bigger (or rather, poised to hit the midrange between small and big) after spending a decade maturing in the mobile electronics market.
If all goes well, we might begin to see more affordable OLED monitors announced at trade shows like CES, E3, and Computex in 2023, with models hitting the market in the summer or fall. Keep your fingers crossed for some display bargains.
Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.
The Google Pixel Watch is incoming (Image credit: Google)
We’re expecting the Google Pixel Watch to make its full debut on Thursday, October 6 – alongside the Pixel 7 and the Pixel 7 Pro – but in the meantime a major leak has revealed much more about the upcoming smartwatch.
Seasoned tipster @OnLeaks (opens in new tab) has posted the haul, which shows off some of the color options and band styles that we can look forward to next week. We also get a few shots of the watch interface and a picture of it being synced with a smartphone.
Watch faces are included in the leak too, covering a variety of different approaches to displaying the time – both in analog and digital formats. Another image shows the watch being used to take an ECG reading to assess heartbeat rate.
Just got my hands on a bunch of #Google #PixelWatch promo material showing all color options and Watch Bands for the first time. Some details revealed as well…@Slashleaks 👉🏻 https://t.co/HzbWeGGSKP pic.twitter.com/N0uiKaKXo0October 1, 2022
If the leak is accurate, then we’ve got four silicone straps on the way: black, gray, white, and what seems to be a very pale green. Leather straps look to cover black, orange, green and white, while there’s also a fabric option in red, black and green.
We already know that the Pixel Watch is going to work in tandem with the Fitbit app for logging all your vital statistics, and included in the leaked pictures is an image of the Pixel Watch alongside the Fitbit app running on an Android phone.
There’s plenty of material to look through here if you can’t wait until the big day – and we will of course be bringing you all the news and announcements as the Google event unfolds. It gets underway at 7am PT / 10am ET / 3pm BST / 12am AEDT (October 7).
Analysis: a big moment for Google
It’s been a fair while since Google launched itself into a new hardware category, and you could argue that there’s more riding on the Pixel Watch than there is on the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro – as Google has been making phones for years at this point.
While Wear OS has been around for a considerable amount of time, Google has been leaving it to third-party manufacturers and partners to make the actual hardware. Samsung recently made the switch back to Wear OS for the Galaxy Watch 5 and the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro, for example.
Deciding to go through with its own smartwatch is therefore a big step, and it’s clear that Google is envious of the success of the Apple Watch. It’s the obvious choice for a wearable for anyone who owns an iPhone, and Google will be hoping that Pixel phones and Pixel Watches will have a similar sort of relationship.
What’s intriguing is how Fitbit fits in – the company is now run by Google, but so far we haven’t seen many signs of the Fitbit and the Pixel lines merging, even if the Pixel Watch is going to come with support for the Fitbit app.
Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you’ll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.