The iPega range of controllers has dominated the market for years and it’s no surprise. They are the industry leaders when it comes to affordability and I was more than happy to add a few of them to my collection over the years. But, out of all the iPega controllers I’ve used, my favorites have to be the Red Knight (9087) and the Ninja (9157).
They aren’t the best in the bunch but they’re the first controllers I got my hands on when I made the jump to using a controller on mobile. They’re both easy to use and setup, and make the leap in mobile controller use a lot less intimidating. But, if I had to do it all again, which would I prefer?
When buying your first controller, it’s important to get the right one. Ordering the wrong one could turn you away from the idea altogether and make the concept seem a bit unmanageable, and that has given me a lot to think about when it comes to these two controllers.
That’s why today, I’ve put together four main points on which controller I would choose and exactly why I think it is the superior beginner’s choice because, at the end of the day, there can only be one. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the iPega Red Knight vs the iPega Ninja.
iPEGA RED KNIGHT
The key factor in any mobile gaming controller above all else has to be portability. Mobile gaming is naturally a very portable pass time and so any controller needs to have that in buckets. Thankfully, both of these controllers have proven to be very easy to carry with me but one definitely proved to be better overall.
The iPega Red Knight is small, to say the least, and it’s most noticeable when you try to take it with you. In its retracted form, the Red Knight could slip easily in my back pocket although I am a very tall guy so my back pockets tend to be deeper than most. Still, I never felt the need to carry an extra bag with me for the controller.
However, the same can’t be said for the iPega Ninja. It has the bulkier standard controller design which means it’s not fitting in any pockets any time soon. Not to mention the fact that I need to take the phone clip with me which adds up to a lot of moving parts. It’s easy to slip into my backpack when going to work but without it, I’d rather leave it at home.
Portability is one thing but it’s mostly determined by the controller’s overall design. The Red Knight has a telescopic design meant to wrap around your phone so it resembles something like a PSP or a Nintendo Switch while the iPega Ninja has the standard controller design that resembles the controllers you find on your average console.
As a result, I found the controls on the Red Knight were incredibly small and I struggled to use it for more than an hour at a time. It’s so small that I would say this controller is more suited towards children than adults because of this. The only upsides to its design are the slick red and black color scheme and the backlight you get when you turn it on.
I liked the design of the iPega Ninja much better. It’s really a cross between an Xbox One and a PlayStation 4 controller since it shares a lot of the same features as both. It has the same ABXY layout and the buttons are larger and much easier to press with ease. Plus the analog sticks are identical to the ones you get on the standard DualShock 4.
The most important part of any controller has to be the Analog sticks. While retro emulation might not require them as much, there are more than a few mobile games that require some analog input, even on a touch screen, so a good set of sticks go a long way towards improving your experience.
This where the Red Knight drastically begins to fall behind. The analog sticks are very small and have an even smaller area of rotation to work with, making even the simplest movements a chore when in-game. It all comes back to this controller’s design which just doesn’t work for me.
The analog sticks on the iPega Ninja are a lot smoother and I had an easier time playing games that required me to aim or make precise movements, especially when driving. They closely resemble the Dualshock 4 and function just as well, making it the ideal choice.
Above all else, no matter which controller you use, it needs to be comfortable since many of us often play for hours at a time. I’ve spoken a lot about the Red Knights size as I’ve gone through this review and that’s because it’s one of the controller’s biggest strengths and weaknesses.
No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t find a comfortable position for my thumbs and this is probably the only time I’ve ever wished for symmetrical analog sticks. I think it would have been a better fit for this controller’s design, similar to the Wii U’s gamepad, and made the experience a little more comfortable.
The standard controller design is a much better fit for me and I had no problem using this one for hours, even with my phone attached to the phone clip. The articulation of the arm of the clip is a bit abnormal but it didn’t stop me from connecting my phone as often as I could.
Without a doubt, the iPega Ninja is a far better controller for beginners that are using a mobile gaming controller for the first time. It’s almost identical to the controllers that you might have used in the past if you’ve ever spent a day or two console gaming and is a much smoother introduction to the experience.
While it is not the best controller on the market, the iPega Ninja is a great place to start but don’t be surprised if you find yourself upgrading after a year or 2. Even though I predominantly use my Xbox One controller these days, it’s still the controller that got me going.
Have you tried any of these controllers? What would you choose as your first controller? Let me know in the comments section below.