It’s crazy to think about just how far mobile gaming has progressed over the last few years. While it may have started out as a casual experience, with games like Angry Birds and Candy Krush, it has transformed into a viable option for some of the most dedicated gaming enthusiasts.
First-person shooters, like Call of Duty: Mobile, have dominated the mobile scene in the last few years, and even racing titles, like Need for Speed: No Limits and Asphalt 9: Legends, have delivered an authentic gaming experience that rivals what you get when playing on a console or PC.
What truly stands out for me is the ability to connect a mobile gaming controller to your smartphone or tablet. There’s no better way to take your mobile gaming experience to the next level and there’s no better way to get started than with the iPega 9087s.
It’s a controller that’s been around for a while but recently got upgraded to function better with the latest devices and software. I’ve been using my own iPega Ninja for quite some time but felt the need to get something a little more portable and accessible to suit my gaming needs.
It’s been a ton of fun getting familiar with this controller so let me tell you all about it in my review of the iPega 9087s as we ask the question…is it still good in 2020?
iPega Red Knight (PG-9087s)
Operating System: Android 6.0 or above, iOS 11.0 or above
Best Place To Buy: Amazon
Unboxing and Description
One of the first things that immediately caught my eye was just how small the box is and it made me a bit anxious as to how small this controller actually is. Thankfully, once I opened the box, it became clear that 90% of the space inside is taken up by the controller itself and not really a reflection of its size.
Just like its Ninja cousin, the Red Knight is incredibly light and is clearly designed with only the necessities in mind. The plastic feels like it’s pretty strong although I don’t think it will survive if it hits the floor a couple of times. In fact, I’d suggest using the wrist strap that comes with it at all times just to be safe.
I just gotta say, I really like this design and overall color scheme. The red and black looks really sleek and professional and I’m a really big fan of the red backlight that you can see when you turn the controller on. It looks especially good in the dark and adds a lot of character.
I was worried about the beating my phone would take as it rested in the controller but I was pleased to see some decent rubber protection that also helps a lot to prevent the phone from slipping and sliding once inserted. At first glance, it looks like a really great controller but there are a few flaws when you take a closer look.
There are some noticeable gaps between different pieces of plastic which bring the quality down quite a bit. Not to mention the telescopic function that is this controllers gimmick. It’s sturdy for now but feels like I probably want to spend as little time as possible opening and closing the controller to insert my phone.
How To Set It Up
Traditionally, most controllers can be turned on and off by the Home button that’s usually located in the center of the controller. So for me, one of the strangest things about this controller is the fact that it has an on/off switch that’s completely independent of the Home button.
I mean, it’s not a disadvantage in any way, it just seems very redundant. I have to press 2 buttons to turn it on (3 if you consider the button combo needed to pair the Bluetooth) and it just seems so weird because wireless controllers have just never been designed this way.
For android devices, you have 2 options when it comes to Bluetooth pairing. The Direct Play Mode and the Android Standard Mode. Like most iPega controllers, it functioned a lot better in the Standard Mode as I was easily able to navigate through the phone’s app menu from the word “go”.
Direct Play Mode is only useful if you plan to do all of the button mappings yourself. A lot of mobile games don’t come with official controller support and might need you to map the button functionality out yourself using applications like ShootingPlus V3, which is freely available from the app store.
So What’s Good?
Like I said in the beginning, I was focusing mainly on portability when I picked up this controller. I love using my Xbox one controller to do some mobile gaming but I needed something that I could take with me to work for those quiet moments when there isn’t much to do.
Without a doubt, this is currently the most portable controller I have in my arsenal. It’s so compact that I had no problem slipping it into my backpack or even my back pocket on some days. Like seriously, it’s almost the same size as my wallet and I felt comfortable with this controller in my jeans, waiting to be whipped out for some gaming.
The buttons are incredibly responsive and the movement/reactions on screen were fairly accurate. Despite the flimsy feel of the analog sticks, there were surprisingly very few dead zones that I could see although I did find a few when I ran the controller through an external app for testing.
All of my retro emulators were able to detect the controller with ease and it made my smartphone feel like a proper PlayStation Portable or at least a low budget version of the Nintendo Switch. It was best for playing some Gameboy Advanced and I had way too much fun using this controller to play Pokémon Emerald.
Then What’s Bad?
It pains me to say it but this controller is just way too small. Fair enough, I’m just over 6 feet tall, so my hands are kinda big, but they just did not enjoy using this controller as much as I thought they would. Ergonomics definitely got thrown out the window when it came to this design.
This was a huge problem when I played games that required me to use both analog sticks. The A-symmetric design makes it almost unreachable without contorting my thumb into a weird position or learning how to control it with the joint that connects my thumb to my hand.
That meant that games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was just no good since I could barely play for more than an hour before my hand would cramp and start begging me to reconnect my Xbox One controller. That’s why I stuck to more retro titles and PPSSPP games because those games don’t make use of the right analog at all.
Plus, I know this may be a controversial opinion but I would’ve preferred to just have a single bumper button on the left and right instead of them trying to squeeze in a tiny little Trigger/R2. On more than one occasion I’ve needed to press the R1 and R2 buttons at the same time and my fingers basically had to fight for real estate.
Should You Get It?
If this is your first mobile gaming controller, or you’re buying something meant for a child, then this is definitely the right controller for you. It comes in at an extremely accessible price and, if portability is what you need the most, then this controller knocks it out of the park.
However, if you do a lot of gaming at home and don’t really need a controller for on-the-go gaming, then I would highly recommend the iPega Ninja (PG-9157). It has a more traditional design that most players would already be used to and is a great beginner controller that I personally used for many months.
Have you used the iPega Red Knight before? What do you think of this controller? Let me know in the comments section below.