Accessory Review: iHandstick

Category: Gaming Case
Price: $16.99
TiP Rating: 4/5 stars
Requirements: iPhone 3G/3GS and iPod touch 2nd Gen/3rd Gen

Summary: The iPhone/iPod Touch may be nice to look at, but the devices can feel slick in the hand. For gamers, this can be a problem. Enter the iHandstick, an inexpensive add-on that offers a familiar “game controller” feel. Its comfy grip helps eliminate worry over dropping the handset midgame – which can even improve scores – but its bulk and charge port—blocking design makes it unsuitable for portable “anytime, anywhere” play.

Review: I’ll be the first to admit – I buy and play an atrocious amount of games on my iPhone. Driving games, which are my preference, easily explain why my phone tends to have a number of collisions with the concrete. Every time I find that sweet spot in a corner, it seems like I tilt my phone just a little too far and, BAM, it slips from my hand. Well, the people over at think they have the cure for my issues. The iHandstick turns your smooth iPhone or iPod Touch into a true gaming controller.

When I received the iHandstick, the first thing that came to mind was its likeness to a Playstation controller. In this case, that’s a good thing.  Upon gripping it in my hands, I immediately felt comfy with it. The unit is well made, comes with clear directions on the box (not that they are needed), and has two faceplates that are included and allow it to fit the iPhone 3G/3GS, and iPod Touch 2G/3G. The area where the back of the device sits has a soft coating and four rubber pads, all but eliminating scratches. After finding the correct faceplate, I easily clipped it on the front of my phone and snapped both pieces into the face of the actual unit.

Once it was installed (which took 2 seconds) I spent some time playing Need for Speed Shift.  Not that I was any good before, but for what it’s worth, it did improve my game. I didn’t find myself worrying about dropping my phone, which allowed me to focus more on having fun and less on stressing the next “whoops” moment. At the back of the unit are two ports that allow sound to come out, acting almost like an amplifier and improving the overall gaming experience.  My hands were able to stay in a more relaxed position allowing me to waste more of my day play for an extended period of time. Only then did I realize that I had one complaint – when seated in the case, the iPhone’s charging port isn’t accesible. That means there is no way to plug in the device to charge, which on a long gaming session could pose a problem.

While being an excellent addition to the frequent gamer’s home-based accessory collection, the unit’s bulk doesn’t exactly make it the most portable. So it’s not something you would just throw in your pocket (although it does fit great in a messenger bag). But if you have trouble holding on during an intense gaming session, the iHandstick’s $16.99 price tag makes it a cheap investment to keep your precious device in one piece.

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