Hands on: Zeemote with the Sony Ericsson W705

We took some private time to play with the tiny joystick of the Zeemote, a Bluetooth games controller for your mobile phone that T-Mobile is bundling with the Sony Ericsson W705

No mobile game will ever beat Snake, the twisty-tailed game of skill that started on the Nokia 6110 mobile phone. But even the most fleet-fingered player has suffered the curse of their phone's tiny keys -- with a high score in your sights, you accidentally hit the Cancel button, and your snake is a dead man. Curses!

Enter the Zeemote, a Bluetooth games controller for your phone that gives you the ninja-like control of an analogue joystick and four buttons. We wrapped our paws around this little gadget to see if it could bring more fun to our playtime.

We tried the Zeemote bundle currently on offer from T-Mobile, which includes  a Sony Ericsson W705 walkman phone and Vin-Diesel-career-defibrillator-movie-tie-in game Fast & Furious.

The Zeemote is comfortable to hold, while being small enough that you can barely notice that you're sitting there playing games when you should be paying attention in class. The buttons are well-placed for shooting games, and the joystick is comfortable and responsive.

The remote only works with Zeemote-ready games, but there are quite a few to choose from. The games we tested tended to feel like rebranded versions of arcade classics. For example, Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X, which is included on the W705 as a demo, was like Raiden meets Black Hawk Down. We had no trouble linking the controller with the games, and it takes two AAA batteries so there's no recharging to worry about.

The makers of the Zeemote told us that they anticipate mobiles will be pumping out video quality similar to a PlayStation2 within a year, thanks to new video chips from the likes of Nvidia. With the addition of TV-outs on handsets like the Nokia N95 and the LG Arena , there's a fantasy future where you can bust out your mobile and get second-generation console-quality gaming on the big screen. They're also working on support for multiple controllers for multi-player action.

We certainly felt that the Zeemote added a level of playability to games over a normal mobile phone keypad, but we weren't sure if we're willing to cart around another piece of kit, even if it is small enough to fit in a pocket. If you're a keen gamer, with a lengthy commute, it could be worth a look.

The W705 Zeemote package will be available from the T-Mobile Web site starting on Monday, from free on a £25-per-month contract.

 

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