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Razer Junglecat puts Joy-Con-like controllers on your Android phone

A potentially more portable controller for your mobile gaming fun.

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Sarah Tew/CNET

Attaching a game controller to your phone while on the go can be a clunky, annoying production, and many mobile games can feel nonresponsive, awkward or just impossible when you're chronically fatfingered. Razer hopes to solve that problem with its new Junglecat, which provides Nintendo Switch Joy-Con-like controllers for Android phones. Initially, the $100 (£100, AU$168) gamepad will only work via side attachment with the Razer Phone 2, Galaxy S10 Plus and Galaxy Note 9 (and the Huawei P30 Pro, which sells outside the US) using one of the bundled cases. You can use it as a standard handheld controller with any device via Bluetooth.

The gamepad has all the requisite controls -- left and right thumbsticks, D-pad and Xbox-like ABXY buttons, right and left buttons and triggers -- but they're arranged in a nonstandard way, with both thumbsticks above the buttons rather than staggered (like the Xbox's or Nintendo's) or both below (like the DualShock 4).

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You can use it as a standard controller with any device via Bluetooth.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Even when physically attached to the phone, the controller connects via Bluetooth, and Razer claims it has sufficiently low latency to feel responsive while playing. It works with controller-compatible games or by mapping the touch controls via the Razer Gamepad App, which lets you manually rebind the controls and adjust thumbstick sensitivity. 

Sorry, there's no iPhone compatibility; that requires a lot more hoops to jump through for MFi certification and App Store approval for the app.

Razer rates the battery at a minimum of 100 hours, and you charge it via USB-C. My biggest issues with it during my brief hands-on: how uncomfortably wide the whole thing gets when attached to a big-screen phone; and that you have to charge each side independently rather than via a single connection on the center grip.