Logitech PowerShell £90 games controller cuddles your iPhone

Logitech's official new iPhone 5 and 5S controller brings physical buttons and a d-pad to the touchscreen blower, and it's out in the UK next month.

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Nick manages CNET's advice copy desk from Springfield, Virginia. He's worked at CNET since 2005.
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If you've ever bemoaned your own fat fingers getting in the way of the onscreen action on your iPhone, Logitech's new PowerShell controller could get those damnable digits out of the picture.

The PowerShell is coming to the UK in December, but don't start throwing cash at your screen just yet -- it's a whopping £90. You can preorder it direct from Logitech here.

While add-on controllers have been common for Android phones for years, Apple only started supporting them with iOS 7, released in September. Logitech's is one of the first to capitalise, and the first to appear in the UK.

It's a split controller with familiar Xbox-style X, Y, B and A buttons that ensconces your iPhone in a warm embrace of controllery love, leaving your retina screen smear- and finger-free. One immediate problem that occurs to me is that the buttons have different colours to what you may be used to on an Xbox, so if a game says 'press A' in red, you might instinctively reach for the B button.

As well as physical controls -- important for action games in particular -- you get a 1,500mAh battery to keep your games going longer. It's compatible with the iPhone 5 and 5S, Logitech says (I've asked them to check if it works with the 5C too, but its plastic case probably means it won't fit), as well as the fifth-gen iPod touch.

Here's a teaser video from Logitech with more:

Games have to be specially adapted using Apple's Game Controller software API, and while it seems a decent bet that official licensed products like this will be popular enough to make it worth developers' while, few games have yet to be adapted, partly because there's been no hardware to test them with.

Its main rival is the similar Moga Ace Power, which doesn't yet have a UK release date but will set US gamers back $99 (about £60). The Moga has a slightly larger 1,800mAh battery, but initial hands-ons from gaming sites such as Polygon and Pocketgamer haven't been terribly positive.

I'll look forward to getting my game-obscuring hands on them. It seems like a pretty steep price to pay for physical controls and an extra battery, but good build quality and deep game support may make it decent value for money. Let me know what you think in the comments, or in the warm embrace of our Facebook page.