CNET First Look
Logitech PowerShell Controller + Battery turns your iPhone into a full-buttoned game machineFor $99.99, the PowerShell adds physical buttons, plus it recharges your iPhone or iPod Touch battery. We go hands-on with it and the best games on the App Store.
-Hi, I'm Scott Stein and maybe for the holidays you've wanted to turn your little iPhone or iPad into a handheld game system or you fancied some sort of stocking stuffer. The Logitech PowerShell Controller plus battery for the iPhone is a perfect little turn your iPhone into a game system Doohickey. It is, however, $100. And it's one of two iOS 7 game controllers that are out there. This plus the MOGA ACE power that I've already reviewed. Now, what's up here? Well, iOS 7 actually allows for full game control with accessories that are officially a part of this M5 program. Now that means that games could have universal controller support and there could be games all over the place that allow you play the sort of stuff that you're used to on Nintendo and Sony. However, curb your enthusiasm a tiny bit because a lot of games don't have full controller support yet. Now, the PowerShell looks like kind of an old school NES controller or a PlayStation controller before they went to analog sticks. There's a D pad here. There are four buttons. There's also a left and right shoulder button on top and those are all analog. Yeah, weirdly, but true. They are analog buttons, which means that the more you press down on one of these left to right areas on the D pad, the faster you could go in some games. What we will use that for? Who knows. And the MOGA ACE power actually has all these buttons plus two analog pads and two trigger buttons behind the shoulder buttons. So, it's like a PlayStation or Xbox controller. That's pretty cool and that's called an extended button layout versus the standard one that's here. That's a nice feature set, but to me, the feel and the button finish and the way all these buttons press is a lot better on this Logitech. Now, this has also the ability to charge your device up just like the MOGA ACE power, so it's kinda like a Mophie juice pack. You plug this in via micro USB. It comes with a cable. And you can charge this device and then put your iPhone in here and it will recharge your iPhone. So far, it seems like it's a little hard to tell when this battery is topped off and how long it will take to charge up your iPhone and it also means you're gonna deplete the battery on this. So, it's more just like extra battery life when you're out playing games. And it's long. It's really long. I mean you could keep your phone in here. There's camera access on the back. You'll be talking on a big old banana phone with this. Luckily it's pops up pretty easily. You just slide out like that and there you go. You have this long accessory to stick in your back. How big is it compared to other game systems of the past? Well, it's a lot smaller than a Saga game gear from eons ago. But it is a lot bigger than a Nintendo 3DS and it's even kinda a little longer than a PlayStation Vita. So, it's not really creating anything super compact. But if you wanna play games and use buttons, this is kind of the way you're gonna go. And in particular, Grand Theft Auto San Andreas was just launched, is probably the best use of these buttons. You can use it to play the whole game and even these specific button prompts are built in to the software so you know what to press. And if feels great, a lot better than pressing those onscreen buttons for a game that complicated and long. Also games like Sonic 2, Limbo, Bastian, Pacman even. Just remember that you have to have a lightning port in order to use this. This does not have Bluetooth. So, you connect it with lightning, which means it supports the iPhone 5, the fifth generation iPad touch, and the iPhone 5S. weirdly, This does not support the iPhone 5C. There is a built-in insert here that you pop in to use the iPad touch. The MOGA ACE does support the iPhone 5C, but anybody with a 30-pin, you are out of luck. This also, in order to get headphone out, has to use a built-in Doohickey that plugs into the side that runs into the device and jets out. That's a little bit annoying. I'm Scott Stein and that's a look at the Logitech PowerShell controller plus battery, one of the first in what will probably be a long wave of game controller accessories for iOS.