First impressions of iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S case accessory The Grid
By Anthony Usher 10 February 2013
Game Name: The Grid | Manufacturer: Heim Product Design | Format: iPhone
Apple's iPhone is an excellent machine for buying and playing games on.

I mean, the App Store is chock-full of quality titles across a wide range of genres. Many of these games are available for free or for just 69p / 99c.

Some games work better on the iPhone's touchscreen than others, though. First-person shooters, for example, aren't really suited to a buttonless device.

Heim Product Design is hoping to solve this issue with The Grid. Somewhat, at least.

On the face of it

The Grid, you see, is a case accessory for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Heim Product Design's peripheral ships with a set of rubber attachments that act as makeshift triggers.

You affix these triggers, as you can see in the image above, to the top of the case (if you're holding your smartphone horizontally). Every time you press down on one of these triggers, it makes contact with your device's screen.

The case itself is manufactured out of a black plastic material that feels rather cheap until you snap your iPhone snuggly into the back of it.

With an iPhone in place, the case - thankfully - feels a lot more rugged.

It's just the right size, too. My relatively normal-sized hands could reach the accessory's triggers, as well as my iPhone's Retina touchscreen, with ease.

I tested this case with my iPhone 4S and I had easy access to my device's volume buttons, 3.5mm headphone jack, power button, Home button, and 30-pin connector.

Down to the dirty stuff

The Grid is compatible with a lot of first- and third-person shooters, including Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour and Max Payne, as well as with titles from other genres.

Reckless Racing 2 and Lego Harry Potter: Years 5-7 both support the accessory, for instance. In fact, The Grid should be compatible with any iPhone title that allows you to freely customise its control layout.

Anyway, I decided to put this case through its paces with Madfinger Games's gorgeous-looking free-to-play FPS Dead Trigger.

To cut a long story short, I wasn't disappointed. The Grid makes playing shooters on the iPhone considerably more fun.

Before I began to play Dead Trigger, I had to navigate to the game's 'settings' menu and move its on-screen trigger button underneath one of the The Grid's rubber attachments.

This, then, enabled me to move around in the game with my left thumb; strafe and look around with my right thumb; and mow down waves of zombies effortlessly at the same time with my index finger.

This proved a lot easier to manage than trying to strafe and shoot simultaneously with just my right thumb, which is what you're forced to do in most mobile shoot-'em-ups.

Penny for your thoughts

The Grid, then, is a very interesting piece of kit.

It's small, light, and extremely portable. You won't look like that much of a buffoon if you decide to whip it out on a crowded bus, either.

Heim Product Design's accessory may not be the perfect solution to all of your buttonless woes, but it's worth checking it out if you're mad about shooters.

The Grid is currently available from Amazon in Europe for €19.95.
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