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Duo Gamer
Just Duo it
 Handset: Duo Gamer 
 Manufacturer: Discovery Bay Games 
 Price: 49.75 / $79.99 
by Matthew Diener
After taking a quick look at the Duo Gamer, we decided it was past time to put the Bluetooth controller through its paces.

The Duo Gamer is a simple controller that attempts to emulate a console controller in every way possible. It offers two analogue sticks, a D-pad, a full array of four input buttons in a diamond pattern, and two shoulder buttons for good measure.

Because the Duo Gamer is only compatible with Gameloft titles, we decided to give it a whirl with N.O.V.A. 3 and Asphalt 7 - both Pocket Gamer Silver Award-winning titles.

Although handy in what it offers, it will have to do a lot to justify its rather steep (£49.75/$79.99) asking price.

Stand by your stand

Out of the box, the Duo Gamer is an impressive controller. It even comes with a futuristic-looking trapezoid stand for your iPhone or iPad with a small gap in the back for a cable array to feed through.

This cutout serves a two-fold purpose. While you could use the Duo to game exclusively on your iOS device, it really shines when connected to a TV (via HDMI cable or AirPlay).

Either way, this gap is a nice design choice. Given that Gameloft and Duo are banking on players investing more time into their playing sessions with the Gamer, having a power cable plugged into your iOS device is a necessity.

Stick, Stick Boom

When it comes to playing games, The Duo Gamer is a joy to use.

Once the device is paired with your iOS device, the supported Gameloft titles will automatically detect the controller and integrate it without you having to establish the connection in-game.

You can see the controller array in the options menu for each supported game. This is a nice feature, but not particularly necessary as the games come with basic overlay tutorials on how to use the controller inputs when you first play them.

After launching a new file on N.O.V.A. 3, the game gave me a basic controller tutorial as I played through the first level.

By the end of the first indoor section, with my iPad hooked up to a modest HDTV, my gameplay experience felt amazingly Halo- like. The left analogue stick moved my character, while the right rotated the camera, in the classic FPS console configuration.

Born button pusher

Playing Asphalt 7 was a bit more of an exercise in patience. The game was a bit jumpy at points as the graphics would freeze and struggle to catch up. This odd behaviour ceased halfway through my first race, but for a fast-paced reality racing game it was fairly catastrophic at the outset.

The handling of the controller was responsive throughout the game, and it felt very comfortable in my hands for a number of races.

But eventually first real design flaw of the Duo Gamer made itself apparent.

The controller is a bit on the slippery side, with no grips or gripping surfaces to speak of. After an hour or so of gameplay, my hands became slick from sweat and I found it rather difficult to keep a steady grip on the controller.

This may not be an issue for everyone – and can be easily solved by adding grippy tape to the back of the unit itself – but for the price of the Duo Gamer it's reasonable to expect a more adhesive surface.

Shouldering the cost

Ultimately, it's difficult to recommend the Duo Gamer to everyone. It's a great piece of kit, but because it only supports Gameloft titles its appeal is rather limited.

The Duo Gamer aims to bridge a gap between tablet gaming and console gaming, which arguably doesn't need bridging. If gamers want to play a console-quality FPS, they'll fire up their home consoles or PCs. If they want to game on the go, they'll turn to their handhelds, tablets, or smartphones.

But if you really love Gameloft titles, and you want to play them as console games at home, you're unlikely to find a product better suited to the task than the Duo Gamer controller.

Reviewer photo
Matthew Diener 9 October 2012
Unless you're a Gameloft gamer through-and-through, this controller won't do much for you
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Specs Size13.5cm x 6.8cm x 2.5cm
Battery2x AA
Controls/buttons2 Analogue sticks, Directional Pad, 4 main buttons, 2 shoulder buttons, 1 power/pause button
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