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ENR Technologies Bluetooth GamePad

Review posted August, 2005 by Marc Morgan

Have you ever wanted to play a game on your PDA, but found that the controls are too awkward to use? With the ENR Tech Bluetooth GamePad, that will never happen again. The GamePad works as a replacement for the built-in buttons on your PDA and mobile phone, and are arranged on the GamePad in a fashion that is more suitable for gaming. The GamePad is made by ENR Technologies, a company that has designed PDA accessories since 2001. Their product lineup includes not only the GamePad, but other accessories such as keyboards, modems, and other accessories such as the wireless camera and RF modems. We reviewed their Pegasus III IR 56k Modem and their BlueGate 56k Modem for Palm and PPC. This is the first GamePad available that is compatible with all Windows Mobile 2003 Pocket PCs and Smartphones, as well as Symbian Series 60/UIQ.

The GamePad is small enough to carry around with you, while also being large enough to be comfortable and ergonomic at 145mm x 127.3mm x 30.5mm. You should be able to fit most smartphones in the center of the GamePad, however, most Pocket PCs will be too large to fit. While you can use it without having your device in the GamePad, it is hard to play games on a larger device unless you have a stand which enables you see the screen. The GamePad is compatible with all Pocket PCs and Smartphones running on WM2003 or higher, as well as all Symbian Series 60 and Symbian UIQ devices with Bluetooth. The driver installation is very simple, as it will just install through ActiveSync to the Pocket PC like most other software for Windows Mobile. The driver makes installation of the GamePad very simple. When you open up the driver software, Bluetooth will be initialized on your Pocket PC if it isn't already on. From there, you turn on the GamePad, and check the "Active Gamepad" check box. The connection will be initialized, and you will be able to use the GamePad. On the same screen, you can change the button assignments for the GamePad. To set the button assignments, you simply tap on the button you want to change, and tap the hardware button you want to assign it to. If you want, you can also set it to the default settings. The driver/Bluetooth setup is very easy to use, and you will be able to get your PDA working in a very short time!

The GamePad is definitely designed with portability in mind. To open up the GamePad, you simply pull on either side, and both of the sides will open up. There will then be a space in the middle for your PDA or phone to fit. To make the space smaller to fit your device, you place the device in the center and push the button on the bottom side of the GamePad, which will make the GamePad close to fit your PDA or phone. There is also a lock switch on the top of the GamePad to keep it in the correct position. If your PDA doesn't fit inside the GamePad, you simply keep it opened all the way, which I found to be the most comfortable for gaming. The button on the bottom is also used for closing the GamePad all the way.

ENR technologies gamepad

gamepad with i-mate JAM

The power switch is on the top of the right side, and there is an LED light to indicate if the GamePad is on and in use. The button layout is very similar to that of the Super Nintendo controller. It has the D-Pad, the A, B, C, and D buttons (like the A, B, X, and Y buttons on the SNES), the L and R buttons, and a Start button above the C button. This design is easy to use though it's a little awkward to use the L and R buttons. While it's very nice to have a full set of button controls, there aren't many PDA games currently on the market that would use all of these buttons at the same time. The GamePad is available in black or white, and it comes with a strap to carry it with if you need to.

To use the GamePad during your games, you simply press the button on the GamePad you have assigned to replace your PDA or phone buttons. You can also go into the options menu in most games, and reassign the buttons in the game to your liking. Since the GamePad simulates the buttons on your PDA, you can also use it for web browsing, or any other task on your PDA that may use hardware buttons.

The GamePad fits comfortably in your hands, and the buttons work well. They are fairly springy, (except for the L and R buttons) and all of them are responsive. Once the GamePad is locked, it will stay locked until you unlock it. The GamePad uses 1 AAA battery. The battery life is decent, and you should get around three and a half hours of use, depending on the battery you use.

Conclusion

If you've ever wanted to use a GamePad to make gaming easier on your PPC, Smartphone, or Symbian S60/UIQ device, this GamePad is perfect for you. Since the GamePad is Bluetooth, you will be able to use it with multiple devices. This is helpful if you use more than one device to play games, or upgrade your devices frequently. The GamePad is very easy to set up as well, so you can game with it almost as soon as you take it out of the package. It fits well in your hands, while keeping the factor of portability. The layout also works well for pretty much any game. The fact that it can also be used for many other tasks on your PDA is also a great bonus. The only bad thing about the GamePad is that it cannot be used with a PC/Laptop!

Package includes: Bluetooth GamePad, 1 AAA battery, installation CD, quick installation guide and carrying strap.

Price: $79.99
Web site: www.smartGamepad.com

 

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