iPad Accessory Review: TenOne Design Fling Analog Joystick for iPad Reviewed May, 2011 by Jacob Spindel
Editor's Ratings (1-5): 4.5
What's Hot: Incredibly clever and fun.
What's Not: Occasionally gets in the way.
Steve Jobs hates buttons. He has been the driving force behind iOS devices having only a single Home button on their face, with all other controls handled by a big, beautiful touchscreen. And when iOS game developers were presented with the endless possibilities of that touchscreen, many of them immediately... implemented buttons.
Yes, Call of Duty, Brothers in Arms, and countless other iOS games in a variety of genres use an on-screen virtual joystick and virtual buttons. It's not necessarily a bad thing; after all, joysticks and buttons have been a standard way of interacting with video games for decades, and for good reason. But many gamers would probably prefer a real joystick rather than having to poke at a virtual one they can't physically move or feel. Thanks to Ten One Design, these gamers now have that real joystick as an option.
The Ten One Fling is a small joystick coil that attaches to your iPad's screen via two suction cups. You can operate it with your thumb just like a regular joystick on a handheld gaming system, and it springs back to the center when you aren't pressing it. The bottom of the stick is capacitive, so all you have to do is attach the Fling to your iPad's screen directly over the virtual joystick, and now you have a real joystick - no additional electronics or batteries required. (I suppose you could theoretically put it on the screen of an iPhone or iPod touch, but considering it would cover more than half of the total screen space, I wouldn't recommend it!)
Believe it or not, it really works. We had no trouble using the Fling to control on-screen joysticks in a variety of iOS games, and we found that it worked especially well with games that can adjust the position of the virtual joystick to match your movements (such as NOVA 2). It's a fun, accurate, and reliable way to control your favorite iPad games, and within a few minutes of sticking it to your iPad, you may even forget you are using an accessory and start to feel like the Fling is just an integrated part of the game.
The Fling is translucent, so it shouldn't obscure your view of what's going on underneath, but one disadvantage of the Fling is that some games place additional on-screen buttons immediately adjacent to the virtual joystick, and you may find it very difficult to press these buttons with the Fling in the way. Contributing to this problem is the relatively large suction cups that cover even more of your iPad's screen, and although they do a good job of holding the Fling in place when attached directly to the screen, we found that the suction cups did not stay attached securely if we tried to attach them to the iPad's outer frame surrounding the screen to try to keep them away from the action.
The Fling includes a handy carrying case so you can put it away when the boss is looking, but it doesn't include any other types of buttons or controls, so all other on-screen interface items besides the joystick will have to remain virtual.
Of Thee I Fling
The Ten One Fling is very simple but also ingenious. Once you've played iPad games using the Fling, you may not want to play without one ever again. If its description makes you think there's any chance at all that you might like the Fling, then you almost certainly will like it (and even if you don't, it's only $20). Although it can sometimes get in the way of other on-screen controls, even a button-hater would be hard pressed to not love the Fling.
Pros: Compact, inexpensive, elegant design that works effectively without being overcomplicated; makes almost any iPad game that utilizes a virtual joystick more fun and easier to control.
Cons: Can sometimes interfere with other on-screen controls.
Price: $19.95 Company: Ten One Design Web Site: www.tenonedesign.com