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RiotPwr Rotor Riot iOS Controller RR1852 Review: Better gaming on iPhone


Playing serious games on an iPhone touch screen can be insanely frustrating. Don’t throw your iPhone across the room – get a game controller like the RiotPwr Rotor Riot RR1852. This mimics the design of Microsoft’s Xbox controller, but with a Lightning cable and iPhone holder.

I fully tested this updated version of the game controller that supports Rotor Riot Lightning. And I like it a lot. And obviously Apple because you can find it in the Apple Store, both online and in common locations.

RiotPwr Rotor Riot iOS controller RR1852 PWR Plus review

The iPhone is capable of much more than ordinary games. There are a lot of them developed: RPG games, first-person shooters, etc. You can play them with a touch screen, but I don’t recommend it. It is too difficult to place your fingers correctly on the virtual joysticks and buttons. A physical game controller is a much better option. As the latest from RiotPwr.

The advantage of the Rotor Riot RR1852 is that it has the same familiar design as the Xbox controller, but with an added bracket for the iPhone. And it connects to your iPhone or iPad using a Lightning cable so there’s no need to bother with Bluetooth.

Hardware and design

I’ve probably spent at least a thousand hours with various Xbox controllers in hand, so I believe when I say that RiotPwr’s offering is essentially identical.

The controller is comfortable to hold. Large handles also contribute to this. And the balance is good, although attaching the bracket to the iPhone in it makes this complicated. More on this for a bit.

A rare drawback of the RiotPwr Rotor Riot RR1852 is that it is not very portable. The iPhone holder can be removed, which helps, but the Lightning cable is permanently fixed. The controller mostly fits in housings designed for Xbox controllers, but the cable is awkward. You have to bend it hard to get the device into the case, which is not a good idea for long-term use.

But it’s pretty robust in itself – I dropped my inspection unit on the concrete driveway and didn’t even scratch it.

Buttons

On the front of the controller there are double joysticks, D-pad and A, B, X and Y buttons. At the top edge are the left and right shoulder buttons (R1 and R2) and the triggers (L2 and R2). Plus, press the analog joysticks for L3 and R3.

The Riot RR1852 rotor is the latest version of the iOS model and adds equivalents to the View and Menu buttons that are missing in the earlier RR1800 and RR1850 models. It’s not hard to find games that use one or both of these buttons, so I recommend the new version.

When I make a comparison with the official Microsoft Xbox controller, the RiotPwr buttons are a little harder. I invested a few hours in testing the controller and the difference didn’t affect the game. But I know some people are very special.

The look of the RiotPwr Rotor The Riot RR1852 should be very familiar to Xbox fans.
Photo: Ed Hardy / Cult of Mac

IPhone holder

There is also a removable stand designed for iPhones of different sizes. The slide clamp holds my 6.1-inch iPhone 13 without a problem, or has enough room for the Pro Max.

Another rare drawback of the Rotor Riot RR1852 is that the iPhone stand does not allow you to adjust the angle at which you look at the iPhone screen. It holds the device at a useful angle, but it would be better if it is adjustable.

Of course, attaching the bracket and iPhone to the game controller makes it harder. And a little heavy. But I didn’t think this bothered me to enjoy the games.

Remove the bracket if you are playing with an iPad that has a Lightning connector.

Lightning cable

One of the best features of the RiotPWR iOS game controller is the Lightning connector on the 2-foot cable. This makes it a plug-and-play accessory. Put your iPhone on the cradle, plug in the cable and you’re ready to play, without the need to set up a Bluetooth connection.

The connection cable is longer than needed for the iPhone because you can also use this controller with a cheap iPad or an older iPadOS tablet with a Lightning port. However, I was not able to test this myself.

Rotor Riot iOS controller RR1852 PWR Plus
The Rotor Riot iOS controller uses a Lightning cable so there are no problems with Bluetooth. It’s plug and play.

With a hardware connection, no worries about latency. I don’t come across this with Bluetooth controllers for the iPhone either, but there can be no talk of a delay between pressing a button and registering a game with a physical connection.

You don’t have to worry about the Rotor Riot RR1852 being charged because it doesn’t have a battery. It is powered from the iPhone.

And power can go the other way. There’s a Lightning port on the bottom edge of the controller – plug in the iPhone charging cable here to send power to the handset.

So many games

iOS and iPadOS support external controllers for games like this right out of the box. No additional software required.

And there are many games that support controllers, e.g. Call of Duty: Mobile. Some of them are part of the Apple Arcade, e.g. Oceanhorn 2.

In addition, there are cloud gaming services such as Google Stadia, Amazon Luna and Xbox Game Pass. With them, you can enjoy quality console games on the iPhone. I tested this while playing Enter the Gungeon on Amazon Luna with Rotor Riot RR1852 and it worked well.

When you connect the RiotPWR controller, it will ask you to download / open Ludu Mapp, an application that helps you find games that support the controller. They will ask you every time, but you can always press “Ignore”.

But not every game allows you to use an external controller. If you have a specific game in mind, check before you buy.

RiotPwr Rotor Riot iOS controller RR1852 PWR Plus final thoughts

RiotPwr game controller Rotor Riot with iPhone 13.
Put your iPhone in the RiotPwr Rotor Riot game controller holder and you’re ready to play better.
Photo: Ed Hardy / Cult of Mac

The RiotPWR iOS game controller is a good option for iPhone players who want to improve their game. The lightning cable makes it plug and play, and copying the design of the Xbox controller means the layout is familiar.

Still, it’s not too portable. And the iPhone holder is not as adjustable as it should be.

Prices

The Riot RR1852 rotor costs $ 49.99 on the RiotPwr website. Or you can find it in the Apple Store for the same price. If you’re in a hurry, the product was in stock at several Apple retail outlets in my area when I checked.

When buying, I warmly recommend the new RR1852. You can still find the older RR1800 and RR1850, but as explained in this review, some of the standard Xbox buttons are missing.

Rival products

The closest rival RiotPwr faces is probably the GameSir X2 Lightning Mobile Gaming Controller. This one also plugs directly into the iPhone, but is much more portable. This makes the phone look like a Switch. Read my review.

If you’re okay with wireless, there’s the GameSir G4 Pro ($ 49.99). It is also close to the standard Microsoft controller by design, but with the addition of a clip. In addition, it supports Android and Windows. I reviewed this one as well.

Or you can simply use a regular Xbox controller from Microsoft and attach your iPhone using the OtterBox Mobile Gaming Clip ($ 29.95). There is even a version of the clip with MagSafe.

RiotPWR provided Cult Maca with the review unit for this article. See our review policies and see more detailed reviews of Apple-related items.





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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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