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SCUF Nomad controller review - A handy and fancy way to play mobile games

SCUF Nomad controller review - A handy and fancy way to play mobile games

With all the build quality you expect from SCUF

I’ve never considered myself much of a mobile gamer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who think mobile gaming isn’t a legitimate form of gaming, I just don’t like gaming on a touchscreen unless the controls are incredibly basic. With that in mind, I’m probably wasting money every month being subscribed to Apple Arcade, but at least now I have a fancy controller to use and one that made me rethink my future with mobile games.

The SCUF Nomad, this one is specifically for iPhone, is one of those fancy controllers that expand in the middle so your phone sits snugly inside, giving you a controller to grip around the outside. I wasn’t sure how it would feel at first before I opened the box. I’m always a little concerned these things will be flimsy or feel too light. Those concerns were erased upon opening the box and feeling that the Nomad had a little heft to it.

Straight out of the package, this little handheld is a breeze to set up. All I had to do was download the Scuf Nomad app and everything was contained within - customisation options for reprogramming your buttons, profile settings for each gaming platform, and even video and image capture built right in and activated with a dedicated button on the Nomad. It’s a smart little package that had me regretting not exploring the option of gaming on my phone sooner.

SCUF Nomad Controller (Corsair Memory. Inc)
SCUF Nomad Controller (Corsair Memory. Inc)

Connecting the Nomad to my iPhone was equally simple, it’s just a couple of button presses to set up the Bluetooth and you’re ready to go.

I went on a little adventure, finding games to play via the aforementioned Apple Arcade, plus connected my phone to remote play on my PlayStation 5. I started off by playing some racing games to get an idea of how the Nomad reacted to quick stick movement and sustained button pressing and it was a delight. The buttons all have the right amount of give to them - they don’t feel cheap and unresponsive, instead you can play knowing that your actions will be supported by the hardware.

The thumbsticks specifically are very impressive. They’re not the sliding kind that feels imprecise, these are fully-fledged analogue sticks with a really smooth feel to them. When playing a game with the need for gentle tilting of the stick, the Nomad responded just as my Dual Sense would.

I wanted to put this thing through its paces though. Driving games are all well and good, but how would it feel to play Call of Duty on this? It’s not a small unit, but there’s the worry that with more active button presses my phone would come loose, or a button press wouldn’t register.

SCUF Nomad Controller (Corsair Memory. Inc)
SCUF Nomad Controller (Corsair Memory. Inc)

So, despite having never played it before, I downloaded Call of Duty mobile and got into a match. It’s one of the games the Nomad software recommends you try out, so I was expecting it to work well. Honestly, the Nomad is a dream to use. The narrow profile of the device makes it really easy to switch between shoulder buttons and after a short time it felt natural to use and enjoy. I’m not sure I’d rank it above console controllers, but damn it’s close.

I’d like to compare it to either the Dual Sense or the Xbox controller, but the Nomad is a one-of-a-kind. It’s more angular in places, but it also features lovely grips that feel curved to the palms of my hands. As with any other SCUF hardware it’s well built and genuinely lovely to use. I’d been on the fence for a while about buying a PlayStation Portal so I could play PS5 games in bed, but now I think I’ll just use the Nomad instead. It does everything you’ll want it to do and when paired with its software, it feels like a new handheld has entered the market.

A review sample SCUF Nomad controller was provided by Corsair.

Featured Image Credit: Corsair Memory. Inc

Topics: PlayStation, Mobile Games