Mad Catz are crazy yet businesslike guys. They upsurge their share on the gaming gadgets market from year to year, from month to month. The developers are serious about new technologies and finding their own niche on the global market. Mad Catz's brand style is to launch a device with the most unexpected features and functions, and then sell it successfully to the gamers.
In less than a year from the presentation of their own Mad Catz M.O.J.O console (the first models of MC L.Y.N.Х. gamepad haven't been sold out yet either), they presented to the world their innovative multimedia controller S.U.R.F.R. The competitive edge of this device, a QWERTY-keyboard joint to a gamepad, was immediately noticed by the analysts and critics. Many users perceived Mad Catz S.U.R.F.R. as a kind of alternative to a gaming convertible controller L.Y.N.X. Nevertheless, such interpretation of this novelty is mistaken and incomplete. In fact, the device comprises many new possibilities and little secrets.
Mad Catz S.U.R.F.R.: a universal gadget
The key potential of Mad Catz S.U.R.F.R. is connected not only with a convenient keyboard. It's main distinctive feature is its versatility. This is not a gaming controller, but a MULTIMEDIA controller.
Simply put, it can operate with a dozen of different devices which could be found in a middle-class living room. According to the manufacturer, S.U.R.F.R will suit the owners of Android smart TVs, smartphones, tablets and gaming consoles, and gamers which prefer mobile devices.
Thus, it will become so to say a "room remote control". The only things that cannot be controlled by the Mad Catz device are probably the AC and a robot vacuum cleaner. The controller allows easy browsing of the web pages, your favourite web sites or popular video hosting sites and staying in touch via e-mail or social networks. We'll be honest and admit that no direct rivals of this American company have been able to design a device with such functionality.
The very idea of closing the system of managing several systems with one controller deserves immense respect. And it's not even about the hardware. Imagine how difficult it is to devise the type of device ergonomics that will not strain your hands during the game play and will allow easy scrolling of the photos on social networks! According to the developers, they've coped with this task.
The device is assembled in a compact case with retractable handles. The front part of S.U.R.F.R comprises a full QWERTY keyboard with the slightly inclined buttons so that your fingers and wrists won't grow tired of typing or playing. Analog joysticks and buttons allow controlling the cursor on the display, switch between videos and photos or drive a race car in a game, states the official press-release.
Another important thing is that the device can be taken along with you on the go: a mount for a smartphone is also supplied.
"The capacity of connection" (and the possibility to expand it in future) is provided by the Bluetooth support. The performance of the gadget connected with AmazonFire TV, M.O.J.O. Micro-Console and other consoles was tested even before the sales started. These tests seem to have been successful. The experts forecast that the Android console market will expand, and thus the amount of "controller-friendly" systems is also expected to grow. The controller is powered by two AAA elements.
The disadvantages of Mad Catz S.U.R.F.R.
Although we absolutely love the concept of Mad Catz S.U.R.F.R, there exist certain difficulties which have to be mentioned.
First of all, the device is available at the price of $80. By June this figure is more likely to escalate rather than dip. Many rivals of this model cost much less, though practically none of them have got a QWERTY-keyboard and a status of "a versatile gadget". Then, if the gamer only prefers arcades or racing, he can opt for something different from Mad Catz. On the other hand, it is indisputable that this product is suits RPG and some shooters much better.
In addition, S.U.R.F.R. is fairly massive. There are no dimensions of the gadget on the Internet, but it's obvious from the photographs that it is very large, which is a drawback as it limits the carrying and mobility of the device. Moreover, speaking about the fans of purely mobile gaming, it should be mentioned that they also have a reason to doubt the benefits of Mad Catz. The thing is that the tablet would perfectly fit into such a powerful device while a smartphone will look somewhat ridiculous! This may deter those who love playing gamepad on their cell phone.
Another purely rhetorical question is whether people need a "single remote control" for a smart TV, a console and a tablet. Won't such unification lead to the loss of precision of the settings of each of the mentioned devices? Can they be linked to a single controller without a decline in comfort? These questions shall remain unanswered until the sales season begins!
The only thing that is undoubted is the quality of assembly of the gadget and its accessories. Mad Catz is in business for almost 30 years! Its devices are pricey, but they always correspond to their status of "good and everlasting models". The quality of the joystick should therefore become its distinctive competitive edge (I hope I didn't just jinx it).
What do the users expect?
At the end of our overview we decided to take a look at the opinion of regular users regarding the prospects of this novelty. So far Mad Catz hasn't become a hot topic even in the thematic communities; however, a certain feedback is found. Most of it is positive. People are looking forward to a new gadget, though many of them still perceive it purely as a gamepad! Some even try to "tailor it" to their favourite games.
User Jeremy shares:
Oh, this would be really convenient for playing Modern Combat, and Clash of Clans as well (Note – these are popular mobile games)
User _UltraBear_ is also looking forward to the introduction of this product but at a different price:
I would've bought it for $50 at most. $80 is too expensive.
Some of the commentators even admire the design of the gadget:
This is a chill thing, which is a lot like a cabriolet which John Johnson drove in "Miami Vice".
zhao mentions a debatable con of the device forgetting about the low quality of Chinese manufacturing:
This is rubbish. The Chinese have manufactured a similar gadget way earlier.
The great majority of customers leave concise comments which, in a nutshell, are as follows: "That's cool. I'm waiting for the launch". Our web site's editing team agrees with this brief summary.
Read full review about gaming controllers for smartphone here.