Review: Marware Game Grip is a triple threat - Macenstein

Review: Marware Game Grip is a triple threat

At first glance the Marware Game Grip looks like the holy grail of iPhone gaming – a gaming controller for the iPhone that will free you from the sometimes flakiness of touch screen gaming. On second look, however, you realize that it actually has no buttons or controls at all, and instead is really just a case designed to make holding your iPhone a little more comfortable while gaming. Still, the Game Grip is pretty cool, and there are some pretty good reasons you might consider plunking down $49.99 for it.

Marware Game Grip
The rubber on the Game Grip’s handles can be peeled back to thread head phone cords, as well as the Dock charging cable.

The Game Grip is designed to mimic the controllers found on home gaming consoles like the XBox and Playstation, and gamers used to those controllers will feel right at home with the Game Grip. The large, padded side grips fit comfortably in the hand, and the case works great for racing games like Crash Kart and flight simulators like X-Plane. Marware designed the Game Grip to work with both the iPhone and the iPod touch, so it is an equal opportunity Apple gaming accessory.

Marware Game Grip
Marware may not have had this in mind, but the Game Grip actually makes giving an iPhone or touch to a 2-year-old to watch a movie a much less terrifying idea.

The Game Grip holds your expensive Apple device securely thanks to the two included rubber cases (one for an iPod touch, one for an iPhone). In our tests, it was more or less impossible to accidentally shake the iPhone loose. In fact, you have to push the iPhone out from behind through a small hole in the back of the Game Grip in order to release it, and it can actually be pretty difficult to do so. I found it held the iPhone and iPod touch in so well, I even let my 2-year-old niece take it for a test drive. Any parent brave enough to give their young child a touch or iPhone to play with to keep them quiet in the back seat might want to consider the Game Grip. I found the large, grip-able rubber handles made it much easier for her small hands to hold on to, and when she DID eventually drop it, the Game Grip provided a pretty impressive amount of cushioning. So it gets my recommendation for parents who wish to spoil their children.


Gaming on the Game Grip is a pretty nice experience, so long as you are playing horizontal games in general, and racing games in particular. Obviously you can hold the Game Grip in any orientation, but it was designed to be held (and is most comfortable) in the horizontal orientation. The touch screen is easily accessible with your thumbs, although given how much more surface area they command than your fingers, you may find hitting controls a little less precise than finger tapping. This is usually not an issue with racing games that usually only have one or two buttons located on either side of the screen, but games with more complex and tightly grouped controls may take some getting used to. I found Fieldrunners was a little tough, and I holding the Game Grip with one hand and using my finger to buy my towers.

The blue rubber padding on the Game Grip’s handles can be pulled back, allowing you to thread an iPhone or iPod touch’s headphone cord through. There is also a place to wrap your headphone cord on the back of the unit, which is a nice touch. Marware shows a dock connector also being threaded in handle, although I am not sure how often, if ever, anyone would use this. I suppose if someone on a 6-hour car trip had a nearby AC outlet in the car they could do this, but in general you’ll probably want to take your iPod out to charge. The packaging of the Game Grip mentions that Marware will be selling an add-on battery pack which sounds like a much better idea for charging, although at the moment I can find no mention of the pack or pricing info on their site.


I don’t have much bad to say about the Game Grip. Obviously its biggest limitation is the somewhat awkward way you must hold it if you’d like to play a vertically oriented game like Bejeweled or Papi Jump or some such, but you more or less know that going in to the purchase. One word of warning I would give, however, is that if you are an iPhone user, you must first remove a thin piece of rubber that is inside the Game Grip first. I first tried the Game Grip with an iPod touch, and it fit perfectly. However, only after trying to force an iPhone in for some time, and worrying I was actually going to crack the screen with the pressure, I realized Marware added a piece of rubber to act as a spacer for the thinner iPod touch. Marware doesn’t really include very specific directions (there are a couple of small pictures with arrows on little carboard inserts that come with it that DO tell you about that rubber, and they appear obvious once you know what they mean, but for folks like me who assume they can figure out any device without instructions – especially one without any pieces – I found it a little confusing). Also, while it is great that when you buy the Game Grip you really get 3 cases in one, the fact that you need to keep track of the case you are not using, as well as that rubber spacer if you are using an iPhone, is a little lame, as I know I will eventually lose one or the other, just as I have lost all those different-sized iPod dock inserts that some with iPod speakers.

Marware Game Grip
In order to ensure a snug fit, the Game Grip comes with a custom black rubber case for both an iPod touch and an iPhone. These cases can be used without the Game Grip and are actually pretty decent cases on their own.


Marware’s Game Grip is a great iPhone/iPod touch accessory for the avid racing game enthusiast, as well as a great idea for anyone who had bought their young child an iPod tough for games and movie watching. The large, grip-able handles make it hard to accidentally drop, and add a huge amount of protection should a drop occur. Using the game grip for horizontal games was a pleasure, but be aware that you’ll likely want to remove your device for “vertical” games. If you are a household with both an iPhone and an iPod touch you’ll have even more reason to like the Game Grip, as it comes with two rubber cases you can use outside of the Game Grip. Given how expensive most iPod and iPhone cases are ($20-$30) the fact that you get 3 cases in one for $49.99 makes the idea of dropping a Ulysses S. Grant on it easier to justify.

Marware Game Grip

Pros: Works as advertised, good for racing games and movie watching, holds iPhone/touch secure, includes two removable rubber cases, a great accessory for young children who may drop small devices
Cons: Kind of a niche product, not all that great for vertically oriented games, odds are I will lose the iPod Touch spacer accessory over time.

One Response to “Review: Marware Game Grip is a triple threat”
  1. Jonro says:

    I don’t feel there is any way to justify $50 for that bogosity. Maybe I’ll pick one up for $10 on in 4 months when they don’t sell any.

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