At CES 2015, gaming peripherals company Mad Catz announced a slew of gaming peripherals. Surprise! Not really. But what is surprising about the few we got our hands on is that Mad Catz is touting them as platforms for playing games, not just gaming peripherals. Okay, this deserves an explanation. But thankfully, the products do most of the explaining themselves.
To start things off, the L.Y.N.X. 9 gaming controller is a portable Bluetooth option that works with Android and PC. That's great and all, but it's the construction of the controller that deserves your attention. When folded, the controller looks like a grungy bat-a-rang and can easily fit into a coat pocket this way. But in this compact form, you don't really get a good grip of the massive amount of utility hidden in the design until it's opened up.
By opening up the controller, the console-quality grips, analog sticks and phone clip move into position. If you want to game with a smartphone, the clip stretches big enough to let a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 rest, but it can also be removed if you're gaming on an Android set-top box like the Nexus Player instead.
Included with the controller is the tablet chassis, where with one fell swoop, you can pull the L.Y.N.X. 9 apart, snap in a tablet and game with a setup reminiscent of the Razer Edge. The internal battery can power gaming sessions up to 20 hours before requiring a recharge.
With two analog sticks, a directional pad, four shoulder buttons and familiar face buttons, anyone who has touched a console controller in the past decade will be right at home. What's different about the L.Y.N.X. 9 is the mode selector, which changes up the utility of the button offering in each mode. There's a mode for gaming on the PC, gaming on Android, and a mode for controlling media right from the controller. To assist with finicky mouse and keyboard navigation, Mad Catz included a snap-in QWERTY keyboard, and even engineered a little nub right on the controller to operated the mouse in the unfortunate case you aren't in Steam's Big Picture mode. To top off the features, there's a microphone on the bottom that you can use for calls or for a "Okay, Google" shout-out.
At $300 (about £250, AU$370), the LYNX 9 won't be cheap. And while it may first appear to be a ridiculous amount to ask for what may seem to be a standard Bluetooth gaming controller, it has a heckuva lot of utility packed into the offering for the price.
Next is the R.A.T. Pro X gaming mouse. Similar to the L.Y.N.X. 9, its name is difficult to type, but more remarkably, it beckons to be deconstructed if it means that you'll get a better gaming experience out of it.
Looking a lot like last year's R.A.T. T.E., the new mouse from Mad Catz has been completely overhauled on the inside. It has all of the bells and whistles you'd expect from a high-rolling gaming mouse, but for the PC gamer that needs every little part of a mouse to fit in their hand just right, Mad Catz has made it very customizable.
Not happy with the slope of the wrist rest? Extent it outward to fit your grip and tilt it 15 degrees to the left or right for the ideal fit. Does the texture of the scroll wheel bug you out? Change it. They've even extended the customization to the pinky and thumb blades so your unused digits aren't just getting in the way.
Pretty much every part of this mouse can be hot-swapped for included alternatives, but Mad Catz promises to include new varieties as they get feedback from gamers. Perhaps the most ground-breaking feature about the R.A.T. Pro X is the interchangeable mouse sensor. When you flip the mouse over, you can simply swap out the mouse sensor. No more buying another expensive gaming mouse next time a hot new sensor is available.
The parts that aren't customizable aren't bad either. The scroll wheel, for instance, has accurate analog strafe. Also, the mouse buttons are coated in a sweat-proof material to keep your fingers from slipping during clutch matches. Subtle, but thoughtful features.
No price has been announced for the R.A.T. Pro X at time of writing, but will be released soon. Keep a look out for full reviews of both the mouse and the L.Y.N.X. 9 gaming controller.
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