When we think of portable consoles, the main manufacturer that comes to mind is Nintendo. From the Gameboy to the DS and now the Switch, they seem to conquer the handheld market pretty well. Each console coming with an abundance of games and travel kits so you can play wherever you go. They’ve had little competition over the years, with Sony pushing them closest with their PSP and PS Vita. But Microsoft just never seemed that interested, until recently.
We’re now at a stage, where Mobile Phones are becoming just as powerful, if not more so than many handhelds on the market. Take my new OnePlus Nord for example, the screen is capable of Full HD+ (2400 x 1080) with a 90Hz refresh rate, has 128GB storage and 8GB RAM as standard. Compared to the Switch’s 720P handheld display, 60Hz refresh rate, 32GB storage and just 4GB of RAM, as a machine, my phone kicks the Switch’s ass.
And that’s why Microsoft think now is the time to get into handheld gaming, because they no longer have to build a console to do it. Because cloud gaming is now with Xbox Game Pass, allowing gamers to play 100+ Xbox games on their Android mobile phone or tablet with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. No need for people to go out and splash extra cash on another console. Everyone already has capable devices in their hand, or at least most people do. Don’t think my Nan’s Nokia 3310 will be playing Halo any time soon.
But you might be wondering how it’s all going to work, and that you’re not going to be able to see your screen from across the room. Well, Venom have you covered with their brand new Travel Kit. It has everything you could ever need for just £19.99. A mobile phone controller clamp so your phone is attached to your Xbox One controller, a controller case for protection on the go, a rechargeable battery pack so you can charge it up ready for your next outing, a 2M USB charging cable and a pair of textured thumb grips.
I wasn’t too sure how the Travel Kit’s clamp would hold up, but it’s actually really good. It is fully adjustable allowing you to set your phone at the optimum viewing angle, and it’s universal so it will fit pretty much every mobile on the market, although admittedly I haven’t tested them all. But having recently changed my phone from an Honor Play to the OnePlus Nord, and also having a dreadful iPhone 6s for a work phone, everything fits in nice and comfortably, and is very secure. No rattling, looseness or worry that at any moment your beloved phone will pop out and smash on the floor.
That’s not the only thing that’s secure though, the sturdy carry case that it comes with offers great protection and storage for your controller and accessories when not in use. It’s well-padded, a good snug fit for the controller so it won’t be rattling around and it doesn’t look half bad either. Although if I had to pick out one thing, maybe it can come across as a little too bulky? But that one is down to personal preference. And you know if it’s chunky, it’s well-padded, much like myself. Building up fat for years in case we have a bad winter.
Moving on to the Travel Kit’s rechargeable battery, it’s a standard 700Mah capacity, which Venom claim provides game time for up to 15 hours on a full charge. I’ll admit, swapping between Xbox, PS4, Switch and my PC, I haven’t likely racked up 15 hours yet. But having charged before my first use, and playing a good few games for several hours, I still haven’t yet, had to charge it back up again. And even if you do lose some juice, you have a 2M USB cable to charge it with. And most public transport today, or even pubs and restaurants, will have somewhere for you to plug it in.
The last piece of the Travel Kit puzzle is the thumb grips. They’re pretty standard, although do ofter a little more grip and comfort than the ones fitted on your basic Xbox One controller. An ideal accompaniment to the rest of the kit, but one that does irritate me too. Because Venom has marketed the Travel Kit as a 6-in-1 accessory pack, but each thumb grip is counted as one like you would buy them singularly in the first place. You’re always going to buy a pair, and really, it should state it’s a 5-in-1 pack because it makes it sound like you’re getting more than what you are, a little misleading.
Overall thoughts of Venom’s Travel Kit?
For the quality of what you get, and the price it is available at, Venom’s Travel Kit is going to be ideal if you’re going to be entering Xbox’s world of cloud-based gaming on your mobile. You could go out and buy a Switch instead, but it’d cost you a lot more, and you’d have to keep buying games, whereas you’ll have 100+ to play using the Xbox service with more being added all the time. Plus you can still access things like Netflix and YouTube on your mobile too without having to jailbreak it.
Strong and sturdy, will keep you going for hours, what more could you ask for? Except maybe not trying to palm off the thumb grips as two individual items. Still, getting over that, I think it’s safe to say, it’s worth checking out if you’ll be jumping onto Xbox’s new service.
The Venom Travel Kit, also known as the Project xCloud Mobile Gaming Travel Kit, is available now on Amazon for £19.99, and you can find it HERE. If you’re thinking about ordering one, then whilst you wait for delivery, why not click HERE to check out more of our hardware reviews.