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Roccat Power-Grid: Turn Your Smartphone Into A PC Peripheral

Demonstrating Power-Grid With Our Custom Grid

So far you've seen screenshots and followed us through the theory, but now we'd like to show you a video of Roccat's Power-Grid in action using a Nexus 7 tablet. We're demonstrating some of the software's bundled applications and our custom-built Grid for Star Trek Online:

(You can download our Star Trek Online LCARS Grid for free from the Roccat Store)

As you can see, despite the fact that Power-Grid was in open beta, the software works the way we were expecting. It's quick and surprisingly responsive over Wi-Fi, it looks slick, it offers a lot of interesting functionality, and the potential for innovative community-built Grids is undeniable. On top of all that, Roccat is going to offer the basic version to the public for free. To be honest, even as a cynical journalist, it's difficult to find a convincing reason not to try Power-Grid out.

I'm not saying the software is perfect, mind you. I did encounter a bug that wouldn't let me apply custom sounds to my controls, and I also experienced occasional crashing in the Sound Control Grid when I skipped songs in a playlist. Having said that, the software is still being improved.

We could complain that the 4x5 control setup might make sense for a smartphone, while a tablet can handle many more buttons thanks to its larger screen. Roccat has mentioned that it plans to properly support tablets in the future, so the button size is a limitation that may be solved on devices with bigger screens. If this happens, a tablet may be a viable alternative to something like Optimus' Popularis customizable LCD keyboard.

When all is said and done, our greatest concern is this: will people actually use their smartphone as a PC input device, or will it be ignored in favor of the powerful mouse-and-keyboard combo that already exists in front of them? Will gamers find the extra controls useful or ignore them during actual play? Will the Power-Grid and mobile device combo end up being useful, or a one-time curiosity?

I ask this because, as much as I love the look and feel of Mad Catz' S.T.R.I.K.E. 7 keyboard, I haven’t been motivated to use the programmable Venom LCD touchscreen since reviewing it. Perhaps Power-Grid's flexibility will make the software more compelling; the idea of having my smartphone docked into a Phobo keyboard or Apuri 2.0 and acting as an on-demand trackpad is an appealing prospect. An active community can produce amazing things, too, so who knows what innovative Grids will appear now that it's in the public's hands?

But none of my misgivings are a good reason to avoid installing Roccat's Power-Grid software and giving it a spin, though, especially considering the basic version's free price tag. If you have the slightest interest in tinkering with software, you owe it to yourself to give Power-Grid a try now that it's an easy download.

  • eldragon0
    Give me this, but over the usb cable and I'll be very happy.
  • spookyman
    hmm well dont think it would fit a Note 2.
  • qlum
    Or my note 3 for that matter. I do however think that I could use the gameklip I ordered as a stand. Or just some other stuf in my room. It is not that hard.
  • gijoe50000
    Just set it up there now, AWESOME!! And very quick too...
  • heero yuy
    so do I have to buy one of these roccat keyboard thingys or can I just install an app on my phone and go from there?
  • OcelotRex
    11809382 said:
    so do I have to buy one of these roccat keyboard thingys or can I just install an app on my phone and go from there?

    I too want to know this. I am in the process of building a lap desk to use for my KB/Mouse setup to the HTPC. My plan was to use a automotive dashboard mount for my Note 2 or Nexus 7 to have on the lapdesk to surf the web or use skype with. If this software works independently without hardware that'd be great.
  • razor512
    that is the worst thing you can do to a smartphone (short of just smashing it). All of the wide viewing angle displays (IPS like technology) get burnings if static content is displayed for too long and it eventually becomes permanent (just like with an HDTV)

    I would consider a product like this only useful if you have an old first gen android smartphone or an old windows mobile 2003 pocket PC or other old device to use with it and be compatible.

    A person doing something like using their iphone 5 for this will be very sad when they see the screen burn-in.

    These issues will not happen within a short while, but over time you will start to get burn in issues that won't go away.
  • heero yuy
    where can I get the mass effect and crunchyroll grids? I cannot find them :/
  • gadgety
    "instead of purchasing a separate, expensive peripheral device with customizable LCD display, what if you could just leverage your phone or tablet to get the job done?" Yes, I've been looking to get a CPU temperature, and fan and pump controller software. Found something called PC-monitor which is available for iOS, Android and and Windows Phone. Apparently there's something called Server control as well. Haven't used either, but really looking for these kinds of solutions, utilizing the power resident in the phone.
  • psycher1
    Cant get it to connect. Any network oriented dudes out there that can help me find out what's up?
    My PC is wired to the router, don't know why that would hurt but it's the only thing I can think. Otherwise, got my LAN and WAN IP addresses, but the phone can't find either.