At CES, Mad Catz impressed us with a delightful, sturdy, intricate mobile gaming controller called the L.Y.N.X. 9. We spent a good bit of time hands-on with it, and we were all on board except for one kind of important detail: The cost was exorbitant at $299.
Mad Catz quickly understood that consumers weren't keen on dropping that kind of scratch on a gaming controller of any kind, no matter how much it slices and dices. Although the company still clearly loves the L.Y.N.X. 9, it heard users loud and clear.
Tonight at Mobile World Congress 2015, Mad Catz announced a "baby brother" to the L.Y.N.X. 9, the L.Y.N.X. 3. This new controller borrows heavily from the design of the L.Y.N.X. 9, but it's not as intricate, it has fewer moving parts, and it doesn't feel nearly as high-end (although we were holding a pre-production model).
The kicker? It's just sixty bucks. Granted, $60 is still somewhat expensive for this type of device, but we'll let Mad Catz' Alex Verrey convince you otherwise.
You'll note one additional change from the L.Y.N.X. 9 is the lack of a keyboard. However, Mad Catz opted to omit the keyboard on the L.Y.N.X. 3 and built a whole new living controller called the S.U.R.F.r.
The S.U.R.F.r is really designed to let you control Android TV devices, Android streaming boxes, set-top boxes, tablets and HTPCs via its Bluetooth connection. The full QWERTY keyboard, split in such a way that you can reach one bank of keys or the other with your thumbs, was responsive and comfortable when we had a chance to tinker with it at Mad Catz' table at an event.
Again, Verrey offered a grand tour of the new device.
It also costs about $60, and unlike the pre-production L.Y.N.X. 3, this device appeared to be ready to ship.