IPEGA PG-9017 Wireless Bluetooth Controller Review (Android / iOS)



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In this review, we would like to talk about the IPEGA PG-9017, a Bluetooth controller specially designed for Android and iOS smartphones, such as iPhone, Samsung Galaxy S II, HTC One S, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Droid Razr and many others. The reason for this is that the IPEGA PG-9017 has an extendable grip to support different smartphone sizes (below we talk about limits), so you can attach you smartphone, synchronize devices through Bluetooth and play your favorite games using a gamepad.

By the way, our IPEGA PG-9017 was bought on Dealextreme (sku.172963) and the package came with the following items:

  • 1x IPEGA PG-9017 Bluetooth controller.
  • 1x 85cm USB cable (used to recharge the Bluetooth gamepad).
  • 1x User manual (English and Chinese).


Features of the IPEGA PG-9017

  • 4 modes of use: iCade, Mouse, Keyboard and Joystick (details later).
  • Bluetooth 3.0 (it works with older Bluetooth devices too).
  • 6~8 meters of wireless range (useful if the grip will not be used).
  • Compatible with iOS and Android tablets and smartphones (it worked on Windows 7 too).
  • Built-in lithium battery.
  • Buttons: A, B, X, Y, L, R, Select, Start and HOME.
  • Pads: one D-Pad and two Analogs (true analogs when in JOYSTICK mode - see note 1).
  • Power saving mode when no use.
  • Material: plastic
  • Offered in two colors: black or white (links below).

Check our YouTube channel for more IPEGA PG-9017 videos.



Will my smartphone fit in the IPEGA PG-9017 grip?

ipega pg-9017 bluetooth controller grip

As you can see on the picture above, the IPEGA PG-9017 grip (or clamp/holder) extension is limited, so you only will be able to attach smartphones with width around 7.5cm. If your smartphone width (smartphone + case thickness) is bigger than that, then you will not be able to use this wireless Bluetooth controller. However, there are workarounds, like the guy in this video who managed to attach a Samsung Galaxy Note (8.3 cm of width) to the IPEGA PG-9017 using a plastic case mod. Also, there is the option to use this wireless Bluetooth controller without the grip, which is the option for those who have tablets (Android or iPad).



How to use the IPEGA PG-9017 Bluetooth Controller

In order to use this Android Bluetooth controller (also works on iOS), you only need to own a device with Bluetooth. However, not every device will pair with the IPEGA PG-9017 due to some Android bugs. For instance, this Bluetooth gamepad did not work with the HTC Desire HD running Android 2.3.3. However, after installing the Blackout v3.2 ICS ROM (Android 4.0.4), they worked fine. So, try to find information from other IPEGA PG-9017 owners on the Internet or buy it and try for yourself.

Getting back to the how-to, follow the steps below to pair and connect IPEGA PG-9017 to your Android smartphone (iPhone, iPad and iPod should be similar):

Step 1: Make sure the Bluetooth gamepad is OFF (SEARCH LED should be off). If on, hold HOME button for a few seconds to turn it off.
Step 2: Attach the smartphone in the Bluetooth gamepad grip.
Step 3: Go to Bluetooth settings of your smartphone and turn on Bluetooth.
Step 4: Now, depending on the mode you want turn it on, hold down A, B, X or Y (details in the next section).
Step 5: Still holding one of those four buttons (ABXY), hold down HOME button for a few seconds until the SEARCH LED start blinking, which means the Android controller is on and searching for devices to pair.
Step 6: Now, release the pressed buttons, get back to the smartphone screen and click on the option to scan for Bluetooth devices. That option may be hidden depending on Android version, so maybe the MENU button of your smartphone can help.
Step 7: After finding the IPEGA PG-9017, your smartphone will list a new device: "Bluetooth Gamepad".
Step 8: Touch this new item. A menu will popup asking for pair. Just confirm the pairing process and wait for conclusion.
Step 9: After successful pairing, wait again until your Android smartphone try to connect to Android gamepad automatically. If it fails, see note 2.
Step 10: After successful connecting (SEARCH LED will stay on and smartphone will mark this Android gamepad as connected), you are ready to try to use this Android gamepad with your game or emulator. If it fails connecting, see note 2.

The next part is to try to use IPEGA PG-9017 wireless Bluetooth controller with your game or emulator. Most of the retro emulators (for SNES, Mega Drive, Nintendo 64, Playstation, NES, Master System, Arcade, Neo Geo, etc.) allow you to configure a Bluetooth controller, at least in KEYBOARD mode. However, just a few Android games accept these Bluetooth controllers (currently), so you will have to try the modes until find something playable. By the way, make sure to unpair, turn off, turn on in other mode and pair again the IPEGA PG-9017 to avoid Bluetooth bugs. If Android do not unpair it in either way, reboot your smartphone.



Which MODE should I use?

As we mentioned, the IPEGA PG-9017 has 4 modes of use: Joystick, Keyboard, iCade and Mouse. You pick one of them when turning on this Bluetooth gamepad. Just hold down A, B, X or Y (according to the table below) and then hold HOME button for a few seconds (SEARCH LED will start blinking).

Each mode has some features, as shown in the table below, so try different ones when having problems while mapping button or testing games. As recommendation, start trying JOYSTICK mode. If no success, try the other modes. For Android users, there is an app on Google Play called GameKeyboard, who claims to allow users to play touch-only games with a gamepad (like this Bluetooth gamepad), but unfortunately we did not have a chance to test it (paid app).

To help you know the features of each mode, and which button (ABXY) to hold before turning on the wireless Bluetooth controller, we compiled the table below using the tool "Controller diagnostics" from Mupen64 Plus AE Free (v2.2.0), a Nintendo 64 emulator (go to "Settings" -> "Input" -> "Controller" -> "Controller diagnostics").

Mode Button Notes
Joystick X
  • true analogs
  • D-Pad and left analog are separated (different events)
Keyboard A
  • D-Pad and left analog are the same (no true analog)
  • no right analog
iCade Y
  • D-Pad and left analog are the same (no true analog)
  • no right analog
  • no START / SELECT (those two white buttons of a real iCade are not mapped)
Mouse B
  • L or R used as mouse click
  • right analog used to move mouse cursor
  • no left analog
  • no D-Pad
  • no ABXY buttons
  • no START / SELECT


Where can I buy this IPEGA PG-9017?

This IPEGA PG-9017 Bluetooth controller is for sale at Dealextreme for about $24. We bought the black version, but there is also a white version with the same features.



IPEGA PG-9017 compatibility list

Again, to help those looking for compatible games and emulators, we compiled the list below showing app/game name, version, notes, modes used, device and Android version. Obviously, it is a little list right now, but with your help it can get bigger and more accurate. Use the comments section below to share your experience with this Android Bluetooth controller.

Game/App (ver.) Notes Device
Mupen64 Plus AE (2.2.0) all OK (including true analogs) after mapping keys - JM Desire HD 4.0.4
(Blackout 3.2)
aFBA (1.6) all OK after mapping keys - KM *
Snes9x EX+ (1.5.10) all OK after mapping keys - KM *
GENPLUSDroid (1.9.3) all OK after mapping keys - JM and KM *
My Boy! Free (1.3.6)
GBA emulator
all OK after mapping keys - KM *
SuperGNES Lite (1.3.9) all OK after mapping keys - KM *
Sonic CD Lite (1.0.4) all OK - JM or KM *
Zenonia 4 (1.1.4) action button only in START - KM *
Zenonia 4 (1.1.4) ABXYLR, START and SELECT as action button - JM *
Avenger (1.04.00) only D-Pad works - JM or KM *
Assaulter (1.08.01) only D-Pad works - JM or KM *
Chrono & Cash Free (1.2.8) it seems ok - IM *
Recess Riot (1.2.1) holding buttons not handle properly - IM *
Mupen64 Plus AE (2.2.0) all OK (including true analogs) after mapping keys - JM Samsung Galaxy S II 4.0.3
Cordy (1.70) all OK - JM Desire HD 4.0.4
(ViperDHD 2.2.0)
Tiger Arcade (3.1.2) all OK after mapping keys and clearing unused buttons - KM *
N64oid (2.7) true analogs, but didn't recognize mapped D-Pad and right analog in game - JM *
N64oid (2.7) all OK with limitations (no true analogs, D-Pad and left analog are the same and no right analog) - KM *
FPse (0.11.87) no right analog, slow input handle in "Analog pad" and normal input handle in "Digital pad" - JM *
FPse (0.11.87) all ok with limitations (no true analogs, D-Pad and left analog are the same and no right analog) - KM *

Legends:

  • JM -> Joystick Mode.
  • KM -> Keyboard Mode.
  • IM -> iCade Mode.
  • MM -> Mouse Mode.
  • * -> Same device as before.

Note that graphic, performance or sound problems are not in the scope of this IPEGA PG-9017 review.



Problems

Now we will list some problems that we found while using this wireless Bluetooth controller:

  • Stiff D-Pad (not a big problem for most of the games).
  • Stiff analog sticks (maybe they will be more flexible with use).
  • Low visibility by developers (currently), but probably more games/apps will be compatible with IPEGA PG-9017 in future.
  • iCade mode does not have mapped those two white buttons of the real iCade.


IPEGA PG-9017 Information for Developers (for Android)

In order to help Android developers to add IPEGA PG-9017 support in their games and apps (show this table to your prefered developers), we compiled the table below with information regarding KeyEvent and MotionEvent classes (comment if something is missing).

If you are an Android developer and need a tester who owns the IPEGA PG-9017, feel free to contact us by email or comment below.

KeyCode

/

Button

Mode
  Keyboard Joystick iCade (Down/Up)
A 38(J) 189(Button 2) 49(U)/34(F)
B 39(K) 190(Button 3) 36(H)/46(R)
X 41(M) 191(Button 4) 38(J)/42(N)
Y 37(I) 190(Button 3) 53(Y)/48(T)
L Shoulder 45(Q) 192(Button 5) 37(I)/41(M)
R Shoulder 44(P) 193(Button 6) 39(K)/44(P)
Select 46(R) 196(Button 9) -
Start 53(Y) 197(Button 10) -
D-Pad Up 19(DPAD_UP) AXIS_HAT_Y(-) 51(W)/33(E)
D-Pad Down 20(DPAD_DOWN) AXIS_HAT_Y(+) 52(X)/54(Z)
D-Pad Left 21(DPAD_LEFT) AXIS_HAT_X(-) 29(A)/45(Q)
D-Pad Right 22(DPAD_RIGHT) AXIS_HAT_X(+) 32(D)/31(C)
L-Analog Up 19(DPAD_UP) AXIS_Y(-) 51(W)/33(E)
L-Analog Down 20(DPAD_DOWN) AXIS_Y(+) 52(X)/54(Z)
L-Analog Left 21(DPAD_LEFT) AXIS_X(-) 29(A)/45(Q)
L-Analog Right 22(DPAD_RIGHT) AXIS_X(+) 32(D)/31(C)
R-Analog Up - AXIS_RZ(-) -
R-Analog Down - AXIS_RZ(+) -
R-Analog Left - AXIS_Z(-) -
R-Analog Right - AXIS_Z(+) -


Note 1: For Android users, it is required that your device has Android 3.1 or higher to support analog sticks. Check our YouTube video showing the IPEGA PG-9017 being tested in all 4 modes.

Note 2: As we already mentioned, not every device will work with IPEGA PG-9017. If you are an unlucky whose smartphone failed to pair or connect to this Android gamepad, and you really want to use it, try to search for official or unofficial Android ROM's, as it worked for our HTC Desire HD running Android 2.3.3.

60 comments:

  1. Thank you. It was very helpful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. this page halped me too

      Delete
  2. compre esta porqueria y no me va con mi Iphone 4s
    se pegan los iconos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Waripolo: No es ninguna porquería. Léete el manual para ver qué modo de los 4 que tiene te conviene más. Además en iOS tienes Blutrol. Infórmate un poco.

      Delete
  3. Help please! Sorry my bad english! This controller need passcode to connection in Win7! How entered passcode in the controller? Not connect to PC, not connect to Samsung ACE (Official ROM), not connect to Galaxy S Plus. Connect led only blinking. Just connecting to PC if pressing HOME+A (keyboard mode). This mode not need passcode. I'm not understand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. McM, to connect it on Windows 7, do the following:

      - click on "Add device"
      - turn IPEGA PG9017 on (keyboard or joystick mode)
      - then, when it says "Select a device to add to this computer", right click the new item and click on Properties
      - on the new window, enable "Drivers for keyboard, mice, etc (HID)" so Windows will try to search drivers automatically.

      After that, IPEGA PG9017 will be connected automatically.
      We tested here with Windows 7 Ultimate (x64) and it worked in keyboard and joystick mode. When in JM, you can test it in "Game Controllers" menu (control painel).
      For fixes to connect it to your smartphones, try to search in XDADevelopers forum (link below). Sometimes users post specific fixes there (it may work for you).

      http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2033780

      Delete
    2. There is a way to reconect the gamepad on windows? every time i need to do these steps.

      Delete
    3. I tried connecting on Keyboard mode but I keep getting a request for a passcode and can't get pass it. It allows me to skip it on Joystick mode but all the buttons aside from R and L are useless.

      Delete
    4. If you are trying to connect to Windows, there is an option ("Drivers for keyboard, mice, etc (HID)") to help you.
      Case you are trying to connect to a smartphone or tablet, try to forget it in Bluetooth's Android menu and use Bluez IME to connect.

      Delete
    5. WHERE to find the bluez IME??

      Delete
    6. Both Bluez IME and HIDEnabler (required for Bluez IME) can be found here:
      http://www.infinityreviews.com/2013/08/bluez-ime-support-wamo-pro-drive.html

      Delete
  4. So much detail. Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  5. This works in a Nokia E7? (Symbian, like the N8). Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We don't know that, but we know that this gamepad requires at least a smartphone with Bluetooth HID profile. For instance, we tried to connect it to an old Samsung smartphone (Android powered) that didn't have HID profile, but it failed.

      Delete
  6. it not work on iphone 5 i try it the keyboard mode is not working when i play the shadow gun i not work how to fix this

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Didn't test it on iPhone, but an user on YouTube (watch?v=xVHxv-sUtY0) told us that he managed to connect the IPEGA on iPhone 4 (iOS 6.1). Maybe he can help you with instructions.
      Also, try to search a solution in XDADevelopers forum (link below). Sometimes users post specific fixes there (it may work for you).

      http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2033780

      Delete
  7. I can get this pair in keyboard and gamepad modes on my HTC One, but I never get the option to enable it in the keyboards & input menu. The ipega is unresponsive, and my phone won't read any input from it (even though in the Bluetooth menu, I have the box checked to allow it as an input device).

    Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. After pairing and connecting IPEGA PG-9017 in Bluetooth menu, you don't need to enable it in keyboards & input menu (I'm assuming you are talking about the "Language & keyboard" menu in settings). You just need to go map buttons in emulators or games (most games come preconfigured). At least that worked for me.
      Did you test all 4 modes in the emulator Mupen64+ AE (diagnostic tool) as we did in our test video? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVHxv-sUtY0
      Any response in this tool?

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the quick response!

      I was able to pair the controller in all four modes (even iCade).

      I tried using the diagnostic tool in Mupen64+ AE, but none of the modes register any response for any of the buttons.

      Do you think it's just a defective controller? I should mention that it's the white version of the controller, but I assume they are the same model, etc.

      Delete
    3. I personally use a HTC Desire HD and, as told in this review, it didn't work with IPEGA PG-9017 when using stock ROM (2.3.3). However, after installing a custom ROM, my HTC Desire HD worked with this gamepad.
      Try to connect IPEGA PG-9017 to PC. It will help you know if there is a problem with this gamepad.
      Finally, try to search in IPEGA PG-9017 topic (XDA-Developers) for Bluetooth fixes. If I'm not mistaken, there is an app BluezIME that help to connect the gamepad case you have problems.
      I sent an email to IPEGA asking for support. Let's see if they answer me.

      http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2033780

      Delete
    4. It paired pretty easily to my PC, so the controller works.

      No such luck with Bluez IME, but it looks like someone may have made a custom driver for the controller that works with Bluez IME. I'll try it when I get a chance.

      Delete
  8. That XDA-Developers topic had the fix! The custom Bluez IME apk file is on page 11 of that thread, should anyone else have the problem.

    I was able to connect in the joystick mode and map keys in my SNES emulator (after enabling the Bluez IME keyboard). Thanks so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for sharing this info and good gaming.

      Delete
    2. By the way, does diagonal left-up is working with this custom Bluez IME? I ask that because I saw a strange line in the source-code.

      Delete
  9. Hmmm

    I paired with my PC and works ....BUT , this is not working with my iphone 5,ipad 2 or iphone 4s ...
    I tried everything,but every time when i try to pair with my iphone or ipad,game controller is bugging my iphone or ipad...

    Can you tell me if there is anything that i can do ?
    Maybe some app on cidya or anything to fix that issue ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. An user commented above about the app Blutrol available on Cydia. Maybe it help you, but I also recommend that you read XDA-Developers thread about IPEGA PG-9017 since we didn't test it on iOS devices.

      http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2033780

      Delete
  10. Have an LG L9 smartphone and paired it with the ipega controller just fine. However, when asked to set up the keypad, nothing happens...no buttons on the controller work. Any ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you try to use Bluez IME with IPEGA PG-9017 driver? This APK was posted by DiegoBaeza in XDA-Developers and it may help those who are having problems with IPEGA PG-9017.
      You can also try our Bluez IME (APK), which has the DiegoBaeza's IPEGA driver and our Wamo Pro driver. Check the link below for download and instructions:

      http://www.infinityreviews.com/2013/08/bluez-ime-support-wamo-pro-drive.html

      Delete
  11. Excellent Guide! Thanks a lot!! You really researched and made the real work!

    ReplyDelete
  12. what a lifesaver !!! thank you so much mate :D

    ReplyDelete
  13. Will It Work For Motorola Xoom?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not sure, but I saw a video showing it connected to a PS3 joystick (Bluetooth). Maybe it works with IPEGA PG-9017 too.

      Delete
  14. Hola, quiero recomendar el nuevo ipega multimedia controller al parecer la calidad mejora en todos los aspectos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Si ese mismo PG-9025, aprovecho de mencionar otro control que funciona con pilas yd-yd-2013 bluetooth y otros controles que no he probado pero tienen muy buena pinta wamo wireless bluetooth y vulcan wireless bluetooth, no agrego los links por que no se si esta permitido aquí, seria bueno que mas desarrolladores se enteraran de estos controles y se ampliara el soporte ya que son muy buena opción para los gamers.

      Delete
  15. Hi all, i'm writing here for introduce my problem with ipega controller, hoping that someone know how fix that.
    I have the nexus 4 and i just receive 2-3 days ago the update of android to 4.4 kitkat version, before that i could use without problems and specific configuration the controller with all emulators and some other games, an example was demon hunter 4 (in joystick mode).
    But after the update, nothing work anymore, i just let work with emulators using using Bluez IME but the other game, still nothing.
    The problem in particular is the fact that the 2 analog stick usually work but there aren't set the functions of other keys of the controller, for example in demon hunter or in wild blood the 2 stick works, and u can move and make action, but no way to make skills.
    Anybody know a way for fix this? Maybe using a particular configuration program.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If Bluez IME is still working, try to create a Xperia Play profile using the codes in the link below

      http://developer.sonymobile.com/2011/02/13/xperia-play-game-keys/

      Some games are Xperia Play compatible and may work with you, but I'm not sure if you get true analog sticks when using this method.
      Other possible solution is to check if Tincore app is working with IPEGA PG-9017. If so, then map the virtual buttons (skills) in the device buttons.

      Delete
    2. Ok, but these need a rooted device?
      Thanks for help.

      Delete
    3. Bluez IME does not require a rooted device. Tincore requires root.

      Delete
  16. Thanks a lot for the informations!

    ReplyDelete
  17. hola, yo tengo un problema con SuperGnes, no puedo mapear los controles derechos, solo funcionan las teclas de direccion u,u, baje el otro emulador de super y me funciono perfecto, ayuda plz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Try gamepad/joystick or keyboard mode. If it does not work, try to use Bluez IME and remap buttons to another keycodes (you choose).

      Delete
  18. Is there any way to make this work with my Htc One x + ? :( tried everything :/

    ReplyDelete
  19. its just paired in sony xperia e dual, and wonnt connect
    pls help me
    i tried with hid enabler and blues image and connect
    but in emulator its not detected

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not every emulator are compatible with Bluez IME, but most of them are. If the emulator you are trying to use isn't compatible with Bluez IME and there is no competitors emulators, them I recommend you to contact emulator's developers and ask them to support Bluez IME in a future build.

      Delete
  20. im new in using ipega bluetooth game controller samsung note 2.. and i already paired it. any idea? what should i do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Check the connection steps above. If that fails, try to use Bluez IME (and HIDEnabler) to connect to SN2.
      You can find both apps here:
      http://www.infinityreviews.com/2013/08/bluez-ime-support-wamo-pro-drive.html

      Delete
  21. I paired the ipega to my Sony xperia P (running on 4.1.2) easily but it's like it's not there!
    It's not recognized in any emulator, I tried mupen64, superN64, N64 Droid, Snes9x EX+,...
    I finally tried bluez IME +HID enabler, it gave me a message saying (Error: Protocol not supported)
    Can you please tell me what to do?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, the only tip that I can give you is to unpair WamoPro/IPEGA in Android Bluetooth settings if there is any then try to connect with Bluez IME.

      Delete
  22. Dude, I've just bought new Ipega 9025 for my android. btw, does Ipega 9025 could play games from Play store? how to setting my ipega 9025 for play games at play store?

    ReplyDelete
  23. i had the ipega working on my insignia tablet. then I installed bluezime to get my phonejoy working and the phonejoy works just fine. However, now the ipega will not work at all.. when I go to key mapping in several emulators, the ipega does nothing. the keypresses are not registered. but in bluetooth, it pairs and connects just fine. did bluezime cause the ipega to not work ? cant figure this out.. please help. also - ipega connects and works just fine on my samsung note 2, so the controller is fine... must be the bluezime software on the tablet. i uninstalled bluezime but ipega still doesnt work in key mappings.

    ReplyDelete
  24. http://droidarcadereviews.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/ipega-controller-review-and.html
    anyone having problems with the Ipega, I found the solution here. At the bottom there's a link to download the Ipega game center, that will make the controller fully functional in any game that accepts an gamepad.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I am on an HTC one x, 4.2.2, and it seems to continue asking me to type a passkey into the controller. Only problem is, there are no numbers? How do I connect it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nevermind, didn't realize you don't necessarily need bluezime to connect. All connected =)

      Delete
  26. Hi, I have an iphone 4 and m iPega only seems to work in iCade mode. Any other mode does not seem to work with blutrol either... anyone has a suggestion to solve this issue?

    ReplyDelete
  27. hey, i can connect but how to play games? can i play games without rooting it or no?

    ReplyDelete