One way to play games in Android TV Box with a gamepad is to use a Sony Playstation 3 Controller with Sixaxis Controller app. It can work, but you need a device that supports Bluetooth, with the right drivers, and most games require you to do the mapping manually which is not that user-friendly. Now, they make Android compatible Bluetooth Gamepad such as G910 which seems really nice, but I’ve been told it’s rather hit or miss, and some people have problem with the Bluetooth connection. GeekBuying instead recommends Tronsmart Mars G01, based on 2.4 GHz technology, that requires an external USB RF dongle, but which alledgly does not have connection problems. It works with Android, Windows, and Playstation 3. The company sent me a sample, so I’ve taken some pictures and tried a few games with Tronsmart Vega S89 Elite TV box.
Tronsmart Mars G01 Unboxing
I’ve received the box in the following package.
- Connecting Tech – 2.4 GHz Wireless
- Battery Capacity – 600 mAh (Up to 20 hours working time)
- Working Current – 11 – 20 mA
- Standby Current – 33 uA
- Charging Current – 300 mA
- Vibration – Dual-motor vibration
- Interface – USB 1.0/2.0/3.0
- Plug-and-Play – Yes
- Compatible System – PC/PS3/Android
Inside the package, we’ll find the game controller (very similar to an XBOX 360 Controller), a tiny RF dongle that I connected to the USB OTG adapter on the picture above, a USB to micro USB cable for charging from a power adapter or a computer’s USB port, and a user’s manual in English. The user’s manual provides details about the layout of the controller,. how to use it with Android, Windows or PS3, and the different connection modes:
- X-input – Used in Windows, and alternative method for Android.
- Direct-input – Alternative mode for Windows
- Android – Default mode use for Android.
A closer look the device shows 10 buttons, on D-pad, two rockers, the micro USB port for charging, and a reset button. There’s also rubber on the sides of the gamepad to a better grip.
Tronsmart Mars G01 Review
The controller was already charged, so I could use straightaway. I chose Tronsmart Vega S89 Elite, because it’s a recent devide and with a Mali-450MP6 GPU it should handle games pretty well. Getting started is very easy, as you just need to insert the RF dongle in a USB port of your Android, press the T (blue) button, and it will connect immediately. As a side note, I did try the USB OTG adapter with the RF dongle on ThL W200 smartphone, but it failed to work, as this Android phone does not support USB OTG.
Back to playing on Vega S89. The first good thing is that you can use the Gamepad to navigate the Android menu. I then decided to try 3 games: Beach Buggy Blitz, Riptide GP, and DeadZone: Shadowgun, and interestingly I had three different results:
- Perfect support for Riptide GP. I could exclusively use the gamepad from Android Home screen until I quit the game, and Riptide GP automatically detected the game upon the first run, and took me through a short tutorial showing how to use the gamepad. I did notice some lag in the control,. but I think it’s just Tronsmart Vega S89 being not powerful enough to handle the games with full graphics quality at 1080p. Reducing the graphics settings improves playability.
- Good support for Beach Buggy Blitz, but it requires another input device (mouse or air mouse) to navigate the menu. You have to go to the settings menu to select gamepad mode, and you can define your own keys. Once you start playing, the gamepad works as expected, you can turn, break, recover, pause, etc…
- Failed to work for Deadzone Shadowgun. I was unable to pass the login screen. None of the gamepad buttons nor my air mouse click could let me enter the game. However, it is reported as working, but maybe you have to enter the game using a remote client (e.g. DroidMote, RKRemote, etc..), and then the gamepad works. I haven’t tried.
You can watch me play the three games with Mars G01 in the video below.
For games that do not support Android mode, you can also use X-Input mode (X mode), but it’s not something I had to try. You can find the documentation for X mode in Android, as well Windows XP 32- and 64-bit driver on Tronsmart download page. You’ll also find a list of supported games in the X mode document. I quickly tried to insert in my Ubuntu 14.04 computer, and it’s recognized as a X-Box 360 pad of you switch to X-mode by pressing the T button for a few seconds:
[16404.342437] usb 1-2.4.3: Product: Gamepad For Windows
[16404.342441] usb 1-2.4.3: SerialNumber: 00000000
[16404.388390] input: Microsoft X-Box 360 pad as /devices/pci0000:00/0000:00:12.2/usb1/1-2/1-2.4/1-2.4.3/1-2.4.3:1.0/input/input19
[16404.388530] usbcore: registered new interface driver xpad
I haven’t tried to play games, but it looks like it might work in Linux too (TBC).
Inside Tronsmart Mars G01
You’re quite unlikely to feel the need to open a gamepad, unless you plan to convert it into a robot, or need spare parts, but I’ve tried anyway. There are just 7 screws to remove, including one hidden under the “QC Passed” sticker, and the back of the enclosure comes out very easily.
The blue battery (600 mAh) is predominant, but we can also see the two vibrating motors. By the way, the latter were not used in the Android games I tried, and it looks like it might only work with some PS3 games according the user’s manual.
Taking the battery out reveals two chips that must be an MCU and the 2.4GHz transceiver with its pretty on-board antenna.
We can take the board completely out by removing to more screws, but there are just LEDs and buttons to be seen on the other side.
Even though Android and games support for Gamepad is still not perfect, I feel products like Tronsmart Mars G01 are a big step forward in terms of simplicity of use compared to Sixaxis solution for example. It also connects instantly, and does not require separate app/drivers for most popular games, but still provides the tools for key mappings for advanced users.
Geekbuying sells Tronsmart Mars G01 for $29.99, but you can also find it on Aliexpress or Amazon US for the same price, or you can save about $2 by purchasing it on DealExtreme for $27.97.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.
21 Replies to “Tronsmart Mars G01 Wireless Gamepad Review on Android”
wonder if the input lag was caused by pad, tv, android, or the games themselves, looked like a good (bad actually) 500ms of delay.
hmm,strange lag, i don’t notice any lag when i test it with vega s89 and neo x8-h. also strange how the lag created.
Hi, did you get the vibration to work with Android? Can’t get it to work here…
“By the way, the latter were not used in the Android games I tried, and it looks like it might only work with some PS3 games according the user’s manual.”
I think there is no android game which support vibrations. am i right? only PS3 games support vibrations. i already tried in my ps3 console,it can work well.
hmm ok… too bad, as it is also build for android tv… then why put the effort in it to make it vibrate.. people that have a ps3 already have a controller right??
It’s not the problem of the mars g01, it is the games. there is no android games support vibrate. 😀
My sentiments exactly. This product is absolutely worthless. These guys must be paying people for reviews, because this thing is so far from “Plug-and-Play” that it might as well be sold un-assembled.
I purchased it with a GK525 Tronsmart Android TV stick and spent upwards of 5 hours trying to get this thing to work with ANY game and couldn’t.
After downloading all kinds of custom .apks which aren’t available on the Play store, some Game Center app was finally installed over top of the Game Controller app and a custom service .apk as well. This Game Center app then caused the Game Controller app to disappear for some time, before finally coming back and then it redirects the user to the Language and Input settings of the Android device where one is finally able to set the controller as the Default input method. Then one goes back and opens and of the several games that Tronsmart lists on its Mars G01 product page and here’s where the depression begins… none of them work! One can’t even start a game, only exiting works!
Customer service needs to take about 5000 hours of English lessons before responding to any further emails as there responses are typically vague, incomplete, and off-subject!
Is it possible to connect two of these to the same device (i.e. Amazon Fire TV) using one dongle?
Same issue here.
Can’t find a way to play multiplayer local games (i.e. 2 controllers on same TV Box, multiple – two players to play a game on same screen). Tried Single Player – same issue, controller stops responding, but able to control game via keyboard, mouse…
Hardware: Tronsmart Telos TV Box, Tronsmart Mars G01 controllers
Connected controllers, able to guide through menus of tv box, but once game is launched controllers stop responding.