Gaming smartphones are quite the novelty in the mobile world, but despite their advertised or actual gaming chops, they often lack the necessary controls that would put them on par with consoles. Conversely, most of these gaming smartphones have designs that make them a little less appropriate for more formal environments with their flashy RGB lighting and distinctive motifs. A middle ground between these two extremes would be to slap on some controllers on “normal” but premium handsets, effective but also a little too mundane these days. This rather unusual phone case, however, tries to add a new flavor to mobile gaming by introducing not only an unusual controller design but also by making it exclusive to one of the weirdest and cutest smartphones in the market.
Designer: Sugar Cubes (via Retro Dodo)
The Unihertz Jelly Star is obviously not your typical smartphone. With a size that’s no larger than a credit card, the tiny device is advertised as the world’s smallest Android 13 smartphone, a title no one will probably try to wrest away from it anyway. With a 3-inch screen, a transparent colored back, and some rather reasonable specs for its size, the Jelly Star is probably also the world’s cutest smartphone.
A Chinese accessory maker by the name of Sugar Cubes is taking that cuteness and turning it into something that even gamers will find alluring. Rather than simply attaching controllers, which would be gigantic compared to the Jelly Star, you will instead insert the tiny phone into a large, boxy case that transforms it into a rather unusual gaming handheld that is more reminiscent of the “Game & Watch” devices of old than any modern handheld console. Even the controls themselves are in non-standard locations, even though they provide most of the standard buttons, including a joystick.
There seem to be two designs for the Sugar Cube Jelly. One has the Unihertz Jelly Star lying horizontally and near the top, giving the device a more Game Boy-like appearance, though short in stature. The other has the phone standing vertically in the middle, flanked by two sets of controls, a design closer to the Nintendo Switch by some stretch of the imagination. Details on how the small phone will be inserted into the case are still slim, though it seems that the vertical design will simply have the Jelly Star slip into the case from the side, with one of the controllers swinging open like a flap.
The unconventional and eye-catching design of the Sugar Cube Jelly makes it perfect for branded merchandise, theming the colors and decals accordingly. That said, there’s still no word on when this product will actually hit the market, or if it will even be made available outside of China. Even then, the Unihertz Jelly Star isn’t exactly oozing with power, so while you might be able to comfortably run some retro games via emulation, forget about boasting your odd contraption while playing Genshin Impact.