Most ingenious products share a common theme – a simple concept that immediately has you thinking “why didn’t I think of that”. The newly released “Grip-iT” analogue stick covers fall into this category – an incredibly simple (and inexpensive) product that serves a useful purpose and is hard to fault.

Grip-iT covers are simply rubber covers for your analogue sticks, which serve several functions:

  • Provide additional grip between your thumbs and analogue sticks, which allegedly improve your k/d ratio (YMMV)
  • Protect your analogue sticks from wear – the sticks are usually the first and fastest part of your controller to deteriorate
  • If your sticks are already worn down or damaged, these covers will breathe new life into an old controller which might otherwise have been thrown out

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The great thing about these covers is that they aren’t expensive at all – they carry a recommended retail price of $12 for a set of 4 covers. At that price it doesn’t really cost much to kit out all the controllers in your family with them to increase the longevity of your controllers.

So how do they feel to use? The first thing I noticed about them was that they were quite a firm rubber. For some reason when I looked at the photos of them on the internet I got them impression they were gel-like. That’s not a criticism, but simply an observation. If you are looking for something to massage your thumbs as you play, this is not the product.

They are very simple to fit, and another ingenious aspect of this controller “mod” is that it is 100% reversible without any damage to your controllers. If you decide later that you don’t like them, they are simple to remove and no harm is done (apart from a small amount of damage to the wallet).

Once on your sticks, they don’t disrupt the travel of the sticks at all, which is very important. You can still get an unobstructed 360 degree range of motion with your Xbox 360 and PS3 analogue sticks. These sticks also fit onto other analogue sticks such as the Wii nunchuck controller, but I did find that the covers did prevent the Wii analogue stick from being pushed out to each margin so it was not an ideal fit for this (or the Wavebird controller).

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One nuance of these covers is that when used with an Xbox 360 controller, the top of the analogue stick becomes “flat”, levelling out the usually concave aspect of the 360 analogue sticks. This didn’t trouble me at all but it is something to be aware of if you prefer letting your thumb sit within the small cavity of the original 360 stick. This is not of relevance on the Dual Shock controller because these analogue sticks are convex.

So would I keep these on my controllers? For sure. As I have mentioned I think these are a brilliant product because they are affordable, do a good job in enhancing as well as preserving or reviving your controllers, and leave no damage behind when removed. While they won’t revolutionise gaming, I think they are a gem of a product and something well worth looking into.

They are currently available in New Zealand exclusive to First Games, and we have been provided with a few samples to give away to our community. Visit our forums and let us know why you need Grip-iT covers for a chance to win. (Post in this forum thread)

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