Looking to enhance your VR immersion while preventing your controller from flying around the room? Kiwi Design Extended Controller Grips may help!
People naturally desire immersion and realism in VR, which is theoretically what the technology aims to deliver. However, current VR setups often fall short of providing the ultimate immersive experience. Apart from issues like low resolution and limited field of view, one critical aspect of VR is the sense of touch, which is currently delivered mainly through controllers.
Controllers, however, come with their own set of problems. The most notable issue with many VR controllers is the way they are held. In reality, if you want to release or throw something from your hand, you simply open your hand completely. In VR, you typically just release the button, which doesn’t quite mimic real-life actions. So, how can we address this problem?
Well, the best solution is to attach a strap to the controller! It will keep the controller secured to your hand, whether you’re gripping it physically or not. This is precisely what Kiwi Design Extended Controller Grips offer. In this review, we’ll evaluate how effectively they accomplish this and also compare them to their younger brother, the Kiwi Design Knuckle Controller Grips, which are essentially a smaller version of the product we’re focusing on in this review.
Disclosure: Kiwi Design provided me with the Extended Controller Grips but had no input on this review. All opinions are my own.
Table of Contents
Unboxing and Installation
The unboxing experience is very similar to that of Kiwi Design’s Fitness Facial Interface. It arrives in the classic Kiwi Design wooden-colored packaging, and upon opening it, you’ll find everything neatly wrapped in a protective foil. The controller straps are made from rubber or similar elastic material, so this packaging choice works well to keep them secure.
In the package, you will find the Controller Straps along with transparent Quest 2 controller ring protectors. Installing them is surprisingly straightforward. Kiwi Design has made the process incredibly user-friendly – All you need to do is slide the controller (without the battery holder, and it’s recommended to remove the battery too) into the Controller strap. Once you hear the characteristic snap, you’re good to go. At the end, simply attach the rubber ends to the top of the controller and, if you want, add the ring protectors.
While Kiwi Design claims that these controller ring protectors do not interfere with tracking, I did experience occasional tracking loss for a second or two. However, it could be due to other factors, such as the room being too bright. In my several weeks of using Kiwi Design Extended Controller Grips, this issue occurred only two times, so it’s not a big concern.
After attaching everything to the controllers, place the plastic puller into the battery holder before inserting the battery itself. This will make the process of removing the battery pretty easy.
The only thing I can “complain” about is the lack of rechargeable batteries. Unlike controller grips like those from ZyberVR, which have a rechargeable battery integrated into the strap and can be charged using a USB-C cable, the Kiwi Design Extended Controller Grips require you to replace the standard batteries when they run out.
So, the main use case for Kiwi Design Controller Grips is, well, the fact that they are holding your hand. Besides the obvious improvement in immersion, as you no longer need to constantly hold the controller, it also fixes some of the safety issues.
Many people (especially those who experience VR for the first time) sometimes tend to forget that they are holding the controller in real life. Then, when they encounter a throwable object, they instinctively attempt to do so. I’ve seen several instances where people, in this situation, accidentally threw Quest controllers across the room. While those are quite durable, they’re not indestructible – they will break sooner or later.
To prevent this mishap, you have two options: you can either use the default Quest 2 controller straps to secure them to your hands or opt for Quest 2 controller grips. While both will keep the controllers from flying across the room, only one of them significantly enhances the immersion in the game.
This feeling when you can just drop or throw some object naturally by opening your full hand in VR is just something else – I recommend everyone try it.
Comfort in Hand
I tried a few of the Quest 2 Controller Grips on the market, and without a doubt, these are the most comfortable I tried thus far. I’ll be comparing the comfort of the smaller controller grips from Kiwi Design later in the article, but I have to say that the contrast between the two is quite big.
Kiwi Design Extended Controller Grips feature a comfortable material on the side where the back of your hand rests. Even when tightened to the maximum level, they remain comfortable.
Adjusting them is also very easy and comfortable. Simply pull the strings on the other side of the controller to tighten them, or press the button on the bottom of the grip to release the tightness and readjust as needed.
At first glance, this aspect might not seem very important, but after testing these Kiwi Design Controller Grips (as well as grips from other companies), I’ve concluded that the stability of the controller in your hand is crucial. In fast-paced games, like shooters where you have to let’s say, throw a grenade, it’s obvious that you will put a lot of force into that. When this happens, the controller starts shaking quite a bit. The more it shakes, the less immersive the game feels, and the higher the chance that the controller might slip out of your hand.
This is not the case with Kiwi Design Extended Controller Grips, fortunately! The combination of the extended grip and the long, tight strap ensures that the controller stays stable in your hand. Of course, if you throw the controllers as hard as you can, after a few attempts, they might start slipping, but in normal VR use, this isn’t an issue.
Kiwi Design Extended Controller Grips vs. Kiwi Design Knuckle Controller Grips
Kiwi Design offers two main types of controller grips – the extended ones that I discuss in this review, and the “Knuckle Grips,” which are essentially the same but shorter, with a size very similar to the standard Quest 2 controllers. Is this change significant? Yes, it makes a big difference.
Due to the shorter design, the company had to get more creative in how they attached the straps. With the extended ones, it’s pretty straightforward because there’s plenty of space under the controller. What Kiwi Design did was to use Velcro straps, which wouldn’t be a bad thing. However, because of the shorter design, they also had to make the straps shorter, resulting in a less stable connection to the controller.
Yeah, the shorter design of the controller creates several issues. The first one is comfort, which the knuckle grips (the shorter ones) certainly lack compared to the extended ones. Don’t get me wrong though; I used the shorter ones for months before switching to the extended grips, so they are certainly usable. However, it was only after switching that I realized how significant the difference is.
Knuckle controller grips have metal knobs on each side of the strap. With the shorter design, where your hand doesn’t have much freedom to move and feels somewhat tight, these knobs can be quite annoying. In contrast, with Kiwi Design Extended Controller Grips, you only feel the comfortable material on the strap, which is a lot more pleasant.
However, the most significant difference between the two is their stability on your hand. The contrast is quite noticeable. I have a video comparison that illustrates the level of shaking when throwing both grips in the air.
Kiwi Design Extended Controller Grips:
Kiwi Design Knuckle Controller Grips:
The difference is undoubtedly noticeable. What’s even more significant is how you feel it during gameplay because after throwing something in the game, the controller should stay securely in place, which is not the case with the Knuckle Controller Grips. The price difference between the two is roughly $10, so I would recommend opting for the more stable and comfortable Extended Controller Grips.
Kiwi Design Extended Controller Grips offer a significant enhancement over the standard Quest 2 Controller. They greatly improve immersion by allowing you to hold virtual objects in a more natural way, just as you would in real life – by simply releasing the object from your hand. This is a notable improvement over the standard method of releasing objects in VR by letting go of a button. Additionally, these grips enhance safety by preventing accidental controller throws, as they securely strap the controller to your hand.
Changing the batteries is straightforward, and you won’t need to reattach and detach the controller grip each time, even though the initial installation is simple. These grips remain comfortable to hold, even when adjusted for a snug fit. They also provide excellent stability, ensuring they don’t interfere with your gameplay experience.
If you’re considering purchasing Kiwi Design Extended Controller Grips, along with other products from Kiwi Design, such as their absolutely great Battery Headstrap, and Fitness Facial Interface, you’ll be pleased to know that Kiwi Design is currently offering a $20 discount on orders over $100. This special promotion is part of their 5th-anniversary celebration and is valid from September 12th to 25th.
Kiwi Design Extended Controller Grips
Kiwi Design Extended Controller Grips greatly enhance the Quest 2 Controller. They boost immersion by allowing natural interactions, like releasing virtual objects naturally. This is a notable improvement over the standard VR button press. They also enhance safety by securely strapping the controller to your hand. Battery changes are easy, and the grips remain comfortable and stable during gameplay.
- Ease of Use
- Easy Adjustment
- Significant Enhancement in Immersion
- Great Comfort
- Safety Enhancement
- No Rechargeable Batteries For USB-C Charging
Ease of Use