Sugar Cubes X Jelly Handheld Controller Looks Pretty Sweet

Sugar Cubes X Jelly Handheld Controller

The brand new “Jelly” handheld controller from Sugar Cubes is just one of many exciting projects that this emerging team has coming in 2024.

I am in direct contact with the people at Sugar Cubes. So I have a bit of inside knowledge about several projects in development like the incredible Small Universe project.

But unlike that unique emulation device, the upcoming Jelly handheld is part of their custom controller lineup. Which means it does not actually contain a full handheld device inside, but leverages the power of an existing Android phone.

The phone in question is the Unihertz Jelly Star phone with the MediaTek Helio G99 processor and 3 inch display.

Sugar Cubes X Jelly Handheld Controller
Image Source: Unihertz

The Jelly Star is available to purchase directly from Unihertz is coined as the “World’s Smallest Android 13 Smartphone”.

Coming in at around $200usd, this makes for an interesting pre-packaged emulation machine that is just missing the proper game-focused controls.

Which is exactly where Sugar Cubes comes in!

Sugar Cubes X Jelly Handheld Controller

Sugar Cubes X Jelly Handheld Controller
Image Source: Sugar Cubes

Many of the previous works from Sugar Cubes are controller adaptors intended to be used with an existing device. Such as their custom Surface Duo game controllers that have already released in China.

The new Jelly controller adaptor leverages the Jelly Star phone for its compact form factor and powerful emulation capabilities.

To get an idea of what this device is capable, it should outperform the Unisoc T610 in the Retroid Pocket 2S and the Unisoc T618 in the Anbernic RG405M.

This phone can emulate all of the early retro consoles like Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis, Playstation, Dreamcast, Nintendo 64, and the console that should particularly look amazing on this widescreen – PSP.

It can also run Android-based apps and games and can be used as a full fledged entertainment device.

How Is It Looking Though?

Sugar Cubes X Jelly Handheld Controller
Image Source: Sugar Cubes

What’s particularly exciting for us at Retro Dodo, as massive fans of metal shell devices, is that Sugar Cubes shares our love of aluminum.

We’ve seen some incredible prototypes for the upcoming Jelly controller adaptors that show great progress being made. And the product looks to be nearing the finish line sooner than expected.

We anticipate Sugar Cubes to release the Jelly in a large selection of colors and even offering custom graphic versions, as these Chinese manufacturers like to do.

Image Source: Sugar Cubes

For example, we’ve seen a Pikachu and Evangelion version of the Jelly. These do not really interest us, but it’s surely unique.

And since these are technically third-party controllers, it makes more sense to see custom branded versions intended for game enthusiasts.

What’s more interesting is that the Jelly controller adaptor comes in two distinct models – a vertical and horizontal edition.

Sugar Cubes X Jelly Handheld Controller
Image Source: Sugar Cubes

As you can see in the promotional material provided to us by Sugar Cubes, the phone simply slides into the horizontal edition with very little effort.

But from the videos of the vertical model, we cannot imagine that the installation process will be as straight forward.

This does appear to be a more work intensive version where you will need to remove the internal elements of the original phone to be put inside the metal shell.

(Language barriers have made discussing details more difficult with Sugar Cubes, so I could not confirm this detail.)

What To Expect

Sugar Cubes X Jelly Handheld Controller
Image Source: Sugar Cubes

Sugar Cubes currently has a handful of developing products, all of which are intended to release in 2024.

Most of those are in prototype form with modifications and improvements still being made daily.

So it is difficult to say when we will be able to get our hands on the Jelly, Small Universe, or the unannounced devices.

But things are obviously looking quite exciting for Sugar Cubes, and we absolutely cannot wait to see if they are able to deliver on their promises. Because they are promising a lot!

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