MOGA Pro Controller ReviewMay 20, 2013
If you want to get the most out of your mobile games, it’s worth plunking down the $50 for the MOGA Pro.
Mobile gaming has come a long way in the past few years. Graphically, they’re fast approaching console quality. The only real problem holding them back is touch screen controls. While this input method works fine for games like Temple Run or Angry Birds, trying to play anything more complicated, like a first-person shooter, quickly becomes a painful exercise in futility. PowerA has come to the rescue with a pretty great solution – a few months back, they released the MOGA Pocket Controller, which connected to Android devices via Bluetooth and allowed for a much more natural — and more importantly, comfortable and precise — play style. While the MOGA Pocket was a huge step forward in mobile gaming, it wasn’t perfect. The MOGA Pro Controller ($49.99) looks to address what small complaints were raised against its little brother, and it definitely succeeds in that regard.
So what improvements have been made? For starters, its design is much more in line with what players would expect from a console controller. In fact, the MOGA Pro feels very much like an Xbox 360 gamepad, with its much larger design, triggers, d-pad, grips, larger buttons, and quality analog sticks. In fact, it’s based off of PowerA’s award winning FUS1ON Tournament Controller. Beyond this, it has a rechargeable battery and includes a USB charger cable and even a tablet stand. It weighs about two-thirds of the weight of a standard Xbox 360 controller, and is slightly slimmer.
Just like with the MOGA Pocket, the MOGA Pro features a telescoping grip, which holds basically any size smartphone. Anything larger than about 5 inches can be used with the included tablet stand, and works just as well even with the larger distance between the MOGA Pro and the device. The top of the controller has an input for the rechargeable USB, and the back of the device has a recessed button for illuminating the face buttons. A switch located under the arm turns the MOGA Pro on, and switches between the default and HID modes.
Thankfully, PowerA has made setting up and using the MOGA Pro a breeze. You download the MOGA Pivot app, which automatically detects games that can utilize the controller, download your free game, pair the device and you’re good to go. It’s great that the Pivot app also organizes your game library and lets you know about new games that support the controller.
As for its performance, the MOGA Pro is stellar. I used the device over the course of about a week on two devices – a Samsung Galaxy S4 and an ASUS Transformer TF101 tablet, and it worked amazingly well on both. I tried the included Pac-Man game with the responsive d-pad, and the analog sticks and triggers felt like a dream while playing shooters like Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour and racers like Asphalt 7: Heat. For comparison I made sure to play these titles with and without the MOGA Pro, and the difference between using this device and using touch or gyroscope and accelerometer controls is night and day. Besides just feeling much more accurate and comfortable (especially during extended gameplay sessions), it should be noted that MOGA Pro players will have a distinct advantage over players using touch control in online games, especially first-person shooters. Also, the device screen feels larger and there’s less chance of being attacked by hidden enemies, since your thumbs aren’t rubbing all over your screen.
Hands down, the MOGA Pro is the best mobile gaming controller I’ve used, and I’ve found that it enhances my experience with mobile games that support it dramatically. It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t work with iOS devices, but that’s just about the only downside I can think of at this moment. If you want to get the most out of your mobile games, I highly recommend plunking down the $50 for the MOGA Pro.