MOGA Pro Controller Review

MOGA Pro Controller Review (1)

Last year, the MOGA Mobile Gaming System provided a reprieve from the woes of on-screen controls. For years, Android gamers have been forced to endure oft-infuriating virtual d-pad input. Beyond being cumbersome and inexact, the method had another fault: as players touched the surface of their smartphone or tablet, they also obscured part of the playfield. The MOGA Gaming System remedied these problems by providing a pocket-sized Bluetooth controller and accompanying clip capable of clasping a phone. Effectively, the peripheral produced an experience that converged on the type of experiences offered by dedicated gaming devices such as the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.

However, the device wasn’t without fault. The MOGA’s companion app, Pivot, was spotty at recognizing any compatible titles that were previously purchased. Sporadically, the device would break its Bluetooth connection, forcing gamers to re-sync the peripheral, often at inopportune times. While the small size of the MOGA System allowed for portability, the device’s diminutive thumbsticks and squatty buttons were a definite downgrade from full-sized console controllers.

MOGA Pro Controller Review (5)

The MOGA Pro Controller corrects almost all of its brethren’s blemishes. Pleasingly, manufacturer Power A heeded consumers, making a number of changes to the Pivot program (which also effect owners of the original MOGA). Once purchasers extract the MOGA Pro from its box, they’ll find a QR code appended to the controller, linking them directly to the app on Google Play. After the 27 Mb file is downloaded, Pivot scans for MOGA-enhanced titles. Adeptly, games downloaded from alternative depositories such as Amazon Marketplace or the Gameloft Store were recognized. Still, the erratic glitch remains: our Amazon-based copy of Muffin Knight wasn’t added to the Pivot’s roster of playable titles, encouraging a repurchase from the Google Play store. Courteously, our review model came with two complimentary downloads: a not-quite arcade perfect version of Pac-Man along with a code for Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. 3.

Initiating a pairing with the device entails activating Bluetooth, choosing from an image of the original MOGA or Pro Controller, and waiting about twenty seconds. Once synced, the updated Pivot app remains linked, maintaining a connection in areas with heavy wireless contestation. Whereas the original MOGA only functioned with enabled games, the Pro comes with two options. Mode A is for games that have been especially coded for the device; naturally they perform flawlessly. The second option is for games such as Beach Buggy Blitz, which offer generic hooks for devices. In execution, B mode is functional, but can issue a bit of input lag. That said, it’s comforting to know that the device operates outside the stock library of eighty titles.

MOGA Pro Controller Review (4)

When the MOGA Pro Controller is set to Mode A, the device can truly excel. First and third-person shooters which require unwieldy multi-touch input come alive with the controller. Notably, games like N.O.V.A 3 and Dead Trigger become more enjoyable without the burden of on-screen controls. Whereas SHADOWGUN: DeadZone’s multiplayer matches were often frustrating with touch input, the Pro Controller provided a nearly unfair advantage, consistently boosting us to the top of each round’s standing. Naturally, 2D games enjoy an upgrade as well, with Sonic CD and Pac-Man controlling like their console iterations.

Credit goes to the Pro Controller design, which draws inspiration from Power A’s FUS1ON Tournament controller. Although the MOGA Pro lacks the FUS1ON’s LED-powered illumination, the form factor is near-identical, with a pair of rubber-tipped analog sticks and a well-designed directional pad. While the Pro’s top bumpers are a bit shorter and have less curve than the counterparts on a standard Xbox 360 controller, they remain functional. Satisfyingly, the Pro improves on the first MOGA’s rear buttons, providing full-sized, analog-based triggers that are ideal for resting index fingers. The device’s face buttons seem poised to satisfy almost all players, offering a contenting tactile response and short throw length. Whereas the MOGA relied on a pair of AAA batteries, the PRO contains a built-in rechargeable battery that stores power via the included USB cable. With thrice daily hour long play sessions, we used the Pro Controller for a full business week without needing a recharge, confirming Power A’s assertions of a twelve-fifteen hour battery life.

MOGA Pro Controller Review (3)

For tablet owners, the MOGA Pro ships with an easel capable of securely propping up the device. Phone owners can use the retracting clip, which expands to hold out Samsung Galaxy Note 2 without strain. Rubberized strips at the top and bottom of the clamp not only prevent smartphones from sliding out, but also prevent any marring of a phone’s edges. Our only criticism is that the fold out fastener features two viewing angles, a forty-five degree slant and one that’s perpendicular to the controller. Ideally, Power A would ditch the later position for one that’s more functional.

While the MOGA Pro Controller appears to outclass its peers and predecessor, the product isn’t unthreatened. At E3, Power A showed a prototype that augmented the Pro with an 1800 mAh capacity battery, demonstrating the ability to charge your phone during play. For those who obsess about keeping a full power bar, this new model is a brilliant advancement. For gamers who want to elevate their Android-based games sessions now, the MOGA Pro Controller is the best solution currently on the market.

MOGA Pro Controller Review (2)

Last year, the MOGA Mobile Gaming System provided a reprieve from the woes of on-screen controls. For years, Android gamers have been forced to endure oft-infuriating virtual d-pad input. Beyond being cumbersome and inexact, the method had another fault: as players touched the surface of their smartphone or tablet, they also obscured part of the playfield. The MOGA Gaming System remedied these problems by providing a pocket-sized Bluetooth controller and accompanying clip capable of clasping a phone. Effectively, the peripheral produced an experience that converged on the type of experiences offered by dedicated gaming devices such as the Nintendo DS…

Review Overview

Build Quality - 90%
Functionality - 90%
Design aesthetics - 85%
Performance - 90%
Value - 80%

87%

Very Good

Summary : With enhanced ergonomics and an improved companion app, the MOGA Pro Controller is an ideal solution for players who want console-caliber controls for their Android games.

User Rating: 3.66 ( 4 votes)
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About Robert Allen

With over 35 years of gaming experience, Robert 'DesertEagle' Allen is Tech-Gaming's resident worrier/warrior who spends his days teaching at three colleges and his nights devoted to JRPGs.

22 comments

  1. Wow, that’s looks a lot like an Xbox controller. But with a better d-pad.

  2. I picked up the original MOGA for $5 at Christmas. Pretty cool little device. Now if they can clear these out for $20, I’m on board.

  3. Good review. I was thinking about picking one up, it was a small controller, but the Xbox sized one.

  4. Does this work with iPhones? Or do they make a separate one?

    BTW I saw a friend rig a Wiimote to work with his Droid. Pretty cool.

    • Yeah, most phones can pair with a PS3 controller, so if you have one around that might be something you can try out.

    • Currently, iPhones are not compatible, but apparently iOS 7 will allow bluetooth controllers, so there will probably be a MOGA for iPhone in the future. They announced a Windows Mobile compatible version at E3.

      • With Apple recognizing the gaming market, I think good things are ahead.

        Did Steve Jobs had games so much from working at Atari or what?

  5. The one with the charger sounds cool. Was looking at buying a DualShock and a GameKlip.

    • Having used both MOGAs, the GameKlip/PS3 AND the prototype new MOGAs at e3, I can say that the choice between them is based on your need for portability, the amount of interference in your location, and how anal-retentive you are about latency.

      The MOGA pocket is great to have in your bag, because it’s basically the size of a phone when it’s folded up. You lose the D-Pad and 2 of the triggers, but for most games, it’s pretty great. Biggest drawback is the AAA batteries, but that is apparently getting fixed in the next version.

      The MOGA Pro will give you fewer cramps if you have big hands, and you’ll have all the same buttons as the PS3 controller, but unlike the GameKlip, the arm folds down, which makes it a lot easier to toss in a bag. Still not as comfortable in a bag as the MOGA pocket.

      The DualShock/GameKlip option is the easiest to set up, if you don’t mind having a cable directly from your phone to your controller – you can also use bluetooth if your phone is rooted, but even if it IS rooted, the cable option is best since it reduces latency and you’ll never lose your connection. The best part is, once you plug the cable in, that’s it – it works. That’s a huge plus if you aren’t using “approved” apps, like emulators or games made without the MOGA SDK, because you don’t have to jump through hoops every time you want to play them. The only major drawback is that the GameKlip is not all that commuter friendly. The plastic is brittle, and the DualShock likes to grab onto things in your bag, which will inevitably put a lot of stress on the arm, causing it to snap. Plus, the whole setup is bulky, and takes up a good chunk of space. If you’re just looking to play in your home, then you’re set, but it takes up a LOT of bag space, and you’ll be constantly worried that it won’t make it to your destination.

      Personally, I’m currently using the MOGA pocket. My GameKlip didn’t survive my last business trip, and and I can’t justify making another $30 purchase when I know the outcome will be the same. I don’t like how long it takes me to set up the MOGA when I’m on the train, but 2 minutes of inconvenience every morning is worth it for me not to have to worry that I’m breaking my hardware every time I set my bag down.

      • have to chime in:

        What SeanNOLA said was right. I had a GameKlip for about two weeks. The plastic is pretty flimsy. I made a small pouch for it and stored it by itself in a backpack pocket. I was pretty careful. It snapped in about a month. Hopefully, they’ll make a better one.

        Got a MOGA and if use the MOGA Universal Driver, you can get it to work with emulators. It’s free (ad supported), so there’s no reason to not check it out.

      • Have you used “B” mode?

        It basically does everything the MOGA Universal Driver does.

        I own the MOGA pro. Never had any disconnects or problems. Lag isn’t that much of an issue and seems to be game specific, if there is any.

  6. I had the original one until one of the buddies took it.

    I thought it was ok, the stick could have been a lot better. They felt worse than the shitty one on the PSP.

  7. ” I don’t like how long it takes me to set up the MOGA when I’m on the train, but 2 minutes”

    Wait, the review said 20 seconds. You’re saying 2 minutes?

  8. Thanks good review. I might have to get one.

  9. I got a free MOGA. Thought it was ok but pairing was a pain and disconnects happened. So they fixed that?

  10. I experienced the same problem when the MOGA first came out. Now the situation seems to be fixed for both the small and full-sized versions.

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