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Review: MOGA Pro Controller

3:45 PM on 04.18.2013 // Dale North

Mobile gaming controller system for Android

Remember the MOGA controller for Android that we reviewed late last year? PowerA took the idea behind the system and has now gone pro with it with what they're calling the MOGA Pro Mobile Gaming System. We've put this brand new controller through its paces this week to bring you this launch day review.

Product: MOGA Mobile Gaming System
Manufacturer: PowerA
Device compatibility: Android 2.3+
MSRP: $50

The MOGA controller was a great idea, but fans of traditional controllers might have felt a bit limited by its portability-focused design. In short, it was a very small controller.  For this pro version, PowerA went from pocketable game pad to a full-on Xbox-style controller design. Aside from increased comfort and familiarity, this size increase let them add more shoulder buttons and proper analog sticks with click button functionality.

They did a nice job in making a bigger controller; it feels nice when you pick one up with its solid build and rubberized hand grips. The MOGA Pro seems to share design elements with PowerA's console release, the FUS1ON Tournament Controller.

While the primary idea behind the system is to get some real buttons and sticks under your fingers for portable Android gaming, PowerA has added some functionality to make the Pro more of a versatile gaming solution at home as well. Being fully wireless and rechargeable, the MOGA makes for a fine couch controller for a tablet connected to a television, making your HDMI-connected device work and feel more like a gaming console. 

Another major bonus comes with a new switch to flip to HID Bluetooth compatibility mode, making this controller even more versatile. The compatible library is already fairly sizable, but now you're not stuck playing only MOGA approved games.

I played a little bit of everything using the MOGA Pro on a Samsung Galaxy Tab to test the controller out. I booted several games from the MOGA Pivot app, which doubles as a game launcher and storefront for MOGA compatible games. All worked without a hitch, with controller mappings already in place -- no setup required. 

The controls performed admirably in games like Pac-Man and R-Type, though I couldn't figure out how to use the d-pad over the analog sticks in the latter. First-person shooters like Dead Trigger and N.O.V.A. 3 worked surprisingly well with the system, though some might feel that the sticks travel a bit farther than Xbox 360 ones, which took a bit of getting used to. Overall, experiences with the MOGA and the Tab were smooth, precise, free of lag, and free of problems. 

A flip-out arm in the middle of the controller holds just about any Android phone. It even extends just far enough to get a tight grip around massive phones like the Samsung Note. And if you're gaming on a tablet, PowerA has included a nifty tablet stand to hold your rig up. 

If you're happy flicking at your screen, fine. There are plenty of games that are built solely for touchscreen play, and for those this controller will do nothing for you. But if you have a few games in your library that need proper controls, the MOGA Pro is probably your best bet. And if you don't, for a limited time, MOGA Pro comes with a free download of Gameloft's N.O.V.A. 3 - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance.

The MOGA Pro is certainly a worthy successor to its pocketable predecessor -- it's bigger, more comfortable, and more familiar. The price of entry gets you console-style controls for portable gaming, but also a nice controller for the home for Android gaming on your television. The HID compatibility is a good bonus for now, but I suspect will turn into a major selling point in the near future. For whatever your use, the MOGA Pro is recommended.

Dale North, Former Dtoid EIC
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