21
Apr
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When we reviewed the MOGA Pocket (then simply called "MOGA") back in October of last year, we loved the controller, but felt it lacked a lot of functionality users want out of a game controller (emulator support, anyone?). Enter the MOGA Pro ($50): a larger, more full-featured version of the MOGA Pocket. With this controller, it appears that PowerA has taken into consideration everything it did "wrong" with the Pocket, and used that to improve things with the Pro. More than just a bigger version of last year's controller, the Pro brings all new functionality to the table, along with a more familiar form factor and extra buttons. But is it enough to make this one a winner?

Setting Up and Using the Controller

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Right out of the box, this controller should feel pretty familiar for anyone who's ever played an Xbox – it has basically the same feel and button configuration. It also features the same unique "MOGA Arm" found on the Pocket, which provides a simple and easy way to mount your phone to the controller, effectively turning it into a handheld gaming system. Unlike the Pocket, however, the Pro also ships with a very thin, light, and convenient tablet stand for those who prefer a larger screen when they game (*cough* me *cough*).

Another huge improvement the Pro has over the Pocket is the fact it's packing a rechargeable battery – no more pulling the backside off the handles and replacing the AAA batteries all the time. Good decision, PowerA!

Like its little brother, the Pro also includes a couple of free games (Namco's Pac-Man and Gameloft's NOVA 3), though I couldn't get the code for the latter to work. Boo!

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If you have a MOGA Pocket, then you're likely already familiar with the Pivot app – PowerA's proprietary app that lets the controller communicate with whatever game you're playing. The Pro also uses this app, but the setup process is a bit different than with the Pocket – namely because it has two different modes. "A", which is the same as the MOGA-supported-games-only mode of the Pocket; and "B", which puts the controller in the all-new HID mode. You know what that means? This controller can be used with any game that supports controller input – including emulators (no root required)! And switching between the two modes is simple: once they're both set up through the Pivot app, just flip the switch from A to B to toggle. Easy peasy.

I tested the controller with both modes, and am happy to report that they both worked flawlessly. That instantly adds value to the Pro over the Pocket.

MOGA-Compatible Games

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When we reviewed the Pocket, there weren't a whole lot in the way of MOGA-compatible games. That has definitely changed now, as there are several dozen; in the grand scheme of just how many games are available in the Play Store, however, that number is still nothing to write home about.

  • Another World
  • Asphalt 7: Head HD
  • Battle Bears
  • Beach Buggy Blitz
  • Blazing Souls Accelate
  • The Bard's Tale
  • Chrono & Cash
  • Cordy
  • Cordy 2
  • Crazy Snowboard Pro
  • Critter Rollers
  • The Conduit HD
  • Dark Incursion
  • Dead Trigger
  • Doom GLES
  • Drift Mania Championship 2
  • Drift Mania Championship 2 LE
  • Dungeon Hunter 3
  • The Dark Knight Rises
  • EVAC HD
  • Expendable Rearmed
  • Final Freeway 2R
  • Galaxy NGC3D HD
  • Gangstar Rio: City of Saints
  • GnarBike Trails
  • Grand Theft Auto III
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
  • Gunslugs
  • Heretic GLES
  • INC: The Beginning
  • Jet Set Radio
  • MUSE
  • Medieval
  • Meganoid
  • Meganoid 2
  • Mike V: Skateboard Party Lite
  • Mike V: Skateboard Party
  • Monster Madness: Grave Danger
  • Muffin Knight
  • NOVA 3
  • NFL Pro 2013
  • R-Type
  • Radiant
  • Radiant HD
  • Real Soccer 2013
  • Riptide GP
  • Rocket Fox
  • A Space Shooter Blitz
  • ShadowGun
  • SHADOWGUN: DeadZone
  • Satellite Assault
  • Shine Runner
  • Six-Guns
  • Sky Gamblers: Rise of Glory
  • Sleepy Jack
  • Solar Warfare
  • Sonic CD
  • Sonic the Hedgehog 4 – Episode II
  • SoulCraft – Action RPG Game
  • Speedball 2 Evolution
  • Stardash
  • Stealth Chopper 3D
  • Steampunk Racing 3D
  • Striker Soccer
  • Submarine Attack!
  • Tank Recon 3D
  • Tan 'n' Crash
  • Tiki Kart 3D
  • Tiny Little Racing
  • Trial Xtreme 2
  • Vendetta Online
  • Virtua Tennis Challenge
  • Wild Blodd
  • Zen Pinball HD

Phew. OK, that list was longer than I originally thought. 76 games total – some great, some you've probably never heard of. But they all have full MOGA support out of the box, which is great.

When compared to the list from October (when the Pocket was released), this proves one major selling point: MOGA-compatible games are on the rise. By this time next year, it's hard to say how long this list could be.

Build Quality, Battery Life, and Playing Games

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I just want to say that I love the build quality of the Pro. It's very lightweight (surprisingly so), but it still feels well put-together. All of the buttons have a very responsive spring action, the joysticks and D-Pad are very high quality, and the handles sport a very nice textured grip. There's even a button on the back of the controller that toggles backlighting for the ABXY keys! The MOGA Arm has a very satisfying "snap" when it's locked in place, and the extension mechanism appears to do a very good job of clamping down on the docked-in phone.

Overall, I'm extremely impressed with the quality of the MOGA Pro. It really lives up to the "Pro" moniker.

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When it comes to playing games, you get what you expect: a controller. No frills, no bullcrap. Oh, and best of all: no setup (so long as you're playing a MOGO-compatible game, of course). I fired this badboy up with Modern Combat 4 for "testing purposes" – before I knew it, I had been playing for nearly two hours. This controller, combined with a high-quality game like MC4 or Dead Trigger, absolutely brings a console-like experience to your mobile device.

Where battery life is concerned, PowerA claims the Pro should get between 12 and 15 hours worth of play time. I'm inclined to believe that, because I've only had to charge the Pro once since I got it, and I've been using it for a couple hours a day over the last several days.

Conclusion

I know a lot of users were having a hard time justifying the $50 price tag of the MOGA Pro – understandably so, given that its little brother could only be used on MOGA-compatible games out of the box. But, given the Pro's increased size and functionality, the addition of HID input, and the fairly long list of MOGA supported games at this point, I wouldn't think twice about recommending the Pro to any mobile gamer who's looking to take the experience to the next level.

As always, if you have any questions that weren't covered in the review, drop 'em in the comments and I'll do my best to give an answer.

Buy: PowerA, Amazon

Cameron Summerson
Cameron is a self-made geek, Android enthusiast, horror movie fanatic, musician, and cyclist. When he's not pounding keys here at AP, you can find him spending time with his wife and kids, plucking away on the 6-string, spinning on the streets, or watching The Texas Chainsaw Massacre on repeat.

  • ProductFRED

    The original controller is crap; I got it during the Christmas giveaway that PowerA was doing and, not to sound ungrateful, but I've only used it once or twice. For one, it doesn't have a built in battery, which isn't THAT bad if you're using rechargeable ones in it. Worst of all though, is that the analog sticks act like D-Pads. They're not REAL analog sticks. They also don't do sensitivity; in any game, you're either moving or you're not. There's no "slow-walking", in a first-person shooter. Same for turning. You have to keep bumping the sticks to aim around, otherwise you're doing a 360-degree spin until you let go. It's much easier to play with the on screen controls.

    This new Pro controller looks great, although at $50 it's a bit price, since you can get a PS3 Dualshock 3 or Sixaxis controller for at least $10 less. But at least since it has an HID mode, it can work on pretty much any device that supports a generic bluetooth controller (including maybe a PS3 and a PC).

  • atlouiedog

    It definitely looks like they really thought about the issues from the MOGA Pocket. I've been using mine quite a bit lately because a certain emulator that's still quite young has finally reached a point where it can play the games I've wanted it to. The form factor makes it a lot easier to carry around than the Pro would be, and the Pro's controls are unnecessary for what I've been playing, but that circle pad kind of sucks. A d-pad would work so much better for the games that I use it for.

    With a full size controller I'd rather use one of the Dualshocks that I have lying around. Of course where the MOGA has a huge advantage is that arm to hold a phone. Yes, I know about the GameKlip. No, I don't want it. My phone is not a SGS3 so I would need the universal model. That requires carrying around the controller and the clip permanently mounted to a case. So that means in addition to my phone that I'm carrying around, I also need a full sized controller and a case the size of my device plus the clip portion. My Photon Q is a slider which means there's no simple gel case that I can pop it into. I'd need to attach the GameKlip to a 2 piece hard case. If they made a universal model that was adjustable and didn't require a case I'd get that in a heartbeat. Until then it seems like the MOGA Pro is the better option for what I want, but after being a MOGA Pocket owner I'd need to try one before buying to make sure I like the controls.

    • An Tran

      "It definitely looks like they really thought about the issues from the MOGA Pocket."

      Not at all, many of the "improvements" the Pro has over the original were obviously on the controller when it was first announced last year along with the original. And honestly, some of those "improvements" possibly could've made it to the original. MOGA was such a missed opportunity.

  • http://www.facebook.com/barreiros.raphael Raphael Barreiros

    When you told that its tablet compatible, just made the purchase.
    Gaming on N7 = ownage

  • Wolfesbrain

    Does the MOGA Pro have the... I don't know what to call it... Latency issues, I guess, that the Pocket has? On my Nexus 7, I found that I could play the supported games (mostly I played Bard's Tale and Dead Trigger) without a problem for about five minutes. After that the lag between input on the controller and reaction in the game would start to increase to the point where I was waiting several seconds for the game to respond to the controller, which made the games unplayable (with the controller).

    • Bryan

      I have the pro controller paired with my N10 and there are no latency issues that I have seen. I have tried it with Muffin Knight (single and multiplayer) and Dead Trigger. It works great!

  • An Tran

    A full-sized controller...no point in it then. Unlike the true mobile controllers (like the horrible original Moga), there's no difference between this and a Dualshock 3 with GameKlip.

  • m00rb

    Does anyone know if the latest software updates improved the original MOGA controller? I found that it is pretty useless and stops functioning properly pretty quickly. Does it now have the A/B ability to be used in emulators without root like the PRO version has?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Markert/100001113752823 Richard Markert

      My MOGA Pocket seems to be working a little better than before. It drops the BT connection about 1/3rd as much as it used to. It doesn't have the a/b switching.

  • http://www.facebook.com/krzysztof.gicala Krzysztof Gicala

    Any idea when it's coming to UK? I'd love to hook it up to my HTC One and play the shit out of MC4

  • brutalpanther

    The travel logs is horrible.there is way to much travel on analog sticks before any response.Precision aiming is not an option.I hope they got this right.Should be here tommorrow.Then I will update.

  • Mandala13

    I currently have a Galaxy S3 with a Gorilla Gadget 4500MaH battery, plus the TPU cover. I previously used the iPega controller, for mobility and battery, but now does not work due to the bulky status of the phone. Would you know if the Moga Pro would be able to handle the thickness of a phone with a bigger battery or would I need to relinquesh having a controller with an arm such as controllers as this one?

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