For years, people have played games on consoles, PCs, and dedicated handheld devices. With times changing and technology advancing, we have seen a variety of mobile operating systems pop up, all with their own share of games. Unless you have a simple title, with limited functional capabilities, like Angry Birds, the mobile gaming space is not taken too seriously. Power A is seeking to change that with their new line of Android compatible controllers, the Mogas. With a successful track record of constructing 3rd party peripherals for consoles, this may be one of the most capable companies to attempt such a feat.
The Moga Pro Power is the 4th iteration in the Moga line. It seems to be most heavily inspired by the Moga Pro, which held the form of a more traditional controller, rather than the original which boasted a pocket friendly design. The Moga Pro Power is also not only a controller for your Android tablet and phone, but an on the go charger too! With a slimmer design, and a more capable set of abilities, is this flagship device worth the $80 price tag?
You get more than just the controller if you purchase this device. It comes with two Mirco USB cables, which can be used for charging the 2200 MaH battery, and syphoning battery life from the controller to your phone. If you have an Android tablet instead of a phone, Power A has you covered. Included with the Moga is a kick stand capable of holding up any size of tablet. To see what these Items look like, check out our unboxing video here.
When it comes to the physical design of the controller, it is nice if not a little rigid. Face buttons are solid, and the asymmetrical analog sticks are hugely precise due to their reduced deadzone. The D-pad is nothing special, but serviceable. Where I most ran into issues was on the top of the controller. Shoulder bumpers are small and harder than most to push in, and the triggers are even worse, they are so stiff, and have no soft edges to them. I found my fingers hurting after extended use with games like Dead Trigger.
The glossy coating surrounding the face buttons also makes little sense to me, and with just a few brief play sessions, the controller will become a gallery of fingerprints. Aside from aesthetic gripes, the device feels very well put together, and it is noticeably lighter than most controllers on the market relative to its size. This is a must considering you will most likely be attaching a phone to the controller itself, and if it was too heavy, it could have been cumbersome to handle. The retractable phone holder also works exceptionally well. Even when trying to forcibly knock the phone out, it held itself together. But, if you see more of the Moga Pro Power’s physical features, check out our Xbox 360 and Moga Pro Power comparison here.
As for how the Moga actually handles Android games, it is a mixed bag. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of the times when the controller works, you really do get a console quality experience, but it is the few times it doesn’t that really begin to frustrate. Compatible with Android 2.3 and up, you can play any game already featured in the Moga Pivot software available on the Google Play Store. Some games run through Moga’s custom control code, while others only work through HID, which is considered the standard. Neither works better than the other, and both suffer from similar shortcomings. Games must be launched in the Moga Pivot app for controller functionality to work 100% of the time. Also, there were a few times that I did notice my Bluetooth connection fail, and the controller became nonfunctional for a couple seconds. It was a small annoyance, but it became prevalent enough that it needed to be mentioned.
This following piece that I take issue with is not directed at Power A themselves, but it is a problem they have been unable to cure. Most games, such as Sonic the Hedgehog CD, work completely with the Moga Pro Power, but there are some, like Dead Trigger, that feel as if controller compatibility was merely an afterthought. While all in-game functions work as promised, it is the menus that have been seemingly forgotten. Navigating through missions, and browsing the store must be done with the touch screen, even the pause menus require touch input. This may just be a small inconvenience, but it constantly reminds you of the fact that you are on a mobile device and not a full console. On top of that, do not expect to play every game with the Moga Pro Power, because, while the Moga Pivot library is steadily expanding, there are still only a limited number of titles to choose from. Unfortunately, this issue in particular will never be fixed unless Google themselves adopt an official Android controller.
If you are an Android user and think a controller for your phone would be interesting and useful for you, the Moga is really your only option. Power A has put in so much work to Moga as a platform, and not just a controller. But, I think your purchase of the Moga Pro Power is dependent on whether or not you want the best. For $80, you get the most functional, and streamlined controller with only a few small flaws. However, it may still be too soon to tell if Android controllers will garner the support that they most definitely deserves, and without aid from Google, I don’t believe they will.