Moga Pro controller.

Ever wanted to use an Xbox controller for your Android games?

The Moga Pro hits stores today for $49.99, and in addition to playing around a bit with it at PAX East, we got some time to try out with the Bluetooth controller before it arrived at retail. There are a few things you get in the box besides the controller itself: a tiny instruction manual, a micro USB cable, and a foldable tablet stand. I'm a huge fan of this stand since it's highly portable and can support fairly large tablets at a reasonable viewing angle. 

 

Those who are familiar with the Moga Pocket controller will already know that these guys make controller accessories for mobile games, and offer developers hooks so they can optimize for the hardware. Like the first model, the Pro also includes the retractable brace to hold your Android device in landscape while you play. The Moga Pro expands on the original by more than just adding two shoulder buttons, clickable joysticks, a backlight toggle, and filling out to be more comfortable in the hand. Arguably the biggest new feature in the Moga Pro is the ability to support HID Bluetooth profiles thanks to a little switch in the middle of the controller.

The Human Interface Device profile is most commonly used for mice and keyboards, but since a lot of gamers have been working on using their PlayStation controllers with their Android devices, game developers have taken the cue and started supporting HID input for their titles. That said, this could potentially open up the door to the Moga Pro working double (or triple) duty with PCs and consoles. Unfortunately, the best I could do was pair up the Moga Pro with non-Android devices; inputs didn't go through at all, but I hold hope that this will change eventually.

You can find the HID games that work through Moga's Pivot app for Android, which showcases optimized games and helps you pair up the controller with your Android device. The catalog spans Moga Pro games, HID games, and a bunch of genre-specific sections. So, how do the games actually play? For the most part, really well. It's especially nice to be able to see the full screen and soak in a game in its entirety.

The controller is about a million times more comfortable to use than the original pocket controller, plus the buttons all have the right amount of spring and give. Moga's usefulness may be restricted to titles that go the whole nine yards with control optimization and still use the dual-stick control scheme (as opposed to a more gesture-based one), or games that leverage the HID profile, but that includes more games than you would think. The only blip in performance during my time with the Moga Pro had me stuck on run mode in Modern Combat 4, but overall, the connection stayed stable. 

While using the HID Bluetooth profile to play Android games with proper controllers is hardly new, it's not something that a lot of more casual gamers will go out of their way to get to work. Moga Pro is aiming to make something that's easy to set up and easy to start enjoying, which I think is laudable. The controller itself is really comfortable, and well-designed for its niche purpose. Gamers that love dual-stick games but need more finely-tuned control definitely want to try out this fine accessory. 

 

Reader comments

Moga Pro controller review - a must-have for gamers

58 Comments

How much of MC4 did you play? Were you able to get through the quick time events without having to touch the screen?

I had my Nexus 4 slimport'd to my TV playing with the Moga Pro and it was great till I ran into a QTE and couldn't find any button that registered the swipes that the game was looking for.

I was hoping for a console-like experience with the slimport+moga combo but it seems devs aren't supporting that set up yet. Deadzone, for instance, doesn't even let you navigate the menus with the controller.

That's a very good point. Depending on the game, there are parts where you'll still need to use touch input, which may hamper TV dock set-ups. If you've got the device in the brace or tablet stand, I don't see it being that much of an issue. 

I slimported my Nexus 4 to the TV and had noticeable lag trying to play Link to the Past and other games. Just enough to throw you off. Did you get any lag with MC4 while slimported or any other game?

I connected my Note 2 to my TV via MHL and I too noticed the same lag time. Probably running the intensive graphics, mirroring the game and sound, and running Bluetooth and control inputs all at once has a tendency to be very taxing on the processors. I'm going to experiment with turning off GPS and data and see if it makes a difference tonight. But you're not crazy.

I played it last night after my MOGA Pro came in and I could not find a way to get through those scenes without touching the screen. Got stabbed in the gut like 8 times. Otherwise, everything was smooth and responsive like you'd expect. Updated mapping for the controls is really stellar as well.

No dice so far even for pairing, which is weird since BlackBerry was showing off HID support at GDC. I'll rassle around with it a bit more today to see if I can get it to work. 

What exactly does the HID support do? (In layman's terms, please!)

Does it mean less lag? Faster? More button support? I really have no idea...

Basically, it means wider compatibility with games and systems. Instead of requiring game developers to explicitly include Moga support in their titles, devs can build for HID, which would enable more than just Moga controllers.

I have the MOGA Pro and all I know is that I need to be in HID mode to get the controls to work with my NES, SNES, DS, and MAME emulators.

Is this a confirmation that it does work with android emu? Any specifics (My Boy!, or SuperGNES)?

Yup, it works great with NES.Emu, SuperGNES, and MAME4droid Reloaded. I completed Bad Dudes, Rygar, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on the MAME emulator since I got the MOGA Pro. :)

I'm now working on the Double Dragon games on MAME.

I'm not quite sure if i understood you right. Does it work with the My Boy! Games? 'Cause that's the only thing i wanna know, Yes or no?

Hope you're replying to this, would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the review, good job.

I just picked up the Moga Pro and was wondering what I need to download to be able to use it with emulators. Also, can someone do a step by step guide of how to actually configure everything? I can't seem to figure out how to get it to work. Thanks

I am curious to know of this controller works with Order and Chaos online. Please do let me know, thanks.

Looks really nice. I personally would have more interest in this compared to the Nvidia one with the built in screen.

Wish I had waited for this version, the pocket model, which I have is ok, but the analog controls are extremely oversensitive and not very good.

I was looking at the cradle last night and thinking, "Man! If this only had a touch pad on the back...would be perfect!"

But, hey, for $35 (used a promotion code), I couldn't be more happy.

Well Christopher, would you be kind enough to share that promotion code with the rest of us? The "MOGAzombie" code for PowerA has already expired.

Thanks!

DD

Did anyone find more info about international shipping or a different shop? Their site is particularly vague about it, requiring emailing for an estimate.

Also I find it hard to estimate game compatibility - i.e. is Real Racing 3 supported? What percentage of games support HID?

It's definitely tricky finding games, especially since they don't all publicize HID as a feature. So far, the Pivot app has been the best spot for finding them all in the same place, and even then, there's only about a dozen there. No love on RR3. 

This controller doesn't require you to attach it to your device, but the holder is a lot better than laying your phone on the table while you play.

Did you really create an account just so you could plug your product in the comments section?

Is it possible to connect the PlayStation 3's wireless controller to nexus 7 without root? I know Xbox controller needs root. If it's possible so why would someone spend more on Moga? The PlayStation 3's wireless controller is $39.

For the Nexus 7 you should be able to use a Dualshock 3 without root but you need to have it plugged in with a USB OTG cable while using it. You can actually do it with an xbox 360 controller as well.

I got the Gameklip and it actually comes with a spare mini usb cable for charging your Dualshock 3 as well as a USB OTG Micro/mini cable. These two hooked together, and the ones supplied are short, should get your dualshock 3 working on your Nexus 7 with no root. The Gameklip can support a Nexus 7 and if you already have a Dualshock 3 it is much cheaper than the MOGA controller. Even if you don't you can easily get it for 39 and then $20 for the Gameklip it puts is $10 more than the all-in-one solution MOGA is giving.

Short answer, yes you can connect but it must be wired into the Nexus 7 without root.

Is the Bluetooth pairing more reliable than the original? I love my MOGA pocket, but sometimes I want to throw the thing in the trash when I have 15 minutes to game before work and spend 12 fighting to get it to pair.

Used it last night, after day one, no drops. Was as perfect as I could hope for. That's with my phone plugged into the TV and sitting about 5 feet away from it. MC4 and NOVA 3.

So for the basic game player such as myself, who only ever plays those racing games that need little more than tilt for steering...will this work?

I play NFS a lot and I think it would be great if I could back away from the tablet a bit instead of holding at arm's length all the time.

Yup, definitely good for tablet play, but you've gotta make sure the Moga Pro's compatible, plus it might not be worth the investment if you'll only really use it for one game. 

in my opinion the quality of games on google play don't warrant the purchase of $50 contoller. I would rather buy a ps3 game or some dlc off psn. Maybe someday... i doubt it tho

Don't be to sure about that. I an Android on a stick dual core model attached to my TV and the kids love playing with the Logitec controller on the big screen. There are lots of games out there that look absolutely great on the big screen so don't write this off.... And don't forget that 5 companies make controller specifically for Android and two game console companies as well.

Android is going to make a good push into the console market and as it stands right now it looks like it will make more headway in a shorter time than the original Xbox did.

I really want to buy this, mainly because of the rechargeable battery. Unfortunately my experience with the MOGA Pocket hasn't exactly been that great. Connectivity with my Nexus 4 is spotty with the MOGA Pivot app (though it works fine with the MOGA Universal Driver...). Not entirely sure if it is my phone's fault or if I just got a faulty unit. Thank goodness it was only $5 (got it during the free promo). Maybe they'll do the same promo for the MOGA Pro soon. :D

Does anyone know if it works with the old NESoid, SNESoid, and GENSoid emulator apps?? That's probably what I would mainly use it with, might try to find an N64 emulator too...

If have .apk's and ROM files if someone is willing to try it out...

Let me know!!

Not sure about those particular emulators, but it works great with NES.emu, SuperGNES, and MAME4droid Reloaded.

I will only buy a controller for Android, if it has a "touch event mapping" app.
They`re are many apps, if you have root, but quite pricey, and work with a few devices.

The Nyko PlayPad promised to do this, but failed, sadly.

Thats so funny! You guys in your review have my exact setup! Nexus 7 and a white HTC One X!!! Love both! I would say though that The One X has the Volume buttons placed weird so you have to offset it on the Moga.

I just picked up the Moga Pro and was wondering what I need to download to be able to use it with emulators. Also, can someone do a step by step guide of how to actually configure everything? I can't seem to figure out how to get it to work. Thanks