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Review: the MOGA Pro Controller should be required for Android gamers

Gear & Gadgets Screenshot - MOGA Pro Controller

As phones and tablets have become more advanced, mobile gaming has really taken off. We’re finally seeing gaming experiences that come close to rivaling what you can play on home and handheld consoles. While I’ve dabbled with controllers for Android and iOS devices, I’ve never used one for more than a few minutes. Then I got my hands on the MOGA Pro Controller -- a controller for Android devices that I’m confident will change mobile gaming.

The MOGA Pro Controller is simply the best gaming controller for Android devices that you can buy. Sorry, iOS gamers, but this bad boy isn’t for you. The MOGA Pro isn’t exactly pocket-sized; this is the PowerA Xbox-style control design, with more comfort, analog sticks and buttons than the MOGA Pocket Controller

Essentially, it’s the PowerA FUS1ON Tournament Controller for the Xbox 360, but fitted to hold your phone. Due to its full size, it’s extremely comfortable to hold for long gaming sessions, and its 12-to-15-hour battery life will outlive your device (my phone died after five hours). When I used the flip-out MOGA Arm to hold my Samsung Galaxy S3 (adjust to hold up to a Samsung Galaxy Note 2), I had to hold the controller at a certain angle for optimal screen viewing. It was a little awkward, but nothing I didn’t get used to.

The controller can also be used with Android tablets, and even includes a tablet stand. Since the MOGA Pro charges through USB and connects to devices through Bluetooth, I hooked up my friend’s tablet to my TV and played from my couch. It’s just another option with this controller, and it made me feel like I was playing a normal console game.

Moga Pro Controller with stand

That’s the beauty of this controller. The quality of an actual gaming console controller is the same thing you’re getting here.

Setting up and pairing your MOGA Pro is quick and easy. After you download and install the MOGA Pivot app, you switch the On/Off switch to ‘A’ mode and the devices will pair in a few seconds. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Know, though, that you can only use one controller with a paired device at a time.

The MOGA Pivot app is a content aggregator of games that are compatible and optimized for the MOGA Pro. It’s home to games like AVP: Evolution, Another World, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Shadowgun: DeadZone, Modern Combat 4 and N.O.V.A. 3. You can buy and download games through the app, and immediately launch them there. Games are constantly being added to the app as more games become optimized to use with the MOGA Pro.

Certain games that aren’t optimized for the MOGA Pro can still be played with the controller. By switching the controller into ‘B’ mode, you’ll be switching into HID mode (Human Interface Device). HID mode lets gamers use the controller with other games that don’t use MOGA’s standards. Games like Zen Pinball and Grand Theft Auto 3 will use the controller in ‘B’ mode. There wasn’t much of a difference other than a latency hiccup here and there in Zen Pinball.

As for the MOGA Pivot app itself, it’s divided into categories, has a search, and is generally straightforward. It might be easier to navigate using the touchscreen than the controller, though.

MOGA Pro controller with Android phone

Now, that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, how does the controller perform with MOGA-optimized games?

I used the MOGA Pro with three games: Modern Combat 4, Pac-Man and Dead Trigger. MC4 performed wonderfully, and I felt like I was playing a Call of Duty title. Seriously, playing with the Pro controller replicates a console experience admirably. Dead Trigger was the same; the controls and button inputs were responsive and I didn’t notice any latency issues whatsoever. As a matter of fact, I can’t think of any complaints with how the controller responds with both phones and tablets. And Pac-Man was a hell of a lot easier playing with the controller than it ever was with touchscreen.

If you want to have an Android gaming controller that you can just throw in your pocket and take with you, the MOGA Pro Controller isn’t exactly portable. This is a console controller for your phone. It’s meant for some serious gaming, and it definitely delivers. Whether on-the-go or at home, you can turn your tablet or phone into a portable console with this controller. At $49.99, it’s not the cheapest controller you can find, but you get what you pay for. And with HID ‘B’ mode, there’s the potential to use this controller with your computer. That especially has me excited. The list of supported games and devices are growing every day, including the Windows Phone 8 and the Kindle Fire being added soon. Simply put, I can’t think of a better purchase if you’re an Android user that does a lot of gaming.

You can follow Senior Editor Lance Liebl on Twitter @Lance_GZ. He likes talking sports, video games, movies, and the stupidity of celebrities. Email at LLiebl@GameZone.com

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Lance Liebl Gamer, Disney enthusiast, opinionated sports fan, movie buff, and a father of two. You can follow Lance on Twitter @Lance_GZ.
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