MOGA Controller Review: Android Gaming Just Got Way Better

By Brent Rose on at

Games on Android have gotten really, really good. With phones regularly packing in 1.5GHz quad-core processors and 2GB of RAM, the games are fast approaching console-quality. The one thing holding them back? Touchscreen controls aren't nearly as good as a handheld controller. The MOGA Mobile Gaming System aims to kill that. With a head-shot.

 

What Is It?

A £28-odd console-like video game controller that connects via Bluetooth to any Android device.

 

Who's It For?

Android gamers who crave better controls.

 

Design

It's like a smaller, flatter console controller. An arm flips up to hold any sized phone (yes, even the giant Galaxy Note II). There are two sticks, two shoulder triggers (not depressible), four buttons, Start, Select, and a mysterious MOGA button. No D-pad.

MOGA Controller Review: Android Gaming Just Got Way Better

 

Using It

The controller is light and ergonomically comfortable to hold. It grips phones very securely. Pairing with phones and tablets is fairly easy, though you have to us the MOGA app, which is sub par. There was no perceptible lag in the gameplay.

 

The Best Part

Oh man, so much easier to control! Playing a first-person shooter like N.O.V.A. 3 — strafing, aiming, reloading — was improved by roughly 300 per cent.

I paired the MOGA with a Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX HD, connected the phone to my TV, and sat back on my couch for a fluid gaming experience. N.O.V.A. 3 is really fun on a 1080p TV. I could have played it all day.

 

Tragic Flaw

The MOGA software. Because it doesn't use standard Bluetooth protocols, you have to use the MOGA app, which adds an extra step or two every time you want to play. This also means that games must be specifically optimised for the MOGA controller, which limits what titles are available.

MOGA Controller Review: Android Gaming Just Got Way Better

 

This Is Weird...

When the MOGA isn't connected, your phone will continue looking for it. There's a constant "MOGA Controller is not connected" message in your notification panel — very annoying.

 

Test Notes

 

  • Tested on a Droid Razr Maxx HD, a Galaxy Note II, an HTC Droid DNA, and a Google Nexus 4.
  • Unfortunately, the MOGA isn't rechargeable. It uses two AAA batteries. That will get you 18 hours of playtime, which is excellent. But a rechargeable battery would be so much more convenient, even if it'd raise the price and sacrifice some runtime.
  • The MOGA currently works with about 40 games, which is a good start, and some of those games are excellent (a lot of them from Gameloft). More titles will be compatible soon, including Dead Trigger, Shadowgun, and others.

 

Should You Buy It?

If you're a gamer, you use Android, and you like the titles available, then yes. With the MOGA ready in a jacket pocket, you can make time sitting on a train breeze by. When you get home, it's fun to rig your phone up to your TV and pick up where you left off. As the catalog of game titles expands, the experience will only get better.

MOGA Controller Specs

• Network: Bluetooth
• OS: Works with Android 2.3 and above
• Battery: Two AAAs.
• Weight: 5.2 ounces (with battery)
• Price: £28 plus shipping
• Giz Rank: 3.5 stars