Smartphone controllers are not a new thing. However, Android users have been lacking a great controller for quite a while. Moga has been considered the name brand for Android controllers for a couple of years now. From small pocket-sized controllers to full-sized ones, Moga is the way to go; that doesn’t mean they are the best controllers ever made.
The Moga Pro Hero feels like an Xbox 360 controller with the alternate analog layout, triggers, bumpers, and face buttons. The controller feels good in your hands and very familiar; however that’s about where it stops being familiar. Like other Moga controllers, the game feels too rigid, while we appreciate sturdy controllers, and this one is, the buttons are too stiff. The face buttons make a very loud clicking noise and require a good hard press. The D-pad also feels too D-pad…y, there’s no diagonal movement whatsoever. While this is good for older games on emulators, it does us no good for fighting games. I also felt the triggers were too stiff and require too much heavy-handed pressing to feel comfortable; same goes for the bumpers. The analog sticks are probably the only things on here that feel familiar and right, but that’s still not saying this is a bad controller. The arm that holds your phone is nicely cushioned, however, the inner piece feels too loose and I felt the phone wobble a tiny bit when moving.
A nice feature for this controller is that is has a built-in battery so no more AAA or AA batteries. You can also charge your phone FROM the controller thanks to its large battery which is nice for long gaming sessions. I also love the HID (Human Interface Device) mode for emulators as games must support the regular mode natively. Emulators respond nicely to this controller and it has more than enough buttons for what you need.
Overall, if you need more buttons and full-sized experience, the Pro Hero is a perfect choice, just be ready to get used to some stiff buttons and a weird D-pad.
Now that gaming on tablets and phones is becoming more serious and popular, companies are coming out with dedicated controllers for your devices. PowerA was one of the first ones out of the gate with their Moga series of controllers. This is the mobile version that holds your phone while you play. It’s Bluetooth so there are no cords tethered to your device. The controller is very well designed and sturdy, it doesn’t feel cheap at all.
I love the ergonomics of this controller. The middle of the controller has a flip up phone holder. It can hold up to 6″ phones, so everything up to the Samsung Note II. The top and bottom of the clip have rubber grips so your phone doesn’t slip out, and it keeps it from getting scratched. Getting the controller to connect is a breeze. The initial setup is done with the Moga Pivot app, it also scans your device for games that can be played with the controller. You can also navigate and launch these apps with the controller. The controller sits well in your hands, and is powered by 2 AA batteries, each is housed on either side of the controller. PowerA went for minimalism with this controller and they nailed it.
The only issue with the controller is that it feels too rigid. The buttons aren’t very soft and make a loud clicking sound. The thumbstick nubs are a bit stiff and there’s no D-pad. I like the L and R triggers which feel great for shooting games and racing. I wish the controller had analog sticks rather than nubs. It’s really hard to adjust to these in a shooter, I had to turn the sensitivity way down in the game to make it feel somewhat normal. The controller is also lacking bumpers which could have fit just fine. So there’s a bit of a learning curve with this controller.
At least it comes with two free games, Pac-Man and Sonic CD. It also includes a really nice leather case to hold your controller in. The biggest issue of all is that there aren’t many games that support this thing. There is a free universal driver app to use in emulators which are probably the main reason why someone would buy this. I was able to play a GBA, SNES, PS1, and Genesis emulator with no issues. Other than this, this is well worth the $40 for anyone looking for a controller without having to buy special cables, rooting, or buying expensive apps.