Designed to deliver “console quality gaming for your Android (2.3+) phone or tablet, the MOGA unit by Power A is an interesting device. It’s lightweight, comfortably built and evenly balanced. Sure, at first use, the controller will feel a little blocky, but when you lock in the phone, the design elements become clear. When used with an Android phone, the MOGA Arm™ flips out with two muted clicks, and an adjustable arm swings out to hold the phone snugly. When connected, the MOGA locks your phone at either a 90- or 130-degree angle.
Unfortunately, those two positions (and the closed position) are the only available configurations, so if you’re somewhere that glare and/or nosy people might be an issue, you’ll have to make do. The only other real issue I have with the MOGA unit also has to do with the MOGA Arm™: the expandable “jaw” of the arm has rubberized soft-touch, non-skid pads that do a great job of holding your device in place. Unfortunately, if you pull your phone sideways when taking it out of the jaw, the rubberized pads can easily get torn off. Though the jaw of the MOGA Arm™ is tight right now, I’d be concerned about repetitive use…especially with a high-end phone.
When you’re holding it in your hands, controller-style, it feels outstandingly comfortable. As a guy with larger than average hands, I found the MOGA’s layout to be almost exactly what I needed. All phones will add an extra, top-heavy weight to the device, but the design of the controller leaves it well balanced for even the larger devices. Paired with the Samsung Galaxy S III, it looks and feels like perfection. Even with a chunkier, Sidekick 4G, it looks and feels good…and it’s designed to accept devices up to 82mm wide!
The controller features double analog “sticks” in the Xbox 360 design–one on the top left and one on the bottom right. There are four face buttons (not including the select/start and pairing buttons), as well as L/R shoulder buttons, or triggers. I was most impressed by the trigger layout, since Power A managed to add a slight curve (similar to their console controllers), without adding any extra bulkiness…or oddly protruding parts. The only thing about the layout that’s iffy to me, are the rubberized discs that sit on top of the analog “sticks”. I kept catching myself flicking their edges, worrying the corners and trying to peel them off, since they (like the “jaw” rubber strips) feel like they’re held on with only the lightest adhesive. And if I do end up pulling them off? No giant loss…I’ll still be able to use my thumbs to work the analogs without issue.
The MOGA also requires 2 AAA batteries, but it boasts 18 hours of gameplay, and it has an auto-sleep function after 7 minutes of inactivity.
So how does it play? Well, the Galaxy S III was pre-loaded with several titles: Dungeon Hunter 3, Galaxy NGC 3D HD, N.O.V.A. 3, Pac-Man, Riptide GP, Sonic CD, The Dark (k)Night Rises and Virtual Tennis Challenge. The controller worked flawlessly with all of them, save for Sonic and Galaxy NGC, which I’d liken more to a software issue, since they both controlled clunky and sloooooow. However, utilizing all buttons with N.O.V.A. and The Dark Night Rises (yes, it’s actually spelled “Night” in the program) made playing a snap…and the Gameloft titles, which are basically stripped down console clones (namely, Crysis 2 and Arkham City) play almost exactly like their console originals…in terms of the controller, anyway.
Some of you might balk at the $49.99 price point, however you should realize that Power A is nabbing a massive stable of developers to create titles with the MOGA in mind. When it launches on October 21, it will have more than 40 titles immediately available, including classic PC titles like Dink Smallwood HD, Duke Nukem 3D, PainKiller and Heretic. It will also have console classics like Pac-Man, Sonic, Virtua Tennis Challenge, Asphalt 7 and Atari’s Greatest Hits. There will also be a cloud of knock off titles, like Tiki Kart Racer (Mario Kart), Shadowgun (Shadowrun), GnarBike Trials (Trials: Evolution) and Six-Guns (Red Dead: Redemption).
Here’s the kicker: most of Gameloft’s knockoffs aren’t terrible…in fact, they embody some of the best parts of beloved titles. But they’re also a far, FAR cry from perfect. Then again, they’re like $4.99 each…so you’re getting what you pay for.
All in all, the MOGA is going to be the perfect thing from train rides, road trips and short flights…just make sure to keep your phone charger handy!
- Excellent fit and balance, even with a chunkier phone attached!
- Dual analogs for PHONE gaming!? Sign me up!
- 40 launch titles (with a bunch that are free)!
- Bluetooth sensor with an auto-sleep mode will save you money on AAA’s!
- Analogs are tight, and buttons are responsive!
- Only two arm settings can be rough when gaming outside.
- Rubber on the MOGA Arm™ seems poorly applied and peels easily.
- Lower ledge can inadvertently toggle volume up and down.
- Chunky design is not pocket friendly.
- Concern about heavier devices falling/dropping off the MOGA Arm™.