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Hands-on With New MOGA Android Gaming Controllers

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 8 comments

We take a sneak peek at the new MOGA controllers arriving this fall.

This morning I spent a little time with PowerA to check out the company's new MOGA controllers for Android and Windows Phone 8. As previously announced, the company has completely redesigned both the Mobile and Pro controllers with improved ergonomics, improved Bluetooth radio and a better smartphone grip. They also have the ability to allow four units to connect to one Android device, but I couldn't get the company to admit how that is accomplished. Apparently it's a secret.

The biggest feature change with these two new "Power Series" peripherals is that they are capable of recharging a mobile device whether the user is playing MOGA compatible games, or simply needs a power brick while on the go. Both devices pack a built-in rechargeable battery, a microUSB port and a full-fledged USB port. A possible scenario would see the controller plugged into a wall outlet for recharging while in turn a smartphone would be connected to the controller to recharge its own battery in the process.

On the mobile front, the most obvious difference between the previous and new model is in the control layout. The analog sticks are taller and thinner, and provide a click functionality. The action buttons aren't quite so embedded, and the start button has been moved over to the right side to make room for a D-pad on the left side (which wasn't even available on the original unit). A row of LED lights are now included, serving two functions: the amount of charge the built-in battery is holding, and the number of controllers in use (up to four). There are also two additional shoulder buttons.

Changes to the Pro controller seem to be a bit more visually cosmetic in nature, removing the "rippled" surface for a smoother finish. It also received the same changes to the action buttons and analog sticks, and also sports same the column of four LEDs on the right side. The device even has a connector on each side of the on/off switch that will eventually support a recharging dock, and a better "arm" – along with the new mobile version -- for cradling larger smartphones with huge protective covers (which was a big complaint with the previous models).

On the first-generation MOGA Pro controller, the company supplies a three-position switch that turns off the controller, switches it into Bluetooth HID compliant mode, and non-HID mode – this wasn't even offered on the mobile version, limiting its compatibility with a number of Android games. The two new controllers arriving this fall will automatically switch between the two Bluetooth modes without the need for manual user intervention.

The models I saw at the show were prototypes, but as it stands now, they're definitely more comfortable than the first generation. I'm still curious as to how the company is managing four devices to work together on one tablet or smartphone: it likely has something to do with Android 4.3's Bluetooth Smart support and a way these controllers can communicate with each other. The company promises better Bluetooth connectivity too which is a good thing, as I saw lag even during CES 2013 in January before the first MOGA mobile controller hit the market.

PowerA's new Power Series controllers arrive this fall, and as previously stated, will support Windows Phone 8. There will also likely be support for Apple's iOS 7 platform in the near future thanks to Apple's new love for controllers.

 

 


 


 

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  • 0 Hide
    Grandmastersexsay , June 13, 2013 8:00 AM
    Kind of negates the whole mobile aspect of the mobile phone.

    Is that a phone in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?



    This is just another example of how there is no imagination in mobile gaming. Let's combine an Xbox 360 controller and a mobile phone. Real creative.

    These kind of perifrials will never catch on. They need to rethink how to have controls without the use of thumbs, since the screen occupies the same space as thumb controls would go.

    What about an analog pad on the back of the phone controlled with the left index finger and buttons on the right controlled by the right hand fingers? This could be built into the phone, or even accomplish with a case.

    If testing shows you need thumb controls, fine. Make a controller that is the same width as a phone in landscape,make it about an inch tall, and have it attach to the bottom. Just keep it flat. Gameboys didn't need joysticks. Use analog pads.

  • 0 Hide
    TheMadFapper , June 13, 2013 8:11 AM
    Someone please tell me what Android game I would ever want to play with a controller. I know there are a couple of FPS games that last a grand total of 2 hours and are some of the most linear games ever created....but besides that.
  • 0 Hide
    Grandmastersexsay , June 13, 2013 8:17 AM
    Quote:
    Someone please tell me what Android game I would ever want to play with a controller. I know there are a couple of FPS games that last a grand total of 2 hours and are some of the most linear games ever created....but besides that.


    Emulators, which comprise the only decent games for android.
  • 0 Hide
    Parsian , June 13, 2013 8:21 AM
    @^^^

    You mean beside Dead Space, Mass Effect, NFS, NOVA 3, ...? Well you could throw on some PS1 games such as AceCombat, Tekken3, ...
  • 0 Hide
    Parsian , June 13, 2013 8:21 AM
    @^^^

    You mean beside Dead Space, Mass Effect, NFS, NOVA 3, ...? Well you could throw on some PS1 games such as AceCombat, Tekken3, ...
  • 0 Hide
    Grandmastersexsay , June 13, 2013 8:31 AM
    Quote:
    @^^^

    You mean beside Dead Space, Mass Effect, NFS, NOVA 3, ...? Well you could throw on some PS1 games such as AceCombat, Tekken3, ...


    No, the mobile ports of those games pretty much suck. They are designed to run on the weakest of mobile phones, and it shows.
  • 0 Hide
    tburns1 , June 13, 2013 11:49 AM
    Checkout the apps "Kainy" and "Crazy Remote". You can play PC games on Android remotely. This might call for a good controller.
  • 0 Hide
    WithoutWeakness , June 13, 2013 12:15 PM
    I have the original MOGA and I love it. It makes playing N64/PSX/GBA emulators so much more enjoyable. For $30 it's my favorite peripheral for my phone. It even fits my Note II in it's case.