Hands-on with the PowerA's Moga Pro

Handson with the PowerA's Moga Pro

Perhaps the form factor of PowerA's previous Moga -- a Bluetooth-enabled Android game controller -- was too mobile for you? PowerA's got you covered, showing off its full controller-sized Moga Pro this week at CES 2013. The differences from Moga's previous iteration are clear and many: a rechargeable battery built in, a d-pad, larger face buttons, full analog sticks with click, and shoulder buttons just above triggers (and a backlight, if you're into that kinda thing). There's also a stand included, should you choose to use the Moga Pro with your Bluetooth-enabled Android tablet -- the controller's built in phone holder extends all the way up to the (enormous) Note 2. To call it a big difference seems to be a disservice to a device that is essentially completely different from its forebear.

The Moga Pro is a solidly built, comfortable controller. Where the Moga felt a bit constricting and prone to causing hand cramps over long use, the Moga Pro feels as natural as a regular game console controller. The triggers out back resemble those of the Xbox 360's gamepad, and the same quality applies to the clickable dual analogs on the face. The d-pad is perfectly serviceable as well. However, as Android games aren't built with a controller in mind, the experience actually using the controller in-game (we played Dead Trigger) was a bit wonky. A bit of lag -- easily perceptible -- stood between our button presses and action in the game. This may not make a huge difference to some folks, but to anyone used to console or PC gaming, it's an unacceptable situation. The folks at PowerA say this issue can be overcome by developers should they choose to invest in a solution, but we're not so confident that devs will make that investment. Time will tell.

The final addition is a switch for two separate modes: A for the standard Moga Pro mode, and B for an "H.I.D." mode. What's H.I.D., you ask? Yeah, we did too -- apparently it's an emerging standard for Bluetooth controller. It's yet to be solidly accepted across the board by various peripheral manufacturers, but just in case it does, the Moga Pro will be ready. As for when you can get your hands on the Moga Pro, that's another question altogether. We were given a spring 2013 window and no price point for the device, but we're anticipating a similar pricing to the $50 that the original Moga cost.