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PowerA's Moga Power controllers charge your phone while you play (hands-on)

Melissa Grey, @meligrey
August 14, 2013
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Since we saw PowerA's Moga Pro controller at CES earlier this year, the company has shown that it's keen to evolve its product line based on early adopter feedback. Its two latest Bluetooth Android controllers -- the Moga Pro Power and the more petite Moga Hero Power -- bring some added functionality to PowerA's lineup while building on the successes (and shortcomings) of the previous iterations. In addition to enhanced ergonomics and an improved grip, Moga's newest offerings also boast multiplayer support and the ability to charge your phone while you play. The latter might be PowerA's ace in the hole, but do the upgrades make for an even better mobile gaming experience? Read on to find out.

Gallery: PowerA Moga Power Series controllers (hands-on) | 28 Photos

Once we got the Pro Power controller in our hands, it was pretty clear that PowerA wasn't kidding around when it came to its hardware design. While the Moga Pro showed some noticeable improvements in the look and feel of the controller by more closely mirroring its console brethren, the Pro Power adds an extra level of comfort. Weights inside the controller counterbalance the heft of an attached phone so it no longer feels like your device is quite literally dragging you down. The smaller Hero Power is virtually unrecognizable from the earlier Moga Pocket, which came with a rectangular design that proved unwieldy when used for an extended period of time; it borrows the ergonomic style of the Pro while adapting it to its smaller size. While it still isn't as comfortable as the full-sized controller, the updated grip and analog sticks (with click this time) are a marked improvement. Additionally, the built-in phone holder on both controllers has been blessed with increased depth and just enough width to fit a sizable Otterbox-wearing Note 2 (the previous model could only accommodate a naked Note 2).

As previously mentioned, PowerA is banking on its Moga Boost technology -- a fancy name for the ability to charge your phone while you play -- to elevate the Power series from good to great. Bluetooth controllers are fine and dandy, but they're not terrifically useful if they drain your phone's battery after playing for a while. The Moga Power series addresses that concern by allowing you to plug your phone into the controller via a 6-inch USB cable so you needn't watch it bleed power as you terrorize pedestrians in Crazy Taxi.

Unlike our experience with the Moga Pro, we were happy to note that there was virtually no noticeable lag with gameplay for most of the titles we tried out. Pacman, Crazy Taxi and The Conduit played like a dream, and Moga's Pivot app is loaded with over 125 games optimized for use with its controllers. Both the Hero and the Pro Power are also H.I.D.-ready, but the game library for that Bluetooth standard is much smaller.

While the Moga Pro Power series is only available for Android devices at this time, the folks at PowerA promised that an iOS version was in the works. We don't yet have a release date on either controller, but it's likely that they'll drop sometime this fall (probably around October or November). Price-wise, you can expect to shell out a bit more cash than you would have with the current Moga Pro, which retails for $50, due to the different battery and additional features. That being said, if you're in the market for an Android controller, you would be hard-pressed to do better than these bad boys.

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