For the past year, Power A has been chipping away at the Android accessory market with its MOGA line of game controllers, combining convenient clips with console-quality controls. Now they're releasing the MOGA Power line, adding device charging capability to a pair of slightly retooled controllers, at a price.
What Are They?
The MOGA Hero Power is the device-charging version of the MOGA Pocket; the MOGA Pro Power the device-charging version of MOGA Pro. Both take advantage of an ever-growing library of Android games (around 150 or so now) with MOGA support built-in, while a standard controller mode allows them to work with games with generic controller support. Each features a clip to hold a standard-sized cell phone, while the Pro comes with a stand for tablets as well.
The MOGA Hero Power is a small, pocket-sized controller. It's around the same size as the original MOGA Pocket, but has been retooled and refitted to better suit the needs of games and gamers. Notable additions/changes include new and improved analogue thumb sticks, and the inclusion of a directional pad.
The MOGA Pro Power is the size of your average video game console controller, with controls laid out similarly to such beasts. Its layout is quite similar to the MOGA Pro, replacing that unit's ridged hand grips with a smooth, textured finish.
Both versions feature what Power A is calling MOGA Boost technology, which essentially means the controllers can charge your device while you play. Nothing fancy here. Both units feature a rechargeable battery — 1800mAh for the Hero, 2200 for the Pro — that can be shared by a mobile device via a short USB charging cable the feeds into the back of each unit.
Who Are They For?
MOGA Android controllers are for folks that either can't get the hang of touchscreen controls, prefer the precision of physical buttons and sticks, or are looking for a relatively low-cost alternative to purchasing a game console or buying a gaming PC. I say relatively, as these two are a bit costlier than their non-powering counterparts — the MOGA Hero Power is $US59.99 to the MOGA Pocket's $US29.99, while the Pro Power is $US79.99 to the MOGA Pro's $US49.99.
It also helps if the purchaser likes the games on MOGA's supported games list. While each of these can be used as a standard game controller, that list and the MOGA Pivot app are the only way to ensure full compatibility.
What I Like
Compatibility: Sure, it's only around 150 games, but that's miles better than support for the MOGA controllers was a year ago. It's a big enough number that I can go into the MOGA Pivot app with certainty that I am going to find something I want to play.
Power Pro Design: Thank you, Power A,, for getting rid of the silly ridges from the MOGA Pro when redesigning the MOGA Pro Power. At first I didn't mind the ridges so much, but after a few months' use they began to chafe my hands. Smooth and silky is definitely the way to go. And is that extra weight I feel? Nice.
Hero Pro Design: Thanks for the D-Pad, Power A. I cannot tell you how many times my thumb wandered to the trio of buttons the original MOGA Pocket had in lieu of a directional pad. It was supposed to be there. Now it is, and the MOGA Hero Power feels much less like a toy for the effort.
Charging: Anything device that can give my HTC One a relatively rapid 40 per cent boost in power is a welcome addition to my gadget arsenal. I would wear a bandoleer of chargers if I didn't think it would make me look far too sexy for my own good.
What I Don't Like
Sharing Power: No one likes to share power, especially not when you're trying to play games. The rechargeable batteries that so helpfully make my cell phone feel better about itself are also responsible for powering the MOGA controllers themselves (hooray for no more AAA batteries in the Hero, at least). That means that while the Power series does increase the life of your devices, once that power is gone, it's game over, unles syou're a mobile hardware reviewer sitting at your desk with an outlet right in front of you. That's definitely not everybody.
The Price Jump: Gadget price versus worth is generally in the eyeof the procurer, but in the case of the MOGA Power twins we've got a clear reason for the extra dough. Both units have improved on the design of their predecessor, but not that much improvement. This charging capability costs $US30. That's enough to purchase any number of external chargers with the same functionality. Really makes me wish they offered the redesigned units without the power parts.
The MOGA Hero Power and the MOGA Pro Power are a pair of solid little Android controllers with a nice selection of supported games and additional functionality that's certainly practical, if not implemented quite the way I would have done it (dual batteries). My only concern is the price may prove too big a hurdle for many mobile gamers — it's hard to justify $US80 for any game controller.
Were I picking one to purchase, my money would likely go to the MOGA Pro Power — it's heftier, has a bigger battery, and really delivers the console gaming experience, especially when paired with a tablet hooked up to a television via HDMI. I don't need to hide my love of mobile gaming in my pocket. Attach an obnoxious gold chain to it and we're in business.