MOGA Hero Power and MOGA Pro Power Hardware Review

MOGA Hero Power and MOGA Pro Power Hardware Review

Nov 28, 2013

MOGA’s first generation of controllers are ones that I continue to swear by for their comfort and versatiliity. The Pocket’s lack of HID support and buttons hurts it, but it’s still a great portable controller, and there’s plenty of MOGA API games to justify it. But the MOGA Pro is perhaps the strongest of the lot – with its HID support and excellent ergonomics, it’s the gold standard of Android controllers.

Well now MOGA is back for round 2 with a new generation of controllers, both in pocket and full-size versions, but with a new feature: the ability to charge a phone attached to them. Unfortunately, the new designs with these new features just introduce new problems. The Pro only takes a minor ding, but the Hero proves to be greatly flawed because of it.

MOGA Hero Power

MOGA Hero Power

First off, the MOGA Pro Power only makes slight changes to the formula: its design has been seemingly modified to fit better with the look of the Hero, and perhaps to accomodate the battery inside. Both controller scome with a standard micro-USB cable for charging in the contorller’s female micro-USB port, and a short micro-USB cable for charging from the female full-size USB port on both controllers, used to charge a phone connected to the device.

The MOGA Hero Power is a total overhaul of the MOGA Pocket. Where the Pocket lacked analog triggers, clickable joysticks, and a d-pad, the Hero contains all of these, while still maintaining a small size, and now supporting both MOGA API and standard HID gamepad modes. The joysticks are no longer the flat discs of the Pocket, they’re convex standard analog joysticks, just very small.

MOGA Pro Power

MOGA Pro Power

The portability factor is mixed: the controller certainly would fit in a pocket, but I’d be nervous about those joysticks breaking off just by their nature. It’s the same reason I don’t really pocket my PS Vita. Perhaps they would stick on there, but it makes me nervous. If it came with a little bag like the Pocket did, I’d feel better. Otherwise, if you’re throwing it in a bag, then it’s probably best to just go up to the Pro Power, eh?

The other reason to just go with the Pro Power? The triggers on the Hero are terrible. They are incredibly stiff, and absurdly uncomfortable to use; I just couldn’t find a comfortable position to place my index fingers on the triggers. A first-person shooter like Neon Shadow is okay with the triggers; a racing game like Asphalt 8 is practically unbearable.

MOGA Hero Power: the triggers are stiff and very, very comfortable.

MOGA Hero Power: the triggers are stiff and very, very comfortable.

In comparison, the MOGA Pro Power, with more traditional full-size triggers.

In comparison, the MOGA Pro Power, with more traditional full-size triggers.

The power recharging on both controllers leaves something to be desired. They really only put out enough power to keep the phone from draining too much of its battery, and only while the screen is on and the controller is connected via Bluetooth, even if the little 6″ micro-USB cable is connected. While some battery power is likely needed to keep the controller itself working longer than it can recharge, it’s really not that useful of an addition, more of a novelty.

Honestly, the added weight is a great addition to the Hero; the Nexus 4 and the Hero with battery are a perfect weight to use, balanced between controller and phone without one tilting the other. The Pro Power’s added weight doesn’t really do much for the controller, it just feels a bit too heavy. CHECK THIS The new “SMRT Lock” clamps do a great job at holding a phone in the controller. The Pro Power comes with the fantastic tablet stand that came with the Pro; the Hero is lacking this, though. The rubberized sides are a sad omission from the Pro Power, and just overall it feels like it’s taken a step back from the fantastic construction of the original Pro.

MOGAHEROPOWER-2

Really, while the MOGA Pro Power is still a solid controller, it’s a step down from the original MOGA Pro, which still works quite well, and is actually cheaper now that it’s on clearance at many stores. Now is the perfect time to pick it up, especially as the power capabilities of the Pro Power aren’t too useful. Meanwhile, the MOGA Hero Power’s flaws and terrible triggers make it a hard controller to recommend; it’s just especially limiting. I can only really recommend it for people that really a portable gaming controller with a clamp for their Android phone that they can stick in their pocket and not in a bag with them. It seems like a small market.

All parenthetical scores below are (Hero/Power):

MOGA Hero Power and MOGA Pro Power Hardware Review Rundown

6/8
Build Quality - Both controllers feel well-built, though the Pro Power feels a bit 'cheaper' than the incredibly well-constructed original Pro model. The Hero Power loses points for fear over its analog sticks, and the terrible triggers.
5/9
Functionality - The Pro Power? Another great controller. The Hero Power? Those triggers are a killer;, and the Pro Power's analog sticks feel more precise for FPS games. As well, the Hero Power's analog triggers are just ghastly. Way too stiff. The recharging feature really isn't worth the extra weight on the Pro Power, at all.
8/9
Usefulness - There's a lot of gamepad-compatible Android games out there, and the support for both HID and MOGA API games on both helps out a lot.
6/8
Value - The Pro Power is a great controller still, but I don't think the battery addition and the extra cost for it is worth it. The Hero Power is $10 cheaper, but it's hard not to say, why not go up to the better model?
6/9
Overall - The Pro Power? It's got some added flaws from the original, excellent Pro model, but hey, this is still a really good controller. The Hero Power is just hard to justify. It's a decent controller, just don't use the triggers too much.
Carter Dotson
Carter Dotson, editor of Android Rundown, has been covering Android since late 2010, and the mobile industry as a whole since 2009. Originally from Texas, he has recently moved to Chicago. He loves both iOS and Android for what they are - we can all get along!
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