1 – Absolute hot garbage
2 – Sorta warm garbage
3 – Strongly imperfect design
4 – A few advantages, many disadvantages
5 – Acceptably imperfect
6 – Good enough to buy on sale
7 – Excellent, but not the best in its class
8 – Fantastic, with some footnotes
9 – shut up and take my money
10 – Absolute Conception Nirvana
Price: $ 69.99
While most mobile games are designed with touchscreens in mind, we are starting to see more and more console / PC games playable on mobile devices through streaming platforms like Google Stadia and GeForce NOW. For these types of games, you’ll need a controller to play them properly, and PowerA’s MOGA XP5-X Plus was designed specifically for these platforms.
This is what we like
Integrated battery bank
To be more precise, this is the Xbox Game Pass streaming service. to be launched on September 15. The XP5-X has been officially licensed by Microsoft for this service, and Samsung is advertising it as a buyable controller alongside the Galaxy Note 20 (although it works with any Android phone). However, there are tons of these mobile controllers out there these days, is the XP5-X worth its relatively steep price of $ 69.99? Let’s find out.
The controller itself
It won’t take you long to realize that the XP5-X is modeled after the Xbox One controller. In fact, it has a shape almost identical to one. I regularly use an Xbox One controller, so the shape and layout feels natural to me, but fans of controllers like the Dualshock 4 will need to adjust.
Layout-wise, the only things to note are the few useful buttons and switches scattered around the controller (wireless / wired toggle, on / off, and battery life indicator) and the ‘game buttons. advanced ”on the back. The back buttons can be programmed to do whatever you want, and the process is pretty straightforward. Simply hold down the green programming button at the bottom of the controller, make any entry, then press the back button you want to reprogram.
Something I often find missing in third-party controllers are the knobs themselves – balancing the knobs so they’re not too sensitive or firm is tricky. That’s not a problem here though, the face buttons are nice to press, and so are the triggers and bumpers. The rear knobs are finely tuned – sensitive enough to be easy to push while remaining firm to prevent accidental inputs.
The joysticks are covered in a nice grippy texture and the movement is smooth as butter. The D-pad also impressed me, even on many high-end controllers the D-pad might look dull, but it’s nice and responsive on the XP5-X.
Finally, when it comes to the controller as a whole, it uses a hard plastic for its body which is extremely similar to the standard Xbox One controller. It feels great in the hand, and it’s helped by the soft material that covers each handle.
The XP5-X can connect wirelessly to any Android device, and it can operate in wired mode like a standard USB gamepad. I tried using it on my PC to test this, and in wired mode it worked great, but I couldn’t get it to work in wireless mode at all. (Side note for PC players: you can switch between DirectInput and Xinput by pressing “Start” and “Select” for three seconds while it is connected to your PC.)
There are two ports on the XP5-X: a microUSB and a USB-A. The microUSB port is used to charge the controller or use it in wired mode. The USB-A port is used to charge your phone on the 3000mAh battery bank inside the controller. This is a great inclusion of PowerA: Game streaming services can consume a phone’s battery, so being able to charge while you play is a real selling point. There are battery lights on the bottom of the controller as well, so you always know how low on juice you are.
There’s a good chance you’ll be using this controller with your phone, which PowerA has provided by including a handy phone clip. The clip slides easily over the controller and should work for the vast majority of phone models. For reference, I used my Pixel 3 XL while using this controller, which measures 6.22 x 3.02 inches, and according to PowerA, the clip will fit any phone up to 3.12 inches wide. The clip feels reasonably secure and is highly adjustable, so you can get the perfect angle for your phone.
The Xbox Game Pass streaming service may not be available yet, but the beta version is, and of course, this controller works with any old mobile game. I decided to test both to cover all the bases and to assess how the controller would work with the streaming platform it was designed for. I wanted to push the beta of Game Pass to its limits, so I originally tested two games: Ori and the Will of the Wisps and Forza Horizon 4, two relatively fast games that I know quite well.
What I was happy to see right off the bat was that my save progress for both games synced from my PC to my phone, meaning I didn’t have to suffer from the Forza tutorial again. Horizon 4 that you can seamlessly switch between platforms without a problem. It’s worth noting that you can press the Xbox button on the XP5-X to open a simple overlay where you can perform certain actions like inviting friends to your game. It works the same as a standard Xbox controller on a PC or an Xbox One, and it’s good that this is also included on mobiles.
The performance in both games was not great. I saw noticeable input lag and frame rate stuttering in Ori, and Forza managed to look, sound, and play awfully. The service is in beta, of course, but I decided to throw it a bone by also playing Untitled Goose Game – a simple game to watch and play. As expected, the experience has been much better so your mileage will vary depending on which games you want to play.
So it’s a bit of a drop on the Game Pass streaming service, but it doesn’t have much to do with the controller itself, so I’ve played standard mobile games as well. Even in a fast paced platform game, I didn’t notice any input lag in the wireless mode of the controller. The XP5-X is fun to play and easily rivals other high-end controllers for comfort and build quality.
The XP5-X doesn’t do much to wow you, and it doesn’t need to: Game controllers are pretty straightforward products after all. So at this point all that matters is the build quality, plus any little bonus features the manufacturer can sneak up on. And on that front, I would say the XP5-X has hit the nail on the head. It’s an incredibly comfortable controller to play with; quality of life features, such as rear buttons and battery life indicators, are great inclusions; and the interior battery bank is a nice touch.
This controller is on the more expensive side of things at $ 69.99 (even compared to most console controllers), but I think it’s packed with enough bonus features to justify that price. If you are looking for a high-end controller to enhance your mobile gaming sessions, whether it’s streaming or installed locally, then this is a great option.
The XP5-X will launch on September 14 to coincide with the launch of the Xbox Game Pass streaming service.
Price: $ 69.99
This is what we like
Integrated battery bank