It’s easy to turn your phone into a portable gaming machine or play on your laptop with the PowerA MOGAMOGA XP7-X+ Bluetooth controller (coming soon) in hand. This represents a redesign and alternate focus for the brand, as it moves away from a separate phone clamp and places it right in the middle instead.
The form factor works for a number of reasons, not least of which is because it makes for a sturdier setup. This is an official Xbox product, but crucially, it’s not meant to work with Xbox consoles. It’s compatible with Android and Windows 10/11 devices, given its focus on mobile and cloud gaming. While you could play Xbox games online through a PC or phone, it will depend on the game and level of access available.
MOGA XP7-X+ controller design
The main difference with the MOGA XP7-X+ is that it is a clamp unto itself. Rather than position a phone in a separate clamp you clip on, like the MOGA XP5-X+, you need to extend the two sides open and slot the phone in. It has a pretty wide wingspan, letting me put in just about any phone I had. I tried it with as many as six different models and had no problem.
Mind you, the spring loaded design is wound pretty tight, so it requires some force to hold the two sides open. To slot a phone in, you place the bottom along the right side and push both sides open to lock it in place. There are no ports or connectors, as the controller’s battery can only apply a charge to the phone wirelessly. You’re out of luck if your phone doesn’t support that, unfortunately. Another oddity is that the controller’s own charging port is microUSB, which is outdated at this point. The only saving grace is the battery inside is a modest 2000mAh, so it won’t take as long to fully charge it.
PowerA includes a removable piece in the form of a stand for phones or tablets. It folds shut and can clip in place in the middle of the controller when you don’t have a phone in it. Either way, it is the one thing you want to avoid losing or misplacing.
If you’re familiar with Xbox controllers, this one will feel very similar because it’s based on the same design. The main buttons, analog sticks, and directional pad are in the same place, with trigger and shoulder buttons up top, and another pair of buttons on the handles in the back. There’s the Xbox button on the front to turn it on or off, plus view, menu, and battery indicator buttons on the front. The battery switch and Bluetooth pairing button are up top, with a BT/USB switch and green program button below.
Setting up the MOGA XP7-X+
It doesn’t take long to set things up and start playing games. After charging it, press the Xbox button to turn it on, set the switch below to BT, hold the Bluetooth button up top to set it to pairing mode. Pair it from your phone, and you’re ready to go. You can also pair it with your Windows PC, and I also successfully paired it with a Chromebook.
It works seamlessly with Xbox Game Pass, the cloud-based gaming subscription service. No need to remap buttons (unless you want to within a certain game), and the app recognizes the controller instantly.
I also used the controller with gaming emulators to play retro games. It’s more of a setup to map buttons in those cases, but it’s really cool to be able to play the games I grew up on as if I had an arcade in my hands. How you set all that up is up to you, and you shouldn’t run into issues with the controller in that regard. As for other Android games, results are mixed, though games supporting gamepads will generally work.
I should also mention that you can play in USB mode with any supported device. There is a catch in how to make it happen, based on how you plan to plug in. The MOGA XP7-X+ comes with microUSB-to-USB-C and micro-USB-to-USB-A cables, so you have the necessary gear out of the box. The wired connection should be fine, and it seems PowerA fixed an issue with the XP5-X+ that required extra steps to work with a PC.
Playing games with MOGA XP7-X+ controller
The MOGA XP7-X+ is a responsive controller in every way. I didn’t have much to complain about in how the buttons and sticks felt while playing a variety of titles. There was also no real lag that got in the way between pressing a button and seeing the action onscreen. It’s also a reasonable size, and while a bit wide, the handles felt very ergonomic in my hands.
The green program button below can map the AGR and AGL buttons on the rear handles, where the purpose is to mirror what one of the other buttons does. For example, if you’re playing a game where controls feel awkward under certain situations, programming one of the buttons could be a competitive advantage.
I didn’t have a good tablet to test out the stand, though I did try it with phones and it’s a fine substitute if you prefer to create some space or want to lighten the load a little. When I played on a Chromebook or PC, the controller felt like a standard accessory. There are ways to play on a TV via a Google Chromecast, almost turning this into a console experience. The caveat is whether games would play smoothly under those conditions, and you’re likely to get the best results with the latest Chromecast with Google TV. Google doesn’t officially support Xbox Game Pass on the device, so expect mixed results.
It also depends on your Internet connection. Streaming games requires fast and stable bandwidth—at least 100Mbps download speed—if not faster. Doesn’t hurt playing on a phone with stronger components inside, too.
Battery life of the MOGA XP7-X+controller
Playing games on the MOGA XP7-X+ requires you manage the battery as you go along. Its own 2000mAh battery is hardly enough to recharge half a phone’s battery, much less all of it. In effect, both the controller’s and phone’s batteries drain simultaneously if you flip the switch to turn on wireless charging.
Without a built-in port, there’s no real pass-through charging, either. Plugging in with the microUSB cable to charge the controller while it charges the phone won’t do much good. The port simply can’t bring in enough juice to keep up with the power necessary to play games. As a result, you have to charge the two separately, and be aware of how much battery life your phone has before you start a gaming session.
The battery situation is more amenable with the Razer Kishi V2. Plus, there’s an iPhone version, whereas PowerA doesn’t design its controllers to work with iOS. The Kishi offers pass-through charging because it doesn’t have a battery of its own. Its profile is also smaller, with a lighter frame and different layout.
That’s not to take away from what PowerA developed here, which is a better all-around design compared to the previous model. If you like how an Xbox controller looks and feels, the MOGA XP7-X+ will feel really similar. Even if you don’t, I can see it getting a positive reaction after playing for a while.