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MOGA PRO Power: Mobile Gaming Done Right!

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Since my sons hit their tweens, I haven't found their attention spans to be very forgiving where mobile gaming that isn't done on a smartphone is concerned. I say, "my sons" because I may be a reviewer but I don't have much time for serious gaming anymore. I casually game and still have enough chops that I can pick up most games and get busy, but when I really want to gauge the popularity of certain items I look to a 14 and 15 year old's habits. What I saw with MOGA's PRO Power device was both surprising and yet, completely logical at the same time.

 

The Hardware

Let's start things off by looking at the hardware first! It's very well done. You get two ways to hold your device while you're gaming with on it. The first is the built-in stand that the MOGA comes with. MOGA calls this the MOGA Arm. It flips up from the center of the device and has a tension arm which extends to accommodate a pretty wide range of devices. I even popped the LG G Flex's 6" screen and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra's 6.4 inches into the Arm and it held them both firmly within its grasp. MOGA says that it will hold devices up to 82mm but it should be noted that the Z Ultra is 92mm wide. The phones are securely held, due in part to the tension arm which isn't crushing but is bolstered by rubbery, super-grippy pads placed on both ends of the Arm. The only issue I had was with placement on the Z Ultra because the power button is in the middle of the device on its side. The grippy material was soft enough though that while covering up the power button, and to a degree the volume rocker, it didn't interfere with the device's operation. If you're using a tablet, MOGA has included an easel which sets up easily and will do a great job of holding those larger devices. It also has grippy material where the tablet rests to keep things in place.

Once your device is in place, and after you've hit the Google Play Store and downloaded the MOGA Pivot app, you can go ahead and pair the device to your phone via Bluetooth. I found the process of connecting the phones to the MOGA straight forward and painless; I was ready to game in no time at all. What's so unique about this device is that you get a full console-style controller which includes a D-pad, two analog sticks, X, B, Y, and A buttons, shoulder buttons and trigger buttons. You'll also find the familiar "Start" and "Select" buttons, along with a power button and 4 LED lights to indicate device sync/charge status. These familiar controls really make mobile gaming on smartphones and phablets a joy, but one of the pitfalls to that enjoyment is always battery life and MOGA addressed that real issue with the PRO Power- that would be the "Power" part of the name. The MOGA PRO Power comes with a built in 2200 mAh battery that you can hook your phone up to while gaming, via the full-size USB MOGA Boost charging port. Make sure to keep that MOGA fully charged to take advantage of the Boost port because once the MOGA drops below 25% it will stop charging/powering your smartphone. Press the wake/battery button to see the LEDs light up on top of the controller for charge status.

 

Easy Peasy Playtime

Speaking of game play, you have two different modes to choose from. In "A" mode, you are connecting to games which specifically work with MOGA and in "B" mode you can take any game that is HID (human interface device) compliant and just map that game's functions to the buttons. You can find games straight from the PIVOT app that work specifically with the MOGA and they say they're working on expanding their library. The game I played on LG'S G Flex was Ratrod's DriftMania 2: Championship. I found the controls to be responsive and the experience to be quite enjoyable. This isn't yet another peripheral I'd want to drag around with me to be honest, but I can definitely see tossing this into my "go bag" on days when I know I may be waiting on children at appointments, or doing things where I may find myself with time to kill commuting by train or traveling. In terms of gaming, the real nod to quality for me was when I was reviewing the awesome Motorola Moto G and let my youngest son have at it for a few days and he couldn't put either down. I've found that when I have mobile gaming devices for review, both of my boys get bored very quickly and put the mobile devices down in favor of their smartphones. In the case of the MOGA Pro Power, their love for gaming on their smartphones (their current addiction is Clash of Clans), isn't impeded by some "other gaming gadget." I believe that MOGA hits the right note by taking the devices we're increasingly using for casual gaming and the younger generation is growing up on and extending their use instead of attempting to side-step it. Anecdote time: Motorola can actually thank MOGA because my son's Christmas purchase with his own Christmas money was the Moto G, thanks to his time spent with the MOGA. He was highly impressed that a phone that was within his budget also had that kind of gaming chops. He went through multiple games in the Pivot library, from racing to RPG and was delighted to play and I think that more than anything, that is the future of mobile gaming. Heck, even the Z Ultra can be connected directly to one of Sony's DUALSHOCK 3 controllers for mobile gaming!

I remember a time when I had a belt that looked like I was Batman. I had an mp3 player, pager, cellphone and PDA. I felt silly, but really loved my gadgets. Fortunately for this generation, they have some great options in converged devices which won't require them to have to carry multiple devices (well, other than a battery pack for recharges on-the-go), they'll just have to deal with battery life. To me, that's where the MOGA shines… it is working brilliantly with the times, not trying to force you to conform to what for many are bygone times. To pick one up, check out mogaanywhere.com as well as Verizon Wireless, who provided me with the demo unit for the review. They're currently retailing for $80.

Tshaka Armstrong Tech Ninja Tshaka Armstong writes about the latest technology and helping FOX 11 Viewers understand how to be safer, smarter users of the internet and their "gadgets. He's also one of our social media guys, helping guide the station's online efforts and social media outreach.
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