If you want a gaming controller for your smartphone, there are literally hundreds from which to choose. For a controller to really rise to the top, it needs every important feature and to come in at a reasonable price. As we’ll talk about in this Moga XP5-X Plus review, this controller does all that — and more.
However, there is the problem of “too much of a good thing,” and that might be the ultimate downfall of the XP5-X. Although I’d be hard-pressed to point you to a more powerful, all-around controller on the market, I might not recommend the XP5-X to casual gamers.
Read on to find out what I mean!
What is the Moga XP5-X Plus?
If you quickly glanced at the Moga XP5-X Plus, you might think it’s just an Xbox One controller. In a way, you’d be correct, as this product is an officially-licensed Xbox product designed to work with Microsoft xCloud, the game-streaming service. As such, it looks and feels like a real Xbox controller and even features the classic Xbox green color palette.
However, the Moga XP5-X Plus is not designed for use with an Xbox console. In fact, it doesn’t work with Xbox consoles, which is interesting. Instead, it works with smartphones, tablets, and PCs either through Bluetooth or wired connections.
The big differences between the XP5-X Plus and a regular Xbox One controller are as follows:
- More buttons: The XP5-X Plus has a total of six additional buttons and switches.
- Rechargeable battery: The Xbox One controller operates with AA batteries out of the box. You can buy a rechargeable battery pack for it, but the Moga XP5-X Plus has a 3,000mAh battery built right in. It is technically replaceable, but you’d need to take the whole thing apart to get to the pack, which we don’t recommend.
- No extension or 3.5mm ports: Because the XP5-X Plus doesn’t work with Xbox consoles, there’s no need for the extension port that’s on the bottom of Xbox One controllers. There’s also no headphone jack, as your phone or PC will handle audio duties. There is, however, an additional full-sized USB port on the back.
Who is the Moga XP5-X Plus for?
In years past, mobile gaming was very simple — think Angry Birds or Candy Crush. Nowadays, mobile gaming phenomenons like PUBG Mobile and Fortnite are more complex and players might demand something better than on-screen controls. Those gamers will love something like the Moga XP5-X Plus.
Additionally, the power of flagship Android processors is finally allowing for console emulation that can go toe-to-toe with entry-level PCs. With all the standard buttons of console controllers, as well as even more re-mappable triggers, emulation fiends will adore this setup.
Finally, the primary reason this controller exists in the first place: Microsoft xCloud. Microsoft’s game streaming service acts almost like a Netflix-for-games. For a flat monthly fee, you can stream dozens of Xbox games from Microsoft’s servers directly to your phone. If you plan on using xCloud, this controller is what you’re looking for: it works with the service out-of-the-box.
What’s in the box with the Moga XP5-X Plus?
Inside the North American retail box of the Moga XP5-X Plus, you’ll find the following:
- The controller: At the time of this review, the only colorway available is the one you see above, with a matte black top, light gray grips, and green accents.
- Smartphone clip: Unlike a lot of clips designed to snap a phone to a controller, this one is dual-articulating. That’s a fancy way of saying that you can adjust the positioning of the clip in two different ways, which gives you ample freedom to play the way in which you are most comfortable.
- Cables: There are three different cables here. You’ll find a 2m (6.6ft) long Micro USB to standard USB cable primarily for use with PCs. There’s also a 30cm (11.8in) Micro USB to Micro USB cable and a Micro USB to standard USB cable of the same size. Both of those smaller cables have USB-C adapters permanently attached and are primarily designed for use with phones and tablets.
- Paperwork: The manual included has instructions in over a dozen languages.
What devices are compatible?
If you’re the kind of person who holds onto their Android phones and tablets for a really long time, we have good news: the Moga XP5-X Plus is compatible with any Android device running Android 6 Marshmallow or later. That should cover pretty much everything out there.
According to Moga, the included smartphone clip can fit any phone that is under 79mm (3.12in) wide or 8mm (0.33in) thick. However, these dimensions are almost certainly conservative. I used the clip with a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra in a very thick protective case that amply exceeded these dimensions and it worked without issue. I am confident in saying that pretty much any phone on the market will fit in the clip — just ignore what Moga is saying here.
As far as PCs go, you should be able to use this with any modern computer. Moga doesn’t list out the operating systems or versions it supports, but the controller is capable of both DirectInput and XInput, so that covers pretty much everything.
Does the Moga XP5-X Plus work with iPhones?
The XP5-X Plus is geared towards Microsoft xCloud, which is unavailable on iPhones. As such, there is no official compatibility with iPhones (or iPads, for that matter). None of the included cables have Lightning connections, either, so it’s clear the controller isn’t meant for iPhones.
However, iPhones do support Xbox One controllers, which this controller essentially duplicates via Bluetooth. In that sense, this controller could work with iPhones over Bluetooth — but Moga does not officially support it.
What I like about the Moga XP5-X Plus
- The clip: I’ve used a lot of smartphone clips on a lot of controllers, and the one included here is easily one of the best I’ve seen. I especially love that the top and bottom of the clip are forked so you don’t need to worry about side-button presses when clipping on your phone. Finally, someone understands this!
- Battery life: The rechargeable battery on the Moga XP5-X Plus has a higher capacity than some smartphones. What’s more, you can even flip a switch and have your wired phone leech power from the controller, making it double as a battery pack. Brilliant.
- Toggles and buttons: There’s a button on the front of the controller that will give you a readout of the remaining battery life when pressed. You can also flick a switch to move back-and-forth from wired to Bluetooth modes. Even the Bluetooth connection button on the back is nice and big, something I can’t say about an Xbox One controller.
- Advanced Gaming buttons: On the bottom of the controller, there are AGR and AGL buttons. These can be mapped to any of the other buttons you like on the controller, which allows you to keep your thumbs on the triggers. The Xbox One Elite Series 2 controller has a similar system.
What I don’t like about the Moga XP5-X Plus
- Micro USB: The Moga XP5-X Plus is relatively inexpensive for what you get, so corners had to be cut. One corner Moga slashed was not including USB-C on the controller. This will result in slower charging speeds as well as incompatibility with a lot of the cables you already own. Thankfully, the cables included with the controller have USB-C adapters.
- Cheaper feel: Although this controller nails the Xbox One design, it doesn’t feel as premium as a bonafide Xbox unit. It’s not weighted the same so it doesn’t feel quite as good in the hands. Obviously, this isn’t the end of the world, but it’s the first thing I noticed when I held it.
- Mushy D-Pad: If you’re a big retro gamer, the D-Pad on the Moga XP5-X Plus isn’t as clicky as the one on an Xbox One controller. It isn’t awful or anything, but people who obsess over D-Pads will likely be disappointed here.
Moga XP5-X Plus review: Is it worth it?
The Moga XP5-X Plus is, without a doubt, one of the best mobile-centric controllers I’ve ever used. It nails the basics out of the park. The fact that it’s got a huge rechargeable battery pack with an amazing smartphone clip included just makes it even more awesome.
At this price, the Moga XP5-X Plus is one of the absolute best mobile controllers on the market.
At around $70, the XP5-X Plus is also affordable. The MSRP for a bonafide Xbox One controller is $60 and that’s without the rechargeable battery system and phone clip. The Moga XP5-X Plus is a bargain in comparison.
There are some drawbacks. The reliance on outdated tech (Micro USB, ugh) as well as the less-premium feel don’t work in the controller’s favor. Moreover, the sheer number of buttons and toggles might be a power user’s dream, but a casual gamer may be overwhelmed. If you don’t know the difference between DirectInput and XInput or don’t have the need for remappable buttons, this will probably be too much machine for you.
As I said at the top of this review, there are many, many controllers on the market. If you don’t care for the Moga XP5-X Plus, the Razer Kishi has a much different design but has a lot of the same features. We have a full roundup of the best controllers for Android phones that’s an invaluable resource if you’re on the hunt!