Nacon MG-X Pro Controller hands-on

By Tom West,
Nacon has just released its latest entry into the mobile controller space — the MG-X’s bigger brother, MG-X Pro for Android phones. Nacon sent us one of the units so we could put this new Xbox-styled controller through its paces, and to see what it offers compared to its sibling. The MG-X Pro is available to order now for £89.99/$79.90/€99.90 and supports Android 6 phones and above with Bluetooth 4.2. It's a Designed for Xbox product that's aimed towards players who want to make the most of Xbox Cloud Gaming.

Let’s start with the most standout difference that the MG-X Pro has compared to the MG-X: the shape. The MG-X Pro offers up a more traditional controller-shaped exterior that’s reminiscent of the official Xbox controllers. In fact, the shape and feel is quite similar to Nacon’s recently released Revolution-X premium controller, which makes it comfortable and intuitive to use. The controller’s shell is made of hard plastic with a texturised underside — although, the underside isn’t rubberised like the MG-X which is a shame, but it’s in keeping with what you’d generally expect from a controller’s styling. The MG-X Pro’s asymmetrical toggles are full-sized (which is so much better than the smaller domed toggles on the MG-X) and the buttons and triggers are the same size as an Xbox controller. For me, the MG-X Pro’s feel and similarities to a regular controller are absolutely vital to an enjoyable experience with a wide variety of games.

Due to the design of the MGX-Pro, it’s a little bulkier compared to the more compact MG-X, which at first sight had me wondering if it would actually be worth the investment when you could just pick up an Official Xbox Controller and phone clip for less. This however was laid to rest the moment I placed my phone inside the adjustable phone mount. The mount in the centre of the MG-X Pro adjusts to fit Android phones with screen sizes of up to 6.7 inches and has a rubberised backing to help with grip. There is one major reason why I’ll be using the MG-X Pro over an official controller with a phone mount going forward: comfortability.

nacon mg-x pro hands on

Nacon’s offering, although slightly larger than an Xbox controller, offers up a perfectly balanced feel when you’re holding it, which led to me being able to play games for longer without my wrists feeling like they were going to snap. If you’ve used an official controller with a phone mount on the top you’ll have noticed the extreme imbalance — especially with larger phones — that’s the result of a top-heavy controller. Due to the MG-X Pro’s centralised phone mount, the weight is distributed across the whole controller. In fact, it’s so comfortable, you can lay on your back while holding it above your face as you did as a kid while playing your GameBoy. At first, I thought my phone would slip out and hit me in the face, but the mount held my phone securely, even with an armoured case — something that the MG-X cannot do without first removing my phone’s casing.

Connecting the controller to your phone is an extremely simple affair — once you've turned on the MG-X Pro by holding down the Xbox sphere on the right-hand side, all you need to do is hold down the Bluetooth button on the bottom of the controller until the small LED light begins to blink (much like you do when connecting a device to your Xbox console) and locate it in your phone's Bluetooth settings. It takes less than a minute to do and once it's done it'll connect automatically in the future. Don't forget that you'll need an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription to utilise Xbox Cloud Gaming from within the dedicated app.

nacon mgx pro hands on

I had a little trouble with the MG-X due to its compact nature, which meant my large hands couldn't reach all of the buttons fast enough due to having to hold it awkwardly, and the smaller toggles hampered the amount of control I had when playing fast-paced games. This led to me only being able to play slower games such as turn-based romps or simulators. I was eager to test out the MG-X Pro on faster reaction-based games to see if I could have a more enjoyable experience this time around — a test that turned out to be extremely enjoyable! Forza Horizon 5, World War Z, Killer Instinct, Golf With Your Friends, and Human Fall Flat played exactly as they do on the console, which is a huge improvement on the MG-X.

All of these games were played over the course of around 15 hours, with one constant stint of four hours that was comfortable throughout. I could happily have gone on longer, but I had to sleep — I know, I'm rubbish at gaming. Nacon states that the MG-X Pro's charge is capable of reaching around 20 hours of playtime depending on the game, which I'd happily say is accurate. This will make long journeys a breeze in the future, and I'm looking forward to making the most of it.

nacon mgx pro hands on

While the MG-X Pro has a larger form factor than a regular Xbox controller, which possibly goes against what you'd want from a mobile accessory — a way to reduce its size for travel would have been a bonus — the level of comfort it provides against using a regular controller with a phone mount is its winning feature. The MG-X Pro is well balanced and comfortable to use over long periods of time, and it offers you a level of control in-game that's on-par with a console experience. I've not been too heavily invested in Xbox Cloud Gaming in the past, but the MG-X Pro has given me a reason to make the most of the impressive tech. Right, I'm off to sit in the garden to play some games, just because I can.
Tom West
Written by Tom West
Tom has been playing video games since he was old enough to hold a controller, experimenting with systems like the Nintendo 64 and Playstation until he eventually fell in love with the Xbox 360. With a passion for the platform, he decided to make a career out of it, and now happily spends his days writing about that which he loves. If he’s not achievement hunting, you’ll likely find him somewhere in The Elder Scrolls Online.