With the Project xCloud beta bringing Xbox game streaming to Android phones and set to get a proper rollout in September, there’s a need for a controller that fits the Xbox control scheme but can also hold a smartphone.
It’s here where the MOGA XP5-X Plus comes in. Licensed by Xbox and developed by PowerA, the controller looks a lot like the Xbox Wireless Controller, only with a few extras.
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The most notable additions in a clip that allows you to mount a phone above the controller, effectively giving you a form of handheld console for when you don’t have a convenient surface to prop your phone on. It’s not exactly as ergonomic as a Nintendo Switch, but the use of a phone clip looks a lot sharper than some of the smartphone controller peripherals we’ve seen for Android phones in the past.
And as the clip has two locking articulation points, it gives you plenty of scope to adjust your smartphone screen into a position that works for you while gaming on the go or away from a TV screen.
The MOGA XP5-X Plus also comes with a 3,000 mAh rechargeable battery, unlike the standard battery-powered Xbox Wireless Controller. And the smart thing about it is you can charge your phone from the battery as well, meaning it acts as a form of power bank.
Two extra buttons are also included on the MOGA XP5-X Plus, which set it apart from the Xbox Wireless Controller. These can be mapped to carry out different functions, which might give online multiplayer games the edge.
Available to pre-order now, there’s no word on price yet. But the MOGA XP5-X Plus will ship to customers mid-September to early October.
Given the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is coming with Xbox Game Pass access, which will include Project xCloud game streaming, the MOGA XP5-X Plus could be a solid partner to the next flagship Samsung phone. Combined, the tow devices and the game streaming service could blow away the iPhone 11 Pro and upcoming iPhone 12 on the gaming front; though Apple Arcade still has some appeal.
For people who can’t wait or have a spare Xbox Wireless Controller, there are some reasonably solid clips available that will let you fix a smartphone to you controller and connect the two through Bluetooth. We’ve used one of these to test out the Project xCloud beta on Android and found they offer a rather neat way to play the likes of Halo: The Master Chief Collection on a smartphone.
There’s definitely scope to make a slightly smarter way to play streamed Xbox games on your smartphone, say with clever touch controls or accessories that can integrate controls around a handset. But for the time being the MOGA XP5-X Plus and some smartphone clips help pave the way for smartphone-based Xbox and Xbox Series X gaming.