Review cover Nacon MG-X Pro (Hardware)
Official GBAtemp Review

Nacon is back with another mobile controller with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for Android in mind. Do they improve on their previous model?

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In late 2021, Nacon released their first telescopic Android gaming controller, the MG-X. While overall it packed a premium build and comfort, it could have improved on the quality of the triggers and made for a softer retraction of the telescopic mechanism. I was looking forward to seeing whether the peripheral manufacturer remedied these woes in their new mobile gamepad iteration, the Nacon MG-X Pro. Let’s see if this is the case in this review!

As with the MG-X, the MG-X Pro retails for a premium cost of €99.90/£79.99 and comes with the following items:

  • Nacon MG-X PRO controller for Android phones
  • 80 cm USB-C cable
  • Quick IB
  • Quick start Guide
  • Warranty insert
  • Precautions for use
  • Regulatory compliance information

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As for its tech specs, you can find them below:

  • Asymmetrical joysticks
  • Built-in battery, rechargeable via USB-C
  • Up to 20 hours of battery life
  • Compatible with Android 6.0 and later
  • Bluetooth connection to your smartphone (Bluetooth 4.2+BLE)
  • Universal compatibility up to 6.7”
  • Maximum opening size 163 mm

For most people, the most striking feature of the MG-X Pro will be its design. It basically looks like an Xbox controller that has been split into two and had a phone holder glued in the middle; and the MG-X Pro is essentially this. Sure, it might not be totally pocketable but, even if it is odd-looking, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad choice. In fact, it brings in all the good design aspects and familiarity of Xbox controllers to mobile gaming. The protruding hand grips are just like what most gamers have used for years and the comfort it delivers is noticeable over mobile gamepads that don’t feature such grips like Nacon’s own MG-X. The asymmetric layout provides an ergonomic access to the buttons which are all easily within reach.

But as a controller geared towards mobile gaming, it comfortably accommodates mobile phones up to 6.7” thanks to the rubber padding on the holder and the recess to account for the camera bump. It's a well thought of design that adds to the appeal of the device.

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When it comes to the build quality, the MG-X Pro bears the same premium feel of the MG-X. Nacon added a textured finish to the handles for extra grip which works well. However, I wish they stuck with the approach they took with the original MG-X which had a large rubber padding at the back. This gave a more comfortable feeling when using the gamepad as well as added to the premium appeal.

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Luckily, they addressed the issue with the triggers as the MG-X Pro bears analogue ones that can be handy when playing racing titles via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. They are a joy to use and are pretty responsive too, just like the shoulder and face buttons. I wish the D-pad was better though but it does a decent enough job for general gaming purposes.

Nacon also addressed the quick-snapping telescopic mechanism with the MG-X Pro. The mechanism in this model is more gentle without compromising on securing your phone in the holder.

So on a hardware aspect, the MG-X Pro fares better overall than the MG-X; although I wish the back rubber grip made a comeback. Since Nacon has fixed the glaring issue of the triggers, maybe they’ll reconsider adding the comfortable rubber grip again in their next Android gamepad model.

But when it comes to actually using the device, how does this new model fare?

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I’m happy to say that it’s a joy to use the MG-X Pro. The MG-X Pro easily provided my best mobile gaming experience since it is the gamepad that replicates the closest gaming on a console-type controller. Once paired over Bluetooth, it is a plug-and-play affair for using this gamepad to play Android games that natively support physical input. This of course includes emulators and the quality and feel of the MG-X Pro’s controls enhance the Android gaming experience.

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While the MG-X Pro does improve Android gaming sessions, I wish Nacon would go one step ahead and bring what they’ve added to their other controllers to their mobile gaming line. For example, programmable back paddles would be a huge benefit given the sheer lack of physical controls on phones. One standout feature of Nacon’s controllers like the Revolution X is the replaceable parts such as weight and joystick cap and shaft. Having these options would be handy to tailor one’s mobile gaming experience to their liking.

They could also provide an option for a USB-C connection to bypass potential latency issues with Bluetooth. 

And since the design of the MG-X Pro doesn't make it exactly pocketable, it is still portable. And for the price that you are paying, Nacon could have included a hard carry case.

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While these are nitpicky considerations, a more important addition for mobile gaming would be the ability to map physical controls to touch ones. This would enable games that do not natively support physical controls to be playable with the MG-X Pro. Companies like GameSir and Flydigi already have dedicated apps for this purpose for their mobile controllers and Nacon should seriously consider developing such an app of its own. 

This is because while Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Android is a great option to play recent games on the go, it’s not the only type of games mobile gamers will turn to. There are great games like Genshin Impact that don’t natively support gamepads but whose experience would be enhanced with one. Using the MG-X Pro on such games would greatly overhaul that experience. Thankfully, there are workarounds given that the controller is for Android. I used it with the Mantis Gamepad Pro app which enables touch controls mapping.

Overall, the MG-X Pro seems like an incremental upgrade to the MG-X. Most of the changes that it packs are welcome and make it a better mobile controller. If you are like me and think that the telescopic design works best for mobile gaming over a proper controller and a phone holder combo, then the MG-X Pro will wow you with its full controller-like feel and comfort while packing the telescopic design. But there are still ways for Nacon to further enhance this formula and I hope they bring these in their next mobile gamepad iteration. 

Purchase links

The Nacon MG-X Pro is now available to purchase from their official website for €99.90 and in the UK at Argos for £79.99.

Verdict

What We Liked ...
  • Great, full controller-like mobile gaming experience
  • Build quality
  • Odd yet comfortable design
  • Addressed issues with triggers and telescopic mechanism
What We Didn't Like ...
  • No dedicated app for touch control mapping
  • No USB-C connection option
  • Lack of back rubber padding
8.3
out of 10

Overall

The MG-X Pro is the gamepad that replicates the closest gaming on a console-type controller and easily provided my best mobile gaming experience.
Why do companies hate to make telescopic controllers with wired USB-C connection
Because there are people that today still rocks phones with micro USB connections that at very capable of, at the very least, more than decent emulation.

As the user of a Huawei P Smart 2019, i welcome it.
 
Is the D-pad better than the Kishi?! I'm halfway through the buying process.... they also throw in a free steam key, by the way, I chose WRC 10 FIA World Rally. I'm really tempted but I'm on a budget, if I buy this little Archy won't eat this week.

edit: found a coupon for 10% off, it now wants to sell it to me for 89.99€
 
Is the D-pad better than the Kishi?! I'm halfway through the buying process.... they also throw in a free steam key, by the way, I chose WRC 10 FIA World Rally. I'm really tempted but I'm on a budget, if I buy this little Archy won't eat this week.

edit: found a coupon for 10% off, it now wants to sell it to me for 89.99€
I haven't tried the Kishi but the D-pad isn't so bad on this one and is the same one Nacon uses on its Xbox controllers too.
 
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Reactions: Archolm
they put the A button on the wrong place... again...

serious now, phone games is a thing just because the device is always on reach, but this controller closed is bigger than a full handheld, so it became like a controller you'd use when get home, or when you are walking around with a bag or something, and this narrows down a lot the potential players.

8bitdo have a non attachable controller that has d-pads where there should be sticks, and that controller is convenient in the same measure that is dumb. It is always there when I need it, so I use it a lot, despite hating how it feels. If that thing was attachable and had 3DS-like dpad, or something better that is as narrow, I would call it the perfect phone controller (btw, maybe there is a controller like that, there is like a million of options on this market).
 
Looks good, but I have a Vita and a 3DS, plus I don't like handheld gaming so will probably pass on this.

they put the A button on the wrong place... again...
They didn't. This is a licensed Xbox controller, not a Nintendo one.

Besides, who needs to look at the buttons these days? If you've been gaming for years you know where's what.
 
Looks good, but I have a Vita and a 3DS, plus I don't like handheld gaming so will probably pass on this.


They didn't. This is a licensed Xbox controller, not a Nintendo one.

Besides, who needs to look at the buttons these days? If you've been gaming for years you know where's what.
it was just a silly joke, chill out...
 
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