Let's be honest, the Nacon MG-X Pro Xbox Cloud Gaming controller is a bit of an eyesore at first glance. Not because it looks badly made or anything like that, but because it's just so wide. In practice though, once you've got your phone connected via Bluetooth and you're up and running, it's a highly enjoyable controller to use.
Built for Android smartphones equipped with Android 6 (or later), it's really simple to get started with the MG-X Pro, slotting your phone into the centre of the controller which pulls open with a spring-based insert to fit devices of all sizes. We used a Samsung Galaxy S10 with it for the purposes of this review, and the phone felt nice and secure when fitted into the controller — with a bit of potential room left over for phones of a longer (and possibly wider) nature.
As mentioned before, the controller connects seamlessly via Bluetooth, and it's ready out of the box for applications like Xbox Game Pass, where you can access a wide variety of cloud-based games. For other things like emulators, you may need to do a bit of tinkering to map all the various buttons as you'd like them, but it's generally a painless process.
So, how does it feel to use for extended periods of time? Well, we haven't tried as many Xbox Cloud Gaming controllers as we'd like yet here at Pure Xbox, but this is undoubtedly one of the most comfortable options we've had access to. It's a wide design, sure, but that means the weight of the phone is evenly balanced out, so you can play for hours without feeling like the controller is causing any strain. It's not as light as something like a Nintendo Switch or a standard Xbox controller, but it's not too far off that mark either.
The key thing is that it just feels pleasant in the hands. There's nothing outstanding about the build quality of the analog sticks, buttons and triggers, but they're all enjoyable to use nonetheless, and the controller grips slot very naturally into your palms so you instantly feel at ease with the design. To put it simply, the MG-X Pro feels like using a wider, slightly heavier version of a Nacon Xbox controller with a screen in the middle — the important part of that statement is that it actually feels like a proper (third-party) Xbox controller.
As for the battery, Nacon is promising around 20 hours, and we haven't hit that mark yet — we're still running on the initial charge from the included USB-C cable, but we'll update this review if we notice the battery life proving worse or better over time. In terms of (slight) drawbacks, it's worth noting that there's no companion app for customisation purposes, and there are no vibration capabilities or any kind of force feedback either. The latter would have been a nice bonus, but we can't say we're too bothered about the lack of companion app.
In terms of its portability, it kind of depends on what you're looking for out of the MG-X Pro. You're going to get some looks if you take this thing out on a train or a bus, much more so than something like the 8BitDo SN30 Pro, but it's still small enough that you can easily slot it in a backpack — it's probably too big to fit in any coat pockets, though.
There's also the MG-X to think about, Nacon's previous version of this accessory, which has a design that wraps around your phone rather than emulating the feel of a standard Xbox controller like the MG-X Pro. Although we haven't been hands-on with the MG-X, we can't really see any reason on paper to pick that up over the MG-X Pro at this point, and numerous other reviews across the web have been suggesting the same thing so far.
So, to sum up, we're definitely impressed with the Nacon MG-X Pro, and it's now become our controller of choice for Xbox Cloud Gaming on Android. Looks can be deceiving, and while this is admittedly a bit of an unsightly controller at first glance, it performs well in practice, and the crucial part is that it's comfortable to use for long periods of time.
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Have you bought the Nacon MG-X Pro? Thoughts on it? Let us know in the comments below.