When it comes to modern day gamepads, it’s hard to beat the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller. It’s comfortable, deeply customisable, and pretty versatile - pairing not only to Xbox consoles, but mobile and Windows PCs too. The Xbox-brand 'Elite' controllers are fantastic - that is, if you’re happy footing the £159.99 / $179.99 price tag and are willing to risk any potential reliability issues.
We’ve always found third-party controllers to be a bit of a mixed bag - especially when Xbox’s own gamepads are consistently of such high standard. That said, there’s definitely room for a middle ground between premium quality and affordability.
But where does the MOGA XP-Ultra fit in?
Admittedly, it was hard for our reviewer to bench their Limited Edition Halo Infinite Elite Series 2 Controller *sobs*, but we were excited to see what PowerA’s multi-platform MOGA XP-Ultra wireless (yes, wireless!) controller had to offer.
What's In The Box
Out of the box, PowerA supplies one month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, a minimal setup guide, MOGA’s dual articulating mobile gaming clip, a USB-C charging wire, and the gamepad itself. The XP-Ultra’s mimicry of the Xbox controller layout is pretty spot on. Textured joysticks can be found in the right places, and the d-pad and ABXY buttons are where you’d expect them. Although comfortable, when attached the ergonomic grip (more on that later) rests a bit too close to the B button - its raised-edge makes for awkward button-pressing. The bumpers and triggers are perfectly fine (although slightly loud), and it also features two additional remappable buttons on the backside of the grip.
Is It A True Transformer?
One of the XP-U’s unique features is its fully detachable grip: quickly transforming your Xbox-style controller into something more reminiscent of the SNES - except with many more buttons. While the mini-pad is lightweight and makes for ideal mobile gaming sessions, the compact nature of it gives us serious phantom grip. We found our wrists awkwardly twisting inward and struggled with the lack of physical palm support.
With everything attached, the overall controller design is a chunky affair. It’s slightly heavier than the Elite Series 2, but with a name like XP-Ultra, how could you expect anything less than a Transformer?
Users might find the full-sized gamepad slightly hefty - especially once they’ve attached their ‘lorge’ phones to the MOGA clip - which can be a little awkward at times. We felt the rubber teeth don’t grip your phone tight enough. It’s risky business!
Connecting the XP-U to an Xbox Series X was familiar and easy: hold in the pair button on both devices and they’ll talk. That’s it. Easy, right? Connection to PC or laptop is simple enough if your hardware has Bluetooth capabilities, and if not you can try a wired connection. You can also pair the XP-U through the Xbox Wireless Adapter and with Android phones. Unfortunately, it’s not currently supported by iOS - which is a big L for Apple users.
From our tests, we can confirm the 2000mAh built-in Li-ion battery does last for roughly 25-30 hours of playtime, lasting longer when detached from the dual-rumble motors found in the removable ergo-grip.
Whilst third-party controllers usually fill the gap in an ever-increasingly expensive market, it’s hard to ignore the MOGA XP-Ultra’s price tag of $129.99. Ouch!
As a result, the XP-Ultra does an okay job at masking itself as an Xbox Elite controller, and there’s no denying that its unique additions are what make it interesting. We’re fans of the detachable mini-pad and integrated clip mount, and feel some users will appreciate its novelty for sure, but it is a pricey controller!
Ultimately, we think what PowerA is doing here is ambitious, and we salute the idea! It’s versatile, and does a good job of catering to an Xbox crowd using Android devices.
For us, third-party accessories are a brilliant way of offering console users fun, accessible and affordable options. We don’t think PowerA has fully nailed the execution this time around — despite packing in some very cool features — and couldn’t shake the thought that for £35 more (plus £9.99 if you wanted the official PowerA MOGA mobile gaming clip) you could have the best-in-class Xbox Elite Series 2 controller instead.
If the idea of one controller being able to transform into multiple form factors sounds like it's your jam, and you’re happy with the hefty price tag despite the drawbacks mentioned, then the XP-Ultra is definitely worth considering. Otherwise, we’d suggest waiting for a decent price drop or picking up the MOGA mobile gaming clip and attaching it to your favourite controller for Xbox Cloud Gaming sessions.
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Interested in the PowerA MOGA XP-Ultra? Let us know down in the comments section below.