Used to controllers for consoles and PC, Nacon is now working on models for smartphones. The MG-X Pro, with its official Xbox certification, is ideal for enjoying Game Pass (or any other cloud gaming service) on Android.
The MG-X Pro is the fourth entry in the MG range made in Nacon of controllers/grips for smartphone. Its "-X" suffix indicates that it is officially licensed by Xbox (which has no other consequence than the use of the brand's symbols on the buttons), while the name Pro refers to the presence of ergonomic handles that make this variant more of a model optimized for comfort than portability - as opposed to the MG-X "just".
The MG-X Pro is compatible with Android smartphones and can work not only with streaming gameplay via Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, but also with any other cloud gaming service (Nvidia GeForce Now, Stadia...), as well as with native mobile games supporting controller control, of course.
Construction and ergonomics
From a design point of view, the MG-X Pro does not risk any fantasy. On the contrary, its ambition is very clear: to reproduce as closely as possible the grip of a traditional gamepad. And this goal is achieved. Its curves manage to fit very naturally in the palm of the hands, while its buttons and sticks fall under the fingers without any effort. There's only one small element that might take a little getting used to for users with large hands: the handles are relatively short, about half a centimeter shorter than those on an Xbox Series X/S controller, for example. These users may have to learn to simply let the controller rest on the base of their fingers, rather than gripping it tightly and risking excessive tightness. Nothing insurmountable though.
Despite this, the MG-X Pro is still a relatively bulky accessory. Fully "folded" and without a smartphone installed, it already occupies 23 cm in width - almost as much as a Nintendo Switch! -, 10 cm in depth and 5.5 cm in height. The object is therefore far from being able to slip easily into any pocket and has clearly been designed for "semi-portable" use, restricted to the home and office for example. For pure nomadism, as explained in the introduction, it is towards the MG-X simple that you should turn.
The quality of manufacture does not suffer any major reproach. The controller is made of a well-made black plastic and its bottom side has a very pleasant texture. As for the slide, it ensures a very clean movement, without excessive play or friction.
The travel of this slide allows the controller to accommodate a smartphone up to 17.5 cm wide. The manufacturer's documentation mentions compatibility with models with a maximum 6.7-inch diagonal screen, but this figure shows a little excessive caution. We were able to use the controller without the slightest difficulty with a Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (6.8 inches), while keeping a few millimeters of margin.
Once the smartphone is in place, stops on the side and bottom of the device eliminate the risk of dropping it during use. The inside of the slot is covered with a rubbery plastic that prevents the risk of scratches on the back of the phone.
The connection between the smartphone and the controller is via Bluetooth only, in the absence of a USB connector. This is a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it makes daily use more convenient (installing and removing your smartphone from the grip is a snap); on the other hand, the controller has to rely on an internal battery to function. Fortunately, the latter provides a very good autonomy: the 20 hours promised by the manufacturer were indeed provided during our test. It's also worth noting that the controller uses a Bluetooth 4.2 + Low Energy connection, so it doesn't siphon off the phone's battery - provided, of course, that the latter is also compatible.
And while we're on the subject of compatibility, let's just say that the MG-X Pro's Bluetooth connection is only supported by Android-based mobile devices. It does not work with iOS devices, nor with computers. However, it can be connected via USB to a Windows PC, which then recognizes it as a wired Xbox 360 controller. This can still be useful. And in case you were wondering, the controller is not usable at all with an Xbox console, neither wired nor wireless.
On the accessory side, Nacon just provides a USB-A to USB-C charging cable. It's a shame they didn't make the effort to include a storage case, which would have suited the transportable size of the object.
Accuracy and responsiveness
Who said that mobile gaming was a "casu" practice? This is certainly not the case with this Nacon MG-X Pro, which places control interfaces of eminently commendable quality under our (more or less) agile fingers. To tell the truth, we recognize here mechanical elements that are identical or almost identical to those used by the manufacturer on its premium controllers, like those of the Revolution range. This is very good news for the sticks in particular: in addition to the impeccable precision of their potentiometer, they use smooth and very rigid plastic rods and rings, guaranteeing extremely low friction and remarkably smooth rotation.
The front buttons are not to be outdone: their large width does not prevent them from ensuring a very reliable activation (no tendency to rotate) with an ideal stroke length, as well as a very satisfactory tactile sensation and bounce. The edge buttons also do their job very well, even though there are a few criticisms to be made of them, depending on the sensitivity of each user. Some users might find the bumpers (LB and RB) a bit too spongy, others might be disturbed by a slight lack of damping of the analog triggers at the end of their travel.
It is especially the directional cross that could frustrate some players. While the feel of the switches is not a problem, there may be some concerns about the fact that the crossbar is not mounted on a pivot. In other words, by pressing in the middle of the crossbar, it is possible to activate all four directions simultaneously. As a result, complex moves, such as quarter circles and other advanced sequences typical of some fighting games, can become particularly difficult to execute flawlessly. This is a very specific use case, but when it happens, it's hard to ignore.
As for latency, using a Bluetooth-only connection doesn't pose any major problems. Even though it inevitably causes a few milliseconds of additional delay compared to a physical connection, this excess is slight enough to have no impact on the actual feel of the controller in hand.
Finally, it should be noted that the MG-X Pro does not have a vibration function. This omission is relatively excusable as vibration support on mobile gaming platforms is still very lacking to this day, unfortunately.
For those who consider cloud gaming as a technology that should provide a gaming experience close to that of a home console, even on a mobile device, the Nacon MG-X Pro speaks volumes. In return for a relatively large footprint, it offers a grip worthy of a "traditional" controller and controls of a precision free of any reproach (or almost).