NewsWorldNacon MG-X Pro smartphone controller test: the cloud gamer's...

Nacon MG-X Pro smartphone controller test: the cloud gamer’s best friend? – Digital


Design and ergonomics

From the point of view of its design, the MG-X Pro does not risk any fantasy. On the contrary, its ambition is very clear: to reproduce as closely as possible the handling of a traditional gamepad. And this goal is achieved. Its curves manage to lodge very naturally in the palms of the hands, while its buttons and sticks fall under the fingers without any effort. Only one small element could take a little getting used to for users with large hands: the handles are relatively short, about half a centimeter shorter than those of an Xbox Series X/S controller, for example. These users may therefore need to learn to let the controller simply rest on the base of their fingers, rather than gripping it firmly at the risk of excessive tension. Nothing insurmountable, however.

Despite everything, the MG-X Pro remains a relatively bulky accessory. Fully “folded up” 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 simple MG-X that you will have to turn.

The quality of manufacture does not suffer from any major criticism. The controller is made of a well-made black plastic and its underside has a texture that is very pleasant to the touch. 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 any difficulty with a Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (6.8 inches), while maintaining a few millimeters of margin.

Once the smartphone is in place, stops on the side and bottom of the device eliminate the risk of falling during use. The inside of the slot is covered with a rubbery plastic avoiding 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 choice is a double-edged sword: on the one hand, it makes everyday use more practical (installing and removing your smartphone from the grip is done in the blink of an eye); on the other, the controller must rely on an internal battery to operate. Fortunately, the latter ensures a very correct autonomy: the 20 hours promised by the manufacturer were well assured during our test. Note also that the controller uses a Bluetooth 4.2 + Low Energy connection, which therefore has the decency not to siphon the phone’s battery – provided of course that the latter is also compatible.

And since we are talking about compatibility, it should be noted that the MG-X Pro is only supported on its Bluetooth connection by mobile devices running Android. It does not work with iOS terminals, nor with computers. However, it can be connected via USB to a Windows PC, which then recognizes it as a wired Xbox 360 controller. It can still be useful. And in case you were wondering, the controller is not at all usable with an Xbox console, neither wired nor wireless.

On the accessories side, Nacon is content to provide a USB-A to USB-C charging cable. Too bad he didn’t make the effort to include a storage box, which would have suited the transportable size of the object.

Precision 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 under our (more or less) agile fingers control interfaces of an eminently commendable quality. To be honest, we recognize here mechanical elements identical or almost to those used by the manufacturer on its premium controllers, such as those of the Revolution range. This is very good news when it comes to the sticks, in particular: in addition to the irreproachable precision of their potentiometer, they use rods and strapping in smooth and very rigid plastic, guaranteeing extremely low friction and remarkably fluid rotation.

The front buttons are not to be outdone: their large width does not prevent them from ensuring very reliable activation (no tendency to rotate) with an ideal stroke length, as well as a very satisfactory tactile sensation and rebound. The slice buttons also do their job very well, even though we can find some criticisms to make of them, depending on the sensitivity of each. Some users may thus find the bumpers (LB and RB) a little too spongy, others are 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. If the sensations provided by its switches do not pose any particular problem, concerns may however arise from the fact that the cross is not mounted on a pivot. In other words, by pressing in the middle of the cross, it is possible to activate the four directions simultaneously. As a result, complex movements, such as quarter circles and other advanced sequences specific to certain fighting games, can become particularly difficult to execute flawlessly. This is admittedly a very specific use case, but when it comes up, it’s hard to ignore.

On the side of latency, the use of a Bluetooth connection only does not pose any major difficulty. Even though it inevitably causes a few milliseconds of additional delay compared to a physical connection, this excess is light enough to have no impact on the concrete sensations of the controller in hand.

Finally, note that the MG-X Pro does not have any vibration function. This omission is somewhat excusable as vibration support on mobile gaming platforms is still very patchy to this day, unfortunately.

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