Ever since Microsoft unleashed the beauty of XCloud unto the world, Xbox players everywhere have been clamouring for a seamless and convenient way to enjoy Game Pass titles on the go. Already that’s meant a fair few third-party manufacturers have tried their hand at a mobile phone grip. Peripheral maker Nacon, meanwhile, has been quietly biding its time. Well, that eventually changes on September 20th thanks to the release of the MG-X controller. And it’s easily been worth the wait!
The first thing to mention is that the MG-X controller is incredibly light and sleek-looking. It’s clear that Nacon took the time to colour match the accessory to the same tone as Microsoft’s official Xbox SeriesX controller, comfortably keeping it aligned with the established console aesthetic. It might sound silly, but this ensures that the MG-X will always look great laid next to the rest of your Xbox Series console setup.
So how does it feel to use? Extremely good, to put it bluntly. There’s a rubberised grip around the back of the device to help out players whose pores are against them, and there’s a great sense of tactile feedback to be found when pressing both the analogue sticks and face buttons. The MG-X is advertised as “compact”, which makes sense when wanting to take it on a commute for so impromptu Xbox gaming. Those with bigger hands (like myself), though, won’t find it as comfortable as a conventional Series X controller, but it’s solid and lightweight enough that I never struggled to use it.
I tested out the MG-X using a range of different titles available to stream through Xbox Game Pass, and the only area where it slightly fell down is in the LT and RT triggers. They’re both a tad spongier than I would have liked, though it isn’t by any means a dealbreaker. Using the D-pad in a game like Dead Cells worked an absolute treat. Equally, popping off headshots in Gears 5 was also satisfying thanks to the responsiveness of the left and right thumb sticks.
The Nacon MG-X controller doesn’t require you to connect your phone via Micro-USB or USB-C, instead opting for the much more convenient Bluetooth route. Setting it up was as simple as searching for the MG-X in my Xperia phone’s menu, holding down its dedicated Bluetooth button to make it discoverable. Following that I found the MG-X instantly amazing to use – so much so that I was flicking through the Xbox Game Pass app’s game selection in no time at all.
Xbox players worried about battery life can rest easy knowing that the MG-X nets you roughly 20 hours of battery life on a single charge. This should be more than enough for the odd commute and back again, especially when you consider that your phone is likely to run out of power far before that. Compatibility-wise, this is a great portable gaming solution for anyone with a phone sizing up to a limit of 6.7 inches. As long as yours meets this requirement, the MG-X will wedge it safely either side without any risk of falling out. You can even hold it upside down for proof.
Of course, whether or not the MG-X is worth purchasing depends on two factors both outside Nacon’s control: Do you have an Xbox Game Pass subscription? And if so, is your internet speed fast enough to support lag-free play? If you’re down time is anything above 100mb you should be alright for the most part. I even tested the MG-X out roughly 10ft away from my router and it managed a stable connection fine. As mentioned, though, your play experience isn’t the responsibility of this device or Nacon. It’s more something to just be aware of.
So, my only quarrel so far has been the MG-X’s back triggers, but it isn’t lost on me that it retails here for roughly £99.99. That’s a lot of money for an experience you can replicate by connecting your standard Xbox controller to your phone. Razer’s Kishi android controller also does a similar job to the MG-X for half the price. I wish I could more accurately compare the two, but I’ve sadly never used the Kishi. MG-X’s major boon appears to be its Bluetooth connectivity over a traditional Type-C port. And if that’s the case, Nacon’s pursuit for convenience could be enough to warrant the price hike.
Overall, when simply judging the MG-X Xbox Portable Gaming Controller on its own merits, it succeeds – and sometimes excels – at everything it set out to do. The 20-hour battery life is something to be commended, the overall look and texture is incredibly stylish, and its 6.7 max width gives it a good degree of universal application. Spongy triggers aside, if your goal is to play Xbox Game Pass titles seamlessly on the go, it’s hard to imagine it getting much better than with the Nacon MG-X.
- + Pros
- 20 hours of battery life
- Rubberised grip for comfort
- Fits a wide variety of Apple an Android phones
- Seamless Bluetooth setup
- - Cons
- Spongy back triggers
- On the expensive side