Windows Central Verdict
The PowerA MOGA XP-Ultra is incredibly versatile if you want a controller that does it all, wired and wireless modes for Xbox, PC and Android, and use as an Xbox cloud controller to boot. It's great to see Xbox finally allowing use of wireless technology in third-party controllers, but the MOGA XP-Ultra tries to do too much at once and masters none of its essential functions. Sometimes less is more.
Great build quality
Long battery life
Programmable rear buttons
High price tag
Mini-controller seems like an impractical gimmick
Mobile clip doesn't feel good to use
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PowerA is known for making reasonably priced controllers and headsets amongst other peripherals that can be used with Xbox, PC and Android devices. They were one of the first to really embrace the cloud controller market by releasing their MOGA clip for Xbox Cloud Gaming back in 2021. Well it seems that Microsoft has given them the grace of being the first third-party brand to release a wireless controller for Xbox, and they've gone all out by making an all-singing, all-dancing controller that claims to do it all. Console, PC, Android, Cloud gaming, this should be the only controller you need, but how does it live up to its expectations? Will it make it into our best Xbox Cloud Gaming controllers?
PowerA MOGA XP-ULTRA: Price, availability and specs
The PowerA MOGA XP-Ultra controller is available now for an MSRP of $129.99, so it's definitely in the premium end of controller price points. You can purchase it online from PowerA’s official website, Amazon, and other major retailers such as Best Buy and GameStop. The controller comes in the box with a detachable grip, a mobile gaming clip, a USB-C charging cable, and a one-month trial of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
|Category||PowerA MOGA XP-ULTRA|
|Connectivity||Wired, Wireless, Bluetooth 4.2|
|Controls||Xbox ABXY face buttons|
|Row 2 - Cell 0||2 rear remappable buttons|
|Row 3 - Cell 0||Precision analog sticks|
|Row 4 - Cell 0||Master button for on-device control|
|Row 5 - Cell 0||Magnetic impulse triggers|
|Row 6 - Cell 0||MOGA gaming clip for cloud and mobile|
|Compatibility||Xbox Consoles, Windows 10/11, Android, and compatible Smart TVs|
|Audio||3.5mm audio jack|
Unboxing the MOGA XP-Ultra was a nice experience, it was one of the most premium packaged items I've ever unboxed from PowerA, so they really are going all out with the marketing on this controller.
PowerA MOGA XP-ULTRA: Build quality & design
The controller itself is extremely sturdy and well made, yes it's not cheap at $129.99 but you can see that the money has been spent in constructing this 4-in-1 monster of a controller. It's chunky, looks like it's built to last and I'm pretty sure if I threw it at a wall, the wall would end up looking worse off. The same can't be said for the Xbox Elite controllers, which this is undoubtedly competing against, for those you need to treat with more care. The MOGA does have slightly less weight to it, weighing in at 342g to the Xbox Elite Series 2 at 345g, and the standard Xbox wireless controller at 460g.
In it's natural state, the controller measures just slightly larger than a standard Xbox Series S|X controller, and while robust the need to split it into two means the handles can look a little unsightly where they meet the controller interface. This doesn't interfere with the usability of the controller however.
With the press and click of a few clips, the controller comes apart into two pieces, and the mechanisms that hold it in place are also really well-made and easy to use. It's almost a magic trick how this thing comes apart to transform into a much smaller controller for travel or mobile use.
The mobile clip which can be used for turning this into a cloud controller, has two hinges that can be adjusted and tightened to preference and hold your phone securely in place. This also clips on and off very securely, without ever feeling like you will damage the controller.
A feature that I appreciated immensely, and is often not included on wireless controllers, is the on board battery level indicator. There are three lights to indicate that the device is charging when it's plugged in, and when using the controller wirelessly you can simply press a battery button to show how much charge is left in the controller. No more having to check your dashboard or wait for the dreaded notification on Xbox.
PowerA MOGA XP-ULTRA: Ergonomics & Comfort
Unfortunately, for all its robustness and clear vision that's gone into the design, I just didn't find this controller all that comfortable to use over long periods. I'd say my hands are perfectly average sizes, neither large nor small, but the slight size difference of this to the standard Xbox wireless controllers was felt. The handles themselves have a nice grip texture, but It was just a smidge extra for my fingers to stretch for the ABXY buttons. I could use this controller for a short stint but not certainly not during a grindy levelling session on Diablo 4.
There is of course the option to remove the handles and transform into a micro controller, but this is equally just not that comfortable to use, and feels like more of a gimmick than an actual useful piece of gaming kit. I can see the attraction of having a small, wireless controller to slip into your bag for travel, but just like a travel hairdryer — it just leaves me wishing I'd sacrificed the space and packed something that I don't dislike using.
PowerA MOGA XP-ULTRA: Controls & Performance
The buttons, triggers and textured thumbsticks feel on a par with the standard Xbox Series X|S controller, which isn't a bad thing by any means as those standard controllers are fantastic, but nothing about these controls lends to it being in the Elite price range, especially the D-pad which I feel is especially lacking and spongey.
What you do get that you don't on a standard Series S|X Controller though is the two rear mappable buttons, which are included on a bunch of third-party controllers now, even in the lower $30 price range, and I almost feel should be a standard (maybe Xbox will consider this for their next controllers).
When I'm using a controller that doesn't have them, I really miss the extra functionality they provide, and I do actually find flat rear buttons more comfortable than the Elite controller paddles. I appreciated this detail on the controller, but it didn't detract enough from the fact I didn't find it overall very comfortable to use.
I also found when using the mobile clip, that the weight of my phone was constantly pulling back on the unit, trying to topple. This isn't something I've experienced with the standard MOGA clip on an Xbox controller, but perhaps this not having the same weight distribution could be causing that. Again, fine for small bursts but over longer periods it was just annoying to hold.
I will say though that however I decided to use the controller, it was easy to set up. So a simple press of the pairing button to connect to Xbox or via Bluetooth on my phone just worked. Instructions? Who needs those? And the rear buttons were similarly a no-brainer to pair with whatever I wanted to use them for.
Additionally, the battery life of this controller is immense, PowerA state it lasts up to 60 hours which is 20 hours more than the already generous battery life of the Xbox Elite controllers.
PowerA MOGA XP-ULTRA: Competition
The main reason why there are no other third-party wireless Xbox controllers right now, is because Xbox uses a proprietary wireless protocol that requires licensing from Microsoft. Until now they've kept this under lock and key, so as of current date there is no like-for-like competitor for the MOGA XP-Ultra from a third party, at least not one that is both a wireless controller and a cloud controller in one.
That being said, the price of this puts it firmly in competition with Xbox's own controllers, which with a clip, would also 'transform' into a cloud controller for mobile. Whether that be the standard Xbox Series X|S controller, the Elite Series 2, or the Elite Series 2 Core. The closest in price would be the Elite Series 2 Core which I would say aesthetically is the preferred choice, but it only has the rear button functionality if you buy separate paddles.
If you're looking for a great cloud controller, and aren't fond of the clip-to-controller method, the Turtle Beach Atom Controller is designed with similar chunky yet funky vibes, and clips onto your phone for easy Bluetooth controls. It also has the benefit of snapping together compactly for travel. Of course, there is a myriad of other cloud controllers out there, in fact, PowerA in addition to the MOGA clip has their MOGA XP7-X Plus which is about as close to using an Xbox controller as you can get for integrated cloud devices, as it clips onto the sides of your phone.
None of these devices do everything this PowerA MOGA XP-ULTRA does though, in combining wireless console control with cloud gaming. For most though, having separate devices is just part of being an enthusiastic and varied gamer, and is there any point in an all-in-one device that doesn't really scratch the itch in any category?
PowerA MOGA XP-ULTRA: Should you buy?
You should buy this if ...
- You want a wireless controller that works with Xbox Series X|S, PC, Android mobile and Smart TVs.
- You like the idea of an all-in-one swiss army knife of controllers
- The modular design appeals to you.
- You want a long battery life.
You shouldn't buy this if ...
- You prefer a sleeker design for your controllers.
- You want higher quality controls for the high price.
- You want a mobile controller for iOS.
Whilst my review probably sounds negative on the whole, I've still given the MOGA XP-ULTRA a 3 out of 5, because I appreciate what they are trying to achieve here, I just wish they hadn't tried to do everything at once. Being the first licensed third-party wireless out of the gate, with those rear mappable buttons would have been enough to impress, and potentially keep the costs of this down rather than trying to pack in this modular Frankenstein-esque design. In fact, a wireless edition of the PowerA enhanced Nano controller would be a home run, I for one am hoping this happens.
The controller market is fierce though, and trying something different is to be commended, so I hope this is the first of many attempts at the all-in-one we see on offer.
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Jen is a News Writer for Windows Central, focused on all things gaming and Microsoft. Anything slaying monsters with magical weapons will get a thumbs up such as Dark Souls, Dragon Age, Diablo, and Monster Hunter. When not playing games, she'll be watching a horror or trash reality TV show, she hasn't decided which of those categories the Kardashians fit into. You can follow Jen on Twitter @Jenbox360 for more Diablo fangirling and general moaning about British weather.