a versatile third-party Xbox wireless controller

PowerA’s Moga XP-Ultra is the first licensed wireless Xbox controller to hit the market, and after spending some time getting to grips with its unique modular design, we’ve jotted down our thoughts on the new pad.

On paper, the Moga XP-Ultra from PowerA is a bit of a beast, offering a modular design that can be used as a full-sized controller, mini-pad, or either using the included Moga Gaming Clip for your phone. Its versatility makes it the perfect peripheral for Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscribers who want an all-in-one controller that supports Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Android, and Windows PC — and also happens to be the first officially licensed third-party wireless Xbox controller. All of those features will set you back $130, though, which could be a tough pill to swallow for some players.

Moga XP-Ultra hands-on impression

Visually, the Moga XP-Ultra isn’t the most elegant of controllers due to its modular design, but I suppose that’s the price you pay for versatility. The build quality, however, feels so much better than any previous PowerA controllers I’ve tested. Due to its hardware being contained in the mini-pad portion of the XP-Ultra’s body, which clips into a base grip for full-size use, it feels like the most important part of the XP-Ultra has a bit of extra protection. The mini-pad is designed to offer a small enough form factor for you to slip it into a bag so you can use Xbox Cloud Gaming on your phone when you’re out and about via the included mount. The mount clips into a designated slot on the rear of the XP-Ultra, and once clipped in place, it feels solid with very little movement. Not once did I feel like my phone wasn’t secure when I used it — I gave it a good shake around and it refused to budge from the rubber grips. Once you’ve finished playing a game, the clip can either be removed or folded down over the front of the controller.

Cloud gaming is a focal point for PowerA with the XP-Ultra, and I love the idea behind the mini-pad, but for my hands, it’s a little too small to comfortably play faster games like Forza Horizon 5 or shooters like Redfall. While the unit has grooves in the back to make it a little more comfortable to hold, I still don’t have enough space to get to each button or trigger. Slower games will be perfect for this setup. If you have larger hands, you could just keep it slotted into the base grip to use as a full-sized controller, though that would then be beside the point.

The mini-pad portion houses all of the same buttons as a regular controller, including a share button and dual rumble motors, but once you slot it into the base, you’re also able to use two re-mappable rear buttons and an additional pair of rumble motors. These are a standard feature for PowerA controllers now, and they’re fantastic, mainly because of the quick-map option. All you need to do is hold the remap button on the back of the controller, hit the button you want to change, and then tap the rear button you want to set it to. You can remap a button within ten seconds while in-game, which is fantastic for someone like me who uses it infrequently. The rumble motors are a little feisty when using the mini-pad, emitting a ton of noise which sounds like a swarm of bees are buzzing around inside it. I’m personally not a fan of the overenthusiastic feel of it, but once you’re using the full-size unit, that disappears, and you’re left with a much gentler experience that’s silent. So far, I’ve had no problems with any of the buttons, toggles, triggers, and the like, whether I’m playing on a console or Cloud Gaming in either form factor, but connectivity has been an issue.

The Moga XP-Ultra uses Bluetooth to connect to your phone or PC, and that’s worked without any trouble at all, but to connect to the Xbox, it uses Microsoft’s ‘Xbox Wireless’ technology, which can be temperamental. Connecting to my Xbox Series X|S was as quick and painless as the official Xbox controllers, and the XP-Ultra even supports profile switching between platforms by double tapping the pair button, but keeping a stable connection has been problematic. 90% of the time, the controller works like a charm, but in every session, the controller has randomly disconnected multiple times, even when I was mid-game. Sometimes it’s for a couple of seconds, which was ended by just pressing A on the pop-up message, but others have required me to restart the controller. For single-player games, it’s mostly an inconvenience but for multiplayer it’s unacceptable. I don’t know whether that’s an issue unique to my unit, but it’s an issue, nonetheless.

powera moga xp ultra xbox wireless controller impressions

For the most part, the Moga XP-Ultra is a lovely controller to use, and its modular design gives it a unique selling point. While I’ve had some problems with connectivity, my general experience with it has been really enjoyable. Cloud gaming with the mini-pad and phone clip is perfect for long trips — when playing slower games — and it easily offers the 25-30 hours of battery life PowerA is advertising. I can’t help but feel like the $130 asking price is a little too steep for what you’re getting, though, especially when the official Xbox Elite Series 2 Core is available for the same price, and you can pick up a Moga Gaming Clip for an additional $10 or so. However, if you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, the Moga XP-Ultra is worth considering.

What do you think of the Moga XP-Ultra? Drop a comment below and let us know!

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