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Nacon MG-X Pro review – a compact colossus

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I’ve not had the chance to get my hands on any previous Nacon products, but having heard mixed feedback about their last Xbox Cloud Gaming effort, I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, I can happily say that the Nacon MG-X Pro controller is a little beauty that offers a great mobile gaming experience, and has earned itself a permanent place in my bag.

Its price may seem a little steep, coming in at around £80, and its availability in the US is somewhat patchy. However, if you decide to take the plunge and get your hands on one, you won’t be disappointed. In fact, I’d say it trumps any other extendable Android controller I’ve tried in the past.

The first thing you notice about the Nacon MG-X Pro is the sleek design. It certainly looks the part, boasting large, well-spaced out buttons that cover everything seen on the standard Xbox One controller in a smooth, matt black. The surface is textured on the back and smooth on the front, and feels a little more light and plasticy than most first-party console controllers, but this allows for a lightweight body, and still feels durable and strong.

The MG-X Pro is also super ergonomic. The buttons feel tactile and have a satisfying click when pressed, and the joysticks are framed with a gorgeous chrome ring. This ring is not just there for aesthetics though – they also act as shock absorbers which was a nice, thoughtful surprise that makes heavy gaming sessions all the more comfortable. While I looked at the texture of the thumbpads on the joysticks with some reservations, I found them to be extremely smooth, their concave design is great, and they allowed for improved aiming in a variety of games.

Nacon MG-X Pro on a stand

Unfortunately, the controller is lacking any rumble tech, which may be a deal-breaker to some. This, however, is clearly a tactical choice, much like the thinner plastic, which makes the controller considerably lighter, meaning it puts little strain on your wrists during long play sessions. Of course, it depends on your device, but I found the combination of the Nacon MG-X Pro and my Huawei P40 Pro came in feeling significantly lighter than my Oled Switch in handheld mode, allowing me to comfortably game for hours. Despite my small hands and having problems with my wrists, I found this to be the most comfortable portable gaming setup I’ve had the pleasure of testing out.

When it comes to inserting your phone into the controller, the MG-X Pro makes it a breeze. You simply pull the two sides of the controller apart, which are connected by a spring-loaded plate, then slot your phone inside. It’s held in place by a nice, rubbery material that both grips your phone well, and prevents the camera and edges from being damaged. At the bottom, there is a small lip that helps line your device up, and I found with all things combined, my phone didn’t budget an inch.

One downside is the fact that there is nowhere for you to pass wired headphones or charging cable through. This means that you can charge the MG-X Pro during a game session, but not your phone, and if you want sound, you need to either use your phone’s speaker or a Bluetooth audio device. The headphone problem was not such an issue to me as I exclusively use wireless headphones, but long sessions of gaming can drain your phone’s battery quickly, and may result in you needing to take a break to recharge.

Nacon MG-X Pro in a hand

In terms of connectivity, the MG-X Pro is exclusively Bluetooth compatible, and lacks the USB-C connector present in many of its competitors. Pulling back on this likely also contributed to the controller’s impressively lightweight feel, but a Bluetooth connection is naturally less stable than USB-C, and I would have personally preferred the latter. Luckily though, I didn’t have any problems connecting through Bluetooth, and my phone quickly detected what it was I wanted to connect to. The Bluetooth pairing button on the underside of the controller also helps with this.

The MG-X Pro’s battery life is impressive

The MG-X Pro’s battery life is impressive, lasting up to 20 hours from a full charge, and the USB-C charger cable that comes in the box is extremely durable and well-made. As mentioned above, the position of the charging slot at the bottom of the controller also means you can charge as you game.

When it comes to experience in-game, this controller naturally worked brilliantly with XBox cloud gaming, and it was a joy to use with emulators and any other Android title that has controller support. As it is connected via Bluetooth, there’s always going to be a little bit of latency, but it was honestly barely noticeable. I put it through the real test by hopping on a few different fighter games, bashing in a variety of multi-button combos, and it read them seamlessly, which always receives a big thumbs up from me.

Nacon MG=X Pro with a phone in it

To conclude, this controller is a real gem. Outside of the lack of a USB-C connector, and the inability to charge your phone or connect a wired headset while using it, there’s very little to complain about. It earned a solid spot in my top gaming peripherals, and after spending many hours with this little beauty, I don’t see myself switching it out any time soon.

You can order the Nacon MGX-Pro from the official websiteor follow the links to find it on Amazon below.

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