Nacon MG-X Pro Android Controller Review

Handheld gaming has come a long way in the last decade. We’re not just talking pure power or ergonomics here, it’s also the fact that what was once standalone, and often diminished, is now utterly interlinked and intertwined with our home gaming. Devices like the Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck are skewing the line ever further, and though Microsoft hasn’t built their own device, they’re making a concerted play for this space via their streaming tech. Working hand in hand with Nacon, Android gamers can now pick up the MG-X Pro, a controller that your smartphone snugly slots into and, besides other things, turns it into a Game Pass streaming machine. It’s a nifty trick.

The MG-X Pro is, in essence, a Nacon Pro Compact controller with a spring-loaded extendable section in the middle. You pull it apart and slot your phone in, after which it’s held in place by grippy rubber at either end, and a slim overlap from the MG-X Pro. Despite being advertised as fitting devices up to 6.7”, it’s capable of housing the chonkiest of Android phones. I easily popped a 6.8” Redmagic 7 in, so Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or even Galaxy Z Fold 3 owners should be absolutely fine.

Once you’ve got a phone housed within it, the whole thing feels reassuringly solid. The MG-X Pro is built out of that old favourite for hardware, black plastic, and though it’s visually underwhelming it feels tough and durable. The MG-X Pro, shorn of any rumble tech, is also very light, so your phone is the key contributor to any weight. Depending on your handset it’ll likely come in lighter than a regular Switch, and compared to the Steam Deck you’ll be able to play comfortably for many hours.

As it’s basically a reworked Nacon Pro Compact, you’ll find many of the same points made in that review stand here. The asymmetrical sticks are snappy and firm, and are certainly of a far higher quality than we’ve come to expect from mobile phone controllers. The triggers meanwhile have just the right amount of travel and resistance, and the shoulder buttons feel solid under your finger. The four main face buttons are large and responsive, and there’s the standard Xbox, Menu and View buttons here as well. It’s missing out on the recent addition of the Share button, but I reckon most people can live without that.

While Android gaming is a huge sector now, there is a focus on Xbox Game Pass here, and the MG-X Pro proves to be ideal for hopping into a spot of Xbox streaming. Returning to my save game of Guardians of the Galaxy was impressively slick, and in action-heavy sequences the MG-X Pro proved resolutely in step with what I wanted to do. I was left impressed and quickly forgot I was playing on a phone and cradle. It feels very nearly like a dedicated handheld.

You’re probably going to want to branch out beyond Microsoft’s services if you’re into mobile gaming, and if your Android game supports controllers then the MG-X Pro will just work. I spent more time than is healthy with Asphalt 9 and it both recognised the controller straight away, and badged the buttons up correctly too. It’s safe to say that the majority of mobile action titles will benefit greatly from physical buttons, and if you’re looking for something to give you a competitive edge the MG-X Pro will definitely provide it.

Unlike Android devices such as the Gamesir X2, there’s no physical connection between the phone and the controller. The MG-X Pro connects via Bluetooth 4.2, and there’s a dedicated pairing button on the underside to set this going. While Bluetooth is obviously quick and easy, but it’s a constraint that could impact longer sessions of play.

You can’t charge your phone while you’re playing – though you can charge the MG-X Pro, which has its own battery – and there’s no way you’re getting at a headphone socket unless it’s housed in a very unusual position. While most people will also have Bluetooth headsets, it’s a shame that you will need to put a little more forethought into how your batteries are holding up before you start gaming.

I much prefer the MG-X’s cradle style setup to the phone-above-a-controller setup of something like the MOGA XP5-X, but the disadvantages are clear if you want/need to charge your phone or use a wired headset. Still, if you’ve got a device with a decent battery that may be less of a concern. At £79.99 the MG-X Pro is a little more expensive than key rivals like the Razer Kishi and Gamesir X2, but in terms of quality and control you’re getting a much better experience for gaming.

The MG-X Pro offers a high-quality mobile gaming experience, and will particularly delight fans of Xbox Game Pass who want to access its library of games wherever they might be.
  • High quality inputs
  • Ergonomic and comfortable
  • 20 hour battery life
  • Bluetooth only
  • No charging or audio passthrough
Written by
TSA's Reviews Editor - a hoarder of headsets who regularly argues that the Sega Saturn was the best console ever released.