MOGA XP5-i Plus Controller Review
I previously gave you the rundown on PowerA’s portable Xbox gaming solution, the XP7-X. This time we’re venturing into the land of iPhones and Apple Arcade with the MOGA XP5-i Plus. This gamepad confirms what I already suspected. These devices have an extremely specific purpose. Non-iPhone gamers need not apply, it turns out. However, if you meet these simple criteria, you’re in luck. This gamepad is perfect for your portable gaming needs.
Like the XP7-X, you’ll need a subscription to get the maximum use out of this device. Apple Arcade is chock full of games just perfect for the XP5-i Plus. More or less every game released for the platform in the last two years includes controller support, which is rad. You’ve got games like Necrobarista, Redout: Space Assault, Cat Quest II, and Exit the Gungeon. Along with a couple hundred more. Without Apple Arcade, your options for compatible games are fairly limited.
The controller comes with a clip-on stand that lets you attach your phone. It’s pretty convenient, though it encourages some bizarre posture choices. I also spent several minutes figuring out how to attach the two components together. The process isn’t especially intuitive, but you eventually figure it all out. The gamepad itself is comfortable, properly weighted, and well designed. The buttons and thumbsticks feel great, with the placement being right where you’d hope.
A Little Extra Power
You can also use the controller to charge your phone, which is essential for gaming sessions of any serious length. Any decent iPhone or Apple Arcade games will be murder on your battery, so it’s a welcome feature. Plus, you can make use of this extra power with a simple cable. While I appreciate the futuristic wireless charger on the XP7-X, the list of compatible phones is shorter. The battery is 3000 mAh, enough to add several hours to your gaming time.
I ran some experiments to see what other systems the XP5-i Plus works with, and the answer is basically none. With the Xbox remote play service, phantom inputs and horrendous lag make it impossible. Steam Link was a non-starter, but that was the same with the XP7-X. Once again, this gamepad is strictly for Apple users. Which is fine! Just something to keep in mind when purchasing this particular product. Using the device as intended, you’ll likely not even notice any lag.
Strictly An Apple Affair
Since the XP5-i Plus comes with that 3000 mAh battery, it lasts quite a while. However, you’ll need a lightning cable to charge it. The unit doesn’t actually come with one, but that should be fine, right? If you’re an Apple/iPhone user, you should have heaps of these things cluttering up your desk. Just know that the provided USB-C port on the controller does nothing to recharge it. I’m not even certain why the controller has such a port, to be honest.
Also, PowerA loves those extra underside inputs so much, that they added two of them to this controller. Since this is an Apple Arcade exclusive, I’m doubly baffled as to why they exist. For other console controllers (Switch, PS5, Series X), they’re at least cool in theory. You get an extra way to press X, A, or R1 that your hands have no training for. But with this model, there’s no first-party Apple gamepad (that I know of). So, extra inputs are nonsense – there’s no standard amount of inputs to improve on.
Although there is no standard Apple gaming controller, PowerA has put forth an excellent candidate. The inputs feel responsive and clean, your phone attaches to it nicely, and it comes with a backup power bank. Plus, there’s a growing library of games that work great with controller inputs. The XP5-i Plus is strictly an Apple affair, but that might be all you need. I wish PowerA would leave behind that extra input business, but I know I’m in the minority on that one. If you’re looking for an Apple Arcade gamepad, the MOGA XP5-i Plus might be perfect for you.
***A retail version of the product was provided by the manufacturer***
- Inputs and sticks feel great
- Comes with backup power
- Phone clip is super handy
- ONLY for Apple products
- Extra inputs still silly