I haven’t used a dedicated games controller for my Android phone in a few years, which prompted me to check out the Moga XP5-X Plus from PowerA. The first thing that becomes apparent when looking at XP5 is its Xbox One inspired design. Not too surprising considering the controller is an officially licensed Microsoft product, designed specifically for use with game streaming.
In essence, the XP5 controller is an Xbox One styled gamepad with a few extra buttons, including two programmable switches that rest on the back of the gamepad. The back of the XP5 features a rather premium and comfortable feeling rubberized grip. Additionally, the XP5 pad features a battery indicator button and a switch to toggle between Xinput and Bluetooth modes when switching between mobile and desktop use. Finally, the XP5 features a button to turn on the rechargeable battery that provides extra juice for either charging your phone while you play or for keeping the controller topped off when used wirelessly.
The top of the XP5 features two ports, a USB Type-A port used for providing juice to your mobile device and a USB micro port for when using the controller in Xinput or wired mode. Thankfully, PowerA includes a Micro to Type-C adapter to interface with most devices. Strangely, it should be mentioned that the micro USB adapter provided by PowerA is keyed, essentially rendering it proprietary, which may be an issue down the line, if it is ever misplaced or lost.
In terms of build quality, the MOGA XP5 is lighter than your average controller. However, this is deliberate, as when connected with a phone via the included (and easy to use) clip, the Xbox style controller becomes rather top-heavy.
“In essence, the XP5 controller is an Xbox One styled gamepad with a few extra buttons, including two programmable switches that rest on the back of the gamepad.”
The sticks and face buttons, in particular, feel the most like their modern Xbox equivalent, while the bumpers and triggers feel a tad bit more clicky than a stock OEM gamepad. The d-pad, on the other hand, despite its cross-shaped design, feels somehow worse than even an Xbox 360 d-pad from over a decade ago.
Pairing the XP5 is an easy process both wired and via Bluetooth connection thanks to the included toggle on the face of the device. For my tests, I stuck to Bluetooth for testing modern titles via game streaming on my LG Velvet, relegating the wired option for use with my older HUAWEI device that I use as a retro emulation station.
Starting with Xbox Game Pass streaming, I loaded up Halo Infinite which felt right at home while using PowerA’s offering. Gamepass, in particular, is excellent with the XP5, thanks to seamless integration with the Xbox guide button. As someone who mostly plays games in the PlayStation ecosystem, I wanted to test how good remote play would pair with the XP5-X controller.
“Pairing the XP5 is an easy process both wired and via Bluetooth connection thanks to the included toggle on the face of the device.”
Sony’s official remote play application does not allow the use of non-PlayStation controllers, fortunately, however, the app “PSPlay” works perfectly with third-party options, including the XP5 gamepad.
To keep with the shooter theme, the first game I tested via PS5 remote play was Deathloop. The title, like Halo, felt natural and comfortable to play, despite the lack of a touchpad in part, thanks to the included touch controls present on my phone.
For the ultimate stress test, I decided to play a few hours of Elden Ring on my secondary character, specifically, the PlayStation 4 version of the game. Aside from a few latency issues that are more due to my connection rather than the controller itself, my experience with Elden Ring with the XP5 was great — with the game feeling just as responsive when compared to Sony’s Dualsense controller. The only minor gripe I can mention is that, after prolonged use, due to the phone resting on top of the gamepad, I did miss the horizontal split controller design reminiscent of some other devices such as the Razer Kishi and the Nintendo Switch.
“I booted up Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, which sadly cemented my fears of the squishy feeling D-pad present in the XP5 controller.”
From here, I wanted to put the D-pad through its paces, starting with Hollow Knight. The game faired decently well while travelling on the horizontal axis, however, things got a little less responsive when climbing vertically, particularly when platforming, which resulted in me ultimately sticking to the sticks for most of my playtime.
Finally, for the last of my PlayStation-related remote play testing, I booted up Persona 4 Arena Ultimax, which sadly cemented my fears of the squishy feeling D-pad present in the XP5 controller. I was sadly unable to perform any moves at all, due to not being able to pull off any quarter circle inputs whatsoever.
Just to make sure it wasn’t just a case of being awful at Persona, I switched over to my retro setup and booted up Street Fighter Third Strike on the Dreamcast emulator, Redream. Similarly to Persona 4 Arena, despite my best efforts, a simple hadouken felt impossible when using the directional pad.
Thanks to the included battery, the PowerA MOGA XP5-X controller offers console-quality gaming without the worry of draining your phone, making it a great fit for Gamepass Ultimate subscribers. Anyone looking for a familiar feeling controller for their mobile gaming experience should turn to the XP5-X.