Moga Rebel review

This iPhone game controller inches close to the console experience

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Our Verdict

The Moga Rebel is a full-sized iPhone game controller that, in spite of the deplorable D-Pad, will make any handheld gaming experience a better one.

For

  • Full-sized
  • Comfortable
  • Long battery life

Against

  • Imperfect pairing
  • Loose D-Pad
  • Too hefty

Now that iOS 8 is here, there’s a lot to be excited about. Location settings, Airdrop functionality and to top it all off, an iOS-exclusive controller.

The Moga Pro has been out for Android gamers for a little over a year now, but iOS has been without a full-size controller this whole time. The Rebel is about to change that.

It’s a massive step in the right direction after Moga’s first attempt at a MFi controller, the Moga Ace, which TechRadar reviewed earlier this year. It may sound a bit expensive to the casual crowd at a hefty $79 (about £49, AU$88) price point. But if you’re looking to take your on-the-go gaming to the next level, the Rebel won't let you down.

Design

The Moga Rebel followed the dual-wing Xbox One-style game controller with a sleek black finish. Both of the joysticks are smooth and comfortable, although it was weird not being able to click down on the joystick (called R3 or L3 on consoles) – though, this is a feature Moga representative told me isn’t supported by the iOS software.

Moga Rebel review

Another feature the Rebel has that reminds me of the Xbox controller is the nearly unusable D-Pad. It’s so bad that scrolling through title screens and menus is an absolute chore.

On the subject of missing features, tactile feedback in the form of rumble would’ve been nice too. Am I the only person that enjoys a little shake and rattle now and again?

Just like its Android counterpart, the Rebel has a plastic clamp that runs down the middle of the controller that, when flipped up, offers a solid lock to hold your iPhone. The clamp extends up to 3.5 inches, which means that it will even be able to support your brand-new iPhone 6 Plus.

The overall weight is a little light. In the hand, it feels like that one off-brand controller your friend had growing up, because he didn't want to spend the money on a decent second controller.

The Rebel, however, at least has plenty of juice, thanks to its 680mAh rechargeable battery. For continuous gameplay, just plug-in the micro USB port on the back of the controller and you should be set for the duration of your session.

Support

The Moga Rebel has been designed to support anything with a lighting connector. Namely, that includes iPhone 5, iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S, iPad 4, iPad Mini, iPad Mini Retina Display, iPad Air, and the latest iPod Touch.

Not all of the games in the App Store are supported. Luckily, Moga offers a list of compatible apps on its website and should be launching a dedicated iOS app by the time the controller hits store shelves.

But, if you’re looking for some recommendations to try out of the box, check out Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, BioShock, Monster Hunter Unite, and Grand Theft Auto Vice City. They all work great with the controller.

Verdict

The Moga Rebel is easily the best full-sized MFi controller we’ve seen. With a decent build quality, solid battery life, and convenient phone clip, this controller is a solid investment. However, at basically $80, the Rebel is just that, an investment.

Unless you spend more time on your iPhone than you do on your console, I wouldn’t recommend dropping almost $100 on such an accessory. Though, if you do invest, you won't be able to imagine gaming without it.

No more laying in bed and dropping the phone on my face while in between cutscenes. No more smudgy screen from my greasy Cheetos fingers. You have opposable thumbs, dammit, and you should use them the way gamers were meant to, with a controller.

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