No matter whether you are just starting out on all-new adventures with the gaming scene, or are a grizzled old veteran who has seen it all in the decades which have passed, simplicity needs to be at the fore of your mind.
But slowly and surely the entire gaming ecosystem has begun to get more complicated. Gone are the days when you could just grab a controller, fire up the nearest console, and get involved in the latest titles. Now you need to worry about what games you are actually going to play, with Xbox Game Pass providing instant access to more than you could ever imagine. You also need to take mind of what you will play it on, and where you will play it, with the move to cloud-based gaming opening things up like never before.
If that cloud gaming is of interest, there are more things to consider, like how exactly you are going to play these games. Will you rest your phone on the sofa, connecting your bluetooth controller and be left squinting at the screen? Will you fire up your laptop and play through a browser? Or will you make use of any one of the numerous third party accessories that help bring that cloud gaming to life?
Well, if the latter is the option you decide to choose, and you’re looking for one of the easiest to use, simplest to set up options on the market, NACON have got you covered, with their MG-X controller – Designed for Xbox.
Sold as being compact in size, wireless and utterly universal, the NACON MG-X very much does as it says on the tin, all whilst allowing you the chance to take your gaming fix wherever, and whenever you need it.
It very much works in the same way as the GAMESIR X2 Bluetooth Controller, in that a simple slide-to-fit mechanism will have you situating your phone in place in a matter of seconds. That mechanism means you can use a phone totally naked (the phone, not you; although if you must…), or with a case attached should you so wish. In fact, as long as it’s less than the maximum 6.7 inches screen size that NACON state as the upper limit for this device, then you should be good to go. From there, firing up the Bluetooth on your device and connecting it to the MG-X takes another half a minute or so. And then you are pretty much sorted.
All black in colour and weighing in at just 205 grams, the MG-X is as close in layout and design to the standard Xbox wireless controller as you are going to get, albeit delivered in a much more Nintendo Switch type form factor as opposed to that of a standard pad. All the buttons you want and need are here too: the iconic Xbox face buttons, the d-pad, two fully clickable thumbsticks, the menu and view buttons and the glorious Xbox Nexus button, doubling up as a power button as you would be used to.
The bumpers are both in place, as are twin triggers, and in fact the only thing that is really missing is the new Share button which comes as standard on the new Xbox Series X|S defined controller. But it’s not particularly a feature I use on the regular so it’s not really a big worry.
Everything you need to get gaming on Xbox through the cloud, powered by Xbox Game Pass is here, front and centre, all within easy reach without any fuss. With a Bluetooth connection button sitting on the underside of the unit, along with a USB-C power port for charging the MG-X when times of need are called on (there is no USB-C pass-through here, this is a Bluetooth connected device), and first impressions are pretty high. When you include the promise that the MG-X will stay powered for up to 20 hours, there’s little to stop you gaming on the go.
It feels great in the hand too, with a rubberised backing keeping your phone firmly attached when in its grip, helped along by a pretty significant spring mechanism too; there should be no real thoughts that would ever see you putting your phone in danger.
Around the back it’s been ergonomically crafted to ensure it’s simple to hold for lengthy periods of time, with a grippy, textured backside and significant bumps sitting exactly where your fingers rest. It’s comfortable to use and aside from a personal preference that the right thumbstick could be a little higher on the device, it’s all good.
When connected to your phone, the MG-X works as you’d expect. Input is decent and whilst you’re left at the mercy of the Bluetooth connection and the wireless connectivity that powers Game Pass, across multiple games we’ve found it to be as precise as it needs to be. We certainly wouldn’t be using this to go into competitive battle with some serious players in a first person shooter, but for nearly every solo affair in which input or connection lag isn’t a problem, we’re more than happy to head into some sessions with the MG-X. In fact, it’s found a bit of a home for late night gaming, when the TV is being used by other members of the household and we just want to kick back for a quiet achievement gathering fix.
It’s here though that a couple of little issues occur. Now, these aren’t big problems, and they may be easily overlooked by some, but for us, it lets the MG-X down a little.
First up and unless you’re making the most of some wireless buds like the EPOS Hybrid GTW 270’s, connecting them to your phone, you’ll probably find that your headphone jack on your phone is fully covered by the MG-X. Admittedly most modern phones have slowly done away with the 3.5mm offering, but if you use headphones with a wire, that will be an issue. Especially if you’re doing what we do and sit in a darkened corner of the room whilst others get on with their own thing.
More of a problem though is the sharp power light that emits whenever the MG-X is switched on. This is no brighter than say the light that your standard Xbox controller gives out around the Nexus button, but you’re rarely sat looking at your controller when you game. Here, it’s sitting just off to the right side of your screen, distracting and piercing its way into your eyes at every opportunity; once you’ve seen it, it’s very hard to unsee. Personally, I’d have much preferred this light to be moved to the underside of the unit, kicking around near the Bluetooth button, just to keep it out of the way. Instead – and again this is especially prevalent in the dark – you’ll be looking for a small bit of tape or tack to cover up the glare.
But then we have the biggest issue with the NACON MG-X controller – the triggers. On the whole the buttons found here are great, the thumbsticks work well (although personally we’d have preferred a concave feel rather than convex), and every input is felt. The bumpers are real highlights, fully clickable and coming with great tactility. But the triggers? I have absolutely no idea what NACON have done with these but they feel nothing but awful. Spongy and springy in use, there is rarely a time when you ever feel the precision that these need to give. Real problems come to head with racing games, those in which you need to feather the throttle and slam on the brakes throughout – you just never get the feeling you need for such an occasion. I’d go as far as say that the left trigger feels different again to that of the right, and whilst both are depressable and work, the confidence they bring is near off the bottom of the scale.
And that’s a shame because the feel of any button should really be at the fore of any controller’s plans. Instead it leaves a bit of a sour taste in the mouth and little confidence in the hand of what the MG-X is going to allow – especially in certain game types.
If you can ignore that though, or don’t ever get involved in racers, then it’s well worth considering the NACON MG-X controller to power your mobile gaming sessions, especially those which you take in via Xbox Game Pass and cloud gaming. Positives come in the ease of use, the 20-hour battery life and overall simplicity. Just be aware of those triggers.
Huge thanks go out to NACON for providing us with an MG-X controller for review. If you wish to pick one up for yourself, head over to them direct and splash the £89.90 needed to get access.