Video games are the life blood of many people, and considering that www.mygamer.com is a site based around talking about, reviewing, and publishing news about games it should come as no surprise that those of us that work here are among them. That said there is a peak to that dedication, and that normally comes around cellphone games—mainly because they are unresponsive, have poor controls, aren’t that engaging, and aren’t that fun for more than several minutes at a time maximum. Motorola, it seems, wants to see if they can go out of their way to solve at the very least some of those problems with the Motorola Moto Gamepad Moto Mod.
The mod has a cradle that the phone itself snaps into and instantly syncs with, connecting with a panel on the back instead via Bluetooth or wireless. This basically forces the phone into landscape mode and prompts the user into a special version of the play store with a series of games that are specifically designed around the mod. The device sticks out a little bit from each side of the phone, although it doesn’t weigh a ton, making it kind of unfriendly to carry in a pocket – and is thin enough in the middle that there might be concern throwing it in unprotected in a backpack.
The controller itself, which is really what this is and should be viewed as such, is actual very nice and responsive. There are other ways to sync a controller to a phone, but the way that this was designed was to allow the phone itself to be held while playing the game, instead of just propped up – which is nice as it was also designed for these phones so they also feel secure in them while in use. There is even a nice hole in the back on the off chance that mid game you need to take a picture of something, although that would imply making a call with the mod attached as well, and that would be annoying considering that an analog stick would be pressing against your temple the entire time.
The controller is really clicky, which may be something that wears out over time like some devices, or simply continues – I cannot speak to that at the moment. The clicking itself was not overly annoying but was noticeable but to no real troubling extent. There are also red lights on the shoulder buttons that light up every time that a button is pressed, as if to indicate that the prompt was received. Once again, while not terribly annoying it seems to be an odd design choice to have a visual indication continually going off during gameplay.
The last real drawback is that there is input lag but some that seems to only occur at random moments and can be fairly hard to expect. It isn’t terrible enough to impact anything aside from top level Street Fighter play, say several milliseconds, but it becomes apparent when the on-screen avatar suddenly responds at a slower rate than they had been just moments before.
The battery life is pretty respectable. As with most electronics this arrived carrying about a 30 percent battery charge, which oddly enough ended up through several very extended play sessions. Considering that I need to know where my charge cable is at all times for every console owned, it is mildly refreshing to know that there are still some things out there that aren’t going to die within a moment’s notice, simply by being on or attached to a working device.
Aside from being responsive, well designed, and pretty much the best option for a phone controller on the market, the Gamepad also looks pretty cool as well. There is a neat little logo on the back that lights up when turned on. It is a little added touch that makes the experience feel more like holding a system at that point than simply having a phone with two switch controllers attached to the side.
The GamePad Mod has a MSRP of $79.99, but in the last couple of weeks it wasn’t uncommon to see it for sale on the Verizon site for $49.99 – a price that puts it at the same level of a PS4 controller. When looked at as such, and at the discounted price, it is understandable and commendable what is trying to be done here. Honestly, phone games could really benefit from having a solid controller that they could point to and say, use this. While the MSRP might be a little steep, the sale price does seem to be just in the sweep spot.
[Verizon Wireless was kind enough to supply us with a review copy of the Moto Mod. For the review we were also supplied a Moto Z2 Force as well.]
Snap on the Moto Gamepad and take your gaming to the next level. Get more control with a Moto Mod™ that connects seamlessly to your device.
A better gaming experience
Dual control sticks, a D–pad and physical action buttons let you play games the way they were meant to.
Keep gaming – Play longer with a 1035 mAh built–in battery that provides up to eight hours of fun.*
Experience responsive controls without the wireless input lag. The Moto Gamepad snaps directly into your device, so there’s no need for cables or pairing.
*All battery life claims are approximate and based on a standard mixed use profile. The mixed use profile is based on Motorola devices on major 4G LTE networks with excellent coverage and includes both usage and standby time. Out–of–box settings are applied to the mixed use profile to project battery performance. Actual battery performance will vary and depends on many factors including signal strength, network configuration, age of battery, operating temperature, features selected, device settings, and voice, data, and other application usage patterns.
Compact, integrated design
Dual control sticks, a D–pad and physical action buttons
1035 mAh built–in battery
Red dual LED lights that respond to controls
Dimensions: 226 x 75.9 x 24.4 mm
Weight: 140 g