Moto Gamepad Mod; a handheld gaming console has been quite popular in the market after its launch on 25th August. It works as a magnetic controller that attaches to any Moto Z device and adds an impressive array of buttons and joysticks for use in just about any game. Unlike every other controller on the market, the Gamepad Mod doesn’t use Bluetooth for communication, no need for wireless lag and hence no pairing!!
A little glimpse on what the Gamepad is all about:
Controls are recognized from first connection and can be used to navigate the device.
Buttons are standard fare; D-Pad, Dual analogs sticks, 4 Face buttons(X, Y, A, B) along with Start, Select, and Home. Analog sticks are also buttons, making for L3 and R3, along with 4 shoulder buttons, L1, L2, R1 and R2. The buttons feel good and the analogs are console quality. The shoulder buttons are a little cramped, but still usable. All in all a pretty decent deal for $80!
However, what’s not likable here is the major issue with this device is the D-Pad, which requires more force than expected to register. This makes 2D side-scrolling games, such as Fighters (King of Fighters, Street Fighter) or side-scrolling adventure (Mario, Sonic) difficult to play.
Size of the Mod, is pretty hefty. You will need large pockets if you look to have the Mod always attached. Yet the ergonomic gamepad has the right feel, once held in hands; the crosshatch texture lends grip to the otherwise smooth plastic. There’s a circular cutout for the Moto Z2 Force’s rear camera, a pass-through jack for 3.5mm audio, a lanyard loop, and a USB-C port on the bottom that charges the Gamepad and any phone paired to it.
Compatibility and Use
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.
Zero pairing; you get to 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.
Unlike clip-on gamepads, which take a good deal of physical force to snap in place, the Gamepad connects magnetically to pins on the back of a Moto Z2 Force. Un-pairing is as simple as prying the phone free of the connector’s magnetic field.
And as expected, the Mod attaches instantly to the phone. The magic done by the magnets that hold the phone in place, so you do not need to worry about the device falling out. Shake it, or even hold it upside down, the Mod to test will have the device intact, displaying the strength of the magnets. But nevertheless you get a better gaming experience; Dual control sticks, a D–pad and physical action buttons let you play games the way they were meant to.
Motorola’s Moto Z phones are capable of connecting to Moto Mods; it works with the Moto Z2 Force, Moto Z Force, Moto Z2 Play, and Moto Z Play.
The Gamepad works in collaboration with a companion App, Moto Game explorer. However, the app doesn’t really allow you to install the games from it, rather just displays the list of various games arranged according to the genre. The storefront merely acts as a link to Google Playstore.
There are plenty of games that support controllers, however, there are plenty of games that do not. This is NOT the fault of the controller, but many apps just do not have controller support. Also, some apps may have support, but lack the ability to remap buttons that are mapped incorrectly using the Controller. This issue carries over with other controllers as well. There are some Bluetooth Controllers that attempt the remedy this issue, but it is more software than hardware related. However, for the games that work, the Controller works great!
However this kinds of limits down your choice for the games. So if you are looking for some real-time gaming, the Gamepad would not be the perfect option.
Battery timing is of immense value while looking for gaming equipment. For who would want to lose at the final round, just because the phone died down! So, one of the best parts about the Gamepad Mod is its built-in 1035 mAh battery. Moto says that should get you an extra 8 hours of battery life. According to some users, it was closer to 6 hours, but any additional battery life is welcome and appreciated on such a thin and lightweight controller. So, no longer fear missing the last moment or prime time of your game just because of the battery shut down!
Despite the amazing hardware and the magnetic attachment, there are a couple of troublesome things going on with the Gamepad. For example, you have full phone use while the mod is attached, but the size is something to consider. While in the pocket, there have been times where the Mod would reconnect in pocket, or you would take the phone out of the pocket and see it has restarted itself. It is believe probably due to the buttons being pressed and the Mod being constantly activated, which causes hiccups.
Also, due to many games not having Controller support, a Touchscreen button mapper would be a great addition to complement this device and increase its value immensely. It would allow touchscreen only games to be played using the Gamepad Mod. I do hope this becomes a consideration moving forward. Furthermore, the support of more games could make the thing even more delightful!
In conclusion, the Moto Mod Gamepad is a great attempt to bring console quality gaming to Android devices. However, the D-Pad is a major issue that should be addressed, either with software update which allows the D-Pad buttons to have greater sensitivity, or if the issue is Hardware related, a recall that fixes the issue.
Despite the issues reported, the Gamepad is a nice little pastime and that to for just $80! Hopefully, the issues will be addressed in the near future and you would get to enjoy a better gaming experience.