Have you ever tried to review a piece of technology before? It’s a bit of a nightmare. You don’t want to sound like a dry consumer advisor, but also looking at this stuff pretentiously like some high art form is definitely not the way to do it. You need to tell people how this stuff works and if it works good. Well, I’ll get around to that, but first, why not read my diary?
“A package is meant to arrive from Evri on Sunday, December 11. It’s just started snowing. The service formerly known as Hermes decides to leave the package outside behind my bins. When I open the front door, I see the snow-covered plastic bag and take it inside. I go to my sink, brush the snow off into it, and take the package upstairs to open it in the dark like I’m stealing my Christmas presents the night before.
“I open the plastic wrapping that says “please reuse this bag” on it, accidentally ripping it into a state of dubious reusability. I take out the Nacon MG-X Pro for iPhone, slip it out of its plastic sleeve, and hold it in my hand. I feel like I’m holding a misshapen plastic baguette.
“I plug it into a USB-C charger (included in box!) and leave it for a while. I go back to watching Licorice Pizza on my television. Later, I get into bed and see the bright red light of the controller’s charging mode out of the corner of my eye. I go over, unplug it, connect it to my iPhone speedily, and decide to give it a go. I play Genshin Impact until two in the morning.”
So, one thing’s for certain: the controller works and works good. Anything that stops me from sleeping must be doing something right. Genshin Impact is fine by my reckoning, but Nintendo Switchifying a mobile phone helps video games be so much more chill on the little devices. There are a lot of controller holders to choose from, and the Nacon MG-X Pro for iPhone does two key things very well: it feels good, and it works on my iPhone. It will probably also work on your iPhone.
Let’s start with how it feels. As someone who has spent a not-insignificant amount of time using the Backbone controller to play Genshin Impact, I was delighted to not hear an insipid click — like the noise when you push together plastic poppers at the open end of a cheap bedsheet — whenever I hacked and I slashed. These buttons sound good. By which I mean, they’re quiet.
The analogue triggers work wonders when I jump into Forza Horizon 5 on Xbox Cloud Gaming. I can actually feather the throttle, pull off perfect little drifts on muddy inclines, and feel so much more at home there than with any other controller that isn’t the Xbox Series X controller.
The analogue sticks are big and clean, but playing Fallout: New Vegas with them feels a little imprecise. Of course, this was over cloud streaming, so precision is bound to be hard to come by, and the sticks do their best to compensate, but they aren’t anything notably slick.
Meanwhile, there’s a great d-pad that might be a tad too wobbly, alongside a pause button, home button, what-used-to-be-select button, and a Bluetooth connectivity button. All these buttons work. Nice.
The device charges over USB-C for a claimed 20-hour battery life. I never drained this, even through a four-hour session of Yakuza Zero on my sofa. But then again, I plug it in every night before bed, so that’s never going to happen. If you want to use it end-to-end on the trans-Siberian railway, maybe pack a portable charger.
The way the phone sits in the device is a tiny bit of a headscratcher. It’s easy to pop in and sits there sturdily, but due to the modern iPhone’s protruding camera, it does feel like the harsh plastic corners could do damage. They never did, but it was a worry. Luckily, most of the phone’s housing is rubberised and soft, leaving those worries in the back of my mind.
For the most part, the Nacon MG-X Pro for iPhone is an excellent device. Still, I have no idea how it’s different from the one for Android. They both connect over Bluetooth, with no connection physically to the device. Bluetooth doesn’t work differently for iPhones and Android devices, so what did they change? I have no clue.
Either way, it finally got me to play a hefty chunk of Fallout: New Vegas for the first time in my life, and it also made me think about how chill Xbox Cloud Gaming is if you have good internet, which I guess, given this is officially partnered with Xbox, is the aim.
If you want to do more cloud gaming or really, really love the handful of mobile games that benefit from controllers, this is one of the best options. But it’s also a cluttered market with lots to choose from and varying prices – and this thing sells for somewhere around $80 – so keep that in mind.
Nacon MG-X Pro for iPhone review
The Nacon MG-X Pro for iPhone is an excellent, comfortable controller that feels just a tad too plasticky. Luckily, the face buttons are excellent and not too clicky, the triggers are perfect for racing games, and the whole thing has ace ergonomics. It’s great.