MOGA Rebel Hardware Review

Our Review by Rob Rich on November 18th, 2014
Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar ::
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The MOGA Rebel isn’t very portable, and the digital pad doesn’t feel super sturdy, but it shines rather brightly once you’re actually using it.

Made by: MOGA
Price: $79.99

Hardware/iOS Integration Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
Usability Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Reuse Value Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar
Build Quality Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarblankstar

Bottom Line: The MOGA Rebel isn’t very portable, and the digital pad doesn’t feel super sturdy, but it shines rather brightly once you’re actually using it.

It seems like I’ve been looking for a portable (and worthwhile) MFi controller for ages. The Phonejoy is almost perfect, but it’s only currently available as a regular bluetooth controller. MOGA’s Ace Power is relatively compact, and it can charge your iPhone in a pinch, but it doesn’t feel particularly durable and you need to take the phone’s case off (assuming you use one, like many people do) to connect it. Funny, then, that something even less portable like the MOGA Rebel has quickly become my preferred iPhone controller, despite its issues.

The Rebel is far more conventional-looking than many recent MFi controllers. It’s about the same size and shape as a typical console controller, and it features the same general layout - left and right analog sticks, a digital control pad, four shoulder buttons, and four face buttons. It means it’s a bit more of a hassle to carry around (it’s not exactly pocket-size), but the tradeoff is a far more ‘normal’ feeling controller that works for both the iPhone and iPad.

I think MOGA might have also made some adjustments after the somewhat lukewarm reception of the Ace Power. While the Rebel does feel pretty light when compared to a typical console - or even PC - controller (because there are no motors for force-feedback vibrations), the plastic looks and feels a lot more sturdy. I’m not super-enthusiastic about the digital control pad, though. Due to its circular shape it can be difficult to get the intended direction to register properly, and I’m decidedly not a fan of the way it ‘clicks’ when you press it.

Using the Rebel with an iPad is simply a matter of propping the tablet up and syncing the two devices. Then you can play any compatible games on your iPad as though it were a small TV. Using it with an iPhone is another matter. There’s a small section in the middle of the controller that flips up, revealing an extendable clamp that will hold your device in place nice and snug. And as an added bonus, you can leave the iPhone’s case on (!!!). I do wish there were a few more degrees to the clamp’s rotation, though. I tend to tilt my controllers up a bit when I play, which means my iPhone ends up tilted forward a bit too much, so I have to decide between having to hunch in to see better or keep my wrists in a less than ideal position while I play.

Another issue I came across rather unexpectedly was the Rebel losing its connection with my iPhone. At home it works totally fine and I've yet to have any issues, but when I took it with me when I left the apartment it had a tendency to only connect for about 30 seconds or so and then drop out. Constant reconnects and resettings didn't fix the problem, either. I think (emphasis on think) there might have been some sort of signal interference, since I tried again when I got home and everything was fine, but it was pretty odd and very irritating all the same.

Despite those hiccups, I actually really like the MOGA Rebel. I probably wouldn’t take it along on a commute, but for vacation/around the house use it’s pretty darn impressive no matter what iOS device you want to use it with. Seriously, I’ve been playing Monster Hunter Freedom Unite with it and it’s been fantastic.

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