Mad Catz M.O.J.O – Hands on Review
Author :        Date : 23-Dec-15

The android micro-console market seemed to go out of control with so many competitors trying to capture some of the success following the OUYA. The result was a flood of similar devices with mobile cellular components and an Android operating system. The Dark Watcher took advantage of the situation, and purchased a Mad Catz M.O.J.O for a bargain.

Now before we take the opportunity to provide our review, we feel we should put out some info and caveats in order for you to tweak perceptions accordingly. We have some technical experience, and were able to root the device similar to what we had accomplished with the OUYA android micro-console. This allowed us to open far more of the console’s capabilities than a casual purchaser. We will refer to the OUYA since it sets the stage of our intentions, and is our first venture into android micro-console devices. The OUYA was our little Android “couch leg” that could. It served as a portable media center with gaming functionality (ideal for business trips). Our motivation behind buying the Mad Catz M.O.J.O was more power…more capability.

When Mad Catz provided a firmware update allowing for “OUYA Everywhere,” our intention was to turn the M.O.J.O into an OUYA with a Hemi engine without the need to root. All of our OUYA content and games carried over to M.O.J.O. Media streaming applications that we previously ran Standard Definition now ran in High Definition on M.O.J.O (up to a theoretical 4K, but we are not that TV cool yet). Games that showed some stutter in framerate now ran smoother, and we were able to bump up scale, blitters, and filters with no penalty. In addition to OUYA’s library, the M.O.J.O further taps the mobile gaming market allowing games from the Google Play Store, TegraZone, and Amazon.

In comparison to the OUYA’s cube design, the M.O.J.O has a ramp-like flatter design roughly the dimensions of a CD case and is 50mm at its thickest. It reminds us of a doorstop, but remains black, sleek, portable, and inconspicuous. The console is durable, easy to keep clean, and runs completely quiet while remaining cool. The console also outclassed the OUYA’s audio capability by providing of 5.1-channel surround sound over HDMI with 3.5mm stereo.

We were able to get a lot out of M.O.J.O without root, but followed Mad Catz own guidance just to open up more potential (for example removing the menu bar at the bottom of the screen). It was not that difficult and did not take long following the steps, but note again about user experience. We dabbled with Flash memory and streaming stuff via UPnP and DLNA (using XBMC / Kodi, Cloud apps, etc.). The M.O.J.O recognized our external SATA “FAT32″ formatted hard drive, which we found works best powered through the USB 3.0 port. Admittedly, it took some time for the M.O.J.O to see the hard drive the first time we connected it. Think of it as the M.O.J.O doing an inventory of what’s on the drive. The bigger the drive…the longer the initial wait. We did not test NTFS or EXT3/4 formatted drives.

We remain impressed with the feel and versatility of the low-latency Bluetooth controller dubbed C.T.R.L.R. It sports an Xbox 360 like layout, and is very responsive (particularly compared to our 1st generation OUYA controller). We didn’t mind switching between game mode and mouse mode. If anything, it expanded the compatibility of many Google Play store and side-loaded apps. We dabbled with the controller in PC mode and found it as a suitable addition should we need it. The controller also came with a travel clip should you want to use it for mobile cellular gaming (We still haven’t tried it.). We were initially concerned about the controller dongle taking up one of the M.O.J.O’s USB ports, but later had no issues with the dongle in the USB 2.0 port (with the hard drive running on the USB 3.0 port). We did not test on USB hubs. The integrated media controls are a nice perk as well. We did test gaming with a Playstation 3 Dual Shock, which works well, but must stay corded. OUYA controllers also worked. Oddly enough, the Playstation 3 Bluetooth media remote works.

Some added perks we discovered from the Mad Catz M.O.J.O was that it can access our 5 GHz Wi-Fi network, which is a nice bonus. We also noticed that we can use the M.O.J.O as a Wi-Fi hotspot. The expandable storage microSD SDXC cards up to 128GB was also welcome. In terms of gamer value, we found it good at $99 or less from original MSRP. Access to the OUYA game library coupled with games from the mobile gaming market adds incentive. There is further added incentive for use a portable media center, for modders, hackers and indie developers.

CRITERIA RATING NOTES & COMMENTS
Console Design 09 The M.O.J.O has a ramp-like flatter design roughly the dimensions of a CD case and is 50mm at its thickest. It is black, sleek, portable, and inconspicuous.
Console Durability 08 The M.O.J.O has a smooth durable exterior that is easy to keep clean, and runs completely quiet while remaining cool.
Controllers 09 Versatile, comfortable, and responsive low-latency Bluetooth controller capable of multiple playing modes with integrated media controls. Other corded console and some Bluetooth compliant controller compatible.
Graphics 07 M.O.J.O is capable of full 1080p resolution reported up to 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD).  Graphics and shader quality are somewhere between the Xbox at the close of the 6th generation and the 7th generation Nintendo Wii.
Audio 07 M.O.J.O is capable of 5.1-channel surround sound over HDMI with 3.5mm stereo.
Media N/A M.O.J.O only uses downloadable media.
Game Library 08 Taps the mobile gaming market allowing games from the OUYA library, Google Play Store, TegraZone, and Amazon.
Gamer Value 07 Good value at $99 or less from original MSRP, with extra incentive for a portable media center, modders, hackers and indie developers.
Collector Value N/A Difficult to discern at this point, especially with
other similar devices springing up within the
market.

 


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