With almost everyone having access to a high-performance, touch screen computer in their pocket, the ability to game on the go has risen exponentially. On the heels of increased accessibility, has come an increase in the complexity of the games available to play on mobile devices. Gone are the days of playing a quick game of Solitaire or even Angry Birds. Instead, why not play a quick round of Fortnite, PUBG, and even Call of Duty Mobile?
While the ability to play your favorite FPS titles on your phone is a great benefit, the adapted touch controls still leave much to be desired in terms of tactile feel and real-time inputs. The good folks at GameSir might have the solution you’ve been looking for with the F4 Falcon Mobile Gaming Controller a mechanical add-on. For me, playing with the controller hearkened back to the feel of holding a Gameboy for the first time.
In this hands-on review, I’ll share my experience using the controller to play Fortnite and PUBG on an iPhone Xs Max, and if this mechanical option is worth choosing over a Bluetooth or wired mobile controller.
Zoom In: Specs
- Platform Compatibility: iOS & Android
- Connection Type: Plug-and-Play
- Battery Capacity: 90 mAh
- Charging Time: 1-2 Hour(s)
- In The Box: GameSir F4 Controller/Type-C Cable/Manual/Thank-You Note
- Package Size: 82.3 * 45 * 25.5mm
- Return Policy: 30 days
- Warranty: 12 month
Opening up the box, it became obvious that GameSir wanted to keep things simple and minimalist, with the only items necessary being the controller, a Type-C charging cable, and a short user manual. The design of the controller itself is extremely compact and lightweight, which, when folded up fits directly in the palm of your hand and could easily be stowed away in a pocket.
For being so small, it feels incredibly well made and hearkens back to the look and feel of an old school Gameboy or even the Nintendo DS. Since this is a device that will be gripping your phone, the concern of scratching or cracking the surface of the device came to mind. Thankfully, GameSir had this in mind and coated the interior of the device with a solid rubber material that compresses nicely when pressure is applied.
Attaching the device to your phone is extremely simple. All it takes is extending the two top arms out and stretching out the “lever” at the base of the controller to fit over the phone’s screen. The one strange feature here is that to turn the controller on; you need to pull the lever down for 5-seconds until the green lights on the front disappear. This felt like a strange way to activate the device. Initially, I had difficulty telling if the device was activated or not (until I began pressing the controls).
The other major issue I had was that the controller couldn’t fit the iPhone XS Max without removing the phone case. For those that have a smaller device, this won’t be a problem. But since the controller does need to contact the screen manually, the raised edge of most cases will most likely make the controller incompatible. A small gripe, but one that does matter if this device is purchased with the intention for quick plug-and-play on the go.
Did having the mechanical controller make a difference in-game performance? Testing it in Fortnite, after mapping the fire and scope buttons to lie underneath the mechanical tabs, I jumped into a match. I was pleasantly surprised to find the controller worked exactly as advertised. The right and left trigger buttons were solid and presented a satisfying click noise that directly translated to in-game action with each button press. The turbo modes were a neat feature that allowed for 3-shot and 6-shot burst fire options. And it only required one more press of the button to go back to standard fire. For me, using the controller felt like it made a difference. It alleviated much of the inconsistency issues that come from firing and aiming with touch controls in competitive shooters.
High Ground View
The plug-and-play nature of the F4 Falcon is a unique and useful mobile controller. I didn’t experience any compatibility issues that Bluetooth controllers are notorious for. The fact that it can’t fit over larger phone model cases is a bit of a downer, but I imagine most serious gamers won’t mind peeling off their case for a superior experience. The mechanical triggers feel extremely satisfying and my “mistaps” were all but eliminated. Keep in mind, this controller is compatible only with mappable mobile titles. Right now, its sitting at a price point of around $30. For that price, the F4 Falcon is an excellent option for mobile FPS enthusiasts that don’t mind shelling out a little extra cash for great performance in their favorite games.
- Best iOS Game Controllers
- Best Android Game Controllers
- Best Controllers for Fortnite
- Best Controllers for Apex Legends
Comfort - 9/10
Performance - 9/10
Features - 7/10
A mechanical mobile controller that ditches the familiarity of most Bluetooth controllers for the old school feel of a traditional handheld. While it may require the phone case to be removed before use, the satisfying tactile feel of each button press and immediate response time makes up for the small inconvenience. The price point is a bit high, but if you’re looking for improved performance for the FPS genre, the F4 Falcon is a great option.
- Small, lightweight and collapsible design
- Solid and well-built exterior with flexible rubber interior
- Satisfying mechanical button presses with immediate response time
- Not compatible with larger phones and cases
- Only works with mobile titles that feature custom touch control options