Mobile gaming has made leaps and bounds within the past few years. With the likes of Google Stadia (sort of), Apple Arcade, and Microsoft’s Project xCloud, we’re in the middle of another giant step forward — one where AAA experiences can be played on the go, with your phone, and without a lapse in the overall experience.
So, what’s the only thing that’s holding mobile gaming back? Touch controls. No one loves the inaccuracy and fumbling that comes with navigating a traditional game by swiping at your screen, and pulling out a controller isn’t always convenient when you only have a few minutes to spare.
Luckily, the folks at GameSir may have just the solution to take your mobile gaming experience to the next level — a portable mobile gaming controller that looks and feels like it’s made for a console.
Zoom In: Specs
- Included in the Box: GameSir X2 / User manual / Stickers / Thank-you letter
- Working Platform: Android, Cloud Gaming
- Connection: Wired Type-C
- Maximum Device Length: 6.57 in / 167 mm
- Power Consumption: 2mAh
- Battery: No
- Material: PC+ABS
Here is a video from our reviewer Cody Campbell. He unboxes and reviews the new X2 Bluetooth Controller as well as the F7 Claw Tablet Controller.
What’s in the Box?
Keeping things simple, the GameSir X2 only includes the controller, a user manual, a couple of stickers, and a thank you letter in the box.
There are no additional charging cables, replacement parts, or any other extras to go with it. Even the user manual is only two pages of instructions, which makes sense for a controller meant to be user-friendly and intuitive.
Switch It Up
Let’s get this out of the way — the X2 looks like a Nintendo Switch. The button layout, thumbsticks, and even the home and snapshot buttons are basically all laid out like Joy-Cons.
Honestly, there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s a reason the Switch is now seen as the standard for mobile gaming, especially for controller add-ons around a touchscreen. The only drawback is that the plastic shell and buttons don’t hit the same level of quality. It may be an unfair comparison, but it’s difficult to avoid due to the design similarities.
But that quickly left my mind as soon as I picked up the device. Just like the GameSir F4 Falcon, the X2 is incredibly lightweight. It felt good to hold, relatively grippy, and the buttons and triggers were easy to reach. But would that impression hold up when playing?
Plug and Play?
The flexible Type-C connection port is a good idea on paper, but it was frustrating to connect with in practice. I also had to pull my friends’ Android Pixel 4 out of its case to fit, which seems to be a problem for literally every mobile controller manufacturer. These are annoying elements that push against the plug and play nature of the device.
However, once it was actually plugged in, the difficulties wholly subsided. There’s no additional app, minimal power consumption, and the controller simply worked once I adjusted the settings on Call of Duty Mobile. The buttons and triggers felt responsive and clicky and experienced virtually no lag between button inputs.
This is where the X2 truly shined. Sure, it’s not as simple as pulling it out of your backpack and slapping your phone in. But after a few minutes, you can be up and playing without having to make additional in device adjustments. For those that have xCloud, or any other streaming platform, this could be an excellent option for everything from FPS to puzzle titles.
My Achy-Breaky Hands
The one major drawback that comes from mimicking the Switch design is the ergonomics. Sure, the grips and layout work incredibly well, but they also lead to gradual palm and finger pain the longer you use it. A lot of it has to do with the integration of the flat plastic back and where it collides with the rubber grips.
It’s just not comfortable to use after a while. Add in the lack of squishy rubber on the grips, and it just compounds the issue. The only thing I’ll say about this is that you’ll likely only be using this in short bursts, which means you may not come across this issue.
As far as mobile controllers go, the X2 is one of the more impressive. It’s simple to use, reflects a prominent mobile gaming design, and is basically plug-and-play when it comes to software. If it weren’t for how uncomfortable the grips are during long sessions and the fact that it’s only compatible with Android devices, this would be a top tier purchase. But for the mobile gaming enthusiasts out there, this is a worthwhile purchase that makes me excited about their next controller design.
Zoom Out: Verdict
The GameSir X2 feels like a natural step for mobile gaming controllers, even if it doesn’t quite take a full step forward. The design, functionality, and simplicity are all perfect for cloud or app-based gaming on the go. But the $60 price point, Android exclusivity, and uncomfortable grips mean this is a device built for enthusiasts willing to spend more and put up with a few quirks.
- Minimal battery usage
- Ability to charge while in use
- Familiar but high-quality controller shell with tactile buttons
- Only compatible with mid-sized Android devices
- Flexible Type-C port is frustrating to connect with
- Grip padding isn’t especially grippy or comfortable