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GameSir X3 Review

As phones continue to get more and more powerful and gaming services like Xbox Game Pass allow for remote play, being able to use your phone to play anywhere you’d like becomes pretty damn useful – enter the GameSir X3! GameSir already makes some pretty good controllers but they’ve decided to level up the compact X2 controller. Did it need to level up? Maybe, in some aspects. If you compared them side by side, one is Bruce Banner and the other is the Hulk.

The Gamesir X3 is a big boi!

When it comes to GameSir controllers, I had two previously. The Bluetooth X2 which is a nice compact mobile phone controller. And there’s the GameSir T4 Mini which became my Nintendo Switch controller of choice even if it is small (who would have known? Not like it’s in the name or anything). I like what they make and so the opportunity to play around with a new controller was not something I could pass up on. I was looking forward to this so much that I even downloaded a few new games to my phone. Now, you may be wondering why I didn’t do that with the X2. And the answer to that is that I only ever used it to play Xbox games in bed. That’s just who I am. But the X3? If I’m testing it, then I’m testing it properly.

gamesir x3

The Hardware

The biggest upgrade from the X2 to the X3 is the huge fan. It’s a chunky boy that lights up when plugged in that looks pretty cool. And talking of cool, that thermal pad gets cold! Real cold. Quickly as well. I know this because I played around with it before I even put my phone in there and my inner child couldn’t stop touching the silicon pad whilst going “ooh that’s cold”. The fan works incredibly well, even if it is loud, but it only works when it’s plugged in. Thankfully GameSir does provide you with a rather long and floppy USB-C cable. The floppiest USB-C cable I’ve ever seen. Sure, being able to power the fan from your connected phone would have been nice, but that’s also going to be a power drain.

Since the GameSir X3 is for gamers, there are some pretty neat hardware options available. And the good news is that you can make these changes yourself. In the box, you get some additional options like a different D-Pad, some extra thumbsticks and thumbstick caps. It might seem redundant, but it’s not. You can choose between having high or low-rise thumbsticks, concave or convex thumbstick caps and for the D-Pad you can choose standard or faceted. You can even swap the buttons around since for some reason in 2022 there’s still not a standard button layout. Is it really too hard to always put the A in the same position? Apparently so. But that’s not a problem here since you can move them around. You shouldn’t have to, but that’s beside the point. It’s a nice addition and shows the thought that has gone into designing this controller. Swappable hardware will be appreciated since we all prefer different things.

The bumper buttons on the top of the controller are low-profile and clicky. Apparently, you can get around 3 million clicks out of them, which I might have tried to test before getting bored. So I can neither confirm nor deny whether this is the case. What I can say though is that they still sound nice and still work well.

There are also some additional buttons, the most useful of which is a screenshot button. It was quite pleasing to find that it worked with screenshotting mobile games as I was half expecting it to only work with my Xbox.

Design and Functionality

When you initially hold this thing in your hand, you’ll immediately notice that it’s chunky. That’s not just down to the fan, although that does add some depth to it. The ends have some extra depth too which adds to the comfort when holding it. 

My only complaint initially was that when I put my phone into the controller the first time, it wasn’t sitting correctly. Turns out that if you have a case on your phone it doesn’t lay flat in the controller. Who doesn’t have a case on their phone? You’ve either got to be crazy or just like to show everyone how many times you’ve dropped it by how cracked the back glass is. I’m not one of those people. I protect my phone. But in the interest of giving this a fair go, I removed the case. It looks so good in there with no case on. And then my brain engaged a bit as I realised that the cooler probably works a lot better if it’s actually touching your phone and not the case. I played some games that I knew from the previous week heated my phone up pretty good and enjoyed playing them with a cool phone. That fan and cooling pad work really well and keep my phone cold AF.

My only complaint is that the fan doesn’t instantly come on when you plug it in. The RBG lights come on and you get a whiney noise. It takes just short of 20 seconds for the fan to start up which stops the whiney noise. If I’m gaming and can feel my phone getting hot, I want to try and cool that down as fast as possible, so the little wait when you plug the fan in isn’t great. But on the plus side, when it fires up it cools things down so well and fast that the delay is kind of mitigated.

As previously mentioned, you can swap components out and move the buttons around. The simplicity of doing so is quality. You just pull them off and pop either new ones in or move the buttons around. There’s enough bite on them that even after swapping them over they don’t just fall off. It’s clear that a lot of thought has gone into the functionality of the controller and that’s always nice to see.

I do wish there was a black version though. That’d look so good.

gamesir x3 sonic

Connection and Software

Unlike my X2, the GameSir X3 only comes with a USB-C connection to your phone. That’s always going to be better than Bluetooth.

The good news is that some games work instantly with the controller on Android. One of my test games was Apple Knight and there was zero setup required. It just worked, with buttons corresponding to the on-screen buttons and the thumbstick moving the character around at pace. Delightful and so much better with a controller than it was previously. Games like Sonic 2 also work perfectly before I realised that I’m no longer the Sonic god that I was – or maybe never was, but I prefer to remember my childhood as being amazing at Sonic. No one can prove otherwise.

Older games will likely require you to install the GameSir app so that you can map the on-screen buttons but with all the games I wanted to play, the controller works perfectly from the get-go. And as an Xbox controller, as I play through my phone from the comfort of my bed, it’s perfect.

Conclusions

The GameSir X3 delivers on a lot of what it promises. The main aspect is keeping your phone cool and it does an incredible job of that. It’s not as portable as my X2 controller as it’s considerably bigger and if I want to use the fan I need to make sure I’m near a plug or at least a USB port to connect to. I’m okay with that as I’m not planning to get rid of my X2 controller. One can go on holiday with me and the other can be my one for moving around the house where I can take advantage of being able to plug it in.

The swappable buttons were a concern going in, having read about them beforehand, but they stay in place. You might catch and pull off a thumbstick, but you’d have to pull it pretty hard in that instance. It’s been built really well from that aspect and my concerns were for nothing. It’s a great design choice that gives the controller more purpose. There’s not much worse in gaming when you want to confirm something only to find you’d just pressed back, all because the buttons are the wrong way around. They’re so easy to swap over, whilst still feeling stable thanks to some small magnets, that it solves that particular problem.

My only issue is the initial noise of the fan when you plug it in whilst you wait for the fan to start up. It’s a small annoyance in an otherwise brilliant controller. The main selling point is that it keeps your phone cool, and at that, it does a brilliant job once the fan kicks in.

I rate the GameSir X3 a solid 9/10. It’s a great controller that does everything that GameSir said it would do. I highly recommend it. At $99 it’s pretty fairly priced.

If you’d like to get your hands on the GameSir X3 then you can do so here: GameSir X3 Type-C Peltier-Cooled Mobile Gaming Controller – GameSir Official Store

A sample was kindly provided for us to review this product.

We Score This Game

rating score: 9

Fantastic!

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