Gaming

Review: GameSir X2 Gaming Controller for Mobile and Xbox xCloud

Review: GameSir X2 Gaming Controller for Mobile and Xbox xCloud

About as soon as we posted up our mobile controller picks for Xbox Cloud Gaming, we quickly noticed that another contender slipped by our radar. We have dabbled with GameSir products ourselves, so we were intrigued to discover their new GameSir X2 Type-C Mobile Gaming Controller. This $69.99 controller physically connects to your Android device through USB-C as it clamps onto your phone in landscape mode. We loved the benefits we saw in virtually latency-free gaming with the Razer Kishi, where Bluetooth is out of the equation. So, with as much as GameSir has done in the mobile gaming market, we simply had to check out their approach to this direct-connection gaming model.

Let’s dive right into the GameSir X2 Type-C Mobile Gaming Controller.

Build, Features and Comfort

Off the bat, the GameSir X2’s build is very reminiscent of a Nintendo Switch’s handheld layout. You have a segmented D-pad, four front action buttons, dual analog sticks, two bumpers, two triggers, and G and S buttons that act as “Select” and “Start” buttons respectively. Intended for use with Android devices, the controller also features a Home button to access your device’s home screen as well as a dedicated Screenshot button. On the bottom of the controller you have a pass-through USB-C charging port for charging your device while it is docked within the GameSir X2.

The GameSir X2 expands and contracts onto your Android phone, while the controller slots into your phone via that exposed USB-C jack. The controller itself is powered by your device, using 2mAh of your phone’s battery to power it. If you are as anxious as I was about inserting and removing a phone from this exposed USB-C jack, you might be in for a surprise. The USB-C jack is actually on a hinge, allowing it to bend up to 51 degrees. This allowed for easy device insertion and removal, significantly lessoning my initial worries about damaging the controller or, worse yet, my phone. It was a simple yet effective idea by GameSir.

The GameSir X2 can handle devices up to 167mm in length, allowing it to hold a device like the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ with ease.

However, all of my gaming runs were done with the smaller Samsung Galaxy S20. Large or small, once your device is in the GameSir X2, the grasp and unit as a whole is solid and sturdy.

Battletoads

Once your device is in the GameSir X2, your setup is complete. There is no software to install. The controller simply starts working with your Android device immediately.

Returning to how the controller’s layout was similar to that of a Nintendo Switch, it is important to note that the front facing buttons actually follow the Nintendo Switch layout as well. Comparing this to an Xbox One controller, the positions of the X and Y buttons as well as the A and B buttons are swapped. I will dive into why that matters later.

The screenshot button was a feature that I did not know that I wanted in mobile gaming until now. I love capturing gameplay as much as the next person. So being able to take a screenshot of any mobile gaming moments without having to quickly press volume-down and power buttons on my Samsung Galaxy S20 was a luxury. This feature was especially welcomed during my Xbox Cloud Gaming sessions, where I did not have access to any “Xbox Record That” features when playing on mobile. This was indeed a very nice add-on by GameSir.

As far as comfort goes, the controller is easy to handle and use. The rubberized surfaces on the back really come into play here. The controller’s buttons lean on the smaller side, and without those rubberized grips, the controller might have been trickier to play with in longer play sessions. That said, the buttons are snappy, responsive, and have a good feel to them. The bumper and trigger buttons also feature a nice “clicky” feel to them. They are also built for the long haul as GameSir touts these four top buttons as having a 3-million click lifespan.

When it came to long term use, I found some differences that came from the different game genres I ran the GameSir X2 through. I tackle that in the next section…

Performance
Destiny 2

The GameSir X2’s low latency’s responsiveness shined brightly in all of the gaming genres that I ran it through. Side-scrollers and fighters benefited greatly and were especially fun to play with the GameSir X2. Personally, the segmented D-pad is not my cup of tea as I prefer the more classic “+” shape. Given my love for fighting games, the segmented D-pad makes it trickier for me to pull off command inputs as I would like. Here, the D-pad is even more segmented than what you would see in a PlayStation controller.

Street Fighter IV Champion Edition for Android

Nevertheless, Street Fighter IV Champion Edition for Android was still playable enough to be fun. At times I felt myself using the left analog for movement and command inputs instead. If you are a seasoned Nintendo Switch gamer that plays fighting games, this will probably not be an issue for you at all.

King of Fighters Allstar

Of course, I had to toss the GameSir X2 at my current favorite mobile game, King of Fighters Allstar. Since the game does not support controller usage, I was able to use the Octopus overlay to map touch controls to that of the GameSir X2 without issue. Just like that, the side-scroller played well without a hitch.

Modern Combat 5

Shooters also played quite well, as I was able to dive right into Modern Combat 5 for Android and seamlessly maintain that first-person shooter experience.

I will say that the GameSir X2’s somewhat smaller controls led to some fatigue, particularly with first-person or third-person shooters after a couple of hours. It was just something I noticed more with how I held the GameSir X2 in shooters as opposed to how I held it when playing fighters or side-scrollers. Intended for portability, the controls are closer together on the GameSir X2 than on a Nintendo Switch, where there is more real-estate for your hands to work with.

When it came to Xbox Cloud Gaming, you had to take note of the difference in button layout between the GameSir X2 and a traditional Xbox One controller. As mentioned before, the positions of X and Y as well as A and B are swapped in comparison. If you play certain shooters excessively enough on a traditional Xbox One controller, you might have developed the level of muscle memory where this would trip you up. Thanks to my recorded 2020 hours of Destiny 2 gameplay, I certainly felt this right off the bat.

However, if you are lucky, the Xbox One game that you have developed muscle memory for might allow for full button remapping. If it does, a couple of minutes of button reassignments should wash that problem away for you when playing on mobile.

Thankfully, the shooters that I personally like supported full button remapping. This allowed me to enjoy Gears of War 5 and more importantly, Destiny 2 with a button layout that my hands were used to. The smaller controls took some getting used to at first. However, it was not too long before I felt comfortable playing on my couch. As mentioned before, fatigue did settle in after a couple of hours. However, considering how many weeklies I got done before my hands got tired, I considered it an overall success.

Side-scrolling beat-em-ups with more linear movement played exceptionally well. For instance, Streets of Rage 4 and the new Battletoads played quite nicely. I found myself linking combos in Streets of Rage 4 as easily as I did back when the game first released. It was truly a satisfying experience.

Streets of Rage 4
Final Thoughts

Overall, the GameSir X2 Type-C Mobile Gaming Controller is a nice competitor in the mobile gaming market. USB-C connectivity offers low-latency responsiveness, which is even more welcomed if you worry about latency in cloud gaming. At $69.99, it offers a cheaper solution than the Razer Kishi. Its somewhat smaller controls can be fatiguing to bigger hands depending on the games being played. Also, depending on your tastes and the GameSir X2’s native button layout, some Xbox games may need some initial time spent in the options before the games can feel “close to home”. If you can get past that, then you can very well enjoy the GameSir X2 for what it gives you at its price tag.

If you are looking to compare mobile controllers for either your favorite controller-supported Android games or the Xbox Cloud Gaming experience, make sure to check out the GameSir X2 Type-C Mobile Gaming Controller for yourself here

† As usual, there are no affiliate links contained within this post. We were provided a GameSir X2 Type-C Mobile Gaming Controller for Android for review purposes and were not compensated for this review.