Isn’t it weird how controllers can just feel wrong? They might look right – heck, they might even smell right – but something about them just feels off. They might have all the sticks and buttons you’d expect, they might be sturdily constructed and suitably weighty, but there’s just something intrinsically and near indefinably wrong about them. You know what I mean? Well, for all its positives, the GameSir X2 Pro Mobile Controller for Android is one of those controllers.
First off, those aforementioned positives. The GameSir X2 Pro is an absolute doddle to set up. Even I, a near Luddite-like tech clutz, had the controller working in mere seconds. You simply slide the two sides of the controller apart and then attach your Android phone to the little USB-C connector bit – which can be moved and arched to firmly snug into your phone’s port. Either end of the controller then neatly and smoothly slides back into position, keeping your phone securely fastened in its plastic embrace. Boom. Done. That
All that remains to be done is to download the GameSir app, which, unfortunately, sucks. On the one hand, it does get your controller working promptly, but on the other, it does nothing else particularly well. It’s prone to crashing and a chore to navigate, and the app even recommends games that don’t work with the controller. I mean, what the heck? I guess the main positive of the GameSir app is that you can pretty much ignore it entirely.
Still, find a game that does support the controller and you’ll be laughing. The GameSir X2 Pro is a sturdily built piece of kit. The thumbsticks offer a reliable sense of control during some particularly frenetic FPS action. That doesn’t mean I don’t still suck at playing Halo, but the controller can only do so much. My one complaint with the thumbsticks is that the little rubber cap covers fall off far too easily. Despite my best attempts to attach them, they slid back off every time. A couple are likely lurking on Northwest Trains – let me know if you find them?
The buttons click in a delightfully full-throated way, and there’s plenty of them. Alongside regular buttons, you have back buttons built into the rubberised grips, while the controller is also flush with all the menu buttons you could need, so if tinkering with video game menu screens is your thing, then the GameSir will get you to your nirvana pretty darn quick. There’s a dedicated share button for snapping screenshots of your gaming exploits, and the licenses Xbox version that we tested had a large Xbox home button as well.
Sadly, the accompanying D-pad is rather naff, as it feels cheap and light to the touch. Ultimately, it really didn’t give me the sense of command over my little Among Us dude that I require from my D-pad. Playing anything more demanding certainly wouldn’t work out too well.
And then we come to the shoulder buttons, and this is where the GameSir X2 Pro struggles most. They are simply too close together, forcing your fingers into a strange Vulcan death grip position. Sustained play certainly gets uncomfortable and will likely result in the player seeking out some finger stretch yoga videos on YouTube. The triggers don’t deliver either, the compromises to get to this form factor failing to offer the range of motion and detail that truly great controllers bring to the table. Sure, it means if I really have to, I can play Halo on my phone, but this certainly offers no comparison to a console controller.
The GameSir X2 Pro comes in a few versions. The one I got my hands on for this review is the licensed Xbox version for Android, which is available in either black or white, but there’s also equivalent controllers for iPhones with a Lightning connector, and a version for Android that’s absent of Xbox branding. The Xbox editions come in at £80, which feels a little rich but is generally in the range of rivals like the Razer Kishi, while the others can be had for £60 or less, which is easier to justify.