The GameSir X3 controller for Android is overkill to the point of becoming annoying.

The GameSir X3 may be the perfect mobile controller for the most ardent Android gamers, offering nearly all the features you could want, including extensive customization and an RGB fan, but that excess comes at a price.

COOLING The addition of a 4,000 square millimeter cooling pad and an RGB fan distinguishes the GameSir X3 from the X2 as the main upgrade. I can’t dispute that the GameSir X3 appeared to be outrageously extravagant when I first saw them in person.

This controller has all the characteristics of a typical gaming peripheral, including flashing lights, a sizable cooling vent, and general size. The GameSir X3 would be a showpiece for maximalist design if it weren’t for the simplicity of the controllers’ color palette.

Of course, all of that flashy display serves a single purpose: improved cooling will lead to higher performance. I started up a few games on a GameCube emulator in an effort to adequately stress my phone.

The battery temperature climbed to almost 37C while I played one of my favorite classics on the GameSir X3 while the fan was turned off. Although somewhat warm, this is still within the Pixel 6 Pro’s safe operating range.

I continued to play after plugging in the RGB fan component of the GameSir X3. I played another level with the full cooling turned on, and discovered that the temperature had dropped to about 33C while the outside was remarkably cool to the touch. This was a terrific result in my book, even though the phone was undoubtedly warmer than it would be otherwise.

I can’t dispute that the GameSir X3 (available on Amazon ) keeps your phone cooler for prolonged gaming sessions and delivers on its promise. However, the advantages really only apply to people who play demanding mobile games like Call of Duty Mobile, Fortnite, and Apex Legends. The advantages of additional cooling are negligible for cloud gamers.

COMFORT Anyone who used the GameSir X2 or indeed anyone who played the Nintendo Switch should feel comfortable using the GameSir X3 in their hands. Two analog sticks are located at the top-left and bottom-right of the screen, along with a directional pad, ABXY face buttons, start, menu, and screenshot.

Two shoulder buttons and two triggers with simple (extremely noisy and clicky) switches rather than something with a dynamic pull range are located at the top edge. Nothing feels out of place, and everything is arranged reasonably comfortably. Even though I would have preferred a little more space between the sticks and the face buttons, I don’t consider that to be a deal-breaker.

Two circular regions with fantastic textures are located around the back of the GameSir X3 to provide space for your other fingers to rest and hold the controller. Your phone and the X3 won’t budge when you have them in your hands because of the texture that aids prevent slippage.

The cooling component does weigh more than usual, which is a drawback for the controller. Although it is generally lighter than a Nintendo Switch, it has some perceptible heaviness that could eventually cause your wrists some discomfort.

The X3 is already a well-built, moderately comfortable controller when used as intended right out of the box, but GameSir has pushed the envelope with its newest mobile product by adding customization options. For a more pleasant experience, several of the controller’s essential components can come loose and be switched out as needed. In all honesty, it makes me think of having a Lego controller.

GameSir has provided two different height options for the analog sticks in the box, which are easily removed and repositioned. With slip-on convex/concave grips, you can also expand the control sticks’ surface area, albeit these can occasionally slip.

The GameSir X3’s level of analog stick customisation was amazing to see as someone who used to take first-person shooters rather seriously, even customizing my controller with KontrolFreeks .

Similar to this, you can connect a directional pad with a more angular design that facilitates easier thumb movements and remove the default one, which has the usual cross pattern, by applying a little more force than I’d like to. It truly comes down to choosing between precision and speed in this situation, and each player is free to select their favorite configuration.

COMPATIBILITY The GameSir X3 is only presently offered in a USB-C variant, which makes it only compatible with Android devices. Models with Bluetooth or Lightning connections, like the X2, might be released in the future, but as of right now, Android is the only operating system supported.

The controller should suit any phone up to 179mm in height, according the manufacturer’s specifications. During my testing, I utilized the Pixel 6 Pro without much trouble, and the controller worked just fine with the phone’s infamously thick camera bar. However, a cased phone cannot be used with the USB-C port since it is not nearly long enough.

As long as your favourite game has controller support, the GameSir X3 is ready to play right out of the box without the need for any additional software. To map your buttons, triggers, and sticks to on-screen touches in the absence of that, you’ll need to use GameSirs software.

The GameSir X3 performed flawlessly while I was playing on Google Stadia, several emulators, and other games without the need for any additional configuration.

The ABXY buttons, however, will be positioned incorrectly on anything that anticipates a Nintendo-style layout. And in a weird turn of events, despite the GameSir X3 being set up exactly as it should be, the Xbox Game Pass app also fails to read these buttons correctly.

The GameSir app provides options to modify your controller for compatibility with Nintendo-like apps and for Game Pass usage, so theoretically this can be fixed. However, there are a few important limitations to this software.

To start, the app’s Play Store edition does not offer access to all of its capabilities. One of the key components of mapping controller presses to the touchscreen is a very risky process of wirelessly debugging the GameSir software on your phone. This feature is absent from the Play Store version, and you will receive a strong warning from Google Play Protect if you attempt to sideload the APK from the GameSir website.

Another quibble is that the GameSir app presently fails on devices running Android 13 Beta, when this was not the case only a few weeks ago, even if it is unlikely to affect the majority of gamers. Putting those negative aspects aside, changing the layout of your ABXY buttons via the GameSir app is quite simple.

This is where the GameSir X3’s extensive customization may once again shine. All four of the face buttons can be removed and moved, albeit doing so requires careful use of your fingernails. This is because they are only secured in place by moderately powerful magnets.

DO YOU NEED TO PURCHASE THE GAMESIR X3? There is no doubting the GameSir X3’s attraction to die-hard mobile gamers. It is one of the better examples of transforming a phone into a Nintendo Switch-like device that I have seen. You can play for hours on end while it simultaneously cools and charges your phone. Even more so, it may be highly customized to better fit your hands and playing style.

These appealing characteristics, however, come at a price. The X3 is not a particularly appealing controller, unless you are a serious fan of the garish RGB lights of the gamer aesthetic. And for cloud gamers, who shouldn’t be having heat-related problems, the fan is just bulky and extra weight. Directly speaking, the GameSir X3 has an retail price of $99 , which is a little more than some people may want to spend on their mobile gaming system.

It truly boils down to your personal values. The GameSir X3 (available on Amazon ) is well worth its price if you need top-notch cooling or you want the most customizability possibilities for your favorite game. There are, however, more affordable and portable choices if all you’re looking for is a quick and simple way to add a controller to your phone. Fans of cloud gaming and less serious players might opt to continue using the GameSir X2 instead.

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