GameSir X3 Type-C mobile controller bringing console gaming to Android


As Android phones get more powerful, we’re able to play more graphically intensive games. I find on-screen touch controls work great, but I soon get tired due to the terrible ergonomics. One solution is to use a third-party accessory like the GameSir X3 Type-C controller.

the Gamesir X3 Type-C for Android Phone (110-179mm). Picture: GameSir.
the Gamesir X3 Type-C for Android Phone (110-179mm). Picture: GameSir.

The GameSir X3 is beautifully designed with comfort and customisability in mind. It features a large RGB fan on the back to suck any heat from your phone while playing games.

It comes with a hardshell protective case with enough storage for the X3 and the extra control sticks, rubber control stick caps and a USB-C cable that come with the controller.

The extra control sticks are slightly longer which I prefer as it provides a little more fine control. The thumbstick caps increase the surface area and come in both concave and convex shapes.

Gamers can swap the layout between the standard Xbox ABXY layout and Switch ABXY layout. Picture: GameSir.
Gamers can swap the layout between the standard Xbox ABXY layout and Switch ABXY layout. Picture: GameSir.

The X, Y, B and A buttons can be changed around depending on which pattern you’re used to. They pop in and out easily and stay in place with the help of magnets. There’s also an additional D-pad button that has a different shape/style to choose from.

The controller expands to fit most phones but I found a few exceptions including the unusually thick Doogee S98. The largest phone I tested was the massive Huawei Mate 20 X 5G with its 7.2-inch display and it fitted just fine.

The Gamesir X3 with clicky shoulder triggers. Picture: GameSir.
The Gamesir X3 with clicky shoulder triggers. Picture: GameSir.

All of the buttons including the shoulder triggers have a great, clicky feel to them.

There’s no built-in battery so the controller uses your phone’s battery. There are two USB-C ports — one that powers the fan and the other is a passthrough to charge your phone. It would have been nicer if there was only one USB-C port that could power the fan and charge your phone with a software or hardware switch to turn on and off the fan.

GameSir App

The Gamesir App serves as a library for your games and allows you to modify the function of the buttons. Here you can customise games that don’t natively support the controller by mapping the on-screen touch controls. This does take a little trial and error but once you’ve got it the way you like it, you can save the configuration directly to the X3.

Colourful fan

The X3 has a dynamic RGB backlight. Picture: GameSir.
The X3 has a dynamic RGB backlight. Picture: GameSir.

The fan adds some bulk and weight to the X3, but it does an amazing job of keeping your phone super cool. With a combination of 4000 mm² cooling area, 128 heat transfer columns and a 7500RPM 7-blade fan for increased airflow, it can efficiently cool down a phone by up to a 12°C drop in the CPU temperature and 24°C drop in surface temperature.

I tested several phones and one, in particular, could not complete the 3DMark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test because it would overheat and crash the app. When I put it in the X3 and turned on the fan, it keep it cool enough to complete the test with a solid 90.7% stability. That’s an incredible difference.

If you want to play a game with the fan on and you need to also charge your phone you’ll need two power sources. This is far from ideal but I used a large power bank that had several USB outputs. However, even with the fan off, the thermal pad on the controller does help to dissipate heat and not all games need the extra cooling the fan provides.

Gaming with the X3

Gamesir X3 Type-C controller. Picture: Noel Campion.
Gamesir X3 Type-C controller. Picture: Noel Campion.

I tested a lot of Android games and one of my favourites was Call of Duty Mobile. I had to use the GameSir app to configure the controls but once I had that dialled in, I was able to play the game for much longer than I typically could with just touch controls. I find that holding the phone this way causes my hands to cramp quickly. Using the controller meant I was able to play for longer without the pain. The overall ergonomics of using the X3 controller are more comfortable than using a Nintendo Switch.

The Gamesir X3 will work with massive phones like the 7.2-inch Huawei Mate 20 X 5G. Picture: Noel Campion.
The Gamesir X3 will work with massive phones like the 7.2-inch Huawei Mate 20 X 5G. Picture: Noel Campion.

Of course, you can also use game streaming services such as Xbox Game Pass, Amazon Luna, Stadia, NVIDIA GeForce Now, Steam Link and Sony PlayStation Now. GameSir is also releasing a new X2 Pro Xbox licensed mobile gaming controller, designed for Xbox cloud gaming on Android smartphones.

If you’re into playing emulated games on your phone then the X3 is ideal. I played games like Ratchet and Clank and the X3 worked beautifully since PS2 games are designed to be used with a controller.

Verdict

The GameSir X3 is a premium controller that’s highly configurable and can turn your Android phone into a mobile gaming console. The built-in fan is incredibly effective although a little noisy but this is a non-issue when you’re gaming with the volume turned up or if you’re wearing headphones.

If you’re looking for a controller that’s more comfortable than the standard touch controls and find your phone starts to lag and skip frames after playing for a few minutes, the GameSir X3 is an ideal solution to keeping your game performing at its best.

GameSir X3 Type-C mobile controller £99 (€125) amazon.co.uk



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