GameSir X2 Bluetooth Controller Review

Until recently, mobile gaming has felt a little shallow. The games that have dominated the market for the past decade – Clash of Clans, Angry Birds, Flappy Bird, Candy Crush (and all the associated clones) and even basic racers and shooters have relied on simplified touch interfaces and repetitive gameplay. They are fun (even somewhat addictive) in their simplicity, but incomparable to serious PC or console gaming in depth and ultimate satisfaction. But all that is changing. Mobile phones are powerful computers in their own right and cloud-based gaming is changing the playing field entirely. For mobile gamers to truly take advantage of this emerging golden age, a controller is a must! That’s where the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller comes in.

Disclosure: GameSir provided Blog of Dad with the GameSir X2 Bluetooth for the purpose of review and ongoing use. Any thoughts expressed about GameSir products in this article are based on my own experiences. For more information, visit my disclosure statement.  

GameSir X2 Bluetooth

9 out of 10
GameSir X2 Bluetooth

Mobile gaming in 2021 is brilliant in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago, and the GameSir X2 Bluetooth is excellent for enabling gamers to take advantage of all that it offers! The X2 Bluetooth looks good, feels good, performs well and can even possibly provide a competitive advantage in the right scenarios. Crucially, its compatibility with Project xCloud makes it a compelling choice for entering the mobile gaming revolution on the ground floor!

Ease of Use
10/10
Comfort
9/10
Quality
9/10
Trigger and Button Action
9/10
Compatibility
10/10

Pros

Easy to use

Wide compatibility

Great trigger and button feel

Works well with the Project xCloud Beta

Battery life

Reasonably comfortable for extended play

Cons

No pass-through for charging

No analogue triggers

GameSir X2 Bluetooth – First Impressions

The GameSir X2 Bluetooth is a controller that clips on around your mobile phone. The design is simple, but effective – the spring-loaded base simply slides to accommodate almost any sized smartphone (up to 173mm), then holds it in place from the sides. In my testing this system has worked really well. The GameSir X2 Bluetooth holds my phone firmly in place without slipping. This works equally well with the phone case on or off.

The resulting setup gives me flashbacks to the mighty SEGA Game Gear – my all-time favourite handheld console from the glory days! Of course, the controls are far more complex than those found on an early 90s console. More modern gamers will notice the similarities in look and layout to the Nintendo Switch Joy-Con.

The largely hard plastic design looks great, feels well-made and is reasonably robust. Soft-touch rubber is used in key places on the rear grip, dual thumbsticks and the phone cradle. Each of the buttons feel sturdy and precise, with the four shoulder triggers in particular producing a reassuring click. These are not analogue, so no fine control for things like racing games. They do, however, work wonderfully as triggers in first-person shooters. There is a proper d-pad, which is an excellent addition for fans of fighting and retro games!

The largely grey and black colour scheme is modern and blends well with my black mobile to create a cohesive look. Blue and red accents on the thumbsticks feel like a nod to the Switch and keep the design from feeling dull.

A USB Type-C port can be found on the bottom of the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller and a short cable is included in the package. Also included is a solid-feeling protective case and some additional rubber nubs for the thumb sticks. This case feels perfectly capable for throwing into a bag and carrying around.

Once attached to the phone, the GameSir X2 Bluetooth is a pleasing and reasonably comfortable size to hold. The buttons are well placed for access during heated action, although the overall design isn’t quite as comfortable as a contoured Xbox or PlayStation handset. Still, I found that I could play happily for hours at a time without significant discomfort.

GameSir X2 Bluetooth – Use

In the name of research, I have thrown several solid hours of gaming at the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller! I have tested it with some of the most popular controller-enabled Android games from the Google Play Store, including Asphalt 9 and Call of Duty, as well as the Project xCloud beta.

Android Gaming

I started with Asphalt 9: Legends, but to be honest I didn’t last long. While the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller felt responsive and great to use, the game its self just didn’t feel that enjoyable. It has been designed to be controlled with on-screen touch and so everything is extremely simplified. Coming from games such as Forza Horizon 4 on the PC, I just couldn’t engage with the Asphalt style. Keen players of the series, however, will surely appreciate the greater control and unobstructed view that the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller provides.

GameSir X2 Bluetooth Controller Review

The next game that I tried was the mobile version of Call of Duty. The benefits of the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller were immediately apparent! While Call of Duty has some clever on-screen touch controls, they are no match for the precision and manoeuvrability of the physical controller. To be blunt – the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller transformed me from an average (or worse) 1st person shooter player into a (virtual) killing machine!

I’m not kidding, I have never experienced such immediate success in my whole gaming life! Admittedly, I must be playing against similarly novice-level players, but even as I have progressed (rapidly) through ranked multiplayer I have consistently been able to land the MVP tag. I’m talking 20+ out of 50 team kills. Winning ten games in a row is foreign territory to me and it feels good! Call of Duty Mobile does use a ranked matching system, so I will no-doubt soon reach a point where I no longer dominate, but for now I’m very much enjoying the clear advantage that the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller appears to be giving me!

To give this some contrast, I am a middle-to-poor player in Battlefield IV on the PC and average in Halo. I am no stranger to the bottom of the leader board in either of those games on my PC, and a trip to the top is a rare event indeed!

During my time playing Call of Duty, the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller has felt comfortable and natural in my hands. While the button layout is more compact than on a console controller, the buttons are easy to find and pleasing to touch. The thumbsticks are firm, precise and spring back to centre enthusiastically. I’m not promising that the X2 Bluetooth will make you a better player, but for me it seems to help!

Project xCloud

I’m not going to go into great detail about the games that I have been playing on Project xCloud, because the terms and conditions of participating in the beta state that I will not broadcast it in any way.

What I will say is that the ability to play some of the same games that I play on my gaming PC, with impressive clarity and playability, is an absolute game changer! The GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller is perfectly positioned for players to take advantage of this service, which should be publicly available in Australia by the end of 2021!

I loved my Game Gear (back in the good ol’ days!), but it suffered from the same thing that every handheld console has since – it just wasn’t as good  as it’s console brothers. The novelty of playing games out and about was awesome, and the games were engaging enough, but side-by-side the Megadrive won, every day of the week!

Project xCloud with the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller changes that dynamic completely. It is exactly the same game running on both my PC and my phone. I took a few minutes to really appreciate that fact as I worked my way through some of my favourite games. We are truly living in the future and it is glorious!

Playing on Project xCloud with the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller is responsive and thoroughly enjoyable. The Bluetooth connection has been consistently solid.

GameSir X2 Bluetooth – Battery and Connectivity

The GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller uses Bluetooth for universal connection to Android and iPhone devices. The pairing process with Android is straightforward, with pairing successful on the first attempt. That connection is automatically re-established successfully each time I turn the controller back on. I have not tested it with an iPhone, so I can’t comment on that connection process.

The GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller is recharged via the USB Type-C connection on the bottom of the unit. I don’t know how long the 500mah battery lasts as I haven’t used a full charge yet, but I’d estimate that mine has lasted well over ten hours of solid gaming.

GameSir X2 Bluetooth Controller Review

Whatever the actual number, it’s fair to say that a fully-charged GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller will last through even the most robust of gaming sessions. It’s also a pretty safe bet that your phone battery will give in well before the controller. And this is where one of the only criticisms of the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller lies.

With no passthrough charging, the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller blocks the charging port on almost every phone on the market (the Asus ROG Phone 3 a notable exception). With a fully-charged battery, my smartphone lasts for about two hours of intense gaming before being drained. This could severely limit game time – especially for those of us with underwhelming battery performance. The positive is that the GameSir X2 Bluetooth provides its own power, which means it isn’t further draining the phone’s precious battery like USB-C controllers do.

Thankfully, all is not lost. In fact, there are at least two surprisingly good workarounds that allow the games to continue while the phone is on charge if necessary. The first is to place the phone in a half-in position. I have found the grasp of the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller more than sufficient to hold my phone in this position, but I suggest you do some careful testing to make sure it works for yours. I also wouldn’t play like this for extended periods, but I might well resort to it if a couple of minutes of emergency power are required to finish a game!

The second is to remove the phone completely from the controller. The Bluetooth connection means that they will continue to perfectly interact even without physical contact. This does change the feel of the game, with the controller now significantly lighter and smaller, but it works just fine! If you really wanted, you could put a placeholder, such as an old mobile, in the GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller in order to maintain the feel, but that certainly isn’t necessary.

It is important to note playing games on a phone that is charging is often not recommended by manufacturers, so be sure to carefully read the documentation that came with your phone prior to trying either of these options.

GameSir X2 Bluetooth – Customisation

The GameSir X2 Bluetooth controller comes with two pairs of nubs that you can attach over the thumbsticks. These offer a larger surface area, with one set being concave and one convex. I prefer the feeling of the concave nubs and find that these give me more control and better feel in games.

There is an app that can be downloaded for the X2 Bluetooth, although I have found it works perfectly well with the above-mentioned games without it. The app does allow for tweaking button layouts and it also enables the controller to work with certain games that otherwise do not support the controller. I haven’t tested this in detail, so I don’t know how well it works.

There is also a programmable turbo button. I haven’t really taken advantage of this yet because I haven’t played any games that require rapid button tapping, but it is nice to have it there for when the time comes. Finally, there is a dedicated screenshot button that is fantastic for taking quick screen grabs on the fly!

GameSir X2 Bluetooth – Final Thoughts

Mobile gaming in 2021 is brilliant in ways that were unimaginable just a few years ago, and the GameSir X2 Bluetooth is excellent for enabling gamers to take advantage of all that it offers! The X2 Bluetooth looks good, feels good, performs well and can even possibly provide a competitive advantage in the right scenarios. Crucially, its compatibility with Project xCloud makes it a compelling choice for entering the mobile gaming revolution on the ground floor! 

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