We liked what we saw from both the Type-C and Bluetooth of the GameSir X2 mobile gaming controllers. Each controller had aspects that we wish the other included, whether it came to button placement, connection method, or the D-pad style. Luckily, GameSir thought this as well when they released the GameSir X3 Type-C Peltier-Cooled Mobile Gaming Controller. The GameSir X3 not only houses the most features seen to date from this “X” series of GameSir peripherals, but now they even threw in cooling into the mix.
There is much to unpack here with the GameSir X3, so let’s dive right in.
Build, Features and Comfort
A purchase of the GameSir X3 comes with a 1.5m USB Type-C power cable, a hard shell carrying case, and an assortment of thumbsticks, d-pads, and thumbstick cap.
When you consider the controller’s overall shape and button placement, the GameSir X3 is quite similar to each of the GameSir X2 controllers we reviewed previously. Just as you have with any standard controller out today, the X3 sports dual analog sticks, a D-Pad, ABXY buttons, bumpers and triggers. The X3’s buttons are built to last, with all of the buttons, bumpers, triggers and d-pad using Kailh switches. These switches are rated for a lifespan of 3-million clicks and an actuation distance of 0.6mm. The controller also features Alps 3D thumbsticks, designed to track precise 360-degree movement while doubling as clickable L3 and R3 buttons.
Flipping the X3 controller over, you have a pair of perforated handles for easy gripping. However, one of the most notable additions here is the Peltier cooling system located in the back. This system offers your mobile device a 4000 mm2 cooling area, which can be adjusted to the left or the right, allowing you to keep the cooling surface away from your phone’s camera. Using 128 heat transfer columns and a 7500 RPM 7-blade fan, the X3 offers to cool down your device by up to 24 degrees Celsius.
On the bottom of the controller, you have two USB Type-C ports. One is used for powering the cooling mechanism, while the other one on the side offers pass-through charging to your connected mobile device.
Like with the USB Type-C X2 controller before it, the X3 is powered by your mobile device. The controller itself has no battery. You simply stretch out the X3 and pop in your Android 9 (or above) device, connecting it to the USB Type-C jack. The X3 immediately starts working with your mobile device, offering no-latency input between the controller and your games. The USB jack is on a flexible hinge, which helps ease the installation and removal process of your phone from the controller.
This is easy the most physically customizable gaming controller for mobile that we have covered so far. The GameSir X3 offers much variation with its two sets of thumbsticks, two d-pads, two sets of thumbstick caps, and replaceable ABXY face buttons. Whether you want your face buttons to follow a Nintendo Switch layout or an Xbox layout is entirely up to you. The thumbstick sets come in two different heights, with one set being noticeably shorter than the other. The thumbstick cap options allow you to configure your thumbsticks to be either concave or convex. The two D-pads give you the choice of a “faceted” D-pad and a more traditional plus sign (“+”) one.
Along with the ABXY face buttons, all of these components are held securely in place in the X3 using magnets. Despite this, each of these components are quite easy to replace. The ABXY face buttons have little grooves on their sides, allowing you to snag them and pull them out with ease.
As far as build and comfort goes, the X3 is a clear demonstration of GameSir’s progression in mobile gaming. We liked both the USB Type-C and Bluetooth X2 controller options. However, this controller not only takes the best parts of each of those models, it adds even more functionality than ever before. You have the no-latency wired connectivity of the USB Type-C X2, and the button layout of your choice. Also, new with the X3 is the option to not only change your D-pad, but your thumbstick height as well. GameSir’s X3 is a controller that allows you to tweak it to your very own gaming tastes.
Coming in at 270g (0.6 lbs), the X3’s weight combined with the perforated grips on the back make this controller more than easy to handle. The X3 stretches out considerably far, allowing it to grasp onto the larger phones out in the market. Here, it grasped onto the 6.67” x 3.01” TCL Stylus 5G we are reviewing with ease. The buttons, bumpers and triggers continue to be easy to access. The customizability of the thumbsticks also plays quite well here. I prefer short thumbsticks, so I went with the shortest options, using a convex cap on the left and a concave cap on the right. Just like that, I felt right at home with the X3.
I started with my usual staple fighting game test for mobile controllers, the King of Fighters ’98 for Android. Interestingly enough, whenever I used an Xbox Elite Controller in fighting games, I always felt that the faceted D-pad excelled. Thanks to its more-accessible diagonal sections, pulling off command inputs was a breeze. Therefore, I was shocked to discover that the more standard “plus sign” D-pad felt better when it came to fighting game inputs with the X3.
While half-circle and quarter-circle motions are easy to pull off with either D-pad option, it was the “’dragon punch” motion of forward to down to down-forward that gave me trouble with the X3’s faceted D-pad. Of course, this all comes down to preference. Either way, the plus sign D-pad allowed me to experience the tightest control when it came to fighting games. Combine that with fast actuation switches and no-latency input, and you have yourself a fine fighting game controller for your mobile gaming experiences.
With Dragonball FighterZ currently available through cloud gaming via Xbox Game Pass, I simply had to expand my fighting game trials there. Even on the fastest of wifi connections, there was a slight yet still very playable delay when streaming Dragonball FighterZ via the cloud. Here is where that no-latency connectivity with the X3 really shines. With as fast as Bluetooth connectivity has gotten over the years, wired connectivity still clearly beats it on the input latency front. Therefore, having the no-latency and fast actuation inputs from the X3 was especially refreshing here.
Staying with Xbox Cloud Gaming, I saw that one of my favorite all time franchises made its way to Xbox Game Pass. With Mass Effect Legendary Edition now available to play via mobile, I just had to use to it as my shooter test.
While the streaming delay was a pinch more pronounced here with Mass Effect Legendary Edition, the game was still plenty playable and enjoyable with the X3. Aiming and moving the analog sticks felt pretty good while pressing the triggers and bumpers felt snappy and satisfying. The triggers are not analog, so keep that in mind if you care about managing speed variation in racing games. However, they work perfectly fine when it came to shooters.
I should say however, while having the swappable ABXY buttons is an excellent touch for the X3, for some reason, the Xbox button layout was not being respected in the Xbox Game Pass app. Meaning, the app and the streamed games, as of the timing of this review, were treating A as B and B as A. This is especially weird since the Xbox layout behaves as normal in the the other mobile games we tried out. Therefore, I had to readjust my muscle memory whenever I used the X3 on the Xbox Game Pass app. I was not too worried, however, as I am sure that GameSir is aware of this. They will probably address it soon through some update in their GameSir app.
As for the cooling feature, it was a nice touch to have. When the cooling unit is powered on, the fan is not disturbingly loud. It even adds a little flair to your mobile gaming setup by circulating colors with an LED in the rear.
No game I play causes my device to heat up as much as King of Fighters Allstar does. However, that is not a game with native controller support. Therefore, I could not find a good use case for the cooling feature. Even still, it is a nice addition that was implemented well. The fact that you can move the cooling unit away from your phone’s camera is a nice added touch.
The GameSir X3 Type-C Peltier-Cooled Mobile Gaming Controller is easily GameSir’s best mobile controller yet. It offers a solid variety of customizability and features. It uses switches that are designed to protect the controller’s lifespan for a considerable amount of time. Best of all, it offers fast actuation and no-latency input with your Android device, requiring practically no setup whatsoever. At a very approachable price point of $99.99, this is a controller that is easy to recommend to any mobile gamer with an Android phone. Should GameSir address that mapping issue with the Xbox Game Pass app, this would probably be the best Android phone gaming controller out today.
You can check out the GameSir X3 Type-C Peltier-Cooled Mobile Gaming Controller for yourself by clicking here.
† As usual, there are no affiliate links contained within this post. We were provided a GameSir X3 Type-C Peltier-Cooled Mobile Gaming Controller for review purposes and were not compensated for this review