The GameSir X2 Pro aims to fix the one major complaint I (and no doubt countless others) have had with mobile gaming for a long, long, long time: those goshdarn fingers are always in the way.
Clamping onto the outside of a phone, connected via USB-C, the X2 Pro becomes a little like a Switch controller, and a little like an instant-mix Steam Deck. You can fire up (compatible) games, such as the mobile gallery on your Xbox Game Pass, and instead of your thumb and fingers covering up 80% of what you kinda sorta really need to see in order to navigate and control properly, you now have a controller with actual buttons and joysticks.
This controller is compatible with Android phones, so won't replace your Switch controller (we've got a round-up of the best Switch controllers) or your iPad one (see our list of the best iPad controllers for that), as it works by plugging and clamping your phone into the extendable bridge on the X2 Pro.
It supports cloud gaming (such as Nvidia GeForce Now, Amazon Luna and the Xbox Cloud Gaming Beta), and remote streaming like Xbox Remote Play, Steam Link and Rainway, so I wanted to see what it felt like. Y'know, as someone who hates playing 'action' games on mobiles because of Fat Thumb Interference. And after several weeks of use, mainly on Xbox Game Pass, I can attest that my gaming life has indeed changed... a little bit, at least.
GameSir X2 Pro: Key specs
|Working platform:||Android 8.0 or above|
|Connection:||Built-in wired Type-C|
|Compatible phone size:||110-179 mm in length, >3mm camera depth, >12mm phone depth|
|Microswitch bumpers:||Yes, Kailh Micro Switches|
|Analog triggers||Yes, Hall Effect Magnetic Sensors|
|Analog joysticks:||Yes, Alps|
|Pass-through charging:||Yes (with limited compatibility)|
|Dimensions:||184 x 85 x 37mm / 7.24 x 3.35 x 1.46in|
|Net weight:||179g / 0.40lbs|
Design & features
The GameSir X2 Pro is clearly made by people with experience in the field, as the GameSir team truly are. The surface is a mix of hard plastic and rubber (for any touchpoints with the phone, and by sliding the spring-loaded slider out, plugging the phone in via the USB-C connection on the controller, the strong spring will hold the phone firmly in place.
The buttons and ALPS joysticks are familiar to users of GameSir's console controllers, with all buttons and stick being swappable for each user's preferred layout and texture. Furthermore, with the ABXY buttons being swappable, you can alternate between Xbox and Switch layouts there.
The Hall triggers are nicely placed (although the LB/RB responsiveness isn't fantastic due to the shallow keys), but the extra underside buttons are a bit trickier to use, thanks to the controller's flat and boxy shape. In fact, the lack of contours makes for a grip that while definitely superior to hunching your thumbs and fingers over the small screen, will cause some fatigue for longer gaming sessions.
As an 'officially licensed Xbox product' it comes with integrated Xbox Game Pass support, and after signing up, I could download and start playing any controller-compatible Android game on the Xbox store. I got some action games and some racing games to start with, including Asphalt and Diablo Immortal and got to playing.
One note here is that if your phone has a large camera notch sticking out of the back, it might not fit in the controller, so do check that before you invest in it.
And the good news is that the playing experience on games like actioners and racing games is much improved when your thumbs and fingers aren't constantly in the way, which is a big reason why I've mostly stayed away from such games on mobile devices, even ones with gorgeous, sharp screens, because if you can't see the gorgeous sharp screen because of your own clumsy thumbs, what's the point?
Well, some several hours of mostly happy gaming using the controller over the course of a few weeks later, and I'm glad to report that the X2 Pro does change that perspective somewhat. I enjoyed having 'traditional' controller setups for mobile games, with joysticks and ABXY buttons, the trigger/run/throttle in its right place on the controller's shoulder rather than clumsily squished onto a screen, and the view of what I'm doing now gloriously unimpeded.
However, the refinement here hasn't turned out to be quite on the lofty standards of the GameSir G7 controller for Xbox and Windows, for example. Responsiveness is less nuanced here, mostly due to smaller switches and buttons, and the feel is less premium too, with the LT/RT buttons in particular feeling like they'll start wearing down after some months of repeated clicking.
Also, the firm and firmly rectangular grip means sessions won't match PC or console sessions in length, either. My hands are fairly small, and got quite stiff and tired after about half an hour of play each time. Someone with bigger hands might feel even more constricted, although of course there's the counterpoint that at least it's giving you more space than hunching your fingers over the phone screen...
The GameSir X2 Pro currently retails for $79/£65, but do look around as there are periodic offers available. This price is par for the course for mobile game controllers, and while the price isn't quite as fantastic on value-for-quality as the G7 Xbox/PC controller, I'd say it's a fair one for a pretty high-quality product.
Should I buy the GameSir X2 Pro?
If you love mobile gaming and would like to enjoy a full view of your screen, unimpeded by your own fingers and thumbs, the GameSir X2 Pro is definitely one of the better options out there. It's not quite as good as the Razer Kishi v2, for example, which has a better-contoured grip and slightly less constricted button layout, but it's also cheaper than the Razer, so if those things don't bother you (or you can look past them), then the X2 Pro should make your shortlist.