As Android phones become more powerful, we can play more graphically intensive games. I find touch controls on the screen work great, but I get tired soon due to the terrible ergonomics. One solution is to use a third-party accessory like the GameSir X3 Type-C controller.
GameSir X3 is beautifully designed with comfort and adaptability in mind. It has a large RGB fan on the back to suck up all the heat from your phone while playing games.
It comes with a hard protective case with enough storage space for the X3 and the extra controllers, rubber controller stick caps and a USB-C cable that comes with the controller.
The extra control levers are slightly longer, which I prefer as it gives a little finer control. Thumbstick lids increase the surface area and are available in both concave and convex shapes.
The X, Y, B, and A buttons can be changed depending on what pattern you’re used to. They easily jump in and out and stay in place with the help of magnets. There is 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 biggest phone I tested was the massive Huawei Mate 20 X 5G with its 7.2-inch screen, and it was a good fit.
All buttons including the shoulder triggers have a great, clicky feel.
There is no built-in battery so the controller uses the phone’s battery. There are two USB-C ports – one that powers the fan and the other is a pass-through for charging your phone. It would have been nicer if there was just a USB-C port that could power the fan and charge your phone with a software or hardware switch to turn the fan on and off.
The Gamesir app acts as a library for your games and allows you to change the function of the buttons. Here you can customize games that don’t support the controller by mapping the touch controls on the screen. This takes a bit of trial and error, but once you’ve got it the way you want it, you can save the configuration directly to the X3.
The fan adds a bit of bulk and weight to the X3, but it does a great job of keeping your phone super cool. With a combination of 4000 mm² cooling area, 128 heat transfer columns and a 7500 RPM 7-blade fan for increased airflow, it can effectively cool down a phone with up to 12°C reduction in CPU temperature and 24°C reduction in surface temperature.
I tested several phones and one, in particular, couldn’t 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 kept it cool enough to complete the test with a solid 90.7% stability. It’s an incredible difference.
If you want to play a game with the fan on and you also need to charge your phone, you need two power sources. This is far from ideal but I used a large power bank that had multiple USB outputs. But even with the fan off, the thermal plate on the controller helps dissipate heat and not all games need the extra cooling that the fan provides.
I tried many Android games and one of my favorites was Call of Duty Mobile. I had to use the GameSir app to set up the controls but once I dialed it in I was able to play the game much longer than I usually could with just touch controls. I find that holding the phone like this causes my hands to cramp quickly. Using the controller meant I could play longer without the pain. The overall ergonomics of using the X3 controller are more comfortable than using a Nintendo Switch.
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 also releases a new X2 Pro Xbox licensed mobile game controller, designed for Xbox cloud gaming on Android smartphones.
If you like playing emulated games on your phone, the X3 is perfect. I played games like Ratchet and Clank and the X3 worked great because PS2 games are designed to be used with a controller.
GameSir X3 is a premium controller that is highly configurable and can turn your Android phone into a mobile gaming console. The built-in fan is incredibly efficient, although a bit noisy, but this isn’t a problem when you’re playing with the volume turned up or if you’re wearing headphones.
If you are looking for a controller that is more comfortable than the usual touch controllers and find your phone starts to lag and skip frames after playing for a few minutes, GameSir X3 is an ideal solution to keep your game at its best.
GameSir X3 Type-C Mobile Controller £99 (€125) amazon.co.uk
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