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GameSir X2 Pro-Xbox Mobile Controller Review: A Comfortable Cloud Gaming Companion

Rating: 8/10 ?
  • 1 - Absolute Hot Garbage
  • 2 - Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
  • 3 - Strongly Flawed Design
  • 4 - Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
  • 5 - Acceptably Imperfect
  • 6 - Good Enough to Buy On Sale
  • 7 - Great, But Not Best-In-Class
  • 8 - Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
  • 9 - Shut Up And Take My Money
  • 10 - Absolute Design Nirvana
Price: $80
GameSir X2 Pro in black and white varieties with cases.
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

While Xbox Cloud Gaming is possible without a controller, the limitations are vast. Barring some minor design flaws and the inherent quirks of smartphones and gaming on smaller screens, the GameSir X2 Pro removes those limitations for comfortable, on-the-go gaming.

The ability for gamers to play their favorite Xbox Game Pass games on the road is still a relatively new concept, but GameSir jumped at the chance to enhance the Cloud Gaming experience with the X2 Pro. Built specifically for Xbox gaming, the X2 features all of the face and trigger buttons found on a standard Xbox controller, albeit at half the size, and fits most USB-C compatible Android smartphones.

Gamers with larger hands may find the smaller, scaled-down buttons more difficult to manage, but the GameSir X2 Pro is undoubtedly a significant step up from on-screen touch controls. Whether you’re playing Call of Duty Mobile off of the Google Play Store or jumping into a Gears 5 online match, the X2 Pro provides a mostly-comfortable portable gaming experience.

Here's What We Like

  • Responsive, latency-free controls
  • Lightweight, compact build is easy to travel with
  • Comfortable rubber helps improve grip
  • USB-C passthrough charging prolongs gaming

And What We Don't

  • Some buttons feel cheap
  • Magnetized buttons are easy to lose
  • Smartphone screen still too small for some games
  • Rear buttons are inconveniently placed

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Lightweight Build With Some Flaws

Rear view of GameSir X2 Pro in black and white displaying back buttons and triggers.
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

Since the Xbox Cloud Gaming app runs through your smartphone, the GameSir X2 Pro serves one purpose—to control what’s unraveling on your screen. Save for the USB-C connection that links the adaptor to your Android device (make sure it’s clean for a good connection), the X2 doesn’t have a power source of its own. Not only does this prevent worries of keeping two devices charged, but the absence of a battery also allows for a very lightweight build. The lack of extra weight in your hands while gaming helps prevent fatigue and also makes the unit more portable for travel.

Note: The USB-C connection doubles as a pass-through charger for your phone via a USB-C port in the unit.

Where this controller’s design fumbles is with some of its button sizes and designs. The half-size face buttons and D-pad proved to be an issue during more intensive gaming, particularly when I tried my hands at Mortal Kombat. There were quite a few unintentional button presses that I don’t experience on a standard console controller.

It wasn’t as prominent of an issue while playing games with less combo-reliant finger work, such as first-person shooters. The triggers and bumpers are surprisingly responsive and stood up well when I put them to the test in Halo: Infinite. They may feel flimsy and cheap, but they respond well to light presses and support tactile feedback.

While some of the buttons, especially the D-pad and aforementioned triggers, feel low-quality, the controller as a whole is a pretty sturdy build. The thumbsticks use ALPS 3D joysticks for smooth movement and each bumper is built with a Kailh microswitch, which is commonly found in premium PC gaming peripherals.

To accommodate a range of phones, the X2 Pro extends on a spring release up to just over 7-inches. Smaller phones do seem a little silly sitting in the cradle, but my Google Pixel 6 Pro looked like it was part of the unit. No matter the size, though, so long as it was compatible, the phone stayed snug in place thanks to the USB-C plug and rubber grip.

Latency-Free AAA Gaming on the Go

GameSir X2 Pro with Android smartphone in cradle displaying Xbox Cloud Gaming app.
Amazon

Though the X2 Pro is built specifically for Xbox Cloud Gaming, it does work for most controller-compatible mobile games as well as NVIDIA GeForce Now, Stadia, and Amazon Luna libraries. You can also connect to Steam Link, Rainway, and Moonlight for remote PC gaming.

I tested the X2 Pro on Xbox Cloud Gaming, NVIDIA GeForce Now, and Steam Link titles. At no point did the X2 Pro perform differently. There is negligible latency from button input to response, and the only real lag came from streaming resource-hungry games through a cloud service. It’s nothing I haven’t experienced on PlayStation Now or any other cloud streaming service before.

GameSir X2 Pro face buttons showing two configurations
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

Because you can play more than Xbox games using the GameSir app (more on this in the next section), the four face buttons (X, Y, A, and B) are magnetized and can be moved around to Nintendo’s AXBY scheme.

Rear of GameSir X2 showing off programmable buttons.
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

Be mindful of their size, though. They pop out easily, aren’t hard to lose, and GameSir doesn’t provide any spares. There are also two programmable buttons on the rear of the unit that I constantly hit while playing. I can’t imagine them not being a nuisance as even after more than a dozen hours on the X2, my ring finger actively rested on and occasionally pressed them.

Take or Leave the GameSir App

The X2 Pro works in conjunction with the GameSir app if you’re looking to swap layouts, map the back buttons, or get direct access to a library of mobile-friendly games. There’s really nothing special about it, and the few times I did tinker with controller settings, it was on the sluggish side. If you run into any issues and need troubleshooting, the app does provide a few helpful guides. Of course, much of this information can be found online if you don’t want to clog your phone with another app.

If you’re looking to stick with Xbox Cloud Gaming or any other cloud service, you probably won’t need access to the GameSir app. However, for full functionality of the X2 Pro and on-phone access to troubleshooting, there’s really no way around it.

Should You Buy the GameSir X2 Pro-Xbox Mobile Controller?

In-game footage using Xbox Cloud Gaming app of Gears 5
Mark LoProto / Review Geek

The concept of running AAA Game Pass titles over the cloud on a mobile device is pretty wild, but it doesn’t work well without the right peripherals. Playing Gears 5 on a touchscreen is an absolute nightmare, which makes adaptors like GameSir’s X2 Pro essential to the longevity of on-the-go cloud gaming.

The design is relatively compact so it’s easy to travel with, and the lack of a battery only adds to the convenience. Plug ‘n play functionality cuts down on setup hassles, giving you more time in-game and less spent fiddling with Bluetooth and other wireless connections.

A few design fixes would elevate the experience just a bit more, specifically slightly-larger face buttons. Though the triggers and D-pad feel cheap, they’re responsive and never gave me any issues. Improving the quality of these wouldn’t add any particular value besides making you less afraid of breaking them.

Note: Each unit comes with thumbpad adaptors for a convex grip.

The X2 Pro isn’t the only controller on the market that makes mobile cloud gaming more convenient, but of what I’ve used, it’s definitely the best. Among other options, I recently had time with the RiotPWR Cloud Gaming Controller for iOS (Xbox Edition), and GameSir’s approach is superior. Whereas the phone sits within the X2 Pro and looks and feels like a small Nintendo Switch, RiotPWR sets the phone on an arm grip that sits on the front of a flimsier Xbox controller. The X2’s stability alone is a strong selling point over its competition.

While I expected to dislike the layout of the X2 and have issues with the overall grip, it didn’t take long for it to feel comfortable in my hands. The unit size fits just right, though I did experience fatigue quicker than with a standard controller. That’s not entirely a problem, however, as you’re usually not going to be cloud gaming for long. Either your phone is bound to get too hot or your battery will die if not plugged in.

Overall, the GameSir X2 Pro should be your go-to peripheral if you’re looking for an answer to controlling your mobile cloud gaming.

Rating: 8/10
Price: $80

Here’s What We Like

  • Responsive, latency-free controls
  • Lightweight, compact build is easy to travel with
  • Comfortable rubber helps improve grip
  • USB-C passthrough charging prolongs gaming

And What We Don't

  • Some buttons feel cheap
  • Magnetized buttons are easy to lose
  • Smartphone screen still too small for some games
  • Rear buttons are inconveniently placed

Mark LoProto Mark LoProto
Mark is a freelance reviewer for How-To Geek and Review Geek, a seasoned freelance writer, and a marketing manager with a strong footing in the gaming and esports industries. He’s been featured across the net on Cultured Vultures, Heavy.com, Bloody Disgusting, and more. Read Full Bio »