GameSir X3 review: A (sorta) mobile USB-C gaming controller with built-in cooling fan

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GameSir has been making controllers for awhile now, and lately have been focusing on mobile game controllers. Last year, we reviewed the GameSir X2 Bluetooth mobile game controller and now we’re here with a new version which has been updated with a couple features.

Estimated reading time: 11 minutes

Our GameSir X3 review looks at a mobile game controller with USB-C and a built-in cooling fan for keeping your smartphone cooler during longer gaming sessions. Read on for our full review!

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Specifications

The GameSir X3 Type-C Peltier-Cooled Ergonomic Mobile Gaming Controller we reviewed has the following features and specifications:

  • Switches: ABXY buttons and D-pad all come with Kailh switches rated at 3 million clicks, 0.6mm actuation distance, and 75 ±10 GF actuation force
  • Joysticks: Alps 3D joysticks with smooth, precise 360° motion
  • Connection: Built-in wired tiltable Type-C connection to your phone, wired Type-C to the phone cooler
  • Cooling: 4000mm² cooling area with 120 heat transfer columns and 7500 RPM 7-blade fan
  • RGB: Dynamic RGB on fan when plugged in
  • Compatible Phone Size: 110-179 mm in length, within 10.5 mm in depth (camera depth excluded) — Type-C port needs to be centered or almost centered horizontally & vertically as mainstream Android phones. For phones that have unique structures with gigantic rear bump as Lenovo Legion 2 Pro, the bump also needs to be considered. Lenovo Legion 2 Pro is not workable on X3 Type-C as the Type-C port is not centered or almost horizontally & vertically. Phone’s camera depth ≤ 3 mm.
  • Battery: No
  • Working Platform: Android 9 or above
  • Compatibility: Cloud gaming including Xbox Game Pass, Amazon Luna, NVIDIA GeForce Now, Steam Link, Sony PlayStation Now
  • Power Input for the phone cooler: 5V 2A
  • Power consumption: 2mAh (phone battery of 3000 mAh, X3 Type-C consumes only six ten-thousandths of its power per hour); fan external USB-C powered
  • Dimensions: 180-241.3 x 88 x 48 mm (7.09-9.50 x 3.46 x 1.89in)
  • Weight: 270 g (0.60 lbs)

What’s in the box

  • GameSir X3 USB-C mobile game controller
  • 1.5m USB-A to USB-C charging cable
  • 2x Convex Thumbstick Cap
  • 2x Concave Thumbstick Cap
  • 2x High-rise Thumbsticks
  • 2x Low-rise Thumbsticks
  • Traditional D-pad
  • Extra Faceted D-pad
  • User Manual
  • GameSir sticker
  • Warranty card
What's included with the GameSir X3 USB-C Pelletier-Cooled Game Controller
What’s included with the GameSir X3 USB-C Pelletier-Cooled Game Controller.

Design

White in colour, the GameSir X3 Type-C Peltier-Cooled Mobile Gaming Controller has a portable game console look and feel. The left side features a left joystick with a reddish background towards the top, a D-Pad below it, a “G” button, and a screenshot button. The right side has an ABXY button array near the top, the right joystick with a blue background below it, an “S” button, and a home button. There are also two LEDs on the right side, a blue to indicate connection status, and a white one for charging status when passthrough charging is used.

The main pad of the controller has a nice textured rubber finish on the left and right sides while the middle cooling pad is smooth. The side sections extend up to the inside edge of the left and right sides, giving the controller a solid grip on whatever phone you’re using it with. These side grips are also ridge which allows the sound from your top and/or bottom-firing phone speakers to flow better. The right side also has a USB-C end, which does tilt up to make it easier to insert your phone.

The USB-C connector and left side of the GameSir X3 USB-C Pelletier-Cooled Game Controller
The USB-C connector and left side of the GameSir X3 USB-C Pelletier-Cooled Game Controller.

The bottom edge of the controller has a USB-C port for the cooling fan and another USB-C port on the right side for passthrough charging of your phone. . The top edge is where you’ll find left and right shoulder buttons (L1 and R1), as well as left and right triggers (L2 and R2). The shoulder buttons and triggers feature Kailh switches which GameSir claims are good for up to 3 million clicks.

The back is fairly plain on the left and right sides and does curve outwards on the edges. These regions are covered with textured grips that are very comfortable. In the middle of the back is where you’ll find the seven-blade RGB cooling fan. It is taller than it is wider and has plenty of vents for cooling. You will need to connect it to a 5V/2A power source in order for it to operate. When in operation, the fan is pretty quiet and you can feel the cool air blowing on your fingers when holding the controller. On that note, this is where the “(sorta)” comes into play in the title of this review. While you can use the controller while out and about, say on a bus, you will need to bring along a portable power pack in order to use the cooling fan. Of course, you don’t need to have the cooling fan running in order to use the controller but then you won’t be cooling your phone at the same time.

GameSir also includes long and short thumbsticks, convex and concave thumbstick covers, and traditional and faceted D-pads. The thumbsticks and D-pad just pull out and can be easily swapped. The ABXY buttons also pull out and can be rearranged based on your setup (more on that in the software section). The thumbstick covers just pop over the small thumbstick nubs that are on the controller by default. With these extra accessories, the gamepad is very customizable to your liking.

Ease of Use

To insert your phone into the controller, all you have to do is slide the bottom of your phone with the USB-C port into the right side of the controller and push. The right side will spread out, allowing you to lay the phone flat and then let the controller tighten around the phone. To remove the phone, simply grab the long edges of your device and push it to the right, then pull the left edge up to allow the controller to slide back to its compact form. Unfortunately, the gap on the left and right sides is not the best for larger phones. It works but you have to be careful not to move/bend down on the left or right side or the phone may pop out. This could be solved by making the left/right ridges a bit larger. Also, due to the USB-C connector, you’ll likely have to remove your phone case for it to make a proper connection.

Once connected, all you have to do is fire up a controller-supported game like Asphalt 9: Legends or Fortnite, or a game service like Xbox Game Pass and game away! When used in Game Pass, the controller was responsive with no input lag, and the screenshot button worked great.

The GameSir X3 USB-C Pelletier-Cooled Game Controller with a phone inserted
The GameSir X3 USB-C Pelletier-Cooled Game Controller with a phone inserted.

If you want to use the controller with an unsupported game, you’ll need to download the GameSir App.

Software

The GameSir X3 USB-C mobile game controller does have a GameSir companion app. The app is easy to install and pretty basic. There are a couple of permissions you’ll need to approve including location (to locate non-wired controllers, which can be ignored with the X3) and access to photos (for screenshots).

The main screen has a list of recommended games. On the second screen, you’ll find a number of suggested games organized by category. The third screen lets you connect to the GameSir X3 (or other GameSir) controller. Once connected, you can launch installed games, update the Firmware, test the gamepad’s responsiveness, and change between ABXY (Xbox/Game Pass) or YXBA (Switch) button layouts. Here you can also enable floating window permission which you’ll need for button editing on games that don’t support controllers. The help (fourth) tab gives you helpful tips, and the last tab gives you the option to buy other GameSir products.

Example screenshots from the GameSir Android app
Example screenshots from the GameSir Android app.

The app worked great for updating the firmware on the X3 Bluetooth mobile game controller, launching games, and switching up the button layouts.

Performance

I mainly tested the GameSir X3 Type-C Cooled Mobile Gaming Controller with the Google Pixel 5, 6a, and RedMagic 7 Pro smartphones with a few mobile games, as well as Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming. In the name of the controller are the words “Peletier-Cooled.” If you, like I was, are wondering what the heck that is, simply put, “a Peltier cooling device is a thermoelectric semiconductor component that can provide cooling with no moving parts.” So while the fan does provide airflow, there is also a Peletier-cooling component that provides the actual cooling.

As far as the cooling fan is concerned, it really did make a difference. Using an app called Ampere from the Google Play store, I checked the temperature of the Pixel 5 with the fan off and then with the fan on. I chose Diablo Immortal as my test game as I’ve felt my device get quite warm with that one. Before firing up the game, my Pixel 5 sits around 25.5°C. After playing the game for about half an hour with the controller fan turned off, my phone was reading 37.1°C. I let it cool back down to around 25°C and fired the game up again. This time, after half an hour of Diablo Immortal gameplay, my device only read a temperature of 28.1°C, the back of the phone was cool to the touch, and the black pad on the controller was also very cool to the touch.

The RGB cooling fan on the back of the GameSir X3 USB-C Pelletier-Cooled Game Controller
The RGB cooling fan on the back of the GameSir X3 USB-C Pelletier-Cooled Game Controller.

Performance is key when using a controller for gaming, regardless of the device you’re gaming on. Traditionally, Bluetooth and wireless controllers introduce lag, which can make it difficult to game. In the case of the GameSir X3 mobile gaming controller, there is no input lag as it is a USB-C connection. I had no issues with its performance. I fired up Forza Horizon 5 via Game Pass and it responded as I would expect when playing on a console or PC. Other games like the Android-native Diablo: Immortal and Grounded from Game Pass also felt like I was using a console controller, just on a smaller screen.

Accessories

As mentioned above, GameSir also includes long and short thumbsticks, convex and concave thumbstick covers, and traditional and faceted D-pads. Again, with these extra accessories, the gamepad is very customizable to your liking.

The GameSir X3 mobile gaming controller also includes a pretty nice carrying case. Roughly 8 x 4 1/2 x 2 1/2″ in dimension, the case is relatively hard-shelled. Black with red trim around the dual zipper, the model name is printed in grey on the top. Unzipping and opening the case reveals a mesh pouch on the underside of the lid to house your charging cable and extra accessories. The bottom portion of the case has an elastic strap with velcro in the middle which holds the controller in place when it is fastened under it. The case is a very nice inclusion, and something I wish other companies would start including as well.

Price/Value

With an MSRP of US$99.99, the GameSir X3 Type-C Peltier-Cooled Mobile Gaming Controller is priced above your standard console and most other mobile game controllers. It’s also $40 more than the X2. Given the fact it performs decently, keeps your phone much cooler, has extra accessories (thumbsticks, d-pads, and thumbstick covers), and includes a carrying case, this controller offers up great value. Better yet, it’s currently $79.99 on Amazon, making for a better deal.

Wrap-up

The GameSir X3 Type-C Peltier-Cooled Mobile Gaming Controller is an solid controller to use with your phone, however you are limited a bit if you want to use the cooling fan to keep your phone cooler during longer gaming sessions. You’ll either be anchored to your couch, or have to lug around a compatible battery pack to truly use it while on the go. Aside from that, with no input lag, additional thumbsticks and covers, as well as an included carrying case and the option to keep your phone cooler by quite a bit add up to make this a great mobile game controller for Android smartphones.

Last Updated on November 5, 2022.

GameSir X3 Type-C Peltier-Cooled Mobile Gaming Controller

US$99.99

Design

9.5/10

Ease of Use

9.5/10

Software

8.0/10

Performance

10.0/10

Accessories

10.0/10

Price/Value

9.0/10

Nailed it

  • Comfortable design
  • USB-C connected to smartphone with passthrough charging
  • Responsive performance
  • Keeps phone quite a bit cooler while gaming
  • Switch or Xbox/Game Pass button layouts
  • Includes additional thumbsticks, covers, and d-pads
  • Includes carrying case

Needs work

  • Cooling fan needs separate power to use, making it not super on-the-go friendly
  • Not case friendly
  • Not as stable when used with larger phones
  • Bit heavier due to the cooling fan
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