GameSir X3 review: "Can give hardcore players everything they want"

GameSir X3 mobile controller
(Image: © Future)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

The GameSir X3 won't be for everyone - the chunky cooling system strapped to the back makes sure of that. However, with customizable buttons, super satisfying switches, and a comfortable form factor that doesn't feel like a threat to your phone, there's plenty of value here for hardcore thumb tappers.


  • +

    Extra cooling

  • +

    Satisfying low travel buttons

  • +

    Feels safe for phone corners and port


  • -

    Chunky design

  • -

    Wobbly D-Pad in 4-direction mode

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There’s no doubt about it, the Gamesir X3 is a serious piece of kit. With fully customizable thumbsticks, swappable D-pad, and cooling fan strapped on the back, mobile gamers will struggle to find a more comprehensive system for their Android devices. However, all those extra features do come with some design drawbacks. A chunky form factor and heavy feel mean this isn't an easy addition to your everyday bag. We put the Gamesir X3 to the test over the course of three weeks to see just where it falls among the best mobile controllers

GameSir X3 Design 

GameSir X3 controller

(Image credit: Future)

It's immediately obvious: this is a bulky controller. With a thick base (to accommodate the full fan stuck to the back) and wide controller grips, the GameSir X3 certainly doesn't subscribe to the same design language as the lithe Razer Kishi, for example. However, if you're happy to allocate some backpack space to it, that extra size does give the X3 a nice feel overall. I was easily ploughing through hours of use (where gaming phone battery would allow it), without feeling any of the cramping or fatigue that often comes along with these wraparound gamepads.

The retractable back opens and closes smoothly, and didn't pose any threat to the corners of the phones I was using - thanks to a soft edge running along the inside of each controller side. Along the right edge, you'll find the USB-C connector, with a notably flexible port, with enough movement to make sliding a phone into the grip even easier - on top of the soft landing. 

GameSire X3 fan

(Image credit: Future)

The black and white design carries a distinct Switch-like vibe, especially with the red and blue thumbstick bases. It's a slick aesthetic and one that definitely makes your thumb-tapping titles feel far more robust. The fan is a chunk that will have to be navigated during more relaxed play (and requires a USB-C power connection to actually function). It's a little disappointing that it's baked right into the plastic of the case itself, especially considering it's largely redundant unless you're sitting next to a power outlet. Of course, it comes in handy and works well when in use, but it does detract a lot of the portability - something that's particularly important for mobile controllers like this.

GameSir X3 Features 

It might be a brick, but the GameSir X3 is one of the most feature-packed gamepads I've had my hands on. Boasting the aforementioned cooling fan, swappable components (something we usually only see in more premium PC controllers), and full suite of buttons, there's plenty to make that $99.99 price tag feel reasonable. 

GameSir X3 mobile controller

(Image credit: Future)

A particular highlight is that 8-direction D-Pad, an option I've never used on a mobile controller before - suffice to say, this is the gamepad I'll be using for Dead Cells from now on. You'll also find USB passthrough charging available when you're not powering the fan, as well as a full set of bumper and trigger buttons up top. We'll talk about these shoulders more below, but, for now, I'll just say the switches packed inside here (Kailh) feel incredible under the hand. In fact, these switches are used throughout the D-Pad and face buttons as well, producing a nice, low-travel experience.

Power on that fan and you've got a gorgeous light show at your fingertips. Though such a display is a little redundant - it's on the underside of your phone after all - it's a nice additional flourish on top of a pricey gamepad.

GameSir X3 Performance

The GameSir X3 is particularly satisfying to use. Those clicky Kailh switches feel responsive under the thumb, particularly in the shoulder buttons. Wielding twin daggers and flying through Dead Cells never felt quite so good - especially coming from the mushier Xbox-style buttons of the majority of mobile controllers. These buttons are flat, fast, and crisp - everything you would want for more twitch-reaction genres. 

The D-Pad carries the same feel but feels less sharp. The base is a little wobbly when using a standard 4-D pad, which does leave gameplay feeling slightly sloppy. However, slapping the included 8-direction pad turns this frustration into a win, each angle is picked up with a nice level of precision in more pinpoint moments. 

GameSir X3

(Image credit: Future)

Actually swapping those buttons is another story. These components are all held with strong magnets, so you'll need to really grind to wiggle each button free. I was unable to unload the face buttons or the D-Pad for a considerable amount of time in my testing, simply because my fingernails weren't long enough to wrench them out of their casings. The thumbsticks snap in and out quickly and easily, though, thanks to that longer stem.

That cost-inflating cooling system that won't be for everyone? It certainly works. The Black Shark 5 Pro gaming phone can run a little warm during more intensive sessions, but tethered into the fan everything remained comfortable and even the very slight throttling experienced with settings pushed up to max was quelled a little.

Should you buy the GameSir X3?

The GameSir X3 is certainly a premium piece of kit that can give hardcore players everything they want. At $99.99, though, it's in line with today's high-end mobile controllers. While the similarly designed Razer Kishi can be had for around $50 these days, the new Razer Kishi V2 occupies the same $99.99 MSRP, as does the Backbone One for iPhone. 

The distinct features that make the GameSir X3 so valuable at this price point, though, may also be the very same ones that deem it a poor fit for some. Yes, being able to swap your thumbsticks and buttons is going to be a benefit for many, but the addition (and power requirements) of the cooling system will certainly steer some towards other options. 

If you're after a portable system to add some buttons to your phone, you might not appreciate the additional bulk. However, if you're running some particularly heavy games and generally don't stray too far from a plug point you're onto a winner.  

How we tested the GameSir X3

I used the GameSir X3 over the course of three weeks, testing alongside the Razer Kishi V2 and running Black Shark 5 Pro and RedMagic 7S Pro gaming phones. I used PUBG, Dead Cells, and Stardew Valley to test the full scope of the controller while pushing the fan to the max in Call of Duty Mobile.

You can find out more about how we test controllers in our full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy

We're also rounding up all the best gaming tablets for more on-the-go sessions. Or, you can find plenty of Xbox Series X controllers and Xbox One controllers that can work with a range of devices as well. 

Tabitha Baker
Managing Editor - Hardware

Managing Editor of Hardware at GamesRadar+, I originally landed in hardware at our sister site TechRadar before moving over to GamesRadar. In between, I've written for Tom’s Guide, Wireframe, The Indie Game Website and That Video Game Blog, covering everything from the PS5 launch to the Apple Pencil. Now, i'm focused on Nintendo Switch, gaming laptops (and the keyboards, headsets and mice that come with them), PS5, and trying to find the perfect projector.