I’m a big advocate for mobile/cloud-based gaming.
I would argue I play on my Xbox and Google Stadia accounts through my phone more than through my console. (Okay, yes, Google Stadia does not have a “console”, so to speak. But I still find myself playing it via my phone more often than I am playing it on my TV).
So, any opportunity to make the act of cloud gaming that bit easier is always a welcome one for me.
And, when ABG was approached to test out the brand new GameSir X2 mobile gaming controller, I knew this was the one for me!
Spoiler alert; ABG has already reviewed a GameSir X2 mobile controller. You can find out about that one here.
However, this is the brand-spanking-new one, the Pro controller, if you will.
So, without further ado, let me tell you all about my experience with this new bit of kit!
The Future is Now, Old Man
The GameSir X2 Pro [from here on out referred to simply as the “X2 Pro”] is a clip-on mobile gaming controller.
Though, that bit you may have already surmised.
Featuring an expanding back panel that can…expand to accommodate your mobile phone, you should find that it will fit most makes and models.
Presuming they are USB-C compatible, of course.
The X2 Pro features a pass-through USB-C end that pivots back and forth to allow for easier access for your mobile device.
With your phone snugly connected and the X2 Pro’s “sides” hugging your phone, you’re ready to go.
As the X2 Pro uses a USB-C, there is no need for charging – unlike the Bluetooth counterpart. Your phone will provide the juice to power the X2.
What’s more, to prevent the need to take your phone out when the batteries run dry, the X2 features a pass-through charging port, meaning you can charge and play at the same time!
It Looks the Part…
Aesthetically, the X2 Pro comes in one of two colours; black or white.
I went with the white one as it simply looks stunning in it. It also stands out well against my, otherwise, all-black library of consoles and peripherals.
The X2 Pro also has an officially-licensed Xbox design to it. This means you’ll find an Xbox home button, the “hamburger”/start button on the right-hand side, and the “window-window”/select/menu button on the left. It boasts the Xbox’s green A, blue B, yellow Y, and blue X buttons in the usual format, a d-pad, and two asymmetrical thumbsticks.
So, if you’ve ever held an Xbox controller, you’ll be distinctly familiar with the layout ahead of time.
The X2 Pro also features a capture screen button on the lower left-hand side to, well, capture your screen at the press of a button.
The shoulder buttons feature the RB/RT and LB/LT buttons.
Again, just like with an Xbox controller.
However, the X2 Pro does boast a brand-new set of buttons; the M1 and M2 rear buttons. Players are able to map any command input they want with these two buttons.
However, as I haven’t actually got a need for any additional buttons in any of my go-to games, I haven’t programmed them with anything.
Still, the fact that GameSir bothered to include these shows that the team is considering the X2 Pro to be a mobile alternative to the Xbox Elite controller.
…But Can it Act the Part?
Out of the box, the X2 Pro comes with a code for a trial membership to Xbox Game Pass. As I’m already set up deep within the Game Pass-sphere, it isn’t of much use to me.
So, I guess, if you’re reading this review and want a free trial to Xbox Game Pass, hit me up!
Aside from that, the X2 Pro comes with GameSir’s amazing-quality carry case and mini-pamphlet/decals. The mini-pamphlet is, as you could guess, a rather tiny piece of literature and, therefore, does not contain much in terms of instructions. However, as GameSir has a website and, more importantly, an app that you can download, you don’t really need a physical booklet.
Still, it’s something at least.
The carry case is, more or less, exactly the same as what you got with the original X2. I’d possibly argue the outer shell was slightly more rigid and felt sturdier as a result, but either will protect your controller, which is all that matters when it comes down to it.
Why Fix What Isn’t Broken?
In terms of how the device handles games, it’s as intuitive as an Xbox controller. As it’s a simple plug-in-and-go piece of kit, there’s next-to-zero lag whatsoever. Every button press is responsive with split-second reactions.
And, whether you’re playing Game Pass, Stadia, the mobile-native games that support gamepad input, or something else, you can’t do too much better than this. I prefer the GameSir range of devices over, say, the Razer Kishi line. Whilst Razer might have the bigger brand power, I found the Kishi to be a bit too…flimsy, especially with the back split-way strap…thing.
However, the X2 and the X2 Pro are all-in-one pieces. The only moving part (aside from the buttons, naturally) is the slider on the back. And this feels sturdy and like it would last a long time.
A New Step
One other distinct difference between this Pro edition and the original X2 is the aforementioned shoulder buttons. Specifically, the RT/LT bumpers.
On the previous model, the body of the controller came up quite high towards the shoulder buttons. This meant that there wasn’t a massive amount of depth to which you could press the buttons down before they hit the sensor.
On the X2 Pro, however, GameSir has remodelled it and given the shoulders some breathing room. The end result means your LT/RT buttons have a lot more tension behind them. It isn’t DualSense level of tension, but it does still feel quite natural.
The A/B/X/Y buttons can all be popped out and swapped around with one another for a level of customisation that I’m not actually sure needs to be a thing.
But, I guess, if you’re more used to the Nintendo Switch’s layout and you go to an X2 Pro, you might end up getting lost in translation.
Other than that really specific reason, I can’t think of any others as to why GameSir allows you to pop out these buttons. But, I’m not complaining, it’s not like it hurts me or my experience with the device.
But, What About the Bad Points?
My only real gripes with the X2 Pro are the ones I had with the original X2; the thumbsticks are incredibly tiny. They are so small that it feels like you need to use the point of your thumbs (as opposed to the flats) to use them properly.
And, yes, you get used to it after, like, half an hour of holding it in your hands, and I get that making them bigger would off-centre the balance of the whole thing, and yes, GameSir does provide you with ever so slightly bigger thumbstick covers…
But I had to find something I didn’t like about it.
Oh, and it could sincerely do with a pair of handles/palm supports extending below the device. It would make holding the device (for long periods of time) much more comfortable and pleasing. The Backbone-One has slightly elongated handles, so it isn’t outside the realms of possibility.
However, that is, arguably, me just being a whiny little pissant more than anything else.
Truth be told, I really struggled to find any truly negative points about the X2 Pro. It is lightweight, comfortable, easy to use, and responsive. The design is eye-catching and pleasing. The layout is perfect (especially if you’re used to the Xbox line of controllers).
And there’s even a range of customisation that, whilst I personally didn’t get much use out of, could be the deciding factor for some of you out there.
I really enjoyed playing my Game Pass and Stadia games with the X2 Pro. It was as close to using an Xbox controller as you can get without actually using an Xbox controller. And, yes, the X2 Pro was designed with Xbox Game Pass in mind, therefore is a completely Xbox-minded device.
However, the utility of the Xbox line of controllers means that, aside from a select couple of outliers, it is a uniform controller design.
That’s not a dig, by the way. I’ve always been of the mindset of, “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it”, which is something Xbox did with its Xbox One>Xbox Series X controllers.
And the X2 Pro leans heavily into the design and aesthetic of the Xbox One/Series X controllers.
If you’re looking for an intuitive, responsive, and, perhaps most important, cheap* mobile gaming controller, you cannot do better than the GameSir X2 Pro.
And, for all you tech-nerds out there, here are some of the bio-specific features, straight from the horse’s mouth;
- Hall Effect analogue triggers,
- Kailh microswitch bumpers,
- Alps 3D joysticks,
- Two mappable back buttons and textured rubber grips
- Can fit phones in lengths of 110mm to 179mm
- The X2 Pro features pass-through charging with the following compatible phones; Black Shark 2, Black Shark 3, Google Pixel 4 XL, HONOR V30 Pro, HUAWEI Mate 40 Pro, HUAWEI P40, HUAWEI P40 Pro, Realme GT2 Pro, Samsung Note10, Samsung S20, Smartisan Nut 3, Sony Xperia 1, vivo iQOO, vivo iQOO 3, Xiaomi Mi 9, Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, Xiaomi MIX 4
- However, the following phones are not compatible with the X2 Pro’s pass-through charging; HONOR 10, HUAWEI nova 9 Pro, HUAWEI P50 Pro, OnePlus 10 Pro, OnePlus 6, OnePlus 7T, Oppo Reno, Realme X2 Pro, REDMAGIC 7 Pro, Redmi K30 Pro. (I can confirm that the pass-through charging works with a OnePlus 9 Pro, however).
For even more tech specs;
- Phone must be running Android 8.0 or later
- Built-in wired USB-C
- Phone dimensions:
- Length – 110-179mm
- Depth – 12mm or below (without phone case, camera depth excluded)/10mm or below (with phone case of a depth <1mm/camera depth excluded)
- Camera depth – <3mm
- Colours available
- “Midnight” (black)
- “Moonlight” (white)
- Kailh Microswitch bumpers
- Alps analogue joysticks
- Two back buttons (M1, M2)
- No internal battery
- X2 Pro size – 184 x 85 x 37mm/7.24 x 3.35 x 1.46 inches
- Net weight – 179g/0.40lbs
*cheap, in this context, refers to the price as opposed to the feel/quality of the device. The GameSir X2 Pro Xbox (Android) retails at $79.99.
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GameSir X2 Pro mobile gaming controller Review
- Overall - 8.5/108.5/10
A sturdy, robust, and devilishly good-looking piece of kit, the X2 Pro offers up everything you could want and/or need from a mobile gaming controller with only a few, small foibles.
- Designed with Xbox Game Pass play in mind
- Amazing quality design
- Beautiful aesthetics
- Good hand-feel
- Easy to use and install
- Offers the luxury of pass-through charging
- Somewhat customisable
- Offers custom mapping with dedicated triggers
- Cheap in price, not in quality
- Thumbsticks are a little too small for the device
- Lack of hand support on the base of the pad means long play sessions can be uncomfortable for larger-handed players
ABG’s Senior Editor (News), YouTube content creator/streamer.