What determines a ‘Pro’ moniker?
It’s something we’ve been asking for a few years, ever since marketing tactics ensured that headphones, controllers, mobile devices and more should be tagged ‘Pro’. We’ve never really been sure why though, after all, does a ‘Pro’ device really make a hint of a difference to the everyday layperson?
We’d argue it doesn’t and it’s instead slapped on to help sell an item that is seen as a slight improvement on what went before it. Is that the case for GameSir’s X2 Pro Gaming Controller for Android – Designed for Xbox?
There’s no debating that the new GameSir X2 Pro is a lovely device, and yes, it’s certainly a step up from the older stylings of the X2 Bluetooth and X2 Type-C options that were on the table. But for as nice as it is, placing one in your hands sure as hell ain’t making you a pro gamer.
But then perhaps it’s the service that it relies on which ultimately holds it back.
Don’t get us wrong, we love Xbox, we adore Game Pass – even if we did beat on it a little upon first arrival – and we have absolutely no qualms in siding with Microsoft as they push forth and attempt to conquer all with their Cloud gaming technologies. Yet that doesn’t mean we’re at a point where Cloud gaming is the be-all. Whilst that may come in the years ahead, there’s still touches of lag and other issues which hold back Cloud gaming from the pro scene. You really do need a console or uber-PC to prove yourself as the best in the land.
It’s that technology that GameSir sit with though and with all of their handheld gaming controllers that focus on a mobile device as the primary port of call, a feel of being hamstrung is always in focus. And yes, we know that mobile gaming is a thing outside of Xbox Game Pass and the Cloud, but honestly, it’s not a place we have properly frequented for years. Why should we when we have everything we need on the Xbox service. Well, aside from a non-laggy, non-issuey Cloud gaming service.
But we digress and must get back to the device in hand – GameSir’s X2 Pro for Android, a controller that is Designed for Xbox. In a word or three, it’s probably their best controller yet.
And you know what that means? If you spend any decent amount of time playing games on your phone, if you ever dip into the Cloud gaming that brings your Xbox Game Pass titles to your mobile, you should probably go and buy it. If you make the most of GeForce Now, Google Stadia or Amazon Luna, it probably sells itself a bit more.
Coming in either Midnight or Moonlight versions (basically black or white – the black of which we’ve been hands on with), the X2 Pro utilises GameSir’s primary method of phone gathering; a pull-and-slide to clasp your mobile device between its left and right handles. It’s a system that we’ve found to be absolutely fine for a number of phones as long as they are running Android 8 and up – most notably the Google Pixel 6 Pro or Pixel 4a – with a rubber backing and rubber clasps ensuring there is no chance of harming the device it cradles.
There’s plenty of movement in that sliding mechanism to ensure that phones longer than the Pixel 6 Pro will be catered for too; anything between 110-179mm should be fine. And unless you rock a super hefty case, you probably won’t need to remove that either. It all just fits.
Connection takes place via USB-C and this means that thanks to an external USB-C port, not only can a charge pass-through take place (depending on your phone), allowing you to game pretty much forever, but without the need to rely on a Bluetooth connection, lag is kept to an absolute minimum. In fact, prodding and poking buttons allows for immediate interaction. Of course, we’ll go back to our opening comments and the reliance on the gaming service of your choice as to whether any lag is translated through the game itself. What this does mean is that taking in a slower paced solo affair works fine, but ramp things up and you’ll probably be left wanting. Pro mobile gaming? Yeah right.
Aside from that, the X2 Pro is very much a moving on from those devices that came before it, however it comes with a much more premium feel. The black midnight version looks properly great, has some nice texturing in the rear to ensure decent hand grip and really does feel the part. It’s complete with all the buttons you would expect too: the Xbox Nexus button, the View, Share and Menu pushers, both thumbsticks, a rather nice D-Pad and some seriously good looking gloss black face buttons that protrude nicely.
Microswitched Kailh bumpers and Hall Effect triggers are in place too (accurate to 0.1mm); the travel in these is decent enough. We’ve also found the tacticility to be on point, urged to press at every opportunity.
The GameSir X2 Pro also has some rear mounted programmable buttons; M1 and M2, both perfectly placed to sit under your middle fingers as you hold the controller. It’s an utter cinch to set what these buttons do, with a press and hold of View, Menu and the M button, followed by that of the face button you wish to assign. We’re not massive users of rear mounted buttons, but the option is there if you need it.
With thumbstick covers in the box giving the option to run concaved or convexed ALPS sticks, magnetically held face buttons which mean you can switch out from the standard Xbox configuration to that of Nintendo Switch in a flash, and a rather lovely little carry case, there’s little to dislike about the X2 Pro.
After not being particularly taken by GameSir’s X3 Type-C Cooled Controller and having found the X2 to previously feel a bit plasticky, especially when in competition with Razer’s Kishi, GameSir have moved on massively with the X2 Pro, so much so that the only thing holding it back from world domination is quite possibly the gaming services that it relies on.
The GameSir X2 Pro for Android is a hell of a gaming controller; perfect for those who delve into the gaming options provided on mobile. And once Game Pass, Cloud gaming and the like catch up, perhaps that Pro tag will serve GameSir well.
Huge thanks go out to GameSir for providing their X2 Pro Gaming Controller for Android – Designed for Xbox for review. Head over to GameSir direct or hit up Amazon if you fancy grabbing a unit. Expect to pay around £80.