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GameSir X2 Pro review: Xbox licensed and perfected

That “Designed for Xbox” badge really improves things!

GameSir X2 Pro
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Laptop Mag Verdict

The GameSir X2 Pro benefits from the “Designed for Xbox” moniker, as this is easily the best Android phone controller you can buy right now — thanks to its tactile buttons, durable design, great triggers, and awesome value.

Pros

  • +

    Tactile buttons

  • +

    Proper triggers with travel

  • +

    Case included

  • +

    Excellent value

  • +

    Works great with Xbox Cloud Gaming

Cons

  • -

    Basic software

  • -

    No 3.5mm audio jack passthrough

  • -

    Fit can be difficult with a case

Where the GameSir X2 was great, the GameSir X2 Pro is even better — all thanks to that “Licensed by Xbox” badge.

It maintains that same great value for money and ultimate convenience of the X2, while introducing some small but impactful updates, like programmable buttons on the back and triggers with actual travel.

While iPhone users have the Backbone One, does the X2 Pro fill that void as the definitive phone controller for Android users? In one word: yes. But let me explain further.

GameSir X2 Pro price

While the X2 offered three different versions, the GameSir X2 Pro (opens in new tab)comes in just one: USB-C for $79/£79. This may be ten bucks more than the X2, but it’s still a seriously competitive price when compared to the Backbone One at $99 more.

And the upgrades offered here more than justify the price increase.

GameSir X2 Pro design

GameSir X2 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

GameSir’s X2 Pro will look very similar to GameSir veterans (except for that nice black finish). It still has a nice, solid build quality, which has stood up to some of my more torturous treatment when flinging it in a bag for long-distance travel. 

The fact that there’s a full-sized back to the controller rather than a spine, like the Backbone One or Razer Kishi, gives it a more solid feeling in the hand, too. Plus, the inclusion of a case to keep the controller safe is a nice integration that you rarely find across its competition. 

That free-angling USB-C connector makes a reappearance too, which eliminates any change of damaging your port with a fixed plug, and the rubberized grips around the back ensure a secure grip. But it’s another change round the back where you notice the two biggest differences.

GameSir X2 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

First, the mappable back buttons that are perfectly placed where your fingers lie give you quick and easy access to any specific controls or even a few macros. Second, the very warmly welcomed addition of proper triggers. Where they were simply buttons on the X2, the Pro benefits from half effect analog triggers that offer a good amount of travel with finer control for things like acceleration.

It’s a very thoughtfully designed piece of kit for gamers, with tactile buttons and fluid, responsive analog sticks (and the addition of the Xbox button). There’s a lot to love here!

GameSir X2 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

GameSir X2 Pro connectivity and support

GameSir has focussed on USB-C Android connectivity for the X2 Pro, with no Lightning or Bluetooth model in sight. Though that last one isn’t a huge loss, given the slight latency in button controls.

As I said above, that connector being on a 50-degree hinge makes it so much easier to plug your phone into it, and the 6.5-inch maximum phone length support means you can easily use monsters like the ZTE Axon 40 5G and RedMagic 7 Pro with no problems whatsoever.

GameSir X2 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

While some things have changed, some have stayed the same, for better and for worse. First, case support is very limited outside of cheap, or at least very thin covers. The bottom of your phone needs to remain basically uncovered, so as to not limit the USB-C connection. Anyone who is particularly clumsy with their phone will need to be careful.

Second, while there is USB-C power and audio passthrough, there is no 3.5mm headphone jack. I get that we live in a wonderful world of true wireless earbuds and chances are most of you will be happy with that setup. But it will never be truly latency-free, which can make rhythm games virtually impossible.

I highly recommend you buy a USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack adaptor to combat this.

GameSir X2 Pro software

GameSir X2 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

Any experienced GameSir player will know that the app is one of the weak points of any of its controllers. That is the same for the X2 Pro, but things are getting better.

It is just a simple companion app that lets you tweak the button layout depending on what you’re using, create custom controller mappings, and update the firmware. The UI is a lot simpler to navigate than it previously was, but this is nothing like the Backbone app, which transforms your phone into a portable gaming system with a horizontal button-operated interface.

Instead, it’s just a barebones vertical app for tinkering with settings, which can be weird to use with the controller attached — no collated library of all your on-phone games and no party chat. GameSir has made it clear that this is how the company’s app should be used: as a glorified settings screen for your new pad.

But that’s not a problem, as the Xbox licensing makes this a dream to use with Xbox Cloud gaming. Buttons are correctly mapped, latency is virtually non-existent, and the UI is a joy to explore.

Bottom Line

GameSir X2 Pro

(Image credit: Future)

The GameSir X2 got so close to being the best phone gaming controller overall, and the X2 Pro just got a whole lot closer thanks to a durable build, buttons, and analog sticks that feel great; the same consumer-friendly decisions like value for money; and important updates to the triggers and back buttons.

The companion app is still pretty weird, the removal of a lightning version is either a disappointing omission or a 900 IQ move in preparation for a USB-C-armed iPhone, and the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack still hurts a little.

But these are easily forgiven with an overall stellar package that benefits from the Xbox licensing to become one of the best controllers for Microsoft’s cloud gaming.

Jason England
Staff Writer

Jason brings a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.