GameSir X3 Type-C Mobile Game Controller Review: Cool Combo for Android Phones

GameSir’s X3 combines a customizable Android phone gaming controller with a remarkably effective cooling system. From the front, it looks a lot like other mobile gaming controllers Razer Kishi or Backbone One — with the exception of a large silicone-coated pad between the two control grips. That pad adds more than just some grip to help hold your phone: It’s a Peltier cooling module backed by a heat sink and a seven-blade fan to pull heat away.

Originally an Indiegogo project, the X3 Type-C controller is available from Amazon and direct from Gamesir for $100 or £100. (It’s currently unavailable in Australia, but the UK price converts to AU$178.) The price is average for a controller like this, although others don’t have integrated cooling systems. GameSir also includes a carrying case, two concave and two convex thumbstick caps, two high-rise thumbsticks, a faceted D-pad and a 1.5-meter USB-C cable.

I tested the X3 out with mine Google Pixel 6 Pro and mainly playing Xbox Game Pass games. The Pixel slots in a little easier thanks to the flexible, tiltable USB-C connector. The controller can’t be used with a case on your phone… not because it won’t fit (although it didn’t with either of the slim cases I tried) but because the phone has to be touching the cooling pad to be effective. The controller accommodated the Pixel 6 Pro’s big camera bump though, and the controls were active and ready for gaming as soon as the USB-C connector was in the phone’s port.

Attaching the Google Pixel 6 Phone Pro to the USB-C connector on the GameSir X3 controller.

The USB-C connector can be tilted for easier insertion into your phone’s port.

Josh Goldman/CNET

Out of the box, the ABXY buttons are set up like an Xbox controller. However, you may have to update the controller’s firmware before they actually correspond to those buttons when used with Game Pass. To do that, download GameSir’s mobile app, open the app and connect your phone to the controller. The app should then ask you to update if it’s necessary. For those who want a Nintendo Switch controller layout, the buttons are magnetically attached and can be lifted out and moved into the layout you want.

Again, the controls work almost as soon as a phone is connected so you can start gaming right away and it only draws 2mAh of power from your phone to use. There’s no built-in battery. The cooling system requires an external power source like a power bank or a wall adapter (neither are included) to be connected to the USB-C port at the bottom of the cooler.

A view of the bottom of the GameSir X3 Type-C mobile game controller.

The center USB-C port on the X3 powers the controller’s cooling when connected to an external power source. The USB-C port on the right can be used to charge your device.

Josh Goldman/CNET

There is a second USB-C port on the bottom right of the controller. That port is used to charge your device while gaming if you connect a power bank or wall adapter to it and your phone supports passthrough charging (the Pixel does). That means if you want to cool and keep your phone charged simultaneously two USB-C cables will need to be connected to the controller.

The cooling starts almost instantaneously when connected to a power source. There is no power switch or anything so when you plug the controller in, the rear fan spins up and its colorful RGB lights kick on. The silicone pad then gets ice cold and starts pulling heat away from your phone. It seemed to only take seconds before my phone completely cooled off.

The rear seven-blade fan on the GameSir X3 Type-C controller.

The rear seven-blade fan on the GameSir X3 Type-C controller.

Josh Goldman/CNET

The controller is comfortable to use, assuming you don’t mind being tethered to a power source for the cooling system. GameSir used Kailh switches on the buttons and D-pad. The ABXY buttons rattle a bit and don’t feel nearly as crisp as the other buttons. (Maybe a symptom of being able to pop them out and move them around.) All the buttons have an audible click, so if you need to play quietly, it’ll be difficult with this controller. The bumper buttons are almost flush with the body and, while it’s not a big deal, they could stand to be a little taller.

Overall, the GameSir X3 Type-C is as promised: A mobile gaming controller that can also keep your phone from overheating. Fortunately, it doesn’t feel as kludgy as it might sound and the cooling system works surprisingly well. Add in the included accessories, and you’ve got a solid all-in-one solution for Android phone gaming.

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