Windows Central Verdict
The GameSir G7 SE Wired Controller for Xbox & PC pairs stellar build quality, respectable controls, and an enticing array of features with an attractive price tag. It's mostly an improvement over the very similar non-SE G7 (aside from one baffling change), keeping GameSir at the top of our list for the best wired Xbox controller.
Wonderful construction with easily swappable faceplates
Fantastic ergonomics and mostly great controls
Hall effect triggers and joysticks promise improved longevity
Seamless rear button remapping and integrated audio controls
Easy-to-use app on Xbox and PC gives you plenty of control
No wireless option
The SE model replaces the lovely microswitch face buttons with more traditional, mushy buttons
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UPDATE: The original review for the GameSir G7 Wired Controller was published on Jan. 13, 2023, and was updated on Aug. 30, 2023 with Windows Central's analysis and review of the updated GameSir G7 SE Wired Controller. A new section was added to this review to address all the changes GameSir made with the SE variant of this controller, and all subsequent sections were also updated as necessary with new thoughts and refinements.
GameSir is a global manufacturer of gaming accessories and peripherals hailing from China, most recently known for its wide array of mobile gaming controllers. The GameSir G7 SE Wired Controller for Xbox & PC is the company's latest attempt to deliver a pro-grade controller on a budget, and it may be its best effort yet. It's a classic story of "two steps forward, one step backward," however, with one confusing change keeping this controller just shy of perfection.
In my time with the GameSir G7 SE, I noted the rock-solid build quality, surprising number of features and additions, and an ease of use I simply wasn't expecting. GameSir improved over the original G7 with greater ergonomics and hall effect joysticks, addressing two of my concerns. You're still restricted by a wire, however, and the G7 SE confusingly does away with the awesome microswitch face buttons I adored in the original G7. Let's talk about it.
Disclaimer: This review was made possible by a review unit provided by GameSir. The company did not see the contents of the review before publishing.
GameSir G7 SE: Everything new
It's a little abnormal for a company to release a slightly updated version of a still-new product, but that's the case with the GameSir G7 SE. GameSir clearly took in feedback from critics and consumers to improve on what it already had, and it mostly succeeded. Almost all of the changes made with the GameSir G7 SE are for the best, but not all.
To start, the G7 SE is physically nearly identical to the original G7. It has the exact same layout of buttons and the same shape, to the point where it uses the identical magnetic faceplates from the G7. You'd be hard-pressed to ever be able to tell the difference between these controllers unless you were intimately familiar with the changes. Those changes are few, but they are important. Here's what's new with the GameSir G7 SE:
- The controller grips are now more ergonomic, thanks to an increase in thickness where it curves into the triggers
- The two rear remappable buttons now have switches that lock them in place
- The joysticks now use hall effect sensors, which should eliminate the risk of stick drift developing over time
- The D-Pad and face buttons no longer use microswitches, and now have more traditional, mushier actions
And... That's it! In all other ways, the GameSir G7 SE is utterly identical to the original GameSir G7. Oh, and the glide rings around the joysticks are now a lovely teal color. That's something, I guess.
GameSir G7 SE: Pricing and availability
Pricing & availability highlights
- The GameSir G7 SE is available through Amazon and GameSir's website
- It retails for $44.99, making it a great value for anyone in need of a solid wired controller
- The original GameSir G7 is still available for the same $44.99, so make sure you're getting the newer SE model
Connectivity: Wired, USB Type-C to Type-A, 3m cable
Platforms: Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, & Windows PC
Extra controls: Remappable "L4" and "R4" rear buttons, master "M" button, rear button lock switches, mic mute button, integrated audio controls in D-Pad
Features: Hall effect triggers and joysticks, GameSir Nexus software, four rumble motors, optional "hair trigger" mode, anti-glide rings
GameSir is based in China, but has a global distribution network that ensures the G7 Wired Controller is available around the world. However, you may not find GameSir stocked at many of the most popular retailers, with Amazon seemingly being the best place to go for most of GameSir's products and accessories. This could change in the future, as the G7 SE Wired Controller is still a relatively recent release and GameSir is continuing to rise in popularity.
The GameSir G7 SE Wired Controller retails for $44.99, making it a value-driven option that's right in line with many other similar wired controllers, and more affordable than the official Xbox Wireless Controller. The original G7 released with the same retail price, and is still available at that same price, making the SE the better choice overall.
GameSir G7 SE: Build quality and design
Build quality & design highlights
- Build quality is fantastic, even with the removable faceplates
- Hall effect triggers and joysticks feel great and promise vastly improved durability
- Swappable faceplates make a little more sense on the original G7
When I first held the GameSir G7 SE Wired Controller, I immediately observed two things: one, this controller exhibits the same effortless lightness as many wired controllers do, thanks to the lack of an internal battery; two, this controller is immaculately put together. I have to commend GameSir for crafting a controller with no noticeable flexing or creaking (except when I deliberately search it out near the thinner plastic around the triggers).
Everything feels meticulously constructed, and I never once worried that the GameSir G7 SE would eventually fall apart on me. GameSir has also implemented some features that may bode well for the controller's long-term durability, although I understandably can't attest to the controller's longevity given my limited time with it.
Firstly, the G7 SE's two analog joysticks are encased by "Anti-Friction Glide Rings," which are essentially strips of smooth plastic that sit between the joystick and the controller casing. These rings are meant to reduce the friction of the joystick pushing against the controller at its maximum setting, thus providing a more comfortable experience and (theoretically) combating wear and tear on the joystick stems.
Second, the GameSir G7 SE employs hall effect sensors for its LT and RT triggers, a unique type of sensor also used by some flight simulator setups like the Honeycomb Alpha Flight Controls. Hall effect sensors detect movement via subtle changes in magnetic fields, which, in theory, makes them more sensitive, more granular, and smoother than traditional solutions. It's true, the G7 SE's triggers feel perfectly linear and tracked my every action with ease, but hall effect sensors also hold another potential advantage: their durability.
That's why it's great to see the GameSir G7 SE improve over its predecessor by also using these hall effect sensors on both joysticks. The joysticks now have less friction when you move them, and the response still feels perfect in games. This should also, hopefully, fully combat the dreaded stick drift that's common in most controllers with traditional, mechanical joysticks. Having hall effect sensors in both the joysticks and the triggers, especially at this price point, is a large part of what makes the G7 SE so enticing.
Finally, as hinted at before, the GameSir G7 SE Wired Controller features easily swappable faceplates, with both white and black colors. GameSir advertises that both faceplates are paint friendly and can be easily customized for a truly unique controller. The magnets are very secure and don't introduce any build quality concerns, and instead helps the G7 SE feel more rigid in the hand. The original G7 is black while the G7 SE is white by default, and I personally feel that while a white faceplate looks awesome on the original G7, a black faceplate doesn't look nearly as good on the G7 SE.
GameSir G7 SE: Ergonomics and comfort
Ergonomics & comfort highlights
- The GameSir G7 SE is light, compact, and has a great shape to it
- There are also grippy textures on the grips, triggers, bumpers, and joysticks
- The grips of the G7 SE are far more comfortable than the original G7
GameSir clearly considered the design of the Xbox Wireless Controller when building the G7 SE, and it shows. The G7 SE Wired Controller looks very close to the default Xbox peripheral, but is slightly smaller in every dimension. This compact design, and lighter weight, may make it more suitable for players with smaller hands than Xbox's own controller.
Both the handles and the triggers are nicely textured with grips, and my hands or fingers never slipped, even when in the middle of an intense gaming session. I also didn't notice a build-up of grime on the controller during my time with it, with the plastic used feeling resilient and comfortable to touch. My original complaint with the GameSir G7 was that the grips curved far too aggressively into the triggers, resulting in an uncomfortable grip. This problem has been fixed completely with the G7 SE, making this controller just as comfortable as Xbox's own peripheral.
GameSir fixed this issue by making the grips thicker at this curve, which didn't affect any of the other dimensions of the G7 SE, but does allow your fingers to sit in a more natural position when you're using the triggers. Well done to GameSir for directly addressing one of my chief complaints.
GameSir G7 SE: Controls and performance
Controls & performance highlights
- The GameSir G7 SE has mostly excellent controls, with great feedback and performance
- The hall effect joysticks and triggers both feel awesome
- The D-Pad and ABXY face buttons have dropped the unique microswitches from the original G7, for some reason
How comfortable a controller is to use matters little if the actual experience of using it to game falls short of expectations. Fortunately, matters are almost universally good with the GameSir G7 SE Wired Controller. It's clear that GameSir put a lot of thought into how to make this a compelling and quality peripheral for players of all types and skill levels. Unfortunately, one of the changes made in the G7 SE versus the original G7 is, in my opinion, a deliberate step back in quality.
To start, the "anti-glide" rings translate to a noticeable reduction in friction versus the Xbox Wireless Controller (with a non-faulty faceplate, of course). The hall effect triggers are very smooth and surprisingly sensitive, especially when using the "hair trigger" mode (which makes the triggers binary, with any movement activating them). GameSir also slightly improved the tension of the triggers in the G7 SE, making them feel less hollow, at least to me. Most of the controls such as the bumpers, Xbox/Menu/View/Share buttons, and the joystick buttons all feel great and clicky, too.
When it comes to the D-Pad and ABXY face buttons, the original GameSir G7 really stood out. GameSir employed multi-layered microswitches for the face buttons, which resulted in a beautiful and tactile click versus the mushy clack of the Xbox Wireless Controller. I greatly preferred the feel of this action, although it's not entirely perfect. I felt that the buttons themselves were a little too short, resulting in my fingers tending to slide over the buttons during intense action. GameSir didn't address that particular complaint, but it did completely remove the microswitches. Why? I have no idea.
Unfortunately, this is one area where the GameSir G7 SE is just not as good as its predecessor. The D-Pad and ABXY face buttons on the newer controller feel fine with traditional, mushy actions, but the tactile switches in the original G7 were more than okay — they were genuinely great. I'm sad GameSir took a step back in this respect. At least the joysticks are genuinely very nice, with a light, smooth, and frictionless action that feels immediately responsive. Hopefully, those hall effect sensors will also combat any risk of stick drift developing in the future.
I wish GameSir had opted for an omnidirectional design for its D-Pad, but the one here does function well. Both the original G7 and the G7 SE slope the D-Pad down at every point, though, making it harder to stay planted on it. I also felt that the Xbox, Share, View, and Menu buttons, while they work as intended, were too hard to find by feel alone due to their short stature and soft edges. For the most part, the GameSir G7 SE feels great to use and is highly performance, apart from the minor issues noted above and the strange backtracking on the unique microswitches the original G7 used.
What about beyond the basic controls? The GameSir G7 SE Wired Controller features three additional buttons compared to a standard controller, with the rear remappable "L4" and "R4" buttons pairing with the front-facing "M" master button for on-device controls. Like with other pro-grade controllers, the G7's rear buttons can be remapped to act as any of the other buttons on the controller, and they work perfectly. These buttons aren't textured, unfortunately, but you do now have switches on the back of the G7 SE that can be used to completely lock the rear buttons, avoiding any accidental mis-presses in games.
GameSir G7 SE: Control remapping and software
Remapping & software highlights
- This experience didn't change from the G7 to the G7 SE
- GameSir still employs the excellent, intuitive "M" button remapping system to customize your controller on the fly
- The free GameSir Nexus app is also available on Xbox and PC for even more control and settings
The "M" button at the front of the GameSir G7 SE is what ties everything together, and GameSir genuinely nailed this experience. Using the "M" button, you can near-instantaneously change your controller settings on the fly. By holding down the "M" button and the rear button of your choice until the indicator light flashes, you can either press any button on the controller to instantly remap the rear button to it, or you can press the rear button again to remove its mapping entirely. If you hold down the "M" button and a trigger until the controller vibrates, you can toggle the "hair trigger" mode on and off.
The D-Pad includes integrated controls for headset audio, as well as game and chat audio mixing, which you can utilize by holding down the "M" button while using the D-Pad. All of this works very well, and as soon as you memorize the combinations, you can configure your controller however you like for every game you play in a matter of seconds. Nearly all the crucial controller features you need to control are available without software, which commonly doesn't exist for third-party controllers on Xbox.
GameSir also delivered here, too, though, as the GameSir Nexus app is available for free on both Xbox and Windows PCs. Using this app, you can create and switch between multiple controller profiles, individually remap every single button on the controller (except the "M" button), configure joystick dead zones, ensure that the joysticks and triggers are working as expected, and customize the (excellent) vibration via the four built-in rumble motors. It's easy to use, feels reliable, and isn't missing any of the features I'd expect it to have.
GameSir G7 SE: Competition
There's no shortage of amazing controllers for Xbox and Windows PCs, but the majority of people are likely using the default Xbox Wireless Controller. To be fair, this controller is the industry standard for a lot of good reasons and is still at the top of our list of best Xbox controllers. It's also a good deal more expensive than the GameSir G7 SE, is larger in stature, weighs more, and requires AA batteries or a separately purchased rechargeable battery. If you need wireless, though, your options are limited, and the Xbox Wireless Controller can often be found on sale for close to the same price as the G7 SE.
If you want a wireless controller that's more customizable and premium than the Xbox Wireless Controller, you can always pay 3–4 times more than you would for the GameSir G7 SE and pick up the Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, which is now available in a slightly more affordable "Core" model. For most people considering this controller, though, most of the competition is going to be between other similarly priced wired controllers.
The only company that immediately comes to mind is PowerA, which has a range of affordable, quality wired controllers for Xbox and PC. The GameSir G7's impeccable build quality and considerate additions may give it the edge over PowerA's most popular models, however, and the G7's compact design makes it a worthy competitor even for the PowerA Nano Enhanced. You can also consider other products in the GameSir catalog, such as the fantastic GameSir T4 Kaleid (which unfortunately does not support Xbox).
GameSir G7 SE: Final thoughts
You should buy the GameSir G7 SE if ...
You want a high-quality, long-lasting controller on a budget
With great build quality and hall effect sensors in the joysticks and triggers, the GameSir G7 SE feels like a premium peripheral that's built to last. I have no doubt you could enjoy years of gaming with this controller.
You're looking for a great value controller with extra features
The GameSir G7 SE is an affordable controller, but it doesn't skimp on the extra features. You still get two remappable rear buttons, integrated D-Pad audio controls, seamless controller customization, the free GameSir Nexus app, and more.
You should not buy the GameSir G7 SE if ...
You want a wireless controller
I would love to see a wireless G7 SE from GameSir, but unfortunately only PowerA has managed to convince Xbox to let it happen. As great as the GameSir G7 SE is, you have to be okay with being tethered by the cable. Hopefully, we'll see a wireless version in the future.
You already have the GameSir G7
GameSir made some smart improvements with the G7 SE (and one baffling mistake), but that doesn't mean this is a must-have upgrade. The G7 SE is a modest step up from the regular G7, so there's no need to consider picking one up if you already have the original GameSir G7.
The GameSir G7 SE Wired Controller delivers a genuinely great basic controller experience in a more compact body than the Xbox Wireless Controller, alongside a handful of useful and thoughtful additional features on top that benefit hardcore gamers and those who want a controller that'll last. It's difficult to find things to nitpick about the G7 SE, and most of my complaints are minor ones. The GameSir G7 SE brings some great improvements over its predecessor, too, although I immediately missed the great, tactile ABXY face buttons of the original G7.
If you're in the market for a wired controller, especially if you have a tight budget in mind, the GameSir G7 SE is a fantastic option for players of all skill levels and should work well for those with smaller hands, too. GameSir continues to up its game in the controller space, as its recent mobile controllers like the GameSir X2 Pro are also extremely easy to recommend. Whether you game on Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, or a Windows PC, the GameSir G7 SE Wired Controller is a stellar peripheral. Please, Xbox, let GameSir make a wireless version.
GameSir's latest controller drops the over-the-top designs and just delivers an all-around incredible controller for Xbox and Windows PCs. While you'll have to live with a wire, GameSir's attention to detail and quality makes the G7 SE one of our favorite budget controllers.
Zachary Boddy (They / Them) is a Staff Writer for Windows Central, primarily focused on covering the latest news in tech and gaming, the best Xbox and PC games, and the most interesting Windows and Xbox hardware. They have been gaming and writing for most of their life starting with the original Xbox, and started out as a freelancer for Windows Central and its sister sites in 2019. Now a full-fledged Staff Writer, Zachary has expanded from only writing about all things Minecraft to covering practically everything on which Windows Central is an expert, especially when it comes to Microsoft. You can find Zachary on Twitter @BoddyZachary.