Thanks to Xbox Game Pass, we can now play a variety of Xbox games right on our phones via cloud streaming. Typically I prefer tablets for Xbox Game Pass cloud streaming, for their larger displays, but sometimes you just don't want to carry a large tablet around alongside a controller.
The best way to use Xbox Game Pass mobile right now is typically on a phone, using a gamepad clip like the Razer Kishi. The Kishi is a little on the expensive side, and fits only a small subset of Android devices. What if there was something that worked with practically any Android phone? This is the 40% cheaper GameSir X2, arguably the best phone clip for gaming that I've ever used.
Bottom line: All things considered, the GameSir X2 is probably the best mobile controller for Xbox Game Pass cloud streaming right now.
- Probably the best overall clip for Xbox Game Pass mobile gaming right now
- Great action on the triggers and buttons
- Huge versatility spanning practically any phone
- USB-C connector eliminates Bluetooth lag issues
- Absolutely terrible settings app
- Right offset stick is uncomfortable for larger hands
GameSir X2: Price and availability
The GameSir X2 is currently priced at $60 as of writing, making it markedly cheaper than its closest competitor, the Razer Kishi and the Razer Junglecat. You can grab it from the official GameSir website directly, or via most online retailers. Amazon stocks the GameSir X2; just make sure you're purchasing the correct one. The white GameSir X2 Type-C is USB-C based. There's also a gray-colored GameSir X2 that uses Bluetooth instead.
GameSir X2: The good stuff
The GameSir X2 is a USB-C based phone clip, eliminating the horrible latency that comes with Bluetooth. Most of the gamepads and phone clips on the market tend to lean on Bluetooth connectivity, but if you're playing Xbox Game Pass titles via the cloud, adding more latency into the mix is prohibitive. The X2 has a unique patented USB-C connector pivot that makes it easy to slide in practically any USB-C based phone into the channel.
The clamp has a rubberized grip at one end, ensuring that it remains firmly in place, alongside a strong spring-loaded design that makes positioning easy and simple. I was using the Razer Phone 2 as my Xbox streaming device, owing to the front-facing speakers and 16:9 aspect ratio. It works well with practically any phone, though. My Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra fit like a glove, even with the case on.
The GameSir X2 comes with a carrying case, as well as additional rubber grips if you prefer them. The grips can help the ergonomic feel of the sticks, which while not as good as the best Xbox controllers out there, remain among the best third-party joysticks I've used. The action on the triggers and buttons are good too, with a handy lip on the triggers to help with gripping and action. Accentuating the triggers is incredibly easy, and it wasn't long until I just settled into gaming, forgetting I was supposed to be reviewing the product.
The GameSir X2 has two separate modes. One is the standard Android gamepad layout, and another is specifically designed for Xbox. Once you've plugged it in for the first time, you can grab a separate GameSir app to flip the controller into Xbox mode if you're playing to use it with Xbox Game Pass. At first, it wasn't recognizing the start and view buttons, but after restarting the controller, it worked as intended, and hasn't given me any issues since.
The reverse of the controller has a decent amount of space to promote airflow, and the controller itself has a good amount of battery life, which should last through longer all-day gaming sessions. The USB-C port also allows pass-through charging for your docked phone, although some older phones don't support charging while the gamepad is in use. The battery life is decent enough that this shouldn't be an issue unless you're going hard all day, though.
Another awesome feature on this controller that beats competing solutions is the inclusion of a screenshot button, making it very Nintendo Switch-like. The reverse corners have rubberized grips and rounded edges, although the shape is cleverly designed to sit flat while it's on a table, rather than at an angle. All in all, GameSir did a great job across every aspect of this device's hardware.
GameSir X2: The bad stuff
While the hardware is great on the GameSir X2, I cannot say the same for the app experience. Finding the settings to flip the control scheme from Android to Xbox was a bit of a chore, buried in a rudimentary store system. The firmware updater was unclear too, and the localization into English isn't great, with many typos and grammatical errors. Hopefully GameSir can polish it up in the future.
The only other major criticism I can leverage at the X2 is the stick positioning. It's a very physically cramped controller, smaller so even than the Nintendo Switch itself. Angling my thumb on the offset stick, towards the lower portion of the right side, actually felt quite uncomfortable over time. I think it would have been better to put the stick up at the top, given how small it is, but I get that they wanted to mimic the offset style found on the Nintendo Switch and on Xbox controllers. Perhaps future versions will iterate on this a bit. I think the X2 could stand to be a little longer, and perhaps a little wider, to accommodate some of the best tablets for Xbox Game Pass gaming too, even if it was just the 8-inch models.
GameSir X2: Competition
The GameSir X2 is honestly the best device of its type I have used, and I've used a fair few now in pursuit of a mobile controller that can elevate the Xbox Game Pass mobile experience.
The GameSir X2 isn't as comfortable to use as the Razer Kishi, arguably, but the triggers and buttons feel nicer, and the joysticks are at least comparable. The GameSir X2 also comes with a carry case, added thumbstick rubber grips, and a clamp design. The clamp alone makes it a better proposition than the Razer Kishi, which is only compatible with a small subset of phones. Most other controllers I've tried have far too many downsides, and stuff like the 8bitdo just feels incredibly uncomfortable to use. All things considered, I'm quite happy to call the GameSir X2 the best mobile phone clip for Xbox Game Pass streaming right now.
GameSir X2: Should you buy it?
Honestly, the GameSir X2 is probably the best mobile phone controller adapter I've used. The USB-C connectivity eliminates the lag that comes with Bluetooth, and the X2 fits a far wider variety of phones than some of its competition. The unique moving USB-C connector makes setup easy, and being able to play games across both Android and Xbox Game Pass bypasses the awkwardness of touch controls.
You should buy this if ...
- You want to game on the go, without the awkwardness of touch
- You like playing games on Android devices, but hate Bluetooth latency
- You want something like the Razer Kishi, but for less $$$
You shouldn't buy this if ...
- Your phone doesn't support USB-C
- You have an iPhone
Yes, the app is incredibly janky, and yes, the controller is a bit on the small size. If you're someone with particularly large hands, I doubt you will find this to be super comfortable. In any case, they're minor gripes that don't affect the overall experience.
This is cheaper than its primary competition, while supporting a larger array of devices, complete with a carry case, and arguably superior button and trigger action. All things considered, this is the best controller option for Xbox Game Pass cloud gaming right now, and definitely worth considering.
Bottom line: If you're not a fan of using the touch controls on Xbox Game Pass cloud streaming, grabbing a mobile controller might be a better option than lugging around a full Xbox controller. All things considered, the GameSir X2 is the best value-for-money option right now, with great features, and a great price.
Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
This looks really nice, trying to resist the impulse buy urge!
I already bought a kishi, but I wish I had bought this instead.
I assume in Xbox mode the B/A button mapping is reversed?
What about fold 2 phone? What's the best controller for it??
I would love one of these with a built in battery to extend the phone's battery life as well as augment it's haptics.
There is at least one out there like that.
I'm tempted to buy this to use with my Duo. Essentially turn it into a DS
Thank you for signing up to Windows Central. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.