If you’re an avid mobile gamer, no doubt you’ve found your hands getting sweaty when you’re in the midst of a zombie horde or battling for position in the final lap. Maybe that’s because you’re a rather competitive gamer, or it could be because your mobile device slowly turns into a slab of molten lava due to the demands of the game in question. In either case, wouldn’t it be nice if you had some active cooling on hand (pardon the pun)? Well the GameSir F8 Pro Snowgon should help you out!
- Comfortable design
- Definitely cools the device
- Joystick idea is great
- No built-in battery
- RGB is pointless
- Joystick conductivity is hit and miss
Given the prevalence of gaming on mobile devices, as evidenced by the creation of specifically gaming-focused smartphones in recent years, it’s no surprise that the amount of peripherals available for such devices has grown proportionally. Demanding games, 120Hz screens, higher clock speeds and more powerful GPUs have all contributed to heat output for these gamers.
Silly name aside (what the hell is a Snowgon) GameSir thinks that they’ve got the fix for the above gamers and bring a little serenity to their gaming sessions.
Some of you might be reading this and asking what on earth this product actually is? In short, it’s a grip for your smartphone that should allow you a more ergonomic gaming experience and give a competitive edge in some games, taking design cues from the established controllers for gaming consoles.
Constructed of ABS plastic, the controller is a matte black finish with two shaped controller arms that house a small grey rubber grip. That grip will latch on to your smartphone and keep it in place during gaming. In the centre is a further grey grip, which houses the main components of the cooling design. Behind the silicone grip lies a cold plate, refrigeration chip, aluminium heatsink and a cooling fan. That fan has some LEG illumination and a kickstand that can be used to steady the grip.
On the left-hand handle is a small rail cut out for the included joystick attachment to be positioned, and across the bottom of the device is a USB Type-C power port and just above that to the rear is an on/off button.
- Platform agnostic
- USB Type-C powered
- Smartphone fit – Up to 6.8″ tall (173mm)
In The Box
- GameSir F8 Pro Snowgun grip
- Joystick attachment
- User Manual
- USB Type-A to Type-C power cable
Performance & Use
Let’s give a little spoiler; the fan, coupled with the refrigeration chip and heatsink does get sufficiently chilly to affect a smartphone. The backplate to which the phone rests can get as cool as 5-degrees Celsius according to my thermometer. Chilly!
First up though, I had zero issues putting a number of Smartphones into this grip. Huawei, Samsung, Google, Apple; it matters not to the Snowgon (I still don’t know what that is). As long as you’re not using a tablet, you should be fine. Once in place and gripped (the grip is strong enough) the cold plat is large enough to have an effect on most smartphone components, however depending on exactly where your SoC is, your mileage may vary.
There’s a neat little cut out on both arms that allow the pass-through of cables, such as power cables, headphones or HDMI out cables, which is a nice touch. GameSir didn’t see fit to include a cut-out for the joystick on both arms though, with only the left arm allowing the attachment. This isn’t a massive issue but some gamers might prefer a little more utility there. It does at least match most other gaming controllers, with the main thumbstick on the left.
With everything in place, you’re all set for a gaming session. Turn on your demanding game, and plug in your GameSir F8 Pro Snowgon and turn on the fan, and then enjoy a cool gaming experience in every sense of the word, right? Kind of.
The Snowgon requires constant 2A power in order for the fan to oscillate. There is no built-in battery. That, for me, is a bit of a missed opportunity, however might have brought with it its own heat issues. If you want to be a true mobile gamer with the Snowgon in tow, you need to factor in a power pack too. There is a 1.5m Type A to Type C cable included which makes constant connection a little easier. Furthermore, the RGB backlight isn’t controllable at all. You can’t turn it off, and you can’t choose any colours or modes. For the price I’m not surprised, but why even have it there if you can’t control it; it’s not like you see it often anyway unless you play facing a mirror.
With newer devices with larger camera humps, the rear grip can sometimes fail to make sufficient contact with the rear of the phone rendering the cooling element a little less efficient. In my testing, I was able to combat this by ensuring that the phone was in at a slight angle (one side pushed further back/forward than the other).
The coolest part of the Snowgon though is the included joystick attachment. The plastic arm snaps into place with ease and there is sufficient adjustment to allow placement on the screen in a variety of locations. There is a soft, but conductive pad that won’t scratch your screen but will allow your joystick to input. On paper, this all looked great, and I was eager to try it out. In practice though, if you’re using a screen protector (glass of plastic in my testing) then it’s a toss of a coin as to how it responds. On devices running naked (i.e. no screen protector) it was a decent experience. Who wants to look after their £1000 smartphones and the included screens now anyway, right? I’m sure with a slightly better engineers joystick this could be made to apply a little more pressure or better conductivity.
Finally, some good news. I was worried the fan would be loud, but it really wasn’t. Cranking up the phone volume to 50% or higher on most games, or using a pair of headphones (wired or wireless in my testing) negated any whine from the fan.
Given that the Gamesir F8 Pro Snowgon is a £30 product, I can’t really be too harsh on it. Yes, it will cool down your smartphone, depending on the size of the phone, any case applied, and the games being played. It’s a neat idea, but it’s far from flawless.
The joystick, similarly, is a great idea but it just fails to deliver across enough of the mobile phone estate, to make it a little hit and miss. That’s pretty much the byline of this review. I could have entitled this review, “your mileage may vary” and I wouldn’t have been too far off.
I do love the concept though; a low-cost mobile gaming peripheral that looks to deliver cooling to smartphones working hard. Perhaps a 2nd generation Snowgon will right some of the wrongs? If you get the chance, try one out before buying.