I’m what you might call a “filthy casual” nowadays; my best gaming days are behind me, but with the advent of mobile gaming over the last 5 years, my interest in some titles has been piqued. The GameSir G6S allows me to indulge in a bit of mobile gaming, without having to deal with some of the complexities of mobile gaming.
- Ergonomic feel
- Good battery life
- Strange button placement
The GameSir G6S was, like many cool gadgets brought to market of late, a product of a successful IndieGoGo campaign. We’ve reviewed a few, and used many more gaming controllers across the writing staff at MTT, and they have all had some issues, usually relating to software and connectivity. The GameSir G6S gets one of those right.
Unboxing & Specs – GameSir G6S
Let’s take a look at some of the specs.
- Wireless Technology: Bluetooth 5.0
- Working Platforms: Only on iOS (iOS 9.0 or later)
- Compatible Mobile Phone Size: length less than 6.57 in.
- Battery Capacity: built-in 240mAh rechargeable Lithium battery
- Vibration Function: Yes
- Working Temperature: -5℃~45℃
- Working Time: 70~80 hours
- Charging Time: 2~3 hours
- Connectivity: Micro-USB (only for charging)
- Cable Length: 1.64 ft.
In the box you receive the controller itself, a microUSB charging cable and a user manual which you’ll no doubt have to keep referring to..
Performance & Use – GameSir G6S
There are some inescapable truths about mobile gaming. A lot of mobile games are built for touch and/or include ergonomic features such as tilt and flip to deliver certain actions. In what might at first seem like an illogical step, GameSir has placed the ABXY buttons directly underneath the analogue stick, which is a cheaper-feeling Xbox-esque stick. Most console gamers will immediately wonder why this isn’t offset, or indeed why there isn’t a similarly sized grip on the opposite side of the GameSir to house them. They are positioned as such as, whilst many games still require a touch input to either move or complete an action, the GameSir has no right-hand grip and so the hybrid use of both phone and controller is encouraged.
In games like PUBG or other FPS/shooter games, this works well with the left hand taken up with moving and controlling the player, whilst off to the right, gestures can be used to control firing modes and weapon controls.
That is the idea on paper anyway. In truth, during my testing period, I found this very jarring. I’m used to using a gamepad with controls on both sides and to have to use any controls on a mobile device, for me, defeats the object a little. I can see what GameSir is going for here, but it just doesn’t seem a good implementation.
Ergonomically though, the GameSir is very comfortable to use despite the incredibly cheap-feeling plastic finish. The shoulder buttons and triggers are decent feeling at this price and have as much tactility as a mobile gamer will need, whilst the action buttons do feel a little mushy.
The device extends with very strong springs, to allow even larger iPhones to clip in and stay snug. I did notice that on some older devices where the power button is on the top edge of the device, you might have to position carefully to avoid a screen off situation! If you have an iPhone with a particularly pronounced camera hump, you’re also going to notice the device a little more offset.
A plus point for the GameSir is the battery life so if you’re going to be gaming for a long period, you need not worry. The included 3mAh battery is good for oodles of time, and it doesn’t take too long to top up ready for your next gaming session.
Gaming in the aforementioned PUBG, as well as platform games and driving titles like Death Road to Canada, all worked well with the controls being picked up but again, in other titles, like Mortal Kombat-esque fighters, I really missed that second grip.
Finally, you may notice that I’ve taken a lot of the photos of the GameSir with an Android device in place to simulate a larger iPhone (I only have an SE). Don’t be fooled, whilst there are articles out there on how to get the GameSir G6S to work with Android, this is purely an iOS product and should be viewed as such. Even if you were successful in getting it running on Android, there are additional applications and only a handful of games that work flawlessly. Bear that in mind.
Final Thoughts – GameSir G6S
Is gaming with a GameSir G6S a better experience than using the touchscreen or gyro-functions of a smartphone alone? Yes, absolutely. The hand position is more familiar to gamers and more ergonomic in general leading to a more comfortable experience overall. That said, there are a few oddities such as the button placement which has good intentions, but doesn’t quite work in the real world during my testing.
Battery life and the fact that depending on your gaming habits, the controls might not be an issue, are the two main selling points of the GameSir G6S. In addition, as a casual gamer, not having to worry about covering up the already small screen with button presses or swipes and see more of the game, is the biggest selling point. On that score, it gets a thumbs up. For the price, there are better options out there though.