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GameSir X2 Lightning Review of Mobile Gaming Controllers: More iPhone Fun


If you’ve ever wanted to connect your iPhone and Nintendo Switch, I have great news. The GameSir X2 Lightning wraps up your phone and adds physical keys and joysticks in a Switch-like design. It also includes a Lightning connector so it connects directly to your iPhone.

I spent many hours playing games with this accessory – probably more than it took to test. Here’s why I love it.

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Review of GameSir X2 Lightning Mobile Gaming Controller

Many iOS games work with external game controllers, freeing you from the use of annoying virtual joysticks and keys. The on-screen controls are… OK. But they can be difficult to use while rushing, for example, when about 50 goblins fill your character and you have to move quickly so as not to overload yourself.

The X2 is somewhat like an Xbox controller that is split in the middle to surround the phone. Or Switch Lite, as I mentioned earlier.

Due to the Lightning connector, the dead is easy to use. Turn it on and you’re ready to play.

Hardware and design

It’s a lot like the Nintendo Switch Lite, isn’t it?
Photo: Ed Hardy / Cult of Mac

The GameSir X2 Lightning is 7.0 inches by 3.3 inches by 1.5 inches if not wrapped around the iPhone. But you can insert a 6.8-inch high headset. That’s half an inch more than the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The game controller weighs 0.4 pounds. All in all, it is relatively small and light. Just be careful: the case is plastic with a lot of moving parts and you can break it if you abuse it. Carry it in the very nice carrying case that comes with this product.

But don’t think that the X2 Lightning can’t withstand normal use. GameSir says the keys are good for 3 million clicks. I have used the ones in my test unit for many hours and they are still strong.

Speaking of buttons, the controller is close to the standard Xbox layout. On the left side joystick and D-pad. On the right is another joystick and ABXY buttons. Plus L1 / L2 bumpers and R1 / R2 triggers.

I say “close to standard” because the front joysticks and buttons are placed one above the other, not diagonally as on a Microsoft controller. It didn’t take me long at all to get acquainted with this layout, despite the fact that the buttons weren’t set exactly the way I was used to. And that after I spent at least a thousand hours holding an Xbox controller.

The buttons are quite clickable. They’re not quite as good as those on the Xbox controller, but they didn’t interfere with hours of enjoyable gaming. Bumpers and triggers are very clickable.

Rear view of the GameSir X2 Lightning Mobile Gaming Controller.
GameSir has not put much importance on this game controller.
Photo: Ed Hardy / Cult of Mac

You may have noticed that the X2 doesn’t have a big handle. While there are small swellings covered in textured rubber that make holding the device more comfortable, they are not about the size of those you’ll find on an Xbox controller. I think what GameSir did was emphasize portability. Large interventions would almost double the majority. The same goes for setting the buttons. Their diagonal placement would significantly expand the controller.

Lightning port

One of the best features of the GameSir X2 Lightning is right there in its name: the Lightning connector. This makes it a plug-and-play device. Insert iPhone into the slider and you’re ready to play, without the need to set up a Bluetooth connection.

Another advantage is that you can easily transfer accessories from any number of iPhones. It works instantly with any handset it is connected to.

Also, your phone is powered by a controller, you don’t have to worry about another battery. And if your headset’s battery starts to run low, plug the Lightning cable into the game controller to charge the iPhone.

Side view of the GameSir X2 Lightning gaming controller.
The Lightning port on this version of their X2 Lightning is easily accessible. (Bottom edge, left side.)
Photo: Ed Hardy / Cult of Mac

The lightning connector is designed so that it can be turned up and down, so there is no danger of damaging it or your iPhone while inserting the handset into the slider.

Games

GameSir X2 Lightning can be used with Apple Arcade and MFi games. And it supports cloud gaming services like Google Stadium, Amazon Luna and Xbox Game Pass.

I tested a lot of games. (Yes, this is really my job.) I started with the classics Lego Star Wars, MFi game. I switched to Oceanhorn: Chronos Dungeon, which is part of the Apple Arcade. And then I played Panzer Dragoon: Remodeling via Amazon Luna. In all of this the controller worked as expected.

Tip: To make sure the software knows you want to use an external controller, connect it before starting the game.

The case

As mentioned earlier, the case for the X2 Lightning is plastic, and the sliding action limits its strength. Mine easily lasted many hours of use, but I can’t guarantee it will survive if you throw it in your backpack with your MacBook, Complete works by William Shakespeare and a pair of dirty asses.

Fortunately, GameSir provides a well-made carrying case. This is approximately 8 inches by 4.25 inches by 1.75 inches. The combination fits easily in a backpack. It’s hard enough to bear a simple punishment, but it’s not truly harsh.

GameSir X2 Lightning game controller housing
Keep your GameSir X2 Lightning Mobile Gaming Controller safe in the case that comes with the accessory.
Photo: Ed Hardy / Cult of Mac

An elastic band inside the housing holds the controller in place. There is also an internal pocket for the charging cable if you want to carry it with you.

Final Thoughts GameSir X2 Lightning Mobile Gaming Controller

I’ve tested many game controllers for the iPhone / iPad, and this one is a great combination of convenience and portability. I really like what the X2 Lightning plug-and-play is. And it’s small enough that I can easily carry it with me and be ready to play almost anywhere I go.

Prices

The X2 Lightning is available on the GameSir website for $ 69.99 (£ 51.99). Amazon is expected to arrive in the coming months.

Alternatively, there is a Bluetooth version of the X2 for those who want to play on iPhone and Android. This is $ 59.99.

Comparable products

Players could also consider another option specifically designed for the iPhone: the Rotor Riot Wired Game Controller ($ 49.95). It’s very similar to the Xbox controller, with significant grips and a standard button layout. And an adjustable clasp to hold your iPhone.

If a wireless connection suits you, there’s the GameSir G4 Pro ($ 49.99). The design is also close to a standard Microsoft controller, but with the addition of a clip. In addition, it supports Android and Windows.

Or you can simply use a regular Microsoft Xbox controller and plug in your iPhone with an OtterBox clip for mobile games ($ 29.95). There is even a clip version with MagSafe.

GameSir is provided Cult Maca with the review unit of this article. See our review policy and other detailed reviews of Apple-related items.





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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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