This USB-C iPhone game controller is soooo fun and portable [Review]


Don't play 'Diablo Immortal' without a good iPhone game controller like GameSir X2s.★★★★
Say goodbye to virtual controls and hello to precise joystick and trigger inputs with GameSir X2s Type-C Mobile Controller.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The GameSir X2s Type-C Mobile Controller is ready to make your mobile gaming so much better. Wrap the telescope design around your iPhone 15 to be ready for your favorite RPG, FPS and other advanced games.

It boasts Hall Effect sticks and triggers in a familiar arrangement, but is always ready for you to pick it up and go.

I tested it with my iPhone 15 and had quite a lot of fun. It also works with Androids. And if you’re still rocking a Lightning-enabled iPhone, don’t feel left out — GameSir has a version for you, too.

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GameSir X2s Type-C Mobile Controller review

I get it: you don’t want to line up three gems or match tiles. You want to play serious games on your iPhone. But on-screen, virtual controls can be frustrating with first-person shooters or role-playing games.

A mobile game controller makes all the difference. One of these brings the familiar buttons and sticks to your iPhone (or Android) so you don’t find your characters walking off cliffs or firing off in random directions.

Controllers come in a variety of sizes and designs. The GameSir X2s Type-C Mobile Controller emphasizes portability but without sacrificing playability.

It’s for iPhone 15 and future Apple handsets with a USB-C port. It is also compatible with Androids for cross-platform households. All you need to do is plug it in and start playing.

For those with earlier iPhone models, you want the GameSir X2 Lightning.

Portable but playable iPhone game controller

GameSir X2s iPhone game controller
The telescope design of the GameSir X2s means it’s portable but fits the largest iPhones.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

GameSir X2s Type-C Mobile Controller is designed to make your iPhone function like a Nintendo Switch, with the standard buttons, triggers and sticks on either side of the screen.

Without the handset, the accessory is 7.0 inches by 3.3 inches by 1.5 inches. It weighs a mere 0.4 pounds.

It’s very portable, fitting easily into a backpack or even a large purse. But be careful, the outer casing is plastic and it’s covered in controls. A bit of abuse might break this gadget.

When it comes time to play, the GameSir X2s telescopes to fit my iPhone 15 Plus.

Standard layout of buttons, sticks and triggers

GameSir X2s doesn't leave out shoulder buttons and triggers.
GameSir X2s doesn’t leave out shoulder buttons and triggers.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

I’ve spent more hours than I can count with a game controller in my hands. My fingers know exactly where all the buttons, sticks, etc. are supposed to be.

The GameSir X2s has close to the standard Xbox layout. On the left side is a joystick and D-pad. On the right side is a second joystick and ABXY buttons. Plus L1/L2 bumpers and R1/R2 triggers. I say “close to the standard” because the front-facing joysticks and buttons are lined up above each other, not diagonally as they are on Microsoft’s controller.

The buttons are reasonably clicky. They aren’t quite as good as the ones on a name-brand Xbox controller but they certainly didn’t interfere with hours of enjoyable gameplay.

As a nice touch, the sticks and triggers use the Hall effect so they won’t develop drift.

While I appreciate the portability, during long gaming sessions I miss the ergonomic shape of the GameSir G8. It’s much more curvy and the bigger grips make it fit more comfortably in my hands. The grips on the X2s are barely there. But the G8 is also significantly larger and therefore less easy to carry around.

Lean back and play

I started tested the GameSir X2s by playing Cypher 007, a James Bond-themed action game. The controller performed flawlessly, and makes playing much more enjoyable than on-screen controls. And I tested the clip-on accessory with Spyder, another Apple Arcade game I enjoy.

Support for game controllers like this one is built into iOS. But game developers have to add support too. To find out what’s available, you can find a list of hundreds of iOS games that the X2s definitely works with on the GameSir website. And most Apple Arcade games support controllers, too.

All of the cloud-gaming services I’ve tried recommend players use a controller, so they definitely support them. If you want to play Fortnite on your iPhone again, you can.

But not every iPhone game supports controllers. It’s frustrating. All you can do is check ahead of time.

iPhone game controller with convenience of USB-C

GameSir X2s review: USB-C port
GameSir’s new game controller has the USB-C connector used by the latest iPhone models. And a USB-C port, too.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

One of the best features of the product is right there in the name: GameSir X2s Type-C Mobile Controller. The built-in USB-C connector makes this a plug-and-play device. Literally.

There’s no hassling with Bluetooth setup. Simply put your iPhone with a USB-C port (or an Android) into the telescoping controller and start having fun. This makes sharing the accessory between several iPhones a cinch.

GameSir designed the USB-C connector to swivel up and down, so there’s no danger of damaging it or your iPhone while inserting the handset into the slider.

Those with earlier iPhone models that don’t have a Lighting port aren’t left out in the cold. You want the GameSir X2 Lightning.

For extra convenience, your phone supplies power to the controller, so you don’t need to worry about a second battery. And if your handset battery starts to get low, just plug a USB-C cable into the game controller to charge your iPhone.

GameSir video

The developer of this iPhone game controller created a video to show off the hardware features:

GameSir X2s Type-C Mobile Controller final thoughts

I can get lost in a good game for hours. That’s why I like playing one on long trips. Attach this controller to your iPhone, start something fun and big chunks of boring travel can disappear.

And the accessory is so easy to use. It’s literally plug-and-play.



The GameSir X2s Type-C Mobile Controller is available for purchase for $45.99 / £49.99 / €59.99.

Buy it from: Amazon or GameSir

As noted, those with iPhone models from before Apple made the switch to USB-C, you want the GameSir X2 Lightning, which I also reviewed. Alternatively, there’s a Bluetooth version of the X2 for those who want to game on both iPhone and Android. That one costs $59.99.

Those looking for a more ergonomic controller with USB-C should read my review of GameSir G8. It’s not as portable, though.

GameSir provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.


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