Peer into the recreational dens of a devoted player and you’ll most likely see a plethora of different game controllers. The reason for the surplus is simple: manufacturers like to sell dedicated input devices. As such, gamers might own several exceedingly similar controllers. But if you’re the type of person who values simplicity or just merely a bit of coin, then the GameSir G3s controller might be worth a look. Affordable, functional, and solidly built, the peripheral extends an enticing proposition for gamers on the go.
Once owners open the GameSir’s cardboard housing, they’ll find the controller, two cables, a Bluetooth dongle and an operation guide all securely nestled inside. While an instruction booklet might seem like a superfluous inclusion, connecting the G3s to different devices isn’t always an intuitive process. Fortunately, the back of the unit offers a list of the G3s’ mode-changing button presses.
Using one of the included USB cables to tether a link to a PC is straightforward, with the peripheral being recognized as an Xbox 360 controller. On multiple computers, the process proved instant, with both Windows 8 and 10 not even displaying a driver installation message. Once we loaded Steam’s ‘Big Picture’ mode, the GameSir allowed us to effortlessly navigate our library. Play revealed no deviation from using a 360 gamepad, earning the G3s its first honor.
Connecting to a Samsung S2 tablet proved a little trickier. Initially, we followed the directions, holding down the home and the A button to establish a sync. But resistively, the tablet only identified an obscure television in our testing facility. Following several attempts and power cycles, the G3 eventually put out a “GameSir G3S” notification. We established a link and subsequent connections circumvented the initial synching issue.
With the controller linked to the slate, it was instantly recognized across a variety of games, with all inputs conveniently mapped to the appropriate buttons. While input lag through Bluetooth was imperceptible, those needing split-second precision was easily use the bundled OTG cable to connect the G3s to almost any Android phone or tablet. iPhone and iPad owners will may want to steer clear of the device. While instructions make no mention of compatibility with Apple’s portable products, the mode light has a slot showing the famous logo, while the back of the product lists a connection method. But in execution, the controller was recognized by our Ipad Mini, although seemingly wasn’t identified as a Made for iOS (MFI) peripheral.
Associating the G3s with a PlayStation 3 entails either using the USB cable or inserting the dongle, and pressing the Turbo and Home buttons to couple the controller. Both methods sacrifice range. When using the bundled cord, you only have about four feet of slack, while using the 2.4Ghz wireless connection offers about 15-20 feet, which is shorter than the span extended by Bluetooth-driven, first-party DualShock 3 controllers. On the upside, wireless play was both accurate and lag was kept to a minimum.
Largely, any set-up difficulties were forgiven once the GameSir was put into play. Third party peripherals- especially wireless controllers are often shoddily made. But the G3s largely shirks that shortcoming, thanks a near-premium build quality. One of the most eye-catching components of the controller is the light-up face and home buttons. When gaming in a darkened environment, the device emits a multi-hued aura that emits a bit of illumination without being overly bright. Likewise, the peripheral’s ergonomics are poised to please. Size-wise, the G3s is slightly smaller than a DualShock 3, while extending a similar shape. In shape, my larger hands easily wrapped around the device, exhibiting little fatigue even after a three-hour play session. Most should appreciate the controller’s exterior which offers just enough tactile texture to assist with grip without being overly noticeable. Those who despite how fingerprints show on glassy controllers will appreciate the matte finish, which shows a minimum of blemishes when tossed in a travel bag with other accessories.
Functionally, the peripheral is generally proficient. The two analog sticks have a short throw, allowing for quick and precise input, while the directional pad on the top left of the device was acceptable for the type of quarter-circle commands demanded by fighting games. For STG fans, the G3s allows players to toggle autofire on for each face button, although the placement of the start, select, turbo and clear buttons inverted tradition. Testing verified the manufacturer’s claims of an eighteen-hour battery life.
For a street price of thirty dollars, gamers can opt for a controller that does an admirable job at interfacing with multiple systems. Save for a few hitches when connecting for the first time, the GameSir GSs combines multiple control options with a price that is wholly equitable. And coupled with a solid build quality, the unit should be considered by players looking for a double (or even triple) duty device.
A GameSir G3s was provided for review by the manufacturer.
Working platforms: Android, PC, PlayStation 3
Connection types: Bluetooth, 2.4Ghz, Wired
Charging time: 2-3 hours
Working distance: Approximately 7 meters
Battery capacity: 600mA
Net weight: 189g
Current street price: $29.99 via Amazon.com