GameSir G3v Wireless Android/PC Gamepad Review

Now as you may or may not know I’m a bit of a fanatic for controllers, and I love trying different ones all the time to try and find a new daily driver, as I’m highly dependent on good quality products for recording smooth gameplay.

Please note: GameSir provided the review product to me free of charge. This does not influence the outcome of the review in any way.

In the box you’ll receive the G3V itself, a 2.4GHz wireless USB dongle, and a very nice faux velvet carrying pouch, along with two GameSir branded USB cables. The first is a simple microUSB charging cable for the controller, and the second a male-to-male microUSB for connecting the gamepad to a mobile device physically, but more on that later. Lastly there is a clip-on bracket for attaching your smartphone to the G3V.

Stylish curves and LED-backlit buttons make for an elegant design.

Now with product reviews, particularly hardware based ones, I always want to be 100% honest about my first impressions, and in this case I was hugely surprised by the weight of the controller. It’s extremely light at just under 200g or 0.42lb, particularly by comparison to the Xeox Speedlink I currently use and other wireless options I’ve used in the past.

That said, the construction is extremely solid and the device feels very sturdy in the hand. The material is simply a smooth plastic, which while pleasant to hold does result in sweating after long periods of gameplay. I do hope that GameSir plans to release a gamepad with grippy rubber-type coating rather than bare plastic, but that’s just a personal preference.

The G3v has a profile reminiscent of the Dualshock 4, with enhanced triggers.

I also love the aesthetic here - the LED backlit face buttons make the G3V look extremely classy, particularly against the dark blue finish which has a very slight glittery appearance.
The face buttons give good tactile feedback, in my mind comparable to the DualShock 3, with a perhaps slightly more audible click. The D-Pad is slightly on the mushy side, so perhaps look elsewhere if you play a lot of fighters, but for most people the very nice concave thumbsticks will more than make up for this. There is a defined ridge below the rim which gives a nice level of grip for the pads of your thumb, and I love how clicky the shoulder buttons are, along with the truly fantastic steep outwards curve of the analog triggers, which personally I think has been done better here than on any of the major retail options. Huge kudos to GameSir.

The central illuminated GameSir logo on the body of the G3V indicates the connection mode, while the four smaller LEDS at the bottom display the current battery charge level. During my testing the inbuilt 600maH battery took 2-3 hours to charge, which then gave me just over fifteen hours of use. This is slightly short of the quoted 18 hours on the Amazon product page, but be aware that I was disconnecting and reconnecting a lot more than the typical user would because of my review testing, so take my measurements with a pinch of salt. Ladies. (wink)

Use the included bracket and cable/bluetooth to connect to your smartphone!

The G3V is nothing if not adaptable, and you can use it with a nice range of devices - using the tiny USB dongle you can connect to your PC in Xinput mode or to Sony’s Playstation 3 console. The instruction manual also says it will work with Smart TV boxes, although not owning one I was unable to confirm this.

The connection was entirely stable during my use, and I managed an approximate maximum working range of about 20 feet, which again is spot on with GameSir’s specifications.

Alternatively, you can pair the gamepad via Bluetooth 4.0 to iOS or Android smartphones and tablets. Here’s where the handy bracket comes in. You simply unscrew one side of the clip, snap it into place and raise the holder. Then screw the side back on, drop the platform and clamp your smartphone into place. From here you can use the controller to navigate the OS if that’s your bag, or indeed play games! Of course using Bluetooth will increase your battery consumption slightly, but you can use the included male-to-male microUSB lead to connect directly and save yourself some gameplay time

You can create a setup akin to the Nvidia Shield portable for far less cash


Take a look at this setup compared to something like the Nvidia Shield Portable (above), and this might illustrate the concept a little better. While I love the Shield and it’s my go-to piece of portable gaming hardware, it’s heavy and they’re hard to find. What GameSir offers here is a lightweight and much more affordable means of achieving the same thing. They’re certainly not the only company doing it, but I expect we’ll continue to see many more products like these.

And on a personal level, a huge part of dealing with a company is their customer support, and while I haven’t had any issues or failures with the product, when GameSir reached out to me to discuss the product they were extremely helpful and gave me all the contact I needed during the process. They were perfectly happy in my case to work around my exams, and while I know this experience is not relevant to the average consumer, I can at least say that I personally would have absolutely no qualms about using them again, and I’m quite confident that I will.

To be candid, I’m as guilty of anyone of having this preconceived notion that little-known companies from the Far East rarely produce high quality products, but the G3S and GameSir themselves have changed my mind. To the good people at GameSir I apologise for that, and to you the consumer, I encourage you to go into these purchases with an open mind if you thought the same way as me.

High quality construction, excellent presentation and a wide range of features, along with excellent customer relations all culminate in a firm nod of recommendation from me.

Nvidia Shield Portable Review

I’ve been intrigued by the Nvidia Shield since its release as having a high quality screen strapped to a proper dedicated controller is my idea of the perfect gaming portable. While not necessarily pocket-sized, I personally do not rely on excessively small or unobtrusive gadgets, as I travel around with a backpack virtually all the time anyway being a university student.

The Nvidia Shield's hardware controls feel great in the hand.

So while we’re on the topic let’s talk about the physical design. The nVidia Shield, like I said, basically consists of a full-size gamepad with standard face buttons and dual-analog sticks, attached to a clamshell screen. And what a screen. While admittedly it does bear a what would usually be considered substandard resolution of 1280x720, at the 5” size I really don’t think it matters in the context of this device. Obviously many 5” smartphones have 1080p or even 4K screens now, but since the Shield is meant to be used for gaming and not reading text, I think the incredible colour response and quality of the panel more than make up for this.

I love the general black and chrome aesthetic that nVidia have chosen to run with, and it feels incredibly sturdy and well-built. The top of the device is consumed by the panel and controls, while on the rear you’ll find a microusb connector for charging and a miniHDMI port for output to a larger display such as a hotel room TV, at which point full 1080p output is supported. This is also accompanied by a standard 3.5mm headphone jack. And better yet, the unit comes packed in this rugged yet stylish case.

 

The panel on the Shield features incredible colour response and viewing angles.
Image: Arietty (Studio Ghibli)

However, the aspect that drew me to this device above all others was PC game streaming. This will only work for more modern nVidia graphics cards, so a team green exclusive, but my god, what more could you ask for as a gamer on the go? Assuming a decent wifi connection of about 10MB down and 2 up, I can access my powerful desktop PC  from the Shield and play my Steam library wherever I am. This means I can play full blown titles like Dark Souls and Tomb Raider on a portable! And even better, through a bit of technical jiggery-pokery you can get not only PS3 and PS4 remote streaming through the nVidia Shield, but PS2 and Gamecube emulation on the go as well, with your home PC doing all the actual emulation horsework. That’s right, portable Bloodborne. Now obviously it can be pointed out that a gaming laptop for example provides this same experience for the most part, but remember the form factor we’re talking about here, and it makes the Shield very competitive.

The impressive 28.8Wh battery will net you around 6 hours of continuous local gameplay or 10 hours of streaming, although obviously your mileage will vary depending on exactly what you use your Shield to do. I’ve been experimenting with portable gaming devices for years, and until now my machine of choice has been a modded PSP-3000, which just falls slightly short for me because of the somewhat cheap feeling design and the cramped controls.

I was very close to making the move to the Playstation Vita, but general lack of support and similar controls to the PSP ultimately made me trump for the nVidia Shield, and I’m so pleased I did. It’s a marvellous device, still pretty expensive and somewhat hard to find, particularly in the UK where I live. But definitely worth it.

Xeox Speedlink Wireless PC Controller

Just as I believe in using high quality keyboards and mice to interact with your PC, you should use quality hardware to interact with your games console or system when gaming. Nothing breaks immersion not having fine control over your character, and recently my Razer Sabertooth sadly finally died, so I needed to pick up a new controller. What I ended up with was the Speedlink Xeox Pro.

It’s a third party take on the classic Xbox 360 wireless controller, supporting both Direct and Xinput, and works on both Windows PCs and OSX Yosemite with some minor tweaking. The Pro connects to your system via a fairly chunky USB receiver, which is not as neat as the smaller offerings from competitors such as Logitech, but will not cause any issue whatsoever for the majority of users.

It's certainly a good-looking gamepad.

It’s a stylish design, matte black with red LEDs, which feels ergonomically virtually identical to its inspiration. There are a couple of very subtle differences, such as the shoulder buttons feeling a little lighter which is nice for action games, and the D-pad feels a little more solid, although that really doesn’t take much doing, does it. Otherwise it’s essentially business as usual, apart from the addition of a rapid-fire button which, while it can be a little fiddly to setup during gameplay, does work very well.

Performance during my testing has been excellent, the manufacturer claims stable operation up to 10 metres away, and while I haven’t been able to get quite that far away due to the size of my student accommodation, I’ve had zero experience with lag or signal dropouts, even with obstructions between the controller and its receiver.

The receiver is a little larger than a standard USB flash drive.

The device has a nicely grippy texture which makes long gaming sessions very comfortable, and the battery will certainly last them out. I’ve found thatcharging the inbuilt non-replaceable battery takes a couple of hours, which will net you about 15-20 hours of gameplay which is just superb, a damn sight more than the specified 10.

Overall, think of the Xeox Speedlink as a superior alternative to Microsoft’s standard offering at a slightly lower price, usually available at around £25 here in the UK. A wired alternative is also available, but with the amazing battery life of this wireless unit, I’m more than comfortable recommending this as one of the best third party options out there.

Author: Ollie Burton

Ollie is a student at Newcastle University in the UK studying Cellular & Molecular Biology. In his spare time he operates this website, is an avid gaming & film fan and plays in a blues-rock band, as well as editing for the University's student newspaper, The Courier.

Razer Sabertooth Review

Anyone who watches my Youtube Let's Plays will likely have heard me bring up this device now and again. It's my primary gamepad, not the only one I own, but certainly the one that lives on my desk and sees most use, so I thought I'd take five minutes of your time to tell you why you should own one.

The success to their previous entry, the Onza, it's one cool looking piece of gaming tech. Featuring a slim, elegant profile very similar to that of Microsoft's standard Xbox 360 controller, it fits extremely well in the hands, and a slightly grippy texture means you won't lose your grasp even once the inevitable sweat from a long gaming session starts to appear.

So why should you spend the extra cash to pick this one up over the regular offering?

The Sabertooth comes with a few features to set it apart from the competition - an excellent D pad (usually not great on most controllers), LED backlit buttons on the right hand side, and the crowning feature, removable programmable triggers on the back! These offer a staggering advantage for FPS players, as you no longer have to remove your thumb from the analog stick in order to lob a grenade, for example. Unfortunately the triggers do not act as separate, keybindable switches in their own right, and can only duplicate an existing button, and while that feature would have been nice to see, it really hasn't bothered me at all.

Upon comparison to a standard 360 controller, I noticed a couple of things. Firstly, the analog sticks seemed to me much more precise on the Sabertooth. I didn't pick up on this until I started Call Of Duty: Black Ops 2, but it really made a difference in this type of play environment. Secondly, mechanical switches! The A, B, X and Y buttons all have mechanical switches underneath as opposed to membrane pads, which gives a wonderfully tactile feel and a tiny audible 'click'.
So satisfying.

I very much liked the detachable USB cable, which simply unscrews from the front of the controller and goes easily into the included storage case. A common complaint from 360 controller owners (at least that I know) is that the point where the cable joins the body of the controller is rather flimsy, so this was a really nice touch. You also get a couple of grip-tips for the analog sticks, as well as the trigger removal tool.

Now at around £70, it is certainly not a cheap asking price, nearly three times that of a typical Xbox 360 controller. However, you're getting much better build quality, inherent longevity due to the detachable cable, and my personal favourite aspect, the mechanical switches. After owning the Sabertooth, I'll never go back to a membrane-type pad. It's spoiled me, but I feel that it really enhances the play experience, and very highly recommend it to any gamer out there.