We are long past a time where most of us had only one gaming system we’d play all our games on. Today, most of us, along with a primary gaming system at least have a gaming capable smartphone and this is exactly what GameSir has in mind when creating their controllers. Their latest offering is the G4 Pro controller that looks to be their best built one yet while also having multiple connectivity options for different gaming systems.
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The G4 Pro is a wing-shaped controller with an overall Xbox-inspired design and layout. The center of the controller might make it look a bit bulkier but its shape and size are roughly the same as the Xbox Elite controller as well as the GameSir’s own T4 Pro controller. This should make it fit nicely inside mid to large-sized hands with all the buttons being comfortably within reach. Speaking of comfort, the build quality of the G4 Pro is some of the best we’ve had at this price point and is almost on par with the Xbox Elite Series 2. Its weight of 257 grams and the combination of plastic, textured rubber grips, and aluminum triggers make it feel highly comfortable, robust, and premium.
In terms of layout you have the asymmetrical thumbsticks, the D-pad, start and back as well as and the A, B, X, and Y face buttons. Smack in the middle you have the power button and once you lift up the center bracket you’ll also reveal the dedicated turbo and screenshot buttons. The bracket itself is spring-loaded and is designed to hold your smartphone to make mobile gaming much more hassle-free. It’s an integrated mobile gaming solution that feels much better than the add-on of the T4 Pro but it does come with a slight negative of making the screenshot button not easily accessible if that’s something you extensively use in games. With that said, the bracket feels very durable and can easily stretch out to accommodate smartphones of any size. Oh, and the bracket also hides a neat little place for the USB dongle so you don’t have to worry about losing it when you’re not using it.
As mentioned, using the G4 Pro feels really great. The rubber grips reduce the negative effects of palm-sweating, the thumbsticks are finely tuned with a nice rubber finish, and all the buttons feel good to press and aren’t too loud. I criticized GameSir’s T4 Pro controller for squishy shoulder buttons and I’m glad they went with the highly durable aluminum on the G4 Pro. In terms of feel, the triggers are actually beat for beat almost the same as the ones on the three times more expensive Xbox Elite Series 2 controller, just without the ability to customize the trigger lock length. The only thing that’s a bit sub-par in terms of buttons is the D-pad. While it’s perfectly usable in most games, it can be imprecise due to how soft and mushy it is. It makes it all too easy to press two directions at the same time due to there almost being no audio or other feedback when each one is pressed.
Something cool, however, is that you can customize the ABXY face buttons which are actually magnetic, allowing you to switch up their position. I initially struggled with how to do this but you’ll find that each button has a small protrusion on the left side with which you can easily remove them with no hassle. Rest assured that these magnets are very strong and once the button is put in its place, it won’t go anywhere no matter how intense your gaming session. The button swapping is extremely useful since you can switch between playing on the PC, Nintendo Switch, and other supported systems and always have the correct button layout.
And lastly, I also like that the controller is very minimal in terms of RGB. The only things that glow here are the four battery life LEDs and the central power button that will change between four different colors depending on the system it’s connected to – green for PC, red for Nintendo Switch, blue for Android, and purple for iOS.
The G4 Pro is immensely easy to connect to the platform of your choice, and you can find the instructions on how to do that printed on the back of the controller. Each platform simply requires you to hold the home button in combination with one of the face buttons. The Switch, Android, and iOS devices are easiest to connect via Bluetooth while on the PC, along with that, you have the option of using the Type-C USB cable and the 2.4 GHz wireless receiver dongle. The convenient thing is that once turned on, the controller will automatically recognize and connect to the last paired device, saving you time if you plan on using it for a single platform.
To drive home the fact that this is a fully-featured controller, you also have an internal motor for all the vibrational feedback you’d want from a game as well as the fully functional six-axis gyroscope. The latter is particularly useful on the Nintendo Switch where it can be used for motion controls supported in certain games. The vibration and the gyroscope actually turn the G4 Pro into a more affordable and high-quality replacement for your joy-cons as well as the Nintendo Switch Pro controller.
The responsiveness and the high performance aren’t exclusive to the Switch, however. Using it on the PC is just a matter of plug and play and the controller is instantly usable with your entire Steam or another game library. It’s perfect to use for fast-paced action and racing games and enjoyable in fighting games despite the not-so-great D-pad. Over on mobile, using it makes the gameplay much more enjoyable than with the on-screen inputs while the holder makes the experience seamless and completely hassle-free.
Then there’s the very useful feature to make any button on the controller go into turbo mode so you don’t have to press it over and over again to perform a certain action and can instead simply hold it down. You can get creative with it and use it to quickly perform a certain punch, automatically fire a semi-automatic weapon or quickly skip through dialogue in certain games. The feature can be set up by long holding the desired button and pressing the turbo button at the same time. Even though it’s easy to set up, there is one small issue in the fact that there’s no visual indicator that you actually managed to activate it. The T4 Pro controller had LED’s flashing whenever you used the turbo feature so it would have been great if there was something similar yet a bit more subtle here to go in line with the minimal design.
And lastly, even though the controller is chock full of positives, the battery is arguably its biggest one. Depending on the way you connect it to the system of your choice, the 800 mAh will last you anywhere between 30 to 40 hours which is on par or better than most high-end controllers on the market. Bluetooth will expend a bit more than when the controller is used with the USB dongle but either way, you always have the option to play it with a wired connection. You’ll probably rarely get to a point where you are completely out of juice though since the battery charges from zero to 100% in just over an hour.
And finally, the G4 Pro has one more trick up its sleeve and that’s its insanely low price of a mere $50. Testing it has been the pickiest I’ve ever been when reviewing any controller and I still found very few cons even worthy of a mention. What little there are, they are easily overshadowed by the pros which make the G4 Pro almost a perfect multi-platform controller that makes me excited for what GameSir has in store for us in the foreseeable future.