Most of the gaming controllers fall into one of two categories. Either they are feature-rich but with an insane price tag or they are extremely bare-bones and cheaply made. Luckily, there are more and more companies that are looking to fill the in-between space and offer affordable yet high-quality gaming controllers. GameSir definitely falls into that category with most of their products, some of which we already reviewed here at Keengamer. Their latest is the T4 Pro multi-platform controller with an eye-catching price of a mere 40 US dollars. Naturally, we decided to check out and see how it stacks against the numerous competition.
Design-wise, the T4 Pro controller from GameSir goes the route of slightly bulkier ones in the vein of the Xbox controller. In fact, at first glance, its overall shape and size are strikingly similar to the Xbox Elite Series 2 controller which is a great thing right off the bat. It essentially means that it should quite nicely fit into medium to large hands with all the buttons comfortably sitting within the reach of your thumbs. What’s more, the controller is amazingly light, coming in at mere 180 grams so there’s no worry of any strain on your hands or wrists during prolonged play sessions.
While some people might prefer a controller that has a bit more weight to it, there’s an additional reason as to why the T4 Pro is so light and I’ll get to that reason soon. When it comes to the build of the controller, it’s entirely made out of translucent plastic and it even has a bit of texture on the back for a slightly grippier feel. While the plastic build pales in comparison to the materials found on some of the more premium controllers out there, it definitely doesn’t feel cheap. In fact, in terms of durability, I argue that the plastic here is more durable than the rubber matte material of the Xbox Elite 2, especially when it comes to being resistant to scratches. It also feels sturdy enough to survive a fall with no issues and the material certainly won’t degrade even after a long time of usage.
Something to keep in mind is that the plastic can have a negative side effect of being slippery if your hands are prone to sweating. Don’t get me wrong, it won’t make the controller fall out of your hands or make you any less capable of using it thanks to its shape and the texture on the back. However, the smooth surface combined with an excessive amount of sweating might make it feel a bit flimsy and just a bit less enjoyable to use.
The button layout on the T4 Pro is the tried and true one with A, B, X and Y face buttons, the D-pad, and asymmetrical analog sticks. These have a rubber coating and textured edges that make them non-slippery and very comfortable to use. The main buttons also feature the beautiful translucent design which makes them in line with the rest of the controller. In the middle, you have small unobtrusive buttons that perform different functions depending on the system the controller is connected to. The only exception is the home button which you can long-press to turn the controller on or off. You also have a set of LED’s which indicate the current connection mode of the controller.
In terms of feel, all of the face buttons, the D-pad, and the analog sticks are a real joy to use. However, I have to mention that they require a bit more force to press and operate than you might be accustomed to, especially if you are coming off of Dual Shock or the Xbox controller. You’ll definitely quickly get used to it, but it’s something that you could find a bit strange when you first start using the T4 Pro.
Now, when it comes to shoulder buttons, they’re the polar opposite. While all of them feature short, linear travel distance which can be very useful for performing fast in-game actions, they feel very soft, flimsy and aren’t very enjoyable to use. It’s not a deal-breaker, it’s just that the feel of using them is miles below some of the competitor controllers. Where the T4 Pro looks to make up for it is with the presence of four additional buttons on the back of the controller which function similar to the paddles you usually only find on some of the more expensive controllers out there.
I absolutely love the fact that GameSir decided to include these because they add immense functionality to the controller. However, their implementation could have been handled a bit better from a design perspective. Where other controllers usually have the buttons on two different paddles on each side the T4 Pro has both buttons situated at opposing sides of the same “paddle”. This makes pressing the inner button a bit awkward and less precise no matter how you hold the controller. Despite this, the back buttons can be of great use and are more than welcome addition, especially at this price point.
The last thing to mention about the T4 Pro in terms of the design is the LEDs present in the main face buttons and in the ring around the right analog stick. Besides looking great in the translucent body of the controller, they give it some much-needed personality that really distinguishes it from the competition. They do take a considerable hit on the battery life when in wireless mode, but you can either turn the brightness down a bit or even shut them off completely should you wish to.
I did mention that there’s a reason for the low weight of the T4 Pro and it’s mainly because GameSir also had mobile gaming in mind. In the back, right next to the Type-C input, you have a slot where you can insert the phone holder which is included in the package. Since mounting a smartphone will add considerable weight to the controller, it’s a good thing it’s so light by itself. The holder is made out of plastic and is somewhat stiff and difficult to insert into the slot but it’s a great addition if you are into mobile gaming. The points where it holds the phone are even covered in rubber so you don’t need to worry about damaging your smartphone which will remain firmly in place while you carelessly game on.
The T4 Pro is a highly versatile controller that’s compatible with the PC, MAC, and the Nintendo Switch as well as iOS and Android devices. For the PC you have the option of using any of the three connectivity options of T4 Pro – the USB cable, the 2.4 GHz wireless with the receiver dongle, or Bluetooth 4.0. The rest of the compatible devices, on the other hand, are connected exclusively through Bluetooth. Which connection option for which device you want to use is controlled by pressing the home button in combination with another face button. This can all be found in the convenient user manual but after a short time using the controller, you should know the button combinations by heart with no problems. This won’t even be a concern if you plan on using the controller with only one device as it will automatically recognize and connect to the last paired device.
No matter the option you chose on any of the supported devices, there’s no delay or any latency to speak of, the connection is very stable and all the buttons remain responsive at a very long range. I literally walked around my entire apartment and the buttons kept registering even through walls with no problems. When it comes to how the controller performs in various games – it’s totally on par with some controllers 3 times its price. It’s instantly recognized on the PC and usable with your entire Steam or another game library. I used it for a couple of online matches of Mortal Kombat 11 and was just as good as with any other controller I previously used.
On the Nintendo Switch, playing Fortnite was a bit more precise and much more enjoyable than playing it with the Nintendo’s own joy cons. It even has the six-axis gyroscope that’s supported in some games like the Breath of the Wild in which you can, for example, use it to more precisely aim and fire your bow. This means that with the T4 Pro, you won’t lose any functionality that you’d otherwise have with Nintendo’s own controllers. All of that, coupled with the fact that the T4 Pro comes in at half the price of the Nintendo Pro controller makes it a more than worthy as well as far more versatile replacement. Mobile gaming was also a great experience and achieving a victory royale in Fornite was much easier than when playing using the on-screen inputs. Other, more casual mobile experiences were also much more enjoyable thanks to the added precision and the aforementioned smartphone holder.
Now that’s the point where a review for many other wireless controllers would end, but GameSir went a step further and added a couple of more customization options and functionalities. First, you can designate any of the buttons or triggers to go into turbo mode so you don’t have to press it over and over and can instead just hold it down to perform an action. For example, let’s say you have a semi-auto weapon and don’t want to press the trigger over and over in order to shoot. No problem. Simply make the trigger go turbo and hold it down to shoot as if you were shooting an automatic weapon. You can get creative with it and not only can it be extremely useful but it can help reduce the strain of repetitive button presses in certain games.
Of course, the back buttons can easily be programmed to perform the function of any other button on the controller. However, the customization of the back buttons goes even further when playing on the PC and mobile devices which you can even use to record macros! You simply press the back button your want the macro assigned to and record your button combination. You can even decide if you want all the recorded button presses to be triggered at the same time or in sequence one after another. Suffice it to say that this functionality for the most part comes only with the mid to high-end controllers and it’s amazing that GameSir managed to squeeze it into the T4 Pro.
The last important thing to mention, of course, has to be the battery life. The T4 Pro has a 600 mAh battery that will last around 8 hours before needing to be recharged. Of course, this can be a bit more or less depending on whether you have the LED’s turned on and how often do you use the more advanced functionalities of the controller. 8 hours is significantly less than some of the more high-end wireless controllers but luckily it gets fully charged in just under two hours and you always have the option to use it in wired mode if you are playing on the PC.