GameSir G7 Wired Controller Review: Priced Right For Xbox Series X And S

  • Wonderfully ergonomic
  • Highly customizable
  • Very responsive
  • Great value for the price
  • Buttons aren't to every gamer's taste
  • The trigger briefly went all sticky
  • Absurdly recessed USB port

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Whether you're on a console or PC, a good controller can make the difference between a solid gaming session and hours of frustration. A good controller will have a lightning-quick response time, accurate input, good ergonomics, and ideally not look like utter garbage. If you're a Windows or Xbox user, you may be tempted to go with Microsoft's offering. It's a pretty sensible choice, you know you're getting a good quality product that is 100% compatible with the devices you intend to use it on. But with an Xbox Elite controller costing over $100, a third-party option may be worth considering.

GameSir's G7 Wired Controller is "officially licensed by Xbox" and available for under $45. The catch is, it's a good old-fashioned wired controller, so you can only play with it plugged in. It boasts highly customizable controls, an equally customizable appearance, and a couple of extra buttons on the back. Input latency is below 0.004s and the manufacturers claim it offers a polling rate at 265Hz and "best in class consistent smoothness and precision." The name "GameSir” itself is pretty nice. Every time you look at it, you'll get an image in your head of a butler tempting you towards a round of "Tekken 7." So, PR waffle aside, is the actual controller any good? GameSir sent one of their controllers over so we could find out in this review.

Editor's Note: While several of the photos in this review show the GameSir G7 connected to an Xbox One S, this controller's functionality is effectively identical on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One X, and Xbox One S.

Setup is an absolute cakewalk

Setting up the controller is not difficult. You remove the packaging, unfurl the included USB cable, put the USB-C end in the controller, and then put the USB-A end in one of your Xbox's USB-A ports. Preferably one on the front. Your controller is now plugged in and ready to go.

It's the same deal on a PC. Find an available USB-A port, plug your controller in, and presto. You can now use the controller to play any game that supports it. You can, of course, make all of this more complicated if you want to. If you download a program called "The GameSir Nexus" you can customize almost every aspect of the controller.

You can swap button functions, mess around with dead zones, change vibration levels, and adjust stick sensitivity. The triggers also have a sensitivity setting, along with a "hair trigger" setting that makes it activate at the slightest contact. This may help you out if you play a lot of FPS games and want to shoot before even thinking. Up to three profiles can be saved, and those profiles can be assigned to different games so you don't even have to switch before playing.

Does it work on PC?

I can't give or remove many points for this, as it's billed as an Xbox controller. But people have been using both Xbox and Playstation controllers on their PCs for years. Steam even has a "controller friendly" section, for people who prefer a gamepad to the old mouse and keyboard PC Gamers traditionally use. The good news is, it works on PC and it works very well. It quietly installed itself shortly after being plugged in. The center button launches Steam smoothly, so it functions as you would expect outside of a gaming environment. In-game, I'd say it performs better than the older Xbox controller I normally use while playing on PC.

It may even be better suited to a PC than it is to an Xbox. Console games tend to be made with that console's controller in mind, so you rarely see too many extra functions. If they are around, they tend not to be as important if they've been relegated to a button press. With a PC, many games tend to have more functions than you can comfortably map to a controller. "Mount and Blade 2: Bannerlord" is a good example. It's playable with a controller, but you need to have a keyboard to get the most out of it. Those back buttons are ideal for kicks, crouching, and other lesser-used combat moves. They're quick to access, and leave the main buttons and triggers open for more basic functions.

The ergonomics are pretty spot on

This may be an area where my experience differs as I have pretty large hands, but GameSir's controller felt incredibly comfortable in them. The size is on par with a standard Xbox controller and everything, including the extra buttons, was well placed. Both front plates are made from your standard, ever so slightly textured, controller plastic. It's pretty smooth, maybe about as rough as an eggshell. The backs of the grips, which take most of the burden, are slightly rubbery and very comfortable.

The controller's thumb sticks are also well textured, with just enough of a lip to catch your thumb when you flick it over the top. That lip is also enough to keep your thumb firmly attached to the thumbstick when you need to leave it on for extended periods. The thumb sticks are smooth and pretty effortless. The shoulder buttons also have a nice texture and deliver a nice, long, smooth, press.

As far as the actual buttons go, texturally they're the least pleasing part of the controller. They're all made of hard plastic. The press on the Xbox, start, back, and share buttons are very shallow. The D-pad is also pretty uncomfortable. It's a bit reminiscent of what you'd get on an ancient Nintendo in terms of feeling. The buttons let the side down, and the rest of the controller has a quality feel.

Mappable back buttons take things to the next level

When you're holding the controller with your index fingers on the triggers, your middle fingers rest comfortably on its extra buttons — which have been placed on the inside rear of the grips. When you shift your index fingers to the bumpers, and your middle fingers are on the triggers, your ring fingers naturally settle on the grips. In short, these buttons are perfectly placed, easily accessible, and surprisingly useful. The buttons are labeled "M1" and "M2" with the "M" standing for "mappable" apparently. Because you can "map" them to any control you want I'd imagine.

Personally, I found these buttons to be more useful on the PC, where games tend to have more controls. But there is plenty of room for them on the Xbox. I've found they're particularly useful for remapping thumbstick presses. Holding down a thumbstick to perform an action like looking through a scope can be uncomfortable. Squeezing the grip slightly is both quicker and something you can comfortably do for an extended period. As with anything, you'll find a configuration that suits you best. But I'm saying right now that all controllers should have these.

The cable has a glaring issue

As it's a wired controller, the cable is a key part. The included cable is three meters, or nine feet nine inches, long which is more than enough to trail across the average living room. It plugs into the back of the controller itself via a USB Type-C port, which is in the same location the cable from an older wired controller would go, and also close to the location where a USB cable plugs into an official Xbox controller. The other end of the cable is USB-A and can fit into the front of your Xbox and most PC USB ports.

The issue I have isn't with the cable itself, it's a pretty good cable. It's braided and seems to be of decent quality. My issue is with the port it plugs into. The main benefit of a detachable USB cable is the ability to swap it out. As far as parts becoming damaged goes, cables are high up on the list. A detachable cable means you can just replace it with something you have, or buy a relatively cheap, common, part, and your controller is good to continue.

Unfortunately, Gamesir has made the plastic hole around the port so narrow, that only their particular cable seems to fit. I have an apartment full of USB Type-C cables, and none of them fit into this controller. I know having a tight fit in this area reinforces what is a delicate part of the cable, but they could have made the gap a bit bigger and allowed for easy replacement. 

Editor's Note: It's important to acknowledge that GameSir is not alone in this practice. Razer has also been known to make gaming peripherals — like mice — have a USB port space that's shaped to fit its own USB cord, exclusively. They may have their reasons, but their reasons aren't always the most friendly to real-world users.

It put me in a sticky situation

Around a day after I started testing it, the controller developed a minor yet annoying issue. The left trigger would briefly stick and then unstick with enough force to make the controller vibrate slightly and create a weird noise. This problem didn't affect gameplay, my trigger presses were accurate and ended when I let off the pressure. It was just really annoying.

Whatever was making it stick wasn't my fault either. I'd barely used the controller and it wasn't stored in an area where something sticky could get into that particular area. It was working fine, it was sticky for about an hour and a half, then it was fine again. I can only imagine it was some sort of glue or residue that was softened by the heat in my apartment or something, then worked itself off after a bit of gameplay. Either way, it was weird and annoying.

A free month of Game Pass Ultimate sweetens the deal

This is something you can't really complain about. The controller GameSir sent out, and presumably, all of them at the moment, come with a free month of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. If you've already used your $1 trial month, and like the idea of keeping your Ultimate subscription going — then this is worth just under $15. That knocks the price of the controller down to around $30 in real terms. This controller is occasionally available on Amazon with discounts of up to 15% too, so you could end up buying it for just over $38, with a little piece of paper in it that saves you $15. So in real terms, it could be as cheap as $23.

So what is Xbox Game Pass Ultimate? It gives you free access to over 100 games, plus an EA Play membership, and access to Xbox Live Gold. You also get a discount on products in the Xbox store. If you have a digital console, it's almost a must. It's also good value when you consider how much games cost and how utterly horrendous trade-in prices are. That's if you can even trade them in — we live in a digital hell. Anyway, this is an absolutely fantastic bonus.

A changeable front plate offers customization

The controller arrives with a black front plate attached, matching the rest of the controller in color. It also includes a white front plate in the box. Switching these front plates (or faceplates as GameSir refers to them) over is incredibly simple. There's a little thumbnail groove on top of the controller, just in front of the USB-C slot. Pull on that and the plate just comes straight off. Put the new one on and it just drops straight into place once it is lined up. It doesn't make a click or require any force, it just slips straight into its spot. I can also confirm you can't actually play without a faceplate, as this causes the thumb sticks to go too far and stick. 

Another customization option the materials that come with the controller talk about involves adding your own designs to the faceplates with paint markers. A paint marker designed for this purpose does not actually ship with the controller, but they aren't expensive. While it is fun to scribble a design on the plates and truly make these controllers your own — it's also worth pointing out you're just drawing on something with a marker you purchased. You can do that on anything. It's more of a suggestion than an actual feature.

Silence with the press of a button

Aside from when it's mapped to a quick menu, the D-Pad doesn't really get much love on the Xbox controller. Unlike its Dualshock equivalent, it's not in a particularly comfortable playing position. The thumbsticks also give people a lot more control. As a result, it's rarely if ever used for navigation. But GameSir appears to have given the buttons a new life by adding a few more functions to them. 

Now the up button will turn your console's master volume "up," while the down button will turn it "down." Left and right can be used to control your console's voice chat volume, with right turning it up, and left turning it down. This can be helpful if you're stuck in a lobby full of shrieking 12-year-olds. 

So how do you control the volume without triggering the D-pad's in-game function? You don't want to accidentally consume a health pack, switch weapons, or go ultra-defensive on Fifa or anything. This is where it gets a touch awkward. You have to take your right thumb off whatever it was on and use it to hold down a button marked "M" while your left makes the adjustment you want on the D-pad. Quick and easy to do when things are calm, but not something you can do in the heat of the moment.

Underneath, there's a standard 3.5mm headset jack which will fit the majority of gaming headsets. To the right of that is a small button that will mute your microphone. This is useful if you want to mumble profanities about the irresponsible parents of those 12-year-olds that bought them a console and unleashed them on the world.

The buttons have damaged me on a deep, emotional, level

The triggers and thumb sticks are great. But the Y, X, A, and B buttons... With an actual Xbox controller, the press is pretty substantial, considering the size of the button. There's a lot of travel and a pretty meaty bit of resistance before the push registers. GameSir's controller doesn't have any of this. The main buttons, and the Xbox button too, offer up a little click similar to a hard buttoned TV remote or something from the 1990s. There isn't really any travel, and there's no meaty, meaty, resistance. 

GameSir didn't make this decision lightly. Looking at the packaging, it's a deliberate decision — they're described as "tactile face buttons — clicky and ultra responsive." But it just really isn't my cup of tea. They feel wrong. Every click sends a sort of unpleasant feeling down my spine. It turns a nice gaming session into something very uncomfortable. 

It's like trying to enjoy a nice meal when the person opposite you has half a bowl of chicken wings lodged in the gaps between their teeth and refuses to do anything about it. That level of discomfort. And the clicking gets annoying. Some frothing-at-the-mouth hyper-gamers may like this style of button, but I'm in my 30s now. I want comfort. I want my button presses to be a Cadillac, not an Ariel Atom.

So how does it play

We can rattle on about customization, ergonomics, price, and how clicky the buttons are all day long — but none of that actually matters. It's all nice, but it doesn't matter if a controller costs $5 or $500. Only one category really counts. How does it play? A controller, no matter how cheap and how many features it has, is useless if you have a bit of waiting time between a button press and an action being completed. Or the thumb sticks are awkward to use. Or the triggers are not quite right. Sometimes if you go for a budget controller, you'll get something like thumbstick drift out of the box. 

You may be pleased to know the GameSir G7 plays extremely well. Aside from the brief incident with the sticky trigger, it's been absolutely superb. All of the gaming failures I encountered while using it were due to me being utterly useless at games, and not down to the GameSir G7. Everything was comfortable, responsive, and well-placed. If I had preferred something a bit different, I could have always cracked out the software and fine-tuned my experience. Which is a lovely option. This controller plays every bit as well as the one I have that's manufactured by Microsoft. I have no issues at all with it on the gameplay front.

You can't really turn it down for the price

Yes, it's far from perfect. I'm half sure the USB-C port thing is a scam to make money from cable sales. The clicky buttons do drive me utterly nuts. The whole sticky trigger thing was another irritating situation I wish I'd never had to endure. And you can even be forgiven for going "eurgh, a wired controller in 2023?" But none of these things overshadow the GameSir G7's good points.

It's sleek looking, highly customizable, comfortable, and has some very useful back buttons. On top of all that, you never have to worry about running out of batteries. It's also absolutely dirt cheap in controller terms. Controllers that are about a third of the price of the official ones used to be utterly terrible. They used to be the oversized, inexplicably sticky, mutant-looking thing your friend handed you when you went to play Xbox around their house. They of course got the good one. If I'd been given this bad boy, I'd probably have had a far better kill/death ratio on "Rainbow Six 3."

The GameSir G7 Wired Controller can be purchased from Amazon for approximately $45.