ASUS ExpertBook B9

GameSir is a manufacturer of gamepads gearing towards PC and Android gamers. So far, they offer 8 different gamepads, each with their own design, layout, and compatible platforms. The one I have here is the GameSir G4s – it’s their latest flagship gamepad with lots of features – and we’re going to talk about it from top to bottom.

The parcel was sent to me by Singapore over registered mail. To my surprise, the box came with decent protection – just a few layers of bubble wrap, and that’s it. The parcel came with zero damages at all.

Acer Nitro 5

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It came with hard plastic case that has a transparent lid, and a dark brown base. I really like how GameSir opted to emboss its logo and name on the transparent lid. Nice touch.

On the base box itself  has some information printed on it. There is really nothing much to see here.

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One thing I like is how reusable the box is. Maybe I can use to store some other things, like USB drives and hard disks.

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Opening up the lip reveals of course, the gamepad itself that can be popped out of the plastic be spreading the white plastic at both its sides.

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Then, you can find the micro USB cable,the user manual (very important, do not neglect), and another rubberized plastic thing beneath the white plastic holder. So far so good.

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[nextpage title=”Design”]

Coming on to the design, there are a lot of things I like about the GameSir G4s. Let’s start with the sides first and work our way around.

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At both sides of the GameSir G4s, there are large pieces of grey coloured rubber pieces built right into the gamepad itself. I really like this design, as every other gamepads I’ve tried does not have any friction grips at all.

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Then comes to the top. There’s a simple microUSB port for charging, and all the LB/LT/RB/RT buttons are extremely shiny.

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At the back, there is nothing other than a small reset switch that requires something long and tiny to trigger, and some serial number printed at the center of it.

The front of the GameSir G4s is the part that I like the most. It comes with the Xbox controller layout which I feel is absolutely better than the Sony PlayStation one. It does feel much ergonomic and comfortable compared to other gamepads. There is a small battery life indicator strip at the left hand side, which is very well hidden but very bright. This is vastly different than other gamepads, as compared here with the Xiaomi Gamepad.

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At the front of the GameSir G4s, there’s a huge “home” button – which is actually another illuminated button – but this time it has a few colours. Each of these colours do tell something what mode it is currently in. More on this later.

Fancy colours! #GameSir #G4s

A photo posted by Nasi Lemak Tech (@nasilemaktech) on


Genius product designers over at GameSir did implement a phone clamp in the controller as well. This clamp does click to two levels of tilt satisfyingly, so it depends on which of the two angles you’re comfortable using.

Beneath the clamp however, are two more hidden buttons – TURBO and CLEAR. More about these two buttons later.

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Also, the clamp hides the wireless receiver too. Everything is very nicely hidden in the controller itself.

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[nextpage title=”Features”]

Remember when I said that the user manual is important? Yeah – this is where it comes in handy.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong if you don’t wish to have a piece of glossy paper that is the user manual lying around your gaming rig. “No, we wouldn’t want that – it breaks the tidiness and immersion”, you might say. GameSir does let you get a soft copy right here at their page, and I presume that they realize how important is their user manual after all.

Connection modes

Connection Requirement Button

Remark

Bluetooth Bluetooth-enabled device A + Home “Home” button turns green and flashes.

Will continue flashing until paired.

USB dongle

*GameSir G4s will automatically connect using this method if available. Connection is instant.

Included USB receiver A + Home “Home” button turns green and flashes.

Will continue flashing until paired.


[UPDATE]: According to a fellow GamSir G4s user, he has stated that it can be connected to a Sony PlayStation 3 and worked flawlessly too. I didn’t have a PS3 to test it with, and I thank this person greatly for this bit of information.

Thanks!


Modifier keys

These settings are changed within the controller itself – so there are no software for it to interface with a computer. It reminds me of the Ducky’s range of keyboards that I’ve reviewed and am currently using, where all of its features are tweaked on the keyboard itself through a combination of keys.

To be honest, the user manual didn’t do a particularly good job at summarizing all of the buttons required to change its settings as compared to any of the Ducky keyboard’s user manual. So, let me summarize the GameSir G4s’s settings for you, then show you what they do.

Button

Function

Duration to hold

Remarks

Home Power on 2 seconds LEDs turn on
Power off 5 seconds LEDs turn off
Check battery Less than 2 seconds LEDs at battery indicator that turn on:

  • 1-4: Above 75% battery
  • 1-3: 50%-75% battery
  • 1-2: 25%-50% battery
  • Only LED 1: 10-25% battery
  • LED light flashes: Less than 10% battery
Off/Adjust LED brightness L2 + R2 + R3 +
D-Pad Up/Down
Per press Has a total of 5 different levels
Adjust vibration intensity TURBO +
D-Pad Up/Down
Per press Adjust till you’re happy with it

To explain these features even more, let’s start off with the buttons. They’re actually large acrylic (I suppose) buttons with LED backlight beneath those XYAB keys, and colour-differentiated too. Even comes with a total of 5 brightness levels (including off) so that it doesn’t distract you with those extremely bright lights.

To me, this is a really nice touch. You’ll really have to see it to believe how bright the GameSir G4s’s LEDs are in a dimly-lit room. The buttons light up slightly differently thanks to the hemispherical button. Also, I don’t recommend turning them off as they not only look amazing, but they do tell the status of the GameSir G4s. Those refractions certainly look great!

Input modes

Now, back to the user manual – this time on its connectivity. Remember, the GameSir G4s is very versatile when it comes to the multiple methods of connectivity and has a variety of input methods too. This is to ensure perfect compatibility between different platforms. GameSir even put in an extra input mode in the G4s, just because they can.

Input Modes

Buttons Remark

Function

Enter/Exit mouse simulation SELECT + X Enter: “Home” LED turns white

Exit: “Home” LED turns green

  • Cursor: Left joystick
  • Left click: A button
  • Right click: B button
Android-only B + Home “Home” LED turns white Full compatibility for Android devices
XBOX mode for PC X + Home “Home” LED turns blue Simulates itself as an XBOX controller

There are still some other feature that can be done too, like switching the D-Pad and analogue stick if you prefer. I’m not going to dwell into that – so take a look at the user manual here.

I find it particularly interesting to have this many function on a single controller. Comparing the GameSir G4s with other controllers like the DualShock, XBOX, and even Xiaomi’s gamepad, it might just be a little overkill – but in a good way.

[nextpage title=”Comfort and usage”]

There was an event over the weekend when I got the GameSir G4s – it was my baby nephews’ (they’re twins) birthday party. Being an antisocial as I am, I took the G4s with me along and copied some PSP games on the ASUS ZenFone 3.

I changed the settings on the GameSir G4s accordingly – have it on Bluetooth mode and Android-only mode, and launched the PSP simulator. It worked right away! It’s just flawless!

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Then I clamped down my phone, and started playing some games right away. Mind you – this is the first time I’m using the GameSir G4s, and it has already impressed me. The G4s itself weighs in at 245 grams – which does make the entire rig a little tiring after some time.

With the two levels of angle to choose from, I was happy with the bigger angle – just because of how I hold the controller itself. Then, I played some Ratchet & Clank, which can’t be simulated just yet, and moved on to Dissidia 012: Duodecim.

If you don’t know about Dissidia series of games, it’s a famous franchise of fighting action-RPG game with Final Fantasy characters for the Sony PSP. This game is a real button smasher, and I played about a good hour with the GameSir G4s. Overall, I’m really impressed by how tactile and responsive the buttons are.

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After the event, I got home and plugged in the GameSir G4s USB receiver onto my PC. I launched Mirror’s Edge: Catalyst, and turned the GameSir G4s to PC mode. Impressively, everything picks up instantly and seamlessly. There were zero intervention needed to ensure the connection is working fine.

I played another good hour (at least) before finally checking on the battery LEDs again. All of its battery LEDs are still turned on – which means there’s more than 75% battery left! Such long-lasting battery compared to the Xiaomi Gamepad!

Direct comparison to the Xiaomi Gamepad.
Direct comparison to the Xiaomi Gamepad.

Al of the buttons – and especially the shoulder buttons – bounces up pretty quickly. Speaking of the shoulder buttons, I found out that the LB and RB buttons have their pivot points at one side of the button. That means the key rotates inwards to the switch instead of pressing it down. I needed some time to adapt, given that most gamepads have the LB and RB button pressed downwards instead of rotating inwards. Once I got used to it, it actually felt okay.

One other thing I realize is that the GamSir G4s is slightly smaller than the Xiaomi Gamepad. They both might look the same, but once held, the difference is felt.

This mechanism is vastly superior compared to the traditional mechanism though. Xiaomi’s Gamepad had a lot of quality issues regarding the LB and RB buttons, as they start to squeak and get itself caught within the plastic chassis itself. These issues are nonexistent on the GameSir G4s!

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Also, I had to go through a lot of reconfiguration on the Xiaomi Gamepad with x360ce, but since the GameSir G4s is directly detected as an Xbox controller, everything worked perfectly – and I’ve tested this in Mirror’s Edge Catalyst and Rise of the Tomb Raider. I’m really impressed by how GameSir implemented its features on this controller!

Battery life? It  actually lasts for hours upon hours of gaming. I tried to use about 10 hours and it barely drop 30% of battery. Even if it does drop, just switch to wired connection mode.

Wrap up

When it comes to PC gamers, I feel that we are gifted with the multiple types of controllers to choose from. We have the usual keyboard and mouse, trackpads (LOL), touchscreens, joystick controllers, driving wheels, flight controllers, and gamepads. The GameSir G4s fills in the gamepad category for not only PCs, but also for Android devices.

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With that many choices of “game controllers” to choose from, I think the GameSir G4s manages to score for both Android and Windows in the gamepad category. Things worked perfectly out of the box, and I’m thoroughly impressed by this. They even included a little extension for the smartphone holder, so that and weirdly-shaped Android phone will be compatible with the GameSir G4s!

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Slides in snugly right on to the holder itself, and can be carried with a lanyard.

Great job, GameSir!

However, there is a caveat – and that is the price. Officially, it’s listed at $69.99 USD on their product page. While that’s an insane amount of money for a gamepad, you can actually find cheaper deals at other online places – just need to know where to look (click here).


To learn more about the GameSir G4s, check out the link at http://gamesir.hk/?p=1&a=view&r=10.

If you’re interested in getting one of the GameSir G4s for yourself, you can it out over here at eBay or at their official Aliexpress page.
To see other gamepads that GameSir offers, check out this link at https://goo.gl/AeEN3G.


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