Gaming has seen a big boom in the past two years, thanks in part to new consoles and in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was a great time not only for games and consoles but also for gaming accessories diversifying the market with more options, especially when it comes to input controls like keyboards, mice and of course controllers. As many people are becoming mobile again, the need for portable accessories has also become more apparent. The GameSir T4 Mini is part of this new generation of controllers where mobility is paramount, and we check whether or not it compromises on the way to achieving its goals.
The GameSir T4 Mini is, as the name suggests, a smaller version of the GameSir T4 Pro from the gamepad manufacturer, which in turn is supposed to be an alternative to Nintendo’s first-party Switch Pro controller. Looks can be deceiving, as they say, and the T4 Mini actually packs quite a bit and a lot more. In fact, it even outperforms its older pro sibling in at least one aspect.
This smaller size has many advantages with very few disadvantages. It slips easily into a pocket or even a large pocket, making it easy to take with you anywhere, especially if you use it with a smartphone. It will definitely be a hit with kids or those with smaller hands, but it is convenient for most people to hold and use.
Its compactness, of course, has some drawbacks, especially for those with large hands. The plastic material that helps keep it light may put some gamers off, but it’s pretty sturdy and durable in practice. The biggest design consideration that you may want to keep in mind is the lack of “wings” or elongated handles, something that some players trust but does not do much for others.
The most notable part of the GameSir T4 Mini’s design, at least aside from its small size, is its translucent black case, which not only allows a view of its interior, but also lets the LED lights shine through. These lights can be partially configured or completely turned off to save battery life. It’s not an essential feature, especially since you rely mostly on muscle memory anyway, but it’s still a nice touch that might appeal to players who have a thing for such lighting.
Connection and controls
Although advertised as a multi-platform game controller, the GameSir T4 Mini was clearly designed with the Nintendo Switch in mind. The layout of the buttons, sticks, and D-pad follows that of the Joy-Cons, and the arrangement of the A, B, X, and Y buttons is the exact opposite of the Xbox layout. There are also special buttons for Home, Screenshot, Plus (+) and Minus (-) that only make sense on a Nintendo Switch.
Of course, all of these buttons can be used with any compatible device, which officially includes Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS, and PCs. The T4 Mini connects mainly via Bluetooth, but can also be connected to PCs with a USB-C cable. There is no compatibility with other consoles, whether Xbox or PlayStation.
Despite its size, the GameSir T4 Mini’s buttons offer excellent travel and enough stiffness for responsiveness, but aren’t too clicky or sticky. The analog joysticks feel very comfortable, especially with the indentation in the middle for the thumb. The triggers and D-pad felt like they could have had more depth but aren’t big deal breakers.
Fortunately, for those who constantly worry about the four main buttons breaking due to repeated mashing, the T4 Mini offers this familiar, but still unusual, turbo button. You can set this mode for a single button or for a range of buttons and this can mean the difference between winning and losing in some games.
Performance and battery
As far as the gaming experience is concerned, the GameSir T4 Mini is pretty much on par with more expensive game controllers. It has a 6-axis gyro that allows you to drive more intuitively in some Switch games, but not on other platforms. GameSir also boasts of the controller’s dual asymmetrical motors, which may feel a bit more powerful when compared to other controllers, likely due to its small size.
This vibration feedback should be taken into account when taking the T4 Mini with you, as it naturally affects the battery life. While the LED lighting is chic, it can also have a drastic impact on how long you can use the controller. GameSir advertises an average of 10 hours, and we more or less achieved that in our tests.
That’s not a lot when you compare it to the Nintendo Switch Pro controller’s 40 hours, but this is a much bigger controller too. It only takes you three hours to fully charge the controller, which is probably a good time to take a break, especially if you play for a long time. To be on the safe side, however, the controller switches itself off automatically after 15 minutes of idle time.
Finding the perfect game controller is almost impossible as gaming behavior and needs can vary widely from person to person. Some prefer a larger controller to keep it secure while others prioritize portability instead. Many want all the bells and whistles that money can buy but may not have enough resources to actually buy them.
the GameSir T4 Mini multi-platform game controller, however, comes close to perfection, especially for those with smaller or average hands. It doesn’t have many drawbacks for its size, other than requiring a smaller battery pack, but that could actually be a good thing that will force gamers to take a breather every now and then. And for just $ 35.99, it’s definitely a steal for anyone who wants to take their game with them wherever they go, be it on a Nintendo Switch or on a phone.
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