Third-party controllers have really had a turnaround in fortune over the last decade or so. Formerly reserved for the extra friend when you don't quite have enough controllers, they’ve now become a great first-choice option, regularly providing many of the best assets of an official controller at a more appealing price.
The Gamesir G7 SE is a really great choice for any player who needs an extra wired controller at their disposal, but it lacks a little bit of the versatility of the official Series X controller. This won't be an either/or situation, the G7 will still likely be a great choice for those who like its unique features.
It misses out in one key area, but makes up for it in many of its great design choices.
Pretty in action
The Gamesir G7 SE is a really nice-looking controller, feeling like an honest replication of Microsoft's best offerings. Mine had a white front plate and small blue trimmings, making it stand out, without being too flashy. Its size and shape are very similar to an Xbox controller, but it is much lighter.
In addition to this, the only real branding you can find on the controller is in the fine print on the back, a classy choice that avoids advertising Gamesir too forcibly while you play. Aside from this, the first real thing you will spot is a dedicated mute button on the bottom and an "M" button in between the D-Pad and the analogue stick.
We will get to how these work while playing soon, but I’ll start by saying that they surprisingly don’t make the gamepad feel cluttered, showing that you can have extra buttons without making incorporating them feel like extra work.
The new additions
That M button essentially functions like the Fn key on PC, allowing you to access alternative buttons with the same input. For example, by holding M and pressing up on the D-Pad, you turn up the volume of your headset. Down then turns it down, whereas pressing left puts more of a focus of the volume on the game and right focuses more on your party chat.
These, alongside the dedicated mute button, make the controller a really good choice for online games. The lower weight also helps. Unfortunately, the Gamesir G7 SE can only be used while plugged in, making playing a little more uncomfortable if you like to lean back on your sofa. The detachable wire is three meters long, which is enough to reach most setups, but can get in the way if you have a particularly large screen.
The controller is very customisable, with software allowing you to set certain templates that can be swapped between via the M button and the A, B, X, and Y buttons. Though I didn't find myself using these often, they are a nice touch that makes the controller feel yours.
As well as all of this, there are two paddle buttons on the bottom, effectively working as R4 and L4. You can programme these with new inputs, making hitting the crouch button easier or adding in the ability to pause the action without dragging your hand across the pad. You can lock these, turning them off, via a small switch next to them.
Fundamentally, this is where the Gamesir G7 SE shines. It offers tonnes of small customization options, but never forces them on you. If you just want to use it as a simple controller that is cheaper than the official Xbox controller, it works great like that too.
One of the biggest selling points of the G7 SE is something I couldn't personally verify. The analogue sticks come with an Anti-Drift effect, which, in theory, allows you to use it much longer than other controllers. Gamesir estimates that this will feature will make the controller last "up to five million cycles", but it would take me an awfully long time to get there.
With the sudden rise in stick drift from official Nintendo and PlayStation hardware, this is a really attractive package that future controllers should be inspired by. If you like all of that, but don't appreciate the look, the front faceplate can be taken off at will, though it seems the only way to buy more of them is bundled with a controller, so you have to commit to a new faceplate up-front if you want to swap them out.
The Gamesire G7 SE was provided for coverage purposes.