GameSir Kaleid Xbox Wired Controller Review

From its humble beginnings, GameSir seems to have now become one of the most consistent controller manufacturers in recent years. And while a lot of its output has been mobile controllers, there’s still room for interesting new console releases.

Enter the GameSir Kaleid. While technically not a completely new release — the Switch version released in 2023 — Xbox fans can now get their hands on this latest offering. If you’re a fan of wired controllers, this is definitely one to consider.

What’s in the Box

Inside the box you get the GameSir Kaleid controller itself, along with its lengthy 3 metre USB cable. Note that while the cable is detachable (helpful when you need to store it) the controller itself can only be used while wired.

Aside from some brief documentation and a GameSir logo sticker, the box also includes a cleaning cloth. It’s a small touch, but a welcome one (and quite handy too, as we’ll get into later.)

When not plugged in, the GameSir Kaleid is an all-black controller with a similar appearance to Microsoft’s own Xbox offerings. The layout of the sticks, along with the face and shoulder buttons is very familiar, and the controller feels comfortable in the hands. Unlike the Xbox Series controller, you also get a regular plus shaped d-pad which I was more than happy to see.

The main visual difference is in the front plastic, which is transparent. While not too easy to see when powered off, it does give you a small glimpse of the internal PCB. It’s a cool effect, though it does come at the cost of very visible fingerprints — this is where the cleaning cloth comes in clutch.

Plugin in the GameSir Kaleid, you’re greeted with an RGB strip that goes along the side of the controller internally. By default this is set to a shifting rainbow pattern, though it’s not overly bright. Lighting effects can be adjusted via software, though a few settings (including basic effects and brightness) are available directly via button combinations.

Appearance wise, it’s a nice controller that doesn’t go too crazy with the lighting. For those used to a regular Xbox controller, it doesn’t look out of place either.

Top Quality Components

Where the GameSir Kaleid does stand out from Xbox controllers is the quality of the controls. The sticks are roughly the same size with a slightly different texture, one that I’d consider just as good (at the very least, it’s not a downgrade.) But now, you also have access to Hall Effect technology, removing the drifting issue that often hits regular Xbox controllers.

This technology is also used for the triggers, meaning they should have a smaller chance of running into issues. Both the sticks and triggers have a few extra options that can be configured, which we’ll go into later in the review.

One aspect that was definitely a plus to me, but might be a downside for some, is the use of microswitches for the face buttons. They require a short press before activating, though there’s an obvious click that lets you know when the button has been pressed down enough.

These can take a little getting used to at first, especially since it feels like they need breaking in — while it could be placebo, the buttons definitely felt easier to press after a few days of use. The clickyness is satisfying, and the buttons have a more premium feel over the standard membrane ones of an Xbox controller.

Microswitches are used for the d-pad as well, and it works great for fighting games and platformers. I’ve never been a big fan of the weird Xbox d-pad to begin with, so having a more traditional one that also uses microswitches is a big plus.

Outside of the usual buttons, there are also two extra buttons on the back — something that’s standard in most third-party controller offerings. These can be programmed to both single buttons (good for FPS games when you don’t want to take your thumb off the analog stick), or multi button combinations. They’re nice to have, if nothing overly special.

GameSir Nexus

As mentioned earlier, it’s possible to get a little extra out of the controller. While some functions are available on the controller directly, most of this is done via the GameSir Nexus app.

For starters, you can tweak how the sticks and triggers function. This ranges from increasing the deadzone of the analog sticks (not 100% needed due to Hall Effect mostly eliminating drift) to making the triggers fully activate the moment they’re pressed down. The latter is really nice for most non-racing games, where having analog triggers doesn’t matter much.

GameSir Nexus is also where you can tweak the RPG. Outside of switching between certain effects, you can also edit the colours shown in each four corners. It’s a robust system, and since the controller itself is black, most colours pair well with it.

Up to three profiles can be saved on the GameSir Kaleid, on top of a default setting that keeps everything vanilla. A recent firmware update also allows you to increase the controllers polling rate even further, making it more responsive at the cost of disabling wired headset support.

Kaleid vs Kaleid Flux

While the Kaleid already existed for the Switch, this Xbox version also comes with a counterpart: the Kalei Flux. Both controllers are pretty much the same — both are wired, feature adjustable RGB lighting, and have a see through front.

However, aside from a minor pattern change on the internal PCB, the main difference is that the face buttons on the Kalei Flux are membrane instead of using microswitches. This also contributes to a slight price decrease, with the Kaleid Flux being a few pounds cheaper (£55.99/$46.99 vs £59.99/$49.99.)

Since everything else is functionally the same (the d-pad uses microswitches on both versions), whether you pick up the Kaleid or Kaleid Flux is more down to personal preference. I personally like microswitches more, though they’re definitely not for everyone.

GameSir Kaleid Review | Final Impressions

The GameSir Kaleid is an impressive offering for Xbox fans, giving a more premium experience while not breaking the bank like Microsoft and Sony’s expensive triple-digit offerings. It’s also a great choice for PC players, as both this and the previous Switch version support Windows.

It’s already become my main controller for gaming, and I’m interested to see what GameSir manages to cook up in the future.

The GameSir Kaleid was reviewed using a sample provided by the manufacturer. It is available for £59.99/$49.99 via Amazon or the GameSir official website.

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