The GameSir T4 Mini is a smaller, cheaper alternative to full-size Switch controllers

With the Switch now more than four years old, it’s no surprise that there are a number of controllers available to buy from a range of companies.

Nintendo still sits at the top thanks to its excellent Pro Controller, but there are others that manage to fulfil a different niche. The GameSir T4 Mini is once such controller, aiming to offer a portable alternative without removing everything you’d expect from a full-size controller. And, while there have been a few compromises here and there to scale down the overall form factor (and cost), the T4 Mini is still an impressive controller that works well for portable gaming.

Small, but not lacking in features

GameSir T4 Mini Switch comparison
Banana Switch for scale

Out of the box, the first thing I noticed was the T4 Mini’s size. If the name didn’t already give it away, it’s meant as a smaller controller compared to GameSir’s other Switch offerings. However, this isn’t actually that small, featuring regular sized analog sticks, a comfortable d-pad, and full set of buttons. Most of the size reduction comes from a lack of handles and smaller ZL/ZR buttons. It’s also not as thick as Nintendo’s Pro Controller, reducing its weight a little.

It’s weight overall is lighter than most standard controllers, but still has some heft to it. This is likely due to the included rumble motors and gyroscope (the only thing missing is NFC support, so no Amiibo compatibility). Because of this, the T4 Mini definitely feels more premium compared to many other third part controllers.

The main visual gimmick to the T4 Mini is its use of LED lights across the analog sticks and buttons. They’re not overly bright, and the analog lights can be dimmed (or completely disabled). It does make gaming in the dark… interesting, since there’s no way to completely disable every LED in the controller. For some this might look a little gaudy, but I personally didn’t mind it.

Solid sticks and buttons, middling d-pad and shoulder buttons

GameSir T4 Mini Shoulder Buttons

When it comes to actually using the controller, there are a few areas where the T4 Mini stumbles. The D-pad, while being a good size and not overly stiff, feels a little unbalanced, occasionally making you more likely to press up when you don’t mean to. Not really noticeable when just being used for menus, though it doesn’t feel the best suited to 2D platformers, which is somewhere a good D-pad should shine.

The shoulder buttons also aren’t the best, with L/R being too stiff, and ZL/ZR feeling too loose. I’d still say they’re more comfortable than the ones on the Joy-Cons, just not particularly impressive.

However, everything else is quite good. The analog sticks are of a comparable size to a regular controller, giving them enough travel for precise movements when needed. The face buttons are also solid, being decently clicky and easy to press. As for the other buttons, the plus and minus buttons do their jobs — nothing special, but not bad either. Same goes for the home and capture buttons — the former is able to wake up the Switch, which is a nice touch (and not always guaranteed outside of first party controllers).

The T4 Mini also features an additional turbo button, which lets you set certain buttons or combinations to be pressed quickly automatically. This is also how you change the brightness of some LEDs and adjust rumble intensity. It’d be nice if the button combinations for these were printed on the back of the controller in case you forget, though they’re simple enough to figure out either way.

Price and final impressions

GameSir T4 Mini Sans LEDs
Certainly less flamboyant with the LEDs off

The T4 Mini is priced at $35.99 (roughly £27), about half the price of the Pro Controller. It’s a pretty big difference, likely caused in part by the smaller size and certain lesser components. This makes it a decent choice for a couple of use cases. For one, the T4 Mini is a perfect second controller if you only occasionally play local multiplayer titles, or need something to pass to a younger gamer.

Its size also means that you have a better option than Joy Cons when it comes to portable gaming. Keeping it in a bag or jacket pocket is easy enough, and its battery lasts around 10 hours — more than enough for both a long journey or multiple short breaks.

On the topic of portable gaming, the T4 Mini can also be used on mobile. Pairing it up with a decent iOS or Android device is simple, and a massive improvement for most titles over touch controls. PC gaming is possible too, but only wired, unfortunately. There are enough cheap wired controllers compatible with PC that the T4 Mini is not really the best choice there — its small size also doesn’t offer much when you’re sitting at a desk anyway.

Overall, this is a decent controller that fulfils the needs of certain gamers at an affordable price. Of course, the T4 Mini is not for everyone, but it was never designed to be — GameSir already has multiple full-size controllers in the T4 range, after all.

I’d like to see a second version in the future with some better components — and perhaps fewer LEDs — to really make this the ultimate portable controller.

The T4 Mini is now available directly via the GameSir store. Thanks to GameSir for providing the controller for this review

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Isaac Todd
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