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Home / Reviews / Gaming hardware / GameSir G8 Galileo review: get a grip

GameSir G8 Galileo review: get a grip

Forget fun-size mobile controllers - this add-on is full scale

Gamesir G8 Galileo turtles

Stuff Verdict

The GameSir G8 Galileo is great way to game on your phone, whether you’ve got fists like boulders or just prefer a more console-like controller experience

Pros

  • Console gamepad-sized sticks and buttons
  • Wide-ranging phone support

Cons

  • Not as portable as some mobile controllers
  • Older iPhone owners are out of luck

Getting your game on with a touchscreen is always tricky, even on the best smartphones. The latest launches have console-grade graphics, so why not add a console-grade controller to play them with? Unlike other add-ons that put portability (and pint-sized inputs) first, the GameSir G8 Galileo takes the full-scale approach.

At $80/£80 it’s less than half the price of a PlayStation Portal – even if it misses out on fancy haptic feedback. It’s also a close match to established rivals such as the Backbone One. I’ve had one bolted around my handset for the past few weeks to see if it’s your best bet at topping online leaderboards or setting new high scores from your phone.

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Design & build: size matters

On first glance the GameSir G8 Galileo looks a lot like every other mobile controller. Imagine someone sliced a console gamepad in half, then bolted a flat centre section to the pieces to give you somewhere to slot in your smartphone. That mid section is spring-loaded, with enough space to accommodate even the largest of phones. There’s enough depth for especially chunky camera modules too.

You won’t find the chunky grips at either side on other mobile controllers, though. An Xbox-style button layout sees the left analogue stick sat above the D-pad, but the right one placed underneath the face buttons. PlayStation gamers might need some time to adjust. The combination gave me flashbacks to my University-era Xbox 360, and is much comfier to hold than the flatter Backbone One.

The combo of thicker grips and near-universal phone compatibility does mean it won’t slide in a bag quite as easily as some mobile controllers will, so may not be the best choice for frequent travellers. There’s no carry case included in the box, either.

I like how the controller face plates, which are held in place firmly by magnets, pop off without tools. It’s less about adding a custom paint job, and more about swapping the thumbsticks. GameSir includes a handful in the box of varying sizes and height.

The grey-on-grey colour scheme, with two shades of purple for the face buttons, is a blatant homage to the American version of the Super Nintendo. That console always felt like forbidden fruit to a European like me. Maybe a Super Famicom-inspired version with yellow, red, green and blue face buttons should be next, GameSir?

Features: plug and play

I was very happy to see both USB-C passthrough and a 3.5mm headphone port at the GameSir G8 Galileo’s bottom edge. The former meant I could keep gaming without worrying my phone was going to run out of battery (it’ll manage up to 27W). The latter delivers latency-free wired audio even on phones that don’t have a 3.5mm port themselves.

A tilting USB-C connector makes it easy to angle your phone in and out. Chunky rubber grommets then keep it held firmly in place. I even managed to get a Google Pixel Fold to fit. Other book-style foldable phones may be off the menu, and cases usually have to be removed first. Apple fans with a last-gen or older iPhone are out of luck; there’s no version with a Lightning connector.

After slotting home my Google Pixel 8 Pro, Vampire Survivors recognised every button input without having to install GameSir’s companion app first. It’s a useful download for Android owners though, with options for mapping touchscreen-only games to physical controls, adjusting the triggers and analogue stick sensitivity. Nintendo die-hards can digitally swap the face buttons for a Switch-style reversed B/A layout, too. iPhone owners miss out, and have to rely on more limited remapping options using the M button.

The two back buttons feel inspired by the Steam Deck, and can be programmed on the fly without needing a mid-game trip to the companion app. LEDs indicate which controller mode you’re in; there’s one dedicated to PlayStation Remote Play, another for touchscreen-only games, and the default HID input. That one worked perfectly when streaming games from the cloud using Xbox Cloud Gaming, or locally with Steam Link.

Performance: play on

The Galileo G8 stands out from other controllers thanks to its Hall effect analogue sticks, which won’t drift over time. They were superbly sensitive and accurate in Call of Duty Mobile, letting me pull off faster aiming and quicker movement than I could manage with a touchscreen. The triggers get the same treatment, so feel as responsive and satisfying to squeeze as any quality console control pad.

I found the button layout suited me perfectly. Everything was in easy reach and I had none of the hand cramping I’d experienced on the smaller Razer Kishi. The rear buttons are well positioned, and the D-Pad has individual switches for each direction. It’s super satisfying to use for old-school platformers.

The only downside? If you didn’t know your phone was prone to thermal throttling, the GameSir G8 Galileo will soon fill you in. I played some of my favourite games for much longer than when I was forced to use touchscreen inputs, to the point my phone got rather toasty and couldn’t quite deliver the same high frame rates. Your mileage will vary depending on how well your handset copes with heat and sustained performance.

GameSir G8 Galileo verdict

Gamesir G8 Galileo hero select

Do you spend most of your game time on your smartphone? Then the GameSir G8 Galileo is a no-brainer accessory. Larger grips make it comfortable to play with for hours, and Hall effect analogue sticks mean it’s built to last. It has some of the widest handset compatibility going, too.

This isn’t the smallest mobile controller, but the G8 Galileo fits my grip so well I’d happily make space for it in any travel bag. It only falls short of a five star score because GameSir doesn’t offer a version with a Lightning port. Older iPhone owners (which to say are numerous would be an understatement) will have to look elsewhere.

Stuff Says…

Score: 4/5

A great way to game on your phone, whether you’ve got fists like boulders or just prefer a more console-like controller experience

Pros

Console gamepad-sized sticks and buttons

Wide-ranging phone support

Cons

Not as portable as some mobile controllers

Older iPhone owners are out of luck

Profile image of Tom Morgan-Freelander Tom Morgan-Freelander Deputy Editor

About

A tech addict from about the age of three (seriously, he's got the VHS tapes to prove it), Tom's been writing about gadgets, games and everything in between for the past decade, with a slight diversion into the world of automotive in between. As Deputy Editor, Tom keeps the website ticking along, jam-packed with the hottest gadget news and reviews.  When he's not on the road attending launch events, you can usually find him scouring the web for the latest news, to feed Stuff readers' insatiable appetite for tech.

Areas of expertise

Smartphones/tablets/computing, cameras, home cinema, automotive, virtual reality, gaming

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