Review: The GameSir i3 Is Both a Bluetooth Game Controller & an iPhone Case

I have reviewed a number of gaming controllers from GameSir but the i3 Gaming Case ($39.90) the company sent me to try breaks the iPhone Bluetooth game controller mold. Instead of a plastic Xbox-like controller fitted to work with and house an iPhone, GameSir started with an iPhone case and added buttons to it. 

Related: Apple Gets Games with Apple Arcade Subscription Service

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The case is quite nice on its own, with a sturdy back, protection on the bottom by the ports (where many slim case makers skimp), and a soft rubbery finish. Observers might never notice that it has gaming superpowers. The one tip off might be the bump at the bottom, which is somewhat similar to Apple's battery case. But unlike the Apple case, the i3 doesn't charge the iPhone. Instead, it connects via Bluetooth and adds two customizable buttons at the top left and right of the case, (when the iPhone is held horizontally). GameSir's G-touch technology translates touches on those buttons into virtual touches on the screen and you can map what actions those presses trigger.

The i3 is compatible with multiple First Person Shooter and MOBA apps, including Minecraft, Call of Duty: Mobile, and more. The case has a GameSir logo that lights up and changes colors as you pair and use the case. Along with the Bluetooth connectivity, that light requires power and it uses USB-C to charge, with a USB-C cable included.

GameSir

Keep in mind that, unlike some of GameSir's adjustable controllers, you need to buy the right case for your iPhone; and because Apple is often changing things, your old case may not work on a future iPhone. For example, GameSir supports iPhone 6 through XR, but there are currently no cases for the current model of iPhone 11 devices because of the extra cameras. 

GameSir

 

Pros

  • Compact case with rubbery grip and decent protection
  • Adds two strategically placed buttons
  • No drivers required
  • Compatible with multiple apps
  • Uses USB-C

Cons

  • Need to buy the right case for your iPhone
  • No cases for the current model of iPhone 11 devices
  • Another item to charge
  • Does not charge iPhone

Final Verdict

If you are a gamer but don't want to carry a bulky controller, check out the i3 Gaming Case from GameSir and see if your games are supported.

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.