Third-Party gaming accessories have been a mainstay for many years, with controllers and headsets being the key market items for quite some time. With the incredible growth in mobile gaming taking the industry by storm over the past few years, however, it is no surprise that we are beginning to see more items that cater to the handheld gaming setup. GameSir are no newcomers to this with multiple products already available, and now we have their latest option – the GameSir F8 Pro Snowgon. It’s a mouthful sure, but does it perform as we’d expect for the price point?
Coming in at the price of $39.99 USD, the GameSir F8 Pro Snowgon – or F8 Pro for the purpose of this review – isn’t one of the cheapest accessories available currently. What it looks to provide players with, however, is the potential longevity of your phone’s life by preventing overheating and a comfortable and accessible way to play your mobile games.
The F8 Pro comes fresh out the box with included touch screen thumb grip which attaches really easily in an almost snap-on fashion on the side of the device. Also included is a USB-C cable – advertised within the manual as a charging cable, but more on that shortly – as well as some stickers to keep things snazzy, a warranty detail card, and the instruction book.
The biggest feature and the most likely reason you’d be considering a purchase of the F8 Pro however is the changes it introduces over that of the previous iteration, the GameSir F1 Joystick Grip, which is the inbuilt fan and cooling system.
You see the key function of this device is to keep your mobile device cooler whilst playing high-intensity power-hungry games. We’ve all been there where we are playing for much longer than anticipated before realising our mobile has turned into a small radiator within our hands forcing us to close the game down to try and alleviate the heat issues before it succumbs to burnout. With the built-in cooling system, that sees the large fan surrounded by a heatsink, as well as a Semiconductor Refrigeration Chip, this latest GameSir device looks to nullify such issues, all whilst maintaining a comfortable and controlling grip over your phone within its extendable reach that is more than capable of fitting any mobile easily.
It has to be said that keeping things cool is something this device does well, with my already often cool phone feeling almost chilly with use, however, it’s not without a few issues.
Straight out of the box I took a look through the instruction manual to notice mention of the USB-C charging port and charging cable. So to ensure I wasn’t playing with a half-charged device, I plugged in the included USB to USB-C cable and turned the device on. Within just 20 minutes though what I was looking at was a dripping wet device where condensation had already built upon the refrigeration chip – and a lot of it too. What’s more, is upon removal of the charging cable, I quickly learned that there is no charging that can be done to this device, and instead to use the GameSir F8 Pro Snowgon in all its glory, you must have it plugged in at the wall socket at all times.
This could be down to the rather poorly worded instruction booklet maybe confusing things a little, however having a portable ‘phone grip/controller’ if that’s what we should be calling it, that is only fully beneficial when you can make use of all features.. well.. portably, and the need to be constantly ‘plugged in’ is certainly not going to sell that feature very well.
There is also RGB lighting that comes included with the F8 Pro, however, this is also another feature that doesn’t work unless plugged into the wall or a juiced-up USB Power Bank and it’s also something that isn’t visible to either the user due to the position of the fan being behind your mobile device or anyone else given the natural position to hold a controller meaning the fan and associated lighting is always hidden.
Now as I mentioned earlier, there is a slight problem with condensation, and if it hadn’t been for being fortunate enough to see it, my PC may well have ended up with water inside due to just how much condensation had built up on the devices cooling plate, as I left it on top of my PC, however when using my mobile with the device, the purpose it was intended for does work well and at no point did I ever find condensation had built up either on my phone or the cooling plate whilst in use, however, after taking the mobile back out it wasn’t long before a condensation build-up occurred once more.
My final niggle comes in the form of the included detachable thumbstick. The look and feel of the thumbstick showcase a good build, however, should you be someone who likes to keep expensive phones as safe as possible with screen protectors, then you may find the thumbstick proving a bit hit and miss when it comes to responsiveness. Games such as PUBG Mobile or Call of Duty Mobile for example that require constant use of the thumbstick for the competitive play wasn’t always as responsive as I needed it to be, with no response at all recorded on a few occasions, whilst other games found no issues. That said, there is a note within the booklet to say that even thin screen protectors can interfere with the use of the thumbstick, although it does strike as a little odd that the consideration for people wanting to protect their mobile screens wasn’t planned for.
Whilst these are issues that shouldn’t really be present, and this is definitely a device that is well worth the price if these were to be redeemed. It is also worth noting that it’s not difficult to see why a battery charge cannot be made a realistic possibility.
The F8 Pro is a hefty bit of kit. It’s not the lightest thing in the world and the feel, and indeed presentation, certainly screams all the hallmarks of quality. The fan on the back gives out plenty of power whilst the cooling plate definitely keeps things very chilly, and although the rest of the product is only standard plastic casing, it feels as rigid and sturdy as you would hope for at this price point.
As mentioned before the F8 Pro is capable of extending to fit most phones. The phone used for review purposes was the Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro which is on the larger side of mobiles and comes in at roughly 6.7 inches long, and there was still room to extend further for a bigger phone if required. Of course, you won’t go fitting tablet devices into the F8 Pro – although something that could fit those in with the above issues addressed may well be food for thought later on, there will be no phone currently on the market that is unable to comfortably fit. Another positive is that at no point did it ever feel like my phone would fall out and even whilst daringly tipping my phone towards the floor within the holder, there was no movement to indicate it was ever going to fall out which is always a good thing when mobiles can be so incredibly expensive.
Overall, and whilst the idea of the GameSir F8 Pro Snowgon is a novel one with sufficient cooling power, nice lighting, a stand, and a comfortable grip, the overall product that we have got out of it is one which doesn’t feel like it’s come together quite as nicely as it did on paper. With RGB lights you can’t even see, a cooling pad that literally drips water if you don’t attach your phone straight away and the constant need to be tethered to either USB charger or a wall socket to enjoy all the features, it begins to feel slightly unnecessary. Sure, all the advertised features would be fantastic, but with no way to portably use this device unless you have a power bank strapped to it also, there is no real reason you’d be using it. Gamers want to use their mobiles to game on the go, not for being sat next to a wall socket and whilst the feel and look of the device are certainly a huge point in the right direction, it seems GameSir have missed a trick on this occasion, especially when looking at some of the competition.Become a Patron!
Hardware provided by the manufacturer for review purposes.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.