GameSir Kaleid controller review

Pro features, low budget

The GameSir Kaleid wired Xbox/PC controller on a wooden desk, propped up against a marble plinth.
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The GameSir Kaleid offers advanced controller features including rear paddles, customizable hall effect sensors and hair triggers, all for under $50. It looks great and has a long cable for couch gamers. Its lightweight design feels a little unsubstantial, though, and it lacks the flexibility of a wired pad.


  • +

    Hall effect sensors

  • +

    Rear paddles

  • +

    Highly customizable

  • +

    Looks great

  • +



  • -

    A little too lightweight

  • -

    Wired only

Why you can trust Tom's Guide Our writers and editors spend hours analyzing and reviewing products, services, and apps to help find what's best for you. Find out more about how we test, analyze, and rate.

GameSir Kaleid controller: Specs

Layout: Xbox ABXY

Triggers: Hall effect

Joysticks: Hall effect

Buttons: Mechanical (Kaleid), Membrane (Kaleid Flux)

Connection: Wired only, USB-C

Mic: 3.5mm

Colors: Black (Kaleid), Black/gold (Kaleid Flux)

Platforms: Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One X/S, PC

The GameSir Kaleid controller is a multi-platform gamepad designed to provide pro features to gamers on a budget. The Kaleid is the successor to the GameSir T4 Kaleid, one of best PC game controllers around — this new model brings an updated design and is primarily targeted at Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, exemplified by its Xbox home button.

Brought forward from the T4 Kaleid are pro features to help it rival other budget pads, in particular the HyperX Clutch Gladiate, our favorite budget PC gaming controller. These include hall effect triggers and joysticks, hair trigger modes, rear paddles and high levels of customization via the GameSir Nexus app

I’ve spent a few weeks testing the GameSir Kaleid controller, and I have to say I’m impressed. This controller is definitely worth considering ahead of the HyperX, and is certainly a no-brainer over the original T4 Kaleid.

To find out more, keep reading my full GameSir Kaleid review.

Editor’s note: this review covers both the GameSir Kaleid and GameSir Kaleid Flux. The controllers are mostly the same, but I’ll point out their key differences throughout.

GameSir Kaleid controller review: Cheat sheet

What is it? A wired multi-platform gaming controller

Which platforms? Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One X/S, PC

What does it cost? $46 / £56 (Kaleid Flux) | $49 / £60 (Kaleid)

What’s good? Hall effect sticks and triggers, plus rear paddles and hair trigger modes. It’s also highly customizable and won’t break the bank

What’s not? It’s wired only, and feels a little cheap

GameSir Kaleid controller review: The ups

The GameSir Kaleid offers the same pro level features as its budget competition, and more. Hall effect triggers and joysticks allow precise control over sensitivity, plus there’s a hair trigger mode for FPS games and remappable rear paddles. Everything can be tweaked in the GameSir Nexus PC / Xbox app, too. It looks great, with a streamlined design over the T4 customizable RGB, and I really like the textured grip surfaces.

Updated design

The GameSir Kaleid wired Xbox/PC controller. The photo is a close up of the Xbox button.

(Image credit: Future)

The GameSir Kaleid looks very similar to the T4 Kaleid — no bad thing in itself — although GameSir has made a few tweaks to the design. Gone is the T4’s white frosted plastic around the grips, in favor of black, resulting in a sleeker overall look. The handsome transparent design has remained, though, as have the C-shaped RGB strips on each side of the pad. 

The new Kaleid features a longer 10-foot cable, so unless you’re gaming in a chateau, you should have plenty of distance to play with.

I’m no massive fan of RGB, so I initially found the standard unicorn puke lighting mode a little distasteful. However, after tweaking the RGB to my preference in the GameSir Nexus app (a gradual pulse between deep pink and purple), I started to find the lighting rather fetching, especially where it illuminates the channels along the internal PCB. I particularly enjoyed the pad’s lighting while playing Cyberpunk 2077, as it complements the immersive neon glow of Night City.

The Kaleid Flux features gold lighting effects instead of standard RGB, which looks a little tacky if you ask me. But hey, each to their own.

The GameSir Kaleid wired Xbox/PC controller braided wire

(Image credit: Future)

Another big update from the T4 is the length of the supplied USB-C to USB-A cable. At 6 feet on the T4 Kaleid, the cable risked being too short for gaming at a distance — if sitting on a sofa across the room from your console, for instance. The new Kaleid features a longer 10-foot cable, so unless you’re gaming in a chateau, you should have plenty of distance to play with.

Hours of play

The back of the GameSir Kaleid wired Xbox/PC controller

(Image credit: Future)

The GameSir Kaleid is a comfortable controller to use, at least given its price tag. There’s no rubberized grips like you find on the much costlier Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2, but the Kaleid does feature textured surfaces on the back of the grips and on the rubber joysticks, which both aid grip and are pleasant to the touch. I had no issues playing for several hours straight.

The rear paddles are large and nicely positioned, too. I have pretty big hands, and the paddles sit precisely where the tips of my middle fingers naturally rest while gripping the controller. I doubt any but the tiny-handed or foam-fingered will have issues hitting the paddles.

Clickety click

The GameSir Kaleid wired Xbox/PC controller, the photo is a close up of the ABXY buttons.

(Image credit: Future)

Almost all of the controls feel great in use. Triggers and joysticks have a firm spring to them, while most buttons have a highly satisfying click. The exceptions are the bumpers, which are a little spongy for my liking, but they work fine — I simply prefer a good, tactile click. 

Perhaps the most important difference between the Kaleid and the Kaleid Flux is the type of ABXY buttons they use. The standard Kaleid features mechanical microswitches underneath its ABXY buttons, while the Kaleid Flux features membrane buttons. Mechanical microswitches should stand up much better to heavy use, so unless you particularly like the gold lighting of the Flux, I recommend spending the extra $3 for the non-Flux Kaleid.

Pro features, pro performance

The GameSir Kaleid features a decent array of pro features given its price tag. Most importantly, it utilizes hall effect magnetic switches and sensors in its triggers and joysticks, as you’ll also find in the slightly more expensive 8Bitdo Ultimate controller.

The rear paddle of the GameSir Kaleid wired Xbox/PC controller

(Image credit: Future)

These allow you to customize the travel distance before the switches actuate, so you can essentially adjust the sensitivity as you please. These function the same as magnetic switches found in keyboards like the MelGeek CYBER01.

I’ve been making use of the Kaleid’s hall effect sensors to adjust the sensitivity of the triggers while playing Dirt: Rally, dialing back the initiation point of the left trigger to increase the bite of the brakes and make it even easier to swing out the back of my Ford RS2000 Group B rally car.

The GameSir Kaleid wired Xbox/PC controller. The photo is a close up of the left joystick.

(Image credit: Future)

Likewise, the hall effect joysticks can have their initial point adjusted, or be set to raw mode, which extends the outer radial range of the sticks — making the sticks much more sensitive.

Each trigger can also be set to hair trigger mode, allowing instantaneous initiation when pressed. I use hair triggers while playing first person shooter Hell Let Loose, speeding up both aiming down the sights and weapon firing. That said, setting R2 as a hair trigger has resulted in me popping off a couple shots by accident when trying to sneak around my enemies.

The GameSir Kaleid wired Xbox/PC controller. The photo is a close up of the left trigger and bumpers.

(Image credit: Future)

As mentioned earlier, the Kaleid also features L4 and R4 paddles on the rear, which you can remap in the GameSir Nexus software. I assigned L4 to prone and R4 for quick melee while playing Hell Let Loose, and this made a noticeable difference to how quickly I was able to hit the deck when being fired at, or smack an enemy with my shovel when accosted in close quarters.

Full customization

The GameSir Kaleid gives you plenty of customization options, either through its companion software, GameSir Nexus, or on the controller itself. I really enjoyed using the Nexus app, which lets you remap buttons, change lighting and adjust sensitivities. Handily, the Nexus software is available on Windows and Xbox, so you won’t have to fire up a PC to tweak the controller to use on Xbox.

As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t a fan of the default lighting setup or colors, so straight away downloaded the Nexus software to customize the RGB. There aren’t many lighting patterns, but colors are selected by hex code, so you have the entire color wheel at your disposal. There’s also an audio reactive mode — awesome for music-oriented games like Retrowave.

(Image credit: GameSir / Tom's Guide)

The Kaleid itself has four onboard profiles (default, plus three custom profiles) allowing you to set the controller up for different genres or specific games. You can customize profiles in the Nexus app and switch between them either via the app or using a shortcut onboard the controller itself. There are also onboard shortcuts for switching lighting modes, volume and mic control or enabling hair triggers, so you don’t have to access the app in order to make basic changes.

As competitive in price as in play

Despite its high-end features, the GameSir Kaleid maintains a very affordable price tag, opening the cash register at just $49. This is pricier than the HyperX Clutch Gladiate ($36) but the trade off is that the Kaleid packs those adjustable hall effect sensors, making it well worth the extra $13 in my book.

The Kaleid is over $20 cheaper than the hall effect-equipped 8Bitdo Ultimate ($70), although the latter is wireless. It’s worth pointing out, though, that while the Kaleid and 8Bitdo can be compared as PC controllers, the 8Bitdo pad isn’t compatible with Xbox, so shouldn’t be on your radar if that’s your go-to platform.

GameSir Kaleid controller review: The downs

For all its positives, the GameSir Kaleid does have a couple of features that might give you pause for thought before buying it. Its lightweight construction might not be to everyone’s tastes and feels a little insubstantial. It’s also wired-only, which naturally affects usability. These really only are very minor issues, though.

A little too light

The GameSir Kaleid wired Xbox/PC controller on its back with the left bumper and trigger angled towards the camera.

(Image credit: Future)

There isn’t anything inherently wrong with a lightweight gamepad, and thanks to their lack of batteries, wired controllers often are on the lighter side. Obviously, lower weight will cause less stress on your wrists as you play for long sessions. Personally, though, I prefer a bit of weight to my controllers — I like them to feel substantial in my hand, which the Kaleid does not.

The Kaleid’s low weight also lends an air of hollowness and cheapness, as though if one were to drop it (let alone throw it against the wall in a rage), it wouldn’t survive the impact. In fairness, I’ve chucked heavy controllers at walls and they haven’t survived either.

Wired by design

The GameSir Kaleid wired Xbox/PC controller. The photo is a close up of the wire and Xbox button.

(Image credit: Future)

The Kaleid’s wired design is, again, not an inherent fault. This controller isn’t priced like a wireless pad, and its wired nature lowers weight and removes the stress of battery levels. That said, if you want greater flexibility in where and when you use the controller, it’ll be worth considering a similarly priced wireless alternative such as the standard Xbox Series X wireless controller or the 8BitDo Pro 2.

GameSir Kaleid controller review: Verdict

The GameSir Kaleid wired Xbox/PC controller on a wooden desk, propped up op a marble plinth.

(Image credit: Future)

I’ve really enjoyed using the GameSir Kaleid. For the money, this is a great controller. It’ll cost you a little extra over a standard Xbox controller or the HyperX Clutch Gladiate, but justifies this with its adjustable hall effect triggers and joysticks. Despite some initial skepticism towards its garish lighting, once adjusted, I’ve become fond of having its soft purple glow on my desk, and I’m a big fan of the transparent case design. If you’re happy with a wired and super lightweight controller, and want pro features like hair triggers, paddles and high levels of customization, it’s incredibly easy for me to recommend the GameSir Kaleid.

Peter Wolinski
Reviews Editor

Peter is Reviews Editor at Tom's Guide. As a writer, he covers topics including tech, photography, gaming, hardware, motoring and food & drink. Outside of work, he's an avid photographer, specialising in architectural and portrait photography. When he's not snapping away on his beloved Fujifilm camera, he can usually be found telling everyone about his greyhounds, riding his motorcycle, squeezing as many FPS as possible out of PC games, and perfecting his espresso shots.