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Review: GameSir Nova Pro – Fantastically affordable

If you’re looking for a budget-priced wireless controller, the GameSir Nova makes for an illuminating choice.

Transparent blue gaming controller on wooden surface.
Image: Rob Webb / KnowTechie

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GameSir Nova Wireless Switch Pro Controller GameSir Nova Wireless Switch Pro Controller

Compatible with a range of devices, this controller offers tactile feedback, smooth and responsive buttons, and of course, RGB lighting. Don't let drifting controllers put you off your game. And at this price, it's hard to beat.

Quick Verdict: An affordable alternative to the Pro controller, featuring Turbo Mode, HD rumble function, programmable back buttons, and six-axis motion controls, you can't go wrong!
  • Responsive and smooth
  • Fantastic RGBs
  • Programmable buttons
  • Affordable
  • Short cable
  • Pairing is a bit finicky
KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.
05/20/2024 09:24 am GMT

The Nintendo Switch’s game library has a fairly even split between titles that are better suited to handheld play and those that demand the big screen treatment in docked mode. And while the Nintendo Switch Pro Controller is excellent for docked gameplay, it’s not the most budget-friendly option.

The GameSir Nova Wireless Switch Pro Controller is a brand-new alternative that costs roughly half the price of the official pro controller and adds some whizz-bang RGB lighting into the mix for good measure.

It’s compatible with all versions of the Switch, Steam Deck, iOS, Android, and PC, though it’s arguably best suited to the Switch, due to its inverted YX button array. It sports a Turbo Mode, HD rumble function, programmable back buttons, and six-axis motion controls.

But is it any good? Let’s find out if this GameSir suits you, Sir.

Unboxing the GameSir Nova

Two GameSir controllers and accessories on wood floor.
Image: Rob Webb / KnowTechie

Inside the box you will find:

  • GameSir Nova wireless controller (inside hard plastic case)
  • USB-C charging cable
  • Operational instructions

The first thing you’ll notice when unboxing the GameSir Nova, is the cool hard plastic case that houses the controller. This hard shell case adds some handy drop and shock protection to the controller and ensures the thumbsticks are kept firmly in place during transit.

In addition, there’s the controller itself (this review unit came in a cool Neon Teal color tone), a USB-C charging cable, and an operational instruction booklet.

With the USB-C charging cable you can enjoy the added benefit of wired gameplay, too, if you don’t mind sitting less than one meter away from your Switch. This cable is short. Too short to enjoy what I would classify as normal wired gameplay. It can be done, but honestly why bother, when pairing this thing wirelessly is so simple?

Setting up the GameSir Nova wireless controller

Blue GameSir wireless gaming controller on wooden surface.
Image: Rob Webb / KnowTechie

The instruction manual unfolds to the size of a cross-country road map and provides you with instructions on how to pair the Nova with your platform of choice. Plus, it also provides you with the bonus mini-game of trying to fold it back up again and put it away after using it.

In the instructions, you’ll find clear, concise tutorials on connecting to your desired platform, along with advanced tutorials for button calibration, gyroscope calibration, and Turbo Mode, plus instructions on how to program the back buttons.

I found setting up the Nova on my Switch a little fiddly to begin with. Pairing requires you to navigate to the controller menu and select the Change Grip/Order option. From there, you need to hold down the Home button and the X button for a few seconds to complete the pairing.

It took me a couple of attempts before this worked for me, but afterward, it automatically connected with no issues. The Bluetooth connection itself was excellent, with no dip or lag in the performance.

One curious thing to note is that the Nova does support a 2.4GHz wireless connection via a USB-A dongle, but that dongle is not included in this pack. It is however included with the cheaper GameSir Nova Lite. With so many positive decisions having been made with the Nova’s design, this omission is a head-scratcher of a choice.

Feature-rich, yet affordable

Gamesir controller held in front of Mario game screen.
Image: Rob Webb / KnowTechie

For a quote/unquote budget controller, the Nova is reasonably feature-rich, and it was nice to see the effort GameSir has put into its design.

The hall-effect thumbsticks are a joy to use, and in-game control felt tight and precise in all my gameplay testing. Admittedly, this feature is the expected standard for third-party controllers these days, but it does boost the appeal of the Nova for anyone currently experiencing stick drift issues with their Joy-Cons.

Between the D-pad and the right stick, you’ll find an M button, which you use to cycle through the Nova’s RGB lighting displays. There are five lighting modes to choose between, including Monochrome, Rainbow, Breathing, Fantasy, and Radar.

The RGB lighting zones are positioned around each of the thumbsticks, but of course, if you opt for the translucent version of the Nova, the area of illumination is naturally a bit more widespread. Some lighting modes allow you to adjust the brightness levels, and control the speed of the light pulses. It all looks very cool and adds a nice bit of visual flair to the controller.

Hand holding illuminated blue GameSir gaming controller.
Image: Rob Webb / KnowTechie

The M button is also what you’ll need to use to adjust the vibration intensity, which you will definitely want to do, as the Nova’s HD Rumble feature is a real crowd-pleaser.

Typically, Mario Kart 8 is my go-to for testing out rumble functions, and the Nova was a blast to use here. The rumble response is nice and meaty and really amps up the fun for power-ups, collisions, and crashes out on the track.

The Nova’s motion controls work fine on the Switch, although for me personally, I find this a horrible way to play any game. Each to their own though, and if tilting the controller to move is your jam, you’ll be in your element here.

Finally, there are the mappable back buttons. These can be used to save button press combos as macros and allows for a faster and more fluid gameplay experience.

A positive experience all-round

Blue wireless game controller with open case on wood.
Image: Rob Webb / KnowTechie

Overall, my experience with the GameSir Novas was a positive one. For the price, it’s an excellent controller, packed with plenty of features that put many other budget-priced controllers to shame. And if you’re a Nintendo Switch owner, picking up one of these is a very solid investment indeed.

If you’re a PC gamer, you might prefer the GameSir Nova Lite instead, as it uses the more familiar XYBA layout, similar to Xbox controllers. Additionally, it includes the all-important USB dongle for wireless gameplay.

The Nova features the same approximate layout as the Nintendo Pro controller, which helps it to feel instantly familiar to anyone who has used one before.

The thumbsticks have a grippy edge, which adds to their effectiveness, and makes them more comfortable. Plus, despite the chunky HD rumble motors, the Nova feels remarkably lightweight in your hands.

The GameSir Nova is an excellent budget-priced controller for casual gaming, particularly for Switch owners. It has a decent battery life and will give you around 12 hours of gameplay on a full charge, according to its specs. I haven’t put a timer on this, but I have only charged it up once and have not needed to recharge it once while testing it out.

It’s not perfect, granted, but the pros far outweigh the cons. And if you’re working with a limited budget, or simply want a quality backup/second controller, the GameSir Nova is most definitely recommended.

Where to buy the GameSir Nova wireless controller

The GameSir Nova wireless controller can be bought directly from the GameSir website or via Amazon and currently retails for $35-$40.

It’s available in both Neon Teal and Retro White colorways and provides plenty of value for its modest price tag.

GameSir Nova Wireless Switch Pro Controller
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KnowTechie is supported by its audience, so if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale.
05/20/2024 09:24 am GMT

Have you had a chance to try out the GameSir Nova Pro controller? Drop us a line below in the comments, or carry the discussion to our Twitter or Facebook.

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Rob is a freelance tech writer currently residing online in the dungeons of Faerûn, and offline in the UK's beautiful Cotswolds. Rob loves all things gaming, smart home, and audio related. When he's not working, Rob loves to show appreciation for his favorite bands by screaming and Dad-dancing at their gigs.

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