As a PC gamer, I have a problem: sometimes, good games are released on other platforms. I have some of these systems, but all those years of keyboarding and mousing leave me completely unprepared to wrangle a controller in anything other than a sports or driving game. Thankfully, the good people at GameSir (“Gaming Is Winning”) are here to help with their VX2 AimSwitch. This curiously titled device comprises of the left side of a mechanical keyboard, a lightweight mouse and a wireless dongle that connects the first two items to any modern console: Xbox One, PlayStation 4 or Switch.
After a successful crowd-funding campaign, the AimSwitch has gone on sale and we were sent a review unit to play with. Here are our impressions after a few weeks of testing.
Specs & Features
- Mechanical gamepad
- 36 TTC Red switches (45g)
- Fully programmable via GameSir G-Crux app
- Alps ultra-thin 3D joystick (can be used as d-pad or left stick)
- RGB backlighting
- 7KRO (7-key rollover)
- GM400 Ultra-light (honeycomb) gaming mouse
- 2.4GHz 1000Hz wireless connectivity
- Supports PS4, Xbox One, Switch & PC
The box comes with the gamepad, mouse, wireless receiver, USB-C cable, USB-A to USB-C adapter, user manual and some stickers.
Let’s look at the gamepad first. This is cleverly designed, with a convenient joystick in easy reach of your thumb and a standard layout elsewhere that makes adapting from a standard keyboard to the GameSir VX2 very easy. The space-saving design provides more than enough keys for 99% of games, and only really hampers text-based chat (which of course is rare to say the least on console!). The gamepad is well constructed, with an aluminium frame and level of polish that can be rare to find amongst crowd-funded projects – perhaps an indicator that this is far from the company’s first project.
Inside, you’ll find TTC clones of Cherry MX Red mechanical switches, which are predictably soft and linear. TTC are probably my least favourite manufacturer of mechanical switches, as anecdotally I’ve experienced a lot more variation in actuation force between switches on the same keyboard than I have on keyboards with Cherry, Kailh or Outemu switches. Still, compared to a membrane keyboard this one still feels good in-game, with the (on average) light actuation force making it easy to tap and double-tap keys as needed. The RGB lighting is a nice gamer-y touch, and of course allows the keyboard to be used in darkened rooms.
The included GM400 mouse is also on-trend, with a honeycomb structure and a light weight of 75g. That makes it easy to sling around at low sensitivities, and if you’re playing competitive games on PC like PUBG, Counter-Strike or Diabotical then you may well have tried out a similar mouse before. Compared to the best lightweight gaming mice, build quality here isn’t ideal, with a rather spongy scroll wheel, but despite feeling a bit cheap the mouse performs well in game. As well as the usual left and right buttons, there’s also a DPI button on top and two side buttons on the left.
Getting connected is pretty straightforward, with easy-to-understand diagrams and instructions for each possible use case – PS4, Xbox One, Switch (docked or undocked) and PC (wired and wireless). For example, we tested Fortnite and Doom 2 on Switch, so we just needed to plug the wireless receiver into the USB-A to USB-C adapter and plug it directly into the bottom USB-C port of the Switch. One quick System Settings change later, and we were in with no further configuration needed.
The default bindings are shown for each system, and you can amend these using the G-Crux app (available as an APK for Android or on the iOS App Store). We couldn’t get the Android app running on a Galaxy S9+ with Android 10 to recognise the paired VX2 no matter what we tried, but we were able to borrow an iPhone X to test the iOS app. This worked immediately, pairing automatically with no fuss, allowing us to update the device’s firmware from 1.40 to 1.42.
We’ve contacted GameSir to ask about the Android app, and will update here if we discover anything.
Setting up key bindings isn’t as intuitive as it should be, with plenty of discrepancies between the language used in the app’s official guides and what actually appears on screen. However, you can find pre-made bindings for a range of games on all platforms, then apply them to one of the device’s five on-board profiles. Frustratingly, the command to switch between profiles doesn’t appear to have made it into the manual, so we needed to check the instructions given in the app instead, necessitating a borrowed iPhone once more (for reference, it’s Fn + Alt + 2 to switch to the second profile and so on).
With a few tweaks to the default bindings, we were on for an easy solo win in Fortnite. Playing the game in this way isn’t as easy as on PC with a proper mouse and keyboard, but once you’ve learned the fairly unique sensibilities of the mouse emulation you’re left with a tool capable of both speed and precision. The auto-aim feature is somewhat distracting, so consider lessening its effects or disabling it entirely if it bothers you, and be sure to turn up the sensitivity from its maximum level if you can. From here, you can use the DPI button on the top of the mouse to choose a sensitivity setting that feels right for each game, which is helpfully accompanied by a flash of coloured light for easy memorisation. For Fortnite, the red DPI setting proved most effective, while for Doom the calmer blue sensitivity level was ideal.
If you fancy using a mouse and keyboard in console games because you’re rubbish with a controller, then the GameSir VX2 can be a fine choice. If you’re looking for a proper competitive advantage over gamepad players though, you’re unlikely to find it. Even after the long process of tweaking is complete, you’re still left with an emulated aiming solution that isn’t as natural as either a left stick or a mouse on PC.
Still, GameSir should be applauded for the build quality of the package as a whole, and their choice to opt for both mechanical switches and an ultra-light mouse. With some improvements to the software side of the equation – including an Android app that actually works on popular Android phones and a more intuitive profile setting process – this could be an industry-leading mouse and keyboard package for consoles. As it stands though, only dedicated PC gamers looking to play console shooters need apply.