The GameSir T4 Kaleid is the first gaming controller from the manufacturer to use Hall effect sensing sticks and I am sure that all the old time gamers know that it’s kind of a big deal. Dreamcast controllers used to have Hall effect sensing sticks and I am fairly sure that the DS3 from Sony also didn’t drift, so what happened with the newer gaming controllers?
Apparently, gamepads with analogues sticks sell just as well and are cheaper to produce, so we basically ran around in circles, finally reaching the point where inexpensive controllers would use this cool technology, which is not new by any means. But, If you’re not familiar with this technology, know that it fixes what’s being known as joystick drift that happens after the stick becomes old and/or worn off (the potentiometers, to be exact), introducing random sudden actions.
The character may suddenly move on its own or some random action may occur, and there is little you can do besides replacing the controller. That’s why it’s exciting to see that GameSir has equipped the T4 Kaleid with this time proven technology. At the same time, the developers did set a high bar with the G7, so how does the GameSir T4 Kaleid function as a controller?
It does have a similar look and layout, so I assume some of the finesse has been ported to the more budget-friendly model as well. But it also has a very distinct element, the design. The GameSir T4 Kaleid went with a transparent case (not like the T4 Pro, but fully see-through) and there are some cool-looking RGB effects, so let’s put the gaming controller to the test and see how it performs.
Design and Build Quality
The GameSir T4 Kaleid has pretty much the same general layout as the other gaming controllers, but there are subtle differences with each new device. Either the joystick is a bit higher or it’s slightly closer to the D-Pad and the ABXY buttons, but the general feel is very similar across all the versions of the GameSir controllers. I did mention that in the intro that the G7 is very hard to beat, but I don’t think that the T4 Kailed was meant to top that experience.
Instead, the manufacturer improved the T series and tried some new things which, if successful, they will be ported to the top-of-the-line G series as well. So, while the GameSir T4 Kaleid may not be as good as the G7, it is way better than the T4 Pro that I tested more than a couple of years ago. The shape of the case is pretty much the same, which means that the handles are shorter and a bit thinner (than on the G7 and G4 Pro). That grippiness that a lot of you seem to appreciate is also toned down to just some texture on the plastic, so no rubber.
Then again, some make the argument on whether the gamers casually drop the controller when it’s not ‘grippy’ enough, and obviously that’s not the case, it’s just about the feel in the hand. Don’t get me wrong, the GameSir T4 Kaleid feels comfortable enough, and if you have long fingers (as I do), then the access to the shoulder buttons may even be better due to the extra inches – the controls section of the G4 Pro is narrower than on both the T4 Pro and the T4 Kaleid.
One important change from the T4 Pro is the addition of a 3.5mm headphones jack in between the handles, while the USB-C port sits on the other side. Yes, the gaming controller is wired only, which will do wonders for latency, but it will be less comfortable to play farther away from the TV (or monitor) – the cable is fairly long, measuring 6.5 feet (2 meters). Another important difference from pretty much all other GameSir controllers is the use of a completely transparent top, while the bottom section has been left semi-transparent.
This create a very cool effect, since you can see most of the inner components, but everything is enhanced by the RGB lights which shine from the sides in various patterns.
The GameSir T4 Kaleid Keys and Buttons
Let’s get one thing straight, is the GameSir T4 Kaleid just a transparent version of the T4 Pro? Besides the Hall effect sensing sticks, the controls are also mostly improved, so not really.
The thumbsticks are pretty much identical to the ones on the G7 which means that they’re more responsive, easier to move and the texture at the top is just perfect for a good thumb grip. That clank sound when moving the thumbsticks onto the plastic is louder than on other gaming controllers, but I don’t think many people will mind it. I think that the D-Pad is the weakness of the GameSir T4 Kailed since it feels vague and you have to press harder to feel the click – I think it was better on the T4 Pro.
The ABXY buttons are non removable, but that doesn’t mean you can’t change their behavior. Indeed, by pressing the M button and A at the same time, the A-B and X-Y can be inter-changed, allowing you to use a different console layout. And the buttons themselves feel really good to the touch, despite being glossy, and they’re very easy to press (fairly balanced actuation), so that’s a plus.
As expected, the rest of the buttons are positioned in a new way, unlike any other previous controller gen. The middle GameSir button will take you Home, while on the left, there’s the Back button and the Start button on the right side.
If you look closely, you’ll see the icons written next to the buttons, but they’re gray and barely visible (I guess that a different color would have taken away from the design of the controller). Below the Home button, there’s the Capture button which is a dedicated function for the Switch mode (the device is multi-platform after all) and next to the headphone jack, there’s the M button. The GameSir T4 Kaleid needs to be set up to work with the suitable console and you can make it work with Android devices (A+Home), with the Nintendo Switch (Y+Home) and it’s also possible to enable the D-Input (B+Home) and the X-Input (X+Home).
Before moving forward, let’s talk about the trigger (shoulder) buttons. The GameSir T4 Kaleid has both the LT/RT and LB/RB sets of shoulder buttons and the feel is very similar to the ones on the G7. Comfortable to reach and operate.
Additionally, on the bottom of the controller, you can find the R4/LR duo of buttons and while I don’t really use them, they’re useful for various types of games. Be aware that these two buttons are programmable and there is no function set by default.
If you don’t like the way the LT/RT and the thumbsticks trigger the action and wish to calibrate them, it is possible to do so by pressing Back+Home+Start while the controller is turned off and, while they’re still held, connect the USB-C cable to a power source. Then, the Home button will start flashing white slowly. Release the buttons and then press A. Press the LT/RT buttons three times to the maximum travel and then rotate the thumb sticks at their maximum angle three times. Press A and the Home button LED should become solid white to show that the calibration has been successful.
GameSir offers a dedicated software for this particular gaming controller called GameSir T4K App and I downloaded it on the Windows OS. I have already encountered a harmless bug where if I moved away from the app (put it in the background), it would temporarily fail to see the controller, but a few seconds afterwards, it would quickly detect it again. That being said, there is a very large amount of options available, so you can configure the GameSir T4 Kaleid the way you see fit.
But before anything else, make sure to update the device to the latest firmware update. Then, you can create a custom profile and the first window is the Mappings where you can change the behavior of almost all buttons, expect for a couple of them. The second window is the Sticks where you can adjust the sensitivity of each thumbstick, as well as Swap Left Stick and D-pad or enable the D-Pad Diagonal Lock. The third window allows you to configure the Triggers where you can control how sensitive they will behave, including the option to enable Hair Trigger.
Under Vibration, it’s possible to choose between four levels, as well as turn them off completely and you can also Try Grip Vibration. The Lights window is where you can choose the preferred RGB animation, set Presets, select the Speed and Brightness or disable RGB completely (if you don’t care for those extra FPS). Additionally, you can also set the Auto Sleep inactive time for when the RGB will turn off, thus consuming less power. But it’s also possible to enable Raise to Wake-Up (the LEDs will enable when you raise the controller) and the Audio Reactive Mode (it will change based on the sound).
Lastly, there’s the Motion window where it’s possible to adjust the Reponse Curve (Aggressive, Relaxed, Default or Custom) and the Anti Deadzone. Additionally, you can enable Steer or Aim, Activate a Button and select a Behavior (for repetitive tasks), set the Motion and Active Axis, as well as reverse Horizontal and Vertical controller motion.
Gaming with GameSir T4 Kaleid
Since I only complained about the D-Pad, the overall gaming experience is almost just as good as with the G7, which is excellent. And even the D-Pad wasn’t that bad after I got immersed in a game. I ran a few PC titles, the first being Assassins Creed Odyssey and, since it’s well optimized for controllers, you can see from the video and it’s easy and nice to use the GameSir T4 Kaleid to move the boat, the eagle and the main character.
Then, I switched to the Crew 2 which is hardly my favorite racing game, but I had it installed, so why not try it out? I only had to use the shoulder buttons and the left stick, but the movements felt precise and I suppose the controller is suitable for racing games as well. Lastly, I checked out Tomb Raider again (still haven’t installed the Callisto Protocol due to pure lazyness) and the experience was satisfying. There was no finger fatigue or anything, nor did I actually miss the longer handles as much as I thought I would. If you were wondering about latency, the GameSir T4 Kaleid is a wired controller and I did not experience a higher latency than if I used my wired keyboard and mouse.
I noticed that GameSir is really adamant against releasing generic, boring controllers and instead, the last few generations have added something new to attract the attention of the gamers. And it worked. The Hall effect sensing sticks are not just some gimmick, no, they’ll actually improve the gaming experience and the life of the controller. The transparent case and the RGB are also a nice touch and the multi-platform support makes the GameSir T4 Kaleid a very attractive option.
GameSir T4 Kaleid-
- Compatible with multiple platforms
- Comfortable to use
- Uses Hall effect sensing sticks
- Very cool design
- The software allows for an almost complete customization of the buttons
- The narrow canal to the USB-C port
- The D-Pad could have been better