Stick drift can plague any controller still using wear-and-tear-prone potentiometers, and unfortunately for us, that includes all current first-party gamepads from Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. However, after years of notoriously drift-prone Joy-Cons, third-party accessory makers like 8BitDo and GuliKit have been slowly stepping up to offer alternatives that utilize drift-free Hall effect sensors. The latest is the GameSir G7 SE, the first licensed Xbox controller with Hall effect sticks.
GameSir’s G7 SE is a new model based on the G7 it released earlier this year, which is a solid gamepad I gave a small nod in our Xbox controller buying guide. Like the standard G7, the SE is a wired-only controller for Xbox Series X / S and PC with a USB-C port for its connection, two programmable rear buttons, and a magnetically removable and paintable faceplate for personalization. What the G7 SE adds to the equation are Hall effect sensors in its sticks and triggers as well as lockout switches for the rear buttons to prevent accidental activation. The revised anti-drift version of the G7 SE runs $49.99 (currently already on sale for $44.99 at Amazon) — just $5 more than the standard G7 when it’s not discounted.
The G7 SE has a white body and only comes with a white faceplate, as opposed to the standard G7’s black chassis that includes both white and black faceplates, but if you plan to paint it, the white plate is probably the one you want anyway. (You can always buy more plates, as they’re interchangeable between the two models.) A bigger way the G7 twins are different is the new version’s use of membrane-based face buttons as opposed to the original G7’s micro switches. This may mean the G7 SE’s buttons will likely feel mushier, where the G7 had a tactile, clicky feel and sound. But I can’t say for sure how big a difference it will be until we do some hands-on testing.
Using a wired-only gamepad these days can feel a little limiting and inconvenient, but the tradeoff for peace of mind that you won’t get drift may be a fair one. GameSir already makes a Hall effect controller for the Nintendo Switch, the RGB-ladened T4 Kaleid, but it’s a little harder to justify going wired for the Switch when the GuliKit KingKong 2 Pro is both wireless and has Hall effect sticks. It’s a little easier to justify going wired on Xbox since Microsoft’s proprietary wireless protocol locks out most other controllers, save for one weirdo.
I stand by my sentiment from our Xbox controller buying guide, however, that there are some dang good third-party controllers out there these days — and until the console makers go Hall effect with their standard models, these drift-free alternatives will be more and more appealing.