GameSir Nova Lite review: Budget brilliance

Sayem Ahmed
GameSir Nova Lite on a desk

Are you looking for a new controller with hall effect sticks that won’t break the bank? GameSir’s Nova Lite offers heaps of value without the high price tags, and after weeks of testing, it might just be the best value controller you can buy today.

The gaming controller market is undergoing a quiet revolution. Hall effect sticks use electromagnets, instead of potentiometers for their sticks. Hall effect controllers are much less prone to drift than others. iFixit claims that a potentiometer-based stick, such as one found in the PS5 controller, will only last around 417 hours before it becomes more prone to drift issues.

Now, companies like 8BitDo, GameSir, and Nacon release controllers featuring hall effect sticks. But, the tech doesn’t have to come at a higher price, thanks to the GameSir’s latest release, the Nova Lite.

Key specs

  • Connectivity: USB-C, 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth
  • Compatibility: PC, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS
  • Battery: 10 hours
  • Features: Dual rumble, carrying case, adjustable dead zones
  • MSRP: $24.99
CheapShoulder buttons feel too narrow
Hall effect sticksBattery life
Good D-pad


GameSir Nova Lite with accessories on a desk

The GameSir Nova Lite isn’t going to win any awards for design innovation, but the review unit I checked out used a white, orange, and black colorway, which echoes the same palette as the now-dead Google Stadia system. Presented in an asymmetrical layout, the sticks are grippy and firm, while the buttons are all rubber-dome based, for a more muted sound profile than the T4 Kaleid.

At the top, the bumper buttons are shorter than you might expect from a modern controller, and are quite noisy to actuate, while the trigger also sounds slightly narrower than you might expect. After weeks of using the controller, it’s just something that I never managed to get used to.

GameSir Nova Lite Shoulder buttons

Around the back, you have a slightly grippy texture on each of the handles of the device, and the plastic quality is fairly high: It’s certainly better than what I expected from a controller that’s just this cheap. It’s similar in finish to a standard Xbox Series pad,


The central buttons allow you to connect the controller to different systems via Bluetooth, or the included 2.4Ghz dongle. Connecting to different modes requires a different button press with the face button, which can be tough to remember if you don’t have the manual to hand.

But, I managed to hook the controller up to my PC via 2.4Ghz, and to my iPhone via Bluetooth with no issues whatsoever, meaning that as long as you aren’t looking for the best console controller, the GameSir Nova Lite should have you covered.

GameSir Nova Lite close up

You can also calibrate the hall effect sticks, with additional turbo functionality (who actually uses this in 2024?). But, the main feature is the hall effect sticks, which registered with excellent stick circularity, and reported a remarkably low error rate of 1.9% in a controller tester. Compared to the 20% of a standard Xbox pad, it’s a big upgrade.

Gaming performance

The no-frills nature of the Nova Lite and its rubber dome buttons make it well-suited for almost any kind of game. In button masher Samurai Warriors 5, I encountered no issues with noise or inputs, and in Fortnite, I was able to pop heads easily and quickly thanks to the hall effect sticks.

In Street Fighter 6, I could execute complex drive rush combos with the use of the D-pad, which never made any mistakes when it came to inputs.

But, the narrow shoulder buttons and triggers were a constant issue with regards to every game I tested, widening them by around one centimeter could have alleviated the issues I have had with it, but it never really felt good to use them.

However, the battery only managed to last around 10 hours from full, which is a touch disappointing considering there are no extra features like Gyro or RGB to justify the relatively poor battery life.

Should you buy it?

GameSir Nova Lite

The budget controller space has been lacking something in the sub $30 level that offers up heaps of value and will stand the test of time, and the GameSir Nova Lite is the new go-to choice for people wanting to pick up a cheaper controller. Thanks to the included carrying case, you could even throw it in your bag to take with you on the move. But, it’s not perfect.

Verdict: 4/5

The GameSir Nova Lite manages to deliver an accomplished controller that feels good to use in most cases, but the bumpers and triggers, alongside the meager battery life keep this controller from being an absolute home run. But, if you’re just looking for something to travel with, or to keep reserved for player 2, this could be a good alternative to the 8BitDo Ultimate or Pro 2 controllers.

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