GameSir Nova Lite controller review: a cheap controller we can actually recommend

 GameSir Nova Lite.
GameSir Nova Lite.

One-minute review

The GameSir Nova Lite is a much better controller than its ultra-low price suggests. Yes, it’s a little on the basic side, lacking fancier premium features like RGB lighting and additional remappable buttons; but it makes up for this by simply being a very solid, long-lasting controller that's available at a fantastic price.

Despite the GameSir Nova Lite’s low price, the build quality is very solid, and the textured grips on the rear are a welcome addition. What’s more, the inclusion of Hall-effect thumbsticks help to give the controller a much longer lifespan by effectively eliminating the risk of stick drift, and while this is to be expected for the brand’s products, as we see with the GameSir T4 Kaleid and GameSir X2s Type-C, it’s very welcome at this price.

It’s not the most feature-rich controller, nor does it have the highest-quality modules. It is, though, excellent value for money, which makes the GameSir Nova Lite well worth considering if you’re looking to purchase a new (or spare) PC, Nintendo Switch, or Android controller without breaking the bank.

GameSir Nova Lite
GameSir Nova Lite

Price and availability

  • $24.99 / £29.99 (around AU$40)

  • One of the cheapest controllers we’d actually recommend

  • US and UK availability

The GameSir Nova Lite is available now for $24.99 / £29.99 (around AU$40) either from the brand’s official website or its Amazon store page. While US and UK availability is plentiful, folks in Australia may need to look at importing one, as it’s not officially available there at the time of writing.

It's easy to be suspicious of a controller with such a low price tag. However, in our testing across multiple products, we’ve found GameSir to be an highly reputable brand that consistently puts out some of the best Nintendo Switch controllers and best PC controllers.

So, while the Nova Lite sheds some advanced features in service to keeping its price point low, you can still expect to find a quality product here. That said, if you’d prefer a step up in quality and more robust features, we can also recommend the excellent GameSir T4 Kaleid ($41.99 / £41.99), though this is a wired-only option.


GameSir Nova Lite
GameSir Nova Lite

Design and features

There’s admittedly not much to discuss in terms of features for the GameSir Nova Lite; it’s a bare bones product by design. But at this price point, that’s to be expected. And the Nova Lite still impresses with its overall design and, albeit limited, feature set.

Build quality, while certainly not as sturdy as the Nacon Revolution 5 Pro or the 8BitDo Ultimate, is nonetheless impressive given the bargain price. Here, you’re getting a solid build that doesn’t feel overly hollow, and it rests nicely in the hands thanks to effective textured grips on the rear of the gamepad.

Buttons and modules are pretty serviceable across the board, with some rather nice-feeling membrane face buttons and triggers. However, the bumpers and d-pad leave something to be desired, feeling slightly chunky and not particularly satisfying to press. As a result, it’s not recommended for games that make liberal use of the d-pad, such as the best fighting games or menu-heavy RPGs.

As we’ve come to expect from GameSir products, though, the Nova Lite’s thumbsticks greatly impress. These are Hall-sensing thumbsticks, which you’ll now find in many third-party gamepads as the design helps to greatly reduce the risk of stick drift. This greatly extends the lifespan of the controller, and they’re a welcome addition here, especially considering the Nova Lite’s low price tag.

GameSir Nova Lite
GameSir Nova Lite


While straightforward in terms of design, GameSir has still provided the Nova Lite with a few nifty tricks up its sleeve. Chief among these is the robust function button, which again is surprisingly versatile for its budget price tag. The button, situated between the d-pad and right analog stick, can accomplish several things through various button macros.

For instance, holding the function button while pressing up or down on the d-pad lets you adjust the controller’s vibration intensity. You can also adjust each thumbstick’s dead zone by holding the button, moving a stick, then releasing. Lastly, you can switch the Nova Lite between XInput, Nintendo Switch or Android compatibility by holding the function button and pressing the Start and Select buttons simultaneously – though do note that the controller needs to be connected via USB-C in order for this last one to work.

Otherwise you’re getting unremarkable yet solid performance from the GameSir Nova Lite. I found it to be an excellent fit on PC, playing a range of games in my Steam library including Super Monkey Ball: Banana Mania, Mega Man Zero/ZX Legacy Collection and Dark Souls 3 during testing. It’s perfectly responsive via Bluetooth, too, and the controller felt at home with many of the best Nintendo Switch games, including Princess Peach: Showtime! and Super Mario Odyssey.

The only major drawback to note with the GameSir Nova Lite is its battery life. Via 2.4GHz, I managed just 10-11 hours of playtime from full charge, which lines up with GameSir’s own estimates. However, if you’d rather opt for Bluetooth connectivity via Nintendo Switch or mobile devices, you may be able to squeeze in up to 15 hours, which is slightly more palatable.

GameSir Nova Lite
GameSir Nova Lite

Should I buy the GameSir Nova Lite?

Buy it if...

Don't buy it if...

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How I tested the GameSir Nova Lite

  • Tested for 15 hours 

  • Tested with PC and Nintendo Switch games

  • Compared with other recommended and affordable PC controllers

I tested the GameSir Nova Lite for roughly 15 hours, mixing wired and wireless play across Nintendo Switch and PC. I made sure to test the controller with a range of game genres, from fast-paced fighting games to slower, more deliberate platformers, puzzle games and RPGs.

I also compared the Nova Lite up to some of its budget-friendly peers, including the GameSir T4 Kaleid, Nintendo Switch Pro Controller and 8BitDo Ultimate. While the Nova Lite didn’t quite stack up to any of these options in either features or battery life, it still provided adequate performance given its ultra-low price tag.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed April 2024