In early November, I took delivery of the new Xiegu GSOC Touch Screen Controller which has kindly been sent to me by Radioddity on loan for a frank evaluation. [Thank you, Radioddity!]
To be clear: the GSOC is not a transceiver, it’s a control head for the Xiegu G90 and (to a limited degree) X5105. Note I recently reviewed the Xiegu G90.
GSOC development has been closely watched by Xiegu owners since its announcement in the summer of 2020.
Frankly, I didn’t completely see the appeal myself because the price of the GSOC was projected to be around $550–at least $100 more than the retail price of the G90 transceiver it controls.
The G90, in my opinion, is a good value field radio. Not a stellar performer, but it gets the job done and the built-in ATU does a brilliant job finding matches. It’s become a very popular radio for portable field operators because of the price, the versatility, and the power output (up to 20W). It’s not a KX2, KX3, or IC-705, but it certainly provides much more than one would expect from $450.
When you combine the price of the G90 and GSOC, however, you’re pushing $1000 and that’s getting in the range of radios like the Icom IC-7300.
Not feeling the GSOC love
In short, I’ve been quite disappointed with the GSOC. It feels like a product that was rushed to market way too soon. The specs and features don’t match up to what’s been advertised yet.
Yesterday, I posted an updated evaluation of the GSOC on the SWLing Post after performing the first public firmware upgrade. If you’ve been considering the GSOC, I would strongly encourage you to read that full post.
In a nutshell, there are some major issues with the GSOC at present (December 2, 2020):
- No documentation or owner’s manual at time of posting other than an incredibly basic quick start guide
- CW mode is essentially unusable due to latency in the CW sidetone audio
- Combined current drain of the G90/GSOC pair is about 1 amp. For QRP field ops, that’s a substantial number and one you’d expect from a 100W field radio
- The spectrum display is inundated with noise and images that are not present in the G90 received audio
- On my unit, the large encoder sticks a bit and rubs the front panel when in use. I plan to see if I can reseat the encoder knob to help.
- A keyboard and mouse or capacitive stylus are almost required for accurate operation of the touch screen due to the size of some of the buttons.
- Click here to view a more comprehensive list…
In summary? I can’t recommend the GSOC yet and that’s why I’m posting this summary here on QRPer–I’d like to dissuade readers from grabbing one of these as a Christmas gift.
The package looks tempting, but there are too many issues that must be addressed just to achieve proper control of the G90. I can tell that, personally, I won’t purchase the GSOC even when everything is fixed. The price point is just too high, in my opinion, for the functionality it provides. The G90 is a fun, functional little radio, but doesn’t sport the performance and receiver characteristics that I feel warrant a touch screen controller. The controller will only ever be as good as the transceiver to which it’s attached.
Do you own or have you considered purchasing the GSOC? I’d love your comments/thoughts.