The SteelSeries Stratus is an amazing mixed bag. If you’re a hardcore gamer you won’t mind shelling out £60 to access a higher level of gaming control on your iOS device. But if you’re a hardcore gamer … you won’t be looking to an iPad Air for your gaming fix. For everyone else the price is maybe a little to high for a “nice to have”. But to be clear – it’s a really, really nice to have.
The SteelSeries Stratus is a wireless gaming controller that connects via Bluetooth to you IOS device. Since the introduction of gaming controller supper in iOS7 there have been a few devices in this market, but not are quite as well made or comprehensive as the Stratus.
With a D-Pad, analogue sticks and dual shoulder buttons, SteelSeries have crammed an impressive amount of gaming technology into something that’s about the size of a C90. It’s ultra portable, with a cool protective carrying cover that you can snap on the bottom of the controller if you want to beef things up a little. I don’t have particularly large hands, so found using the controller comfortable, albeit on the compact side.
It’s really easy to get going with the Stratus – pretty much flick and switch, pair and you’re set. What’s also great it that if you’re using a supported title then things run along swimmingly. What’s even better, is that once you do get going in a gaming title, it feels pretty much like using a classic era console. It’s not quite up to scratch if you’re fresh off a heavy session with a PS4, but the upgrade from touchscreen gaming is incredibly satisfying. Old and new classics like R-Type, Limbo and Minigore are wonderful to play and I found myself thinking less about the controller and more about the game. The ability for the control system to fade away into the background was a strong positive.
The battery life is great – running at about 10 hours, and easily rechargeable via a micro USB controller. You can also have 4 controllers running at the same time for multiplayer, but I didn’t have the games, extra controllers, or friend to try this out.
However, much as I loved it, it would be hard to justify the £60 asking price. It’s an unbeatable £20-30 accessory, but spending £60 to play a £2 game better is hard to square financially. It really is a wonderful controller however, and I was disappointed that it didn’t work on as many titles as I wanted – a great sign.
Out now from SteelSeries