Until now iPad users have been left in the dark when it comes to hardware controllers for playing games such as Grand Theft Auto, and lets face it swiping your fingers across the screen to play GTA just isn’t the same. Finally we’re faced with a product that changes this, the SteelSeries Stratus. The Stratus is the first Bluetooth MFi controller which is compatible with iOS7.
The first thing we noticed when receiving the Stratus controller was the size. Without exaggerating, this thing is absolutely tiny. Its made from plastic and despite being so small the build quality is excellent. It feels completely solid and very strong. The controller weighs in at just 75g which makes it extremely lightweight and in terms of a product that is portable, SteelSeries have hit the nail on the head.
Although being incredibly small the gaming accessory company have managed to cram on lots of functions and buttons. On the front you’ll find a D-Pad, 4 buttons (much like the Xbox layout), a centered pause button and two analogue sticks. You’ll also find a small LED to show the status of the controllers connection. Around the back you find the usual L1/R1 buttons as well as the smaller than usual L2/R2 buttons.
The built-in battery lasts for around 10 hours of use and comes bundled with a micro-USB cable to charge it. Also included in the box is a snap on cover which can be placed on the front when travelling as to avoid damaging the controller, but also clipped onto the back to give the device a little more depth when holding.
Being a small device does have its benefits however and most of the buttons are well placed and easy to reach. The only drawback that we found with the placement was the L1/R1 and the L2/R2 buttons. Due to the fact they’re quite small and sit on top of each other we did sometimes find ourselves mistakenly hitting the wrong one.
Connecting the Stratus is a straightforward process completed like any other Bluetooth device. You simply switch on the controller and hold the Bluetooth pairing button. The connection LED on the front will flash when pairing has been successful.
If we’re getting into technical details the controller actually uses Bluetooth 2.1 opposed to the newer version 4.0. We were a little surprised at the this but fortunately performance was still good and we didn’t see too much battery drain.
So how much will you pay for the SteelSeries Stratus? A whopping £60! Unfortunately for us this is far too much money to be spending on a controller for your iPad. If we’re comparing this against an Xbox One controller then the Microsoft device wins on build quality, functionality, usage and can be picked up for just £40. I’m unsure just how SteelSeries can justify this price tag.
Whether you’re playing on an iPad, iPhone or even iPod Touch the SteelSeries Stratus will have you covered. We found the controller worked well for most games and I particularly enjoyed using it for the well known Asphalt racing series. Unfortunately though we just cannot recommend the product purely based on its high price tag. Would I like one, yes, but would I pay £60 for it, unfortunately not.Visit Steelseries website