If you like to follow interesting news about iOS-compatible hardware, you’ve surely noticed that there are several well-known manufacturers trying to bring their own vision of an iOS game controller. This hasn’t happened before, even though many gamers around the world asked for it, since iOS7 brought initial support for this kind of 3rd party hardware. It’s very interesting to review these game controllers, and we already brought you an inside look at Logitech’s PowerShell and MOGA Ace Power as well. Even though these products were very interesting to try and use on a daily basis, it was clear that there’s a long road of development ahead of them.
Today we’ll be taking a look at SteelSeries’ Stratus controller, which is designed with a bit different idea on mind. While the previously mentioned controllers were made to work with iPhones, and they actually clamped onto the phone, the Stratus is wireless and works both with iPhones and iPads. This is one of the first things that I liked about this product, since we all know that it’s more enjoyable to play games on a larger screen. The Stratus is available for order, and it’s priced at $80.
One of the best sides to this product is that’s it designed to look like an old-fashioned console controller, so it’s immediately familiar to most people. There’s a directional pad on the left, and four action buttons on the right side. Around the middle part you’ll find two thumbsticks, and a pause button located right beneath four status LEDs. Also, there are four shoulder buttons, and a recessed Bluetooth button on the back side of the device. The Stratus comes with a micro-USB cable needed to recharge its battery which is able of providing up to 10 hours of use. You can also use this cable to update its firmware.
In comparison to similarly designed controllers, this one is actually pretty small and light. It measures 4.3 inches long and 2.6 inches wide, and it weighs about 2.6 ounces. What this means is that you can place it in a pocket and easily carry it around with you. On the other hand, this means that you’ll need to take some time until you adjust to its small size so you can comfortably place your fingers around the buttons.
One of the most important things to know before purchasing any iOS game controller is that these devices work only with MF-i compatible games. Even though you can find some great action and racing games that are supporting this protocol, it will need more time until this trend actually catches on. What this also means is that the price of $80 is a bit high at the moment, but it will be interesting to keep an eye on this device.
The Stratus is certainly a step in the right direction, mostly because it solves some of the previously known problems with similar devices. The only thing that I would like to see is a bit more affordable price in the future.