Compatibility • iPhone 5, 5c and 5s • iPad 4th-gen and iPad Air • iPad mini and Retina model • iOS 7 or later
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The iPad and iPhone can now play games that required a console and a TV around eight years ago. When you think about that, it really is incredible how far the technology has come in the last few years. Titles like GTA: San Andreas are now fully playable on an iOS device, and with the latest addition of Bluetooth controller support in iOS 7, the games are almost identical to the console versions we know and love.
SteelSeries is the first out of the blocks when it comes to creating a Bluetooth controller using the new MFi support in iOS 7. The latest version of Apple’s mobile OS offered support for these devices, and with big games like Call of Duty and GTA supporting the standard from the outset, the market is already there.
First things first – the Stratus is small. You could hide it behind an iPhone in landscape mode, and while this small frame keeps the controller portable, it also causes some issues.
The layout of the buttons is pretty standard, with four face buttons on the right, a directional pad on the left and two analog sticks. Shoulder buttons sit on top of the controller. The buttons themselves are fine; they feel a little cheap, but they are responsive. We also really liked the analogue sticks. They’re comfortable to use, offer plenty of grip, and while they aren’t as smooth as, say, an Xbox One controller, we immediately got used to the resistance.
The shoulder buttons are a little different. Because of the size of the controller, the left and right triggers are actually next to each other in the middle of the device. They feel fine to press, but we just found them slightly uncomfortable, especially if we needed to hold them down for prolonged periods, such as in racers. The extra clip-on casing makes things a little more comfortable for larger hands, and offers protection to the front of the device during storage.
Still, we got ten hours of battery life, and while we couldn’t play while we charged it up, that’s plenty of juice. Most importantly, it completely changed games on iOS; titles with awkward touch controls became incredibly playable. If you’re serious about iOS gaming, this is a must-have.
Pros: Buttons and sticks are good, makes games great fun
Cons: Expensive, with a somewhat cramped design
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