Hands on ... SteelSeries Stratus XL Gaming Controller
What is it? An IOS wireless gaming controller. How will it change my life? The idea of a dedicated Bluetooth games controller for IOS devices seems a tad over the top at first. Why go to all that expense for games that are relatively unsophisticated compared to proper consoles, and are played on tiny screens?
The Stratus XL grabbed my doubts and smashed them with one press of the fire button. Mediocre games took on a new lease of life and I found myself sneaking away for one more match on Fifa. Good points? Games have to be compatible with the controller. Fortunately there are more than 580 to choose from and this list is increasing. The functionality is the same as a games console controller and brings the best bits of the Xbox and PlayStation together.
The game pad and buttons are well engineered and feel sturdy but not so bulky that operation is difficult. This design gives confidence that the Stratus will endure the harsh treatment dealt out during the frustration of a last-minute loss to Brondby in the Champions League qualifier.
There would also be no problems in swapping the precious/fragile phone for controller in the hands of any children. SteelSeries, the makers of the Stratus have also included a handy social element where you and three friends can take alternate shots with the controller and it will remember whose turn it is. Bad points? It isn’t the most compact of gadgets so hardly ideal for the commute. It also requires iOS 7 or later, ruling out older devices. While slick and high-quality, it’s a touch pricey for a platform-limited piece of hardware. Best for ... Mobile gaming addicts. Avoid if ... You don’t own a device stand as holding an iPad while trying to negotiate the controller would likely end in YouTube/ You’ve Been Framed humiliation. Score? 7/10.