The release of games such as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas on iOS means many gamers can now experience console titles on an iPhone. But rather than using the phone's touchscreen for such games, a good wireless controller will supply a much better overall gaming experience. The SteelSeries Stratus is such controller and we'll be taking a look at it in this article.
Game pads for smartphones are a relatively new concept, with only a few offerings available on the market so far. Manufacturers such as Moga have been creating control pads that physically attach to smartphones, though SteelSeries has taken a different route with its Stratus peripheral.
The Stratus interfaces with mobile devices through a wireless connection, much like other controllers, though it does not come with a clamp for attaching a smartphone. Instead, it is a compact controller designed to be used from a distance from the screen, not unlike a PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 wireless control pad.
The control pad has a pair of analogue sticks and a four way D-pad, with placement reminiscent of the PlayStation 3 control pad. There are also four face buttons and four shoulder buttons, all of which are pressure sensitive.
Compact retro design
The control pad itself has a compact exterior measuring 110x60x33 mm and weighs 75g. It has a look and feel reminiscent of a Sega Saturn control pad, and is significantly smaller than a typical game pad.
SteelSeries has included a removable cover, which can be either used to protect the front when in a bag or provide extra grip when attached to the rear of the controller.
The Bluetooth 2.1 standard is by the Stratus for pairing with devices. Bluetooth functionality is controlled via the dedicated on/off switch and pairing button.
The Stratus is compatible only with Apple devices running iOS 7. The control pad has no Android support, nor is it usable on older iOS devices that do not have Bluetooth 2.1.
Currently, the expanded iPhone 5 range is usable with the control pad, as well as the fifth generation iPod Touch. The fourth generation iPad also works with the Stratus, and so do the recently introduced iPad Mini and Air.
The control pad comes with a non-removable, rechargeable battery that is charged with the included USB cable. SteelSeries claims the Stratus can be used for 10 hours on a two hour charge.
Over 45 games support the Stratus at the time of writing. The SteelSeries Stratus is available now for $129.