Nowadays, the tendency to have one device for several purposes almost dictates the direction of development of the IT industry. Gaming devices are no exception. Steelseries decided to think about players who value different platforms and released a gamepad that can work with both Windows and Android devices. A similar device also exists for the MacOS + iOS bundle, however, unfortunately, they are not interchangeable.
- Compatibility: Windows, Android
- Controls: 2x sticks, 1x D-Pad, 4 buttons, 2 shifters, 2 triggers, 3 Android control buttons, connect and test battery buttons, power slider
- Optional: battery indicator
- Interfaces: Bluetooth 4.0
- Power Supply: AA Batteries
- Dimensions: 150x115x59 mm
- Case materials: plastic
- Weight: 288 g.
Packaging and equipment
The gamepad comes in a box with an outer wrapper made of thin laminated cardboard, on which all the basic information about the device is applied.
Under the wrapper is an ordinary black box. Right under the cover on a black substrate lies a gamepad, under which there is a brief instruction.
There is nothing more in the kit, and it is not necessary.
The gamepad is built very well. At first glance, the device resembles Microsoft products, but here the sticks are located in parallel, and between them are the Android control buttons - the system and the charge indicator. The spider, buttons and sticks have a comfortable ride, all clicks are worked out correctly.
The top surface of the sticks has a textured rubber coating that allows your fingers not to slip.
The charge indicator consists of four segments showing the remaining battery capacity. Also, all divisions flash evenly when searching for a network and quickly during a factory reset.
The gamepad contains traditional triggers with keys above them. Here is their move, unlike the other buttons, I did not like. Triggers are a little more resilient than we would like, and the upper keys have a very “smeared” stroke. No, you can play calmly, but I would like a little more clarity in the clicks. For some reason, the left trigger squeaked a little, maybe a feature of my sample specifically. Between the triggers there are buttons for checking the battery charge and resetting the Bluetooth connection. There are no complaints to their move, and they will have to be pressed infrequently.
At the back of the gamepad is a battery pack. There is no built-in battery, which made it possible to make the battery cover flush with the case. The power-on slider has a fairly tight turn; accidentally, the gamepad cannot be turned off for sure. If the batteries really are in trouble, there is a microUSB input under the batteries to power the device. There is no built-in battery, so before buying batteries you will be tightly tied to the wire.
In general, the gamepad makes a very positive impression. The guys from Steelseries did not reinvent the wheel, but competently copied the more famous successful device. The only thing I want to complain about is that the dimensions are a bit too big. I have a rather big hand, but it’s not very comfortable to reach the trigger and the top keys. There are no problems with pressing, but there is a feeling that here would be a couple of millimeters, and the triggers would fit perfectly under the fingers. It's a shame. Compared to thousands of Chinese Bluetooth gamepads, the Steelseries Stratus XL stands out very favorably.
There is no problem connecting the gamepad to the Android device, everything is fast and smooth. Games that support the gamepad (Dead Trigger 2, Asphalt 8, etc.) themselves see the device and offer to switch to control from it. All other problems are connected solely with the fact that the way to play on Android using the joystick is not sufficiently developed - Steelseries does not have an application, and in games there are not enough thin settings. Nevertheless, playing in Asphalt 8 was much nicer than just from the phone.
With Windows, things are a little more interesting. First you need to download the Steelseries Engine 3 proprietary application and connect the joystick with standard Bluetooth tools, after which the application will see the device and offer to update the firmware. After that, you need to remove the batteries, connect the gamepad with a microUSB cable and start the update process. After the process is complete, you must remove the device from the list of paired devices (it remains there), insert the batteries and reconnect.
After that, the application finally recognizes the device, and you will have the opportunity to flexibly configure the sensitivity of sticks and triggers. Presets can be saved to presets, if suddenly, for example, several people use the joystick.
Well, then it remains only to play. The joystick perfectly picked up that to Skyrim, that to Assassins Creed.
Against the background of cheap Chinese joysticks, the Steelseries Stratus XL is doing great - high-quality materials, a very decent build and a comfortable shape make it an honor. Yes, there were some flaws, but they are more likely subjective. Purely for Android gaming, buying such a joystick does not make any sense - it will not reveal its capabilities, and the price, in comparison with analogs, bites. But if you are a fan of games on multiple platforms - Steelseries Stratus XL will be the faithful and only companion for all occasions.
- Familiar ergonomics
- Possibility of quick battery change
- Rubberized stick coating
- Existence of the Windows application for fine tuning
- Triggers and shifts are too resilient
- Need for cable updates
May not like:
- Lack of support for Apple devices
- Gamepad Dimensions
- Lack of built-in battery
Final rating: 7 out of 10.