Gadgets Gaming

SteelSeries Stratus Duo Mobile Controller Review

With the Stratus Duo controller from SteelSeries, you can almost continue your game from your PC on the mobile device heading out the door. Let's look at how it plays together

SteelSeries has released a controller that caters to PC and mobile gamers. The so-called Stratus Duo controller is the newest product from SteelSeries who tries to make a gaming experience on mobile more optimal. And at the same time, securing control of games from multiple platforms into one controller.

As explained by SteelSeries CTO Tino Solberg who said “The gaming ecosystem is continuing to evolve and grow beyond PC and consoles to include mobile devices and VR systems. The Stratus Duo allows gamers to easily navigate across several platforms through wireless and Bluetooth technology to create a truly seamless experience.”

What’s in the box?

SteelSeries is one of the companies still doing something out of their packaging, and this is not an exception when it come to the SteelSeries Stratus Duo, which like a cell phone presents you to the controller itself as you lift the lid.

The box itself also feels deliciously made with enough detail to make it inviting. The content also consists of a USB adapter, micro USB cable, and manual. The manual can also be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website in general.

Design

The inspiration is clearly drawn from previous models, but of course, there are also some news items among them. First and foremost, I look at the design aspect, and then I look more closely at how the controller is to use in everyday life.

SteelSeries Stratus Duo is reminiscent of other controllers on the market both from SteelSeries itself and from other manufacturers. It’s the type of controller where the two analog sticks are opposite each other, so those accustomed to an Xbox controller have to get used to keeping their thumbs slightly different.


Photo – SteelSeries

The building quality is top notch, and the SteelSeries Stratus Duo feels really sturdy built while its shape is pretty good in my relatively large hands. There is a bit far between the “handles” out to the outermost buttons at the top, but no problem for normal sized hands. Children’s hands may well work, but they have to exert a little more. The SteelSeries Stratus Duo also weighs 245 grams, which is a bit more than a DualShock 4 controller of 210 grams and it can be felt, but it is certainly not a con.

A little paradox of the SteelSeries Stratus Duo is the size of its buttons relative to the analog sticks. The buttons have a nice big size, which makes the fingers easily grasp and not just slide off, but I cannot quite say the same about the analog sticks that would have to be a lot larger in the circumference on the top. The height suits me fine, but there might be slightly larger tops.

On the left side of the controller, you have the arrow keys that are on one plate and thus not separated, so you have 8 ways of directions. On the right side you have the four action buttons. Between these in the middle of the controller, you have three buttons that have various features depending on whether you use it in Windows or on its Android device. Above these three middle buttons, you have four LED lights that tell you about the controller’s status.

If you turn the controller so that you look at it from the front, you have of course the four trigger buttons that you use with your index fingers, and between these, there are four buttons. One of these controls whether you connect to the Bluetooth or USB adapter and thus whether you use the controller for one or the other platform.

Next, you have the connection button that links your device with the device you want to play on, battery status button and then the on/off button.

Between these buttons, you have a micro USB input so you can charge the controller when it is running out of power. It is, in my opinion, the right thing to do, although I know some gamers prefer a controller to have replaceable batteries so that you do not run out while on the move if you do not have the ability to charge it. However, in my opinion, that time is over since we have power banks so that you can charge almost anywhere.

Initially, there is nothing to hold your mobile phone, but it is possible to buy a SteelSeries SmartGrip for the purpose. This is clearly recommendable as this keeps the phone in front of you without having to hold it or find alternative ways to keep your phone fixed.

SteelSeries Stratus Duo Wireless Gaming Controller – Made for Android, Windows, and VR – Dual-Wireless Connectivity – High-Performance Materials – Supports Fortnite Mobile

Functionality


The controller is called Duo because it can use on more than one platforms. Actually, SteelSeries lists that it works on four platforms, but three of them (Windows, Steam, and VR) are via Windows, and the other is Android, which requires having 3.1, or later OS version installed.

In Windows (and Steam), the programs and games recognize the controller in the same way as an Xbox controller made for Windows, which also allows you to customize buttons and functions as desired to a certain extent. Android doesn’t have as much freedom, because this also depends on the game developer.

On the contrary, it is a controller that rests comfortably in the hands, fills them out and yet ensures that the buttons are easily accessible. It feels comfortable and suitable even after you played some games and I think this is important because it cannot necessarily be known in advance when looking at a design.

The SmartGrip adapter, which is bought separate and which I also had for my testing of SteelSeries Stratus Duo, is a must. It costs a little extra, but it does actually keep the phone in place.

However, the design of SmartGrip is not thoroughly thought-out because even though it can hold large phones and is very stable to the controller, there are quite a few buttons that are suddenly inaccessible. These are not buttons you use all the time so you can do without, but the charging plug on the back is also covered.

The described buttons feel quite precise, so you do not feel that there is a difference between the keys or between the different times you press the same button, as might otherwise be the case with poorly executed controllers.

It may well be that I pointed out a problem with a rechargeable battery in that you could run the risk of running dry in the middle of a game, but the case is actually that the SteelSeries Stratus Duo has well over 20 hours of battery life which was at least my experience with the controller, which gave me about 23 hours playing time total.

Photo – SteelSeries

Conclusion

If you have used controllers from console or PC then SteelSeries Stratus Duo is a pretty welcome addition to one’s arsenal. However, it should only be if you also want to play on an android tablet or phone as even the PS4 and Xbox One controllers are compatible with Windows.

However, not everyone has a console, so if you want to hit two flies with one slap and only have one controller for both PC and Android, this is a solid option, with good buttons, comfortable design, and easy setup. However, I still think there should be an adapter to hold the mobile phone in place.

Pros:
  • Comfortable design
  • Beautiful and robust design
  • Good buttons
  • Works with both Windows and Android
Cons:
  • Adapter for an Android phone is purchased separately
  • Analog sticks a little thin on top
Price and availability

$59.99 on Amazon – SteelSeries Stratus Duo Wireless Gaming Controller

$11.43 on Amazon – Dainslef (Stratus Duo compatible) Foldable Mobile Phone Holder for controllers

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