Android gamepads are a dime a dozen, and if you want to pick up a cheap controller to use with your Android phone, then there are hundreds of generic-looking gamepads from unfamiliar brands floating around on Amazon and eBay. While they are super affordable, the overall quality can leave a lot to be desired.
This is where a company like SteelSeries comes in. The brand has years of expertise in producing peripherals and accessories specially designed for gaming, and their newest Stratus+ controller is no exception. While it looks very similar to the older SteelSeries Stratus Duo, this newer piece of kit is made for gamers who spend a lot of time playing on their Android devices and Chromebooks. We have it here with us today, so let’s check it out.
Unboxing and Design
The controller comes with a couple of accessories, which include a clip to hold your smartphone, a USB-C to USB-A cable, and an instruction booklet. The Stratus+ has a nice feel to it. It’s covered with a black matte coating that has a slick texture, and adds a bit of grip when handling the controller. It has a very familiar design and looks a lot like the Stratus Duo controller from a couple of years back. While it would have been nice to see a bit more variation, SteelSeries takes the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to the design on the Stratus+.
In terms of construction, the controller feels rather sturdy, and doesn’t seem like it will break easily, unlike a lot of cheap gamepads out there. It’s also got a nice weight to it, and while it’s not particularly heavy, it doesn’t feel too light as well, striking a perfect balance for handling. It’s around the same size as a lot of other game controllers like the Nintendo Switch Pro controller and Stadia controller, and handling it felt comfortable.
The face buttons are clicky but don’t feel stiff, and the D-Pad has a slight “mushy” feel to it, with just the right amount of travel. The analog sticks likewise have a nice “click” to them when pressing down, and handling the shoulder and trigger buttons felt comfortable. Aside from the main control buttons, you also get a Home, Start, Select, and a wireless pairing button. There’s also a battery indicator button which is a nice addition.
Usage, Battery, and Phone Clip
Setting up the controller was easy. To get started, all you need to do is hold down the home button to turn on the controller, and activate Bluetooth on your smartphone or tablet. The controller should show up on your screen, and once you pair the two devices together, everything should run smoothly. I was able to pair the Stratus+ to my Google Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite without any problems, and the controller worked on all my games which had support for external input.
SteelSeries also says that the controller will work with Chromebooks and Nvidia GeForce Now. In addition, I also tried using the controller for Google Stadia, and got it to work flawlessly as well. There was barely any lag while playing, and I even managed to beat a boss while playing Castlevania: Symphony of the Night with the controller.
As I mentioned earlier, the Stratus+ comes with detachable a clip for your smartphone. Aside from the main grip for holding your phone in place, the clip also has two metal prongs which connect to a pair of rubber holes on the front of the controller. It does feel sturdy and securely grips your phone tightly while playing. In case you want to use the controller to game on your PC, you’ll need to use the USB-C cable for a wired connection.
SteelSeries says that the controller has up to 90 hours of battery life, which will definitely be ideal for long gaming sessions. It also supports fast-charging, and a quick fifteen minute charge can get you up to twelve hours of playtime.
Price and Availability
Right now, the SteelSeries Stratus+ retails for around £59 and is available on the official SteelSeries website. Given the build quality, ease of use, and ability to connect with Chromebooks as well as Android devices, the Stratus+ should prove to be a versatile controller for gamers looking to get a great-quality gamepad for their device. Keep following our website and official YouTube channel for more content!