SteelSeries Stratus XL - Windows & Android Review

👤by Tony Le Bourne Comments 📅29-10-15
Software & Performance Testing

SteelSeries have included driver support with the latest version of the -url=]SteelSeries Engine 3[/url] and is required for full functionality on the Windows System. Once paired, or connected through a wire, you can then access the control panel which allows you to customise and calibrate stick settings which can be saved to a custom profile. You can also adjust the actuation point on the triggers.

Setup, Design & Observations

Pairing via Bluetooth on Windows 10 can be quite a pain as there is no instructions to describe the flashing of the LED lights. Once you have paired, worth doing after you install the drivers, you may require a restart, or to turn off the controller then back on again. Once it is paired correctly, it will display the first LED to indicated player 1.

In the hands, the Stratus XL feels good, smooth and comfortable and the seam around the sides is barely noticeable. The sticks feel great, like they may be centred magnetically,and the buttons too share a good quality feeling. The L1/R1 bumpers feel great, while the L2/R2 triggers feel quite awful, not in a cheap way, but in a 'oh I'm bending a metal strip' kinda way and there is no tactile feedback. Though you can adjust the actuation point with the software, there are no mechanical locks to reduce the trigger travel, meaning its difficult to control in games where you want speedy presses.

The 8 way D-Pad feels good, and in Ultra Street Fighter IV, swoops and directional presses were tight and easy to achieve. The D-Pad, is hugely better and more comfortable than the super awful XBox 360 floating D-Pad, yet, isn't quite perfect, feeling a little too large, and because it uses membrane, rather than mechanical switches, it requires quite a large amount of force for each press, something fans of competitive fighting games might struggle with over long periods. The sticks felt great whether its a first person FPS or racing game, and the pressure sensitive buttons work as you would expect from the existing console controllers.

Gaming on Android devices may give a varied experience which will largely depend on the performance of your device. Connecting up to play Modern Combat 5: Blackout, the controller gave great analogue precision and control in game, though the lack of customising the controllers performance showed when trying to shoot, requiring a complete travel of the trigger to actuate a gunshot. Overall, if you are looking to use for your favourite games on Android, the controller is definitely competent as long as your device is capable of handling the level of game play. The Stratus XL is also compatible with various other Android based devices such as the OUYA, which is worth considering.

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