SteelSeries Stratus Duo review

We are testing the SteelSeries Stratus Duo gamepad, optimized for Android devices and PCs.
SteelSeries Stratus Duo review is made for Serious Games on the phone or tablet, Games themselves can have great potential. However, the fact that you are limited to using only virtual touch control on a cold and lifeless glass panel significantly reduces accuracy. That is why there are controllers specifically designed for pairing with mobile devices.

The truth is that any game developer who is serious about his product will sooner or later add controller support for his game, on Android or iOS. The SteelSeries Stratus Duo game controller is committed to offering you a two-in-one offer that you cannot refuse.

SteelSeries Stratus Duo

SteelSeries Stratus Duo Specs

Pros
  • Ergonomic Design
  • Great Build Quality
  • Accurate/Tactile Button Feedback
  • Fortnite Ready on Android
  • Fast Pairing/Hassle Free Setup
  • Rechargeable Battery
  • Android Mobile/PC/Android TV Compatible
Cons
  • No Vibration Rumble
  • Not USB-C Connection
  • No iOS Support/Nimbus Controller Required

Active offensive on all fronts

The breadth of controller connectivity is simply amazing. You want – Bluetooth LE (as on smartphones). Is there no Bluetooth module in the computer? Here is a complete 2.4 GHz radio adapter and a switch on the accessory case. Well, microUSB is here not only for charging the built-in battery – through the wire the signal is transmitted in the same way to the desktop or mobile phone.

in simple word SteelSeries Stratus Duo is equipped with protocols for Bluetooth and 2.4 GHz wireless communications (with key included). It can, very easily, switch between connecting to a PC , phone or tablet. That sounds pretty promising.

Air handling delays are minimal. The gamepad supports the latest generation of Bluetooth with a polling frequency of 1000 Hz – comparable to a conventional USB connection.

All control of wireless interfaces is concentrated on the front panel and is intuitive: the power and type of interface are selected by sliding switches, synchronization with a module or a Bluetooth receiver is a button. The instructions may not even be open.

steelseries stratus duo review

Thought out to SteelSeries Stratus Duo smallest detail

It just so happened that all the gamepads in the world are divided into “like the Xbox” and “like the PlayStation”. There are intermediate options (when the form is used from one model, and the location of the analog sticks from another), but the SS Stratus Duo adheres to the classic configuration. Based on the understandable PC-boyars controller concept from Microsoft: wide body, full grip, left stick above right.

The body materials are exceptionally hardy – so that life with a mobile phone and constant travel does not affect the quality of work. Strong matte plastic with a good texture does not slip in the hands, dust or crumbs will not clog into the gaps of the buttons, the triggers and triggers are surely pressed, even in the most furious nicks the finger will not come off the trigger.

stratus duo

When connected to a PC, the gadget is identified as a regular “X-input device”, all games from the Windows Store and Steam can work using this protocol and will accept SteelSeries Stratus Duo as a native. Key tips – on the ground, the axes are not mixed up, plugged in and enjoy. A smartphone similarly instantly recognizes an external device and activates system control from sticks and buttons. Games (of those that support gamepads) immediately suggest using a ready-made preset of settings.

You do not need to install any utilities for configuration and configuration – the developers made sure that the gamepad worked on all popular platforms immediately after switching on.

Design and build quality

The SteelSeries Stratus Duo is a full-sized controller. Its length is only slightly shorter than that of a conventional console gaming console, but rather longer in the middle. This, of course, promotes ergonomics, not compactness and portability. We found it very comfortable to hold. As soon as we take the device, its curved sides guide our fingers into a secure mount and a secure fit.

SteelSeries Stratus Duo is a full sized controller

The matte finish of black plastic looks soft and pleasant to the touch. It does not make it easy to attract fingerprints. The entire controller looks strong and no creaks are heard in it when we twist it in our hands. In other words, the very first impression we got from the SteelSeries Stratus Duo is very good. This is a very well-built, reliable controller that easily competes with other devices.

Buttons and controls SteelSeries Stratus Duo

The Stratus Duo device is designed to work both with games on a PC, and with devices on Android. It is equipped with all the buttons on the top panel of the controller. We appreciate the fact that the D-Pad has a directional cross shape, rather than being overly flattened in a circle. This makes it easy to use in fighting games where hitting, in the right direction, at the right time, can create or break your combo.

All buttons have a decent range, with soft pressure, on them. This makes the Stratus Duo, one of the most silent controllers we have used recently. However, we cannot yet determine whether the components of the controller have become steeper over time. The shoulder buttons are very large and easy to press, but have a small back side, your index finger, which requires more time when switching from R2 to R1. But this is a small problem that is easy to compensate for when you get used to using Stratus.

SteelSeries Stratus Duo Battery

The lithium-ion battery lasts 20 hours, which is a significant reduction in charge, unlike the SteelSeries XL controller, which lasts 40 hours. Although twenty hours is also long enough even for the longest gaming marathons, the battery holds a very good charge. When the controller is turned on, the LED indicators light up, indicating the remaining charged capacity – 25, 50, 75 or 100%. You can also check this by pressing the battery button on the back of the controller.

You can play games while charging

When the battery is low, you can continue to play in wired mode while charging. But still, sometimes it takes about two hours for the controller to fully recharge.

Autonomy

After some time, the controller may go into sleep mode on its own, so you can always leave it connected. When you want to play a game on your device again, it will be all turned on.

Connectivity Stratus Duo

As we already mentioned, Stratus Duo can communicate, with the selected device, via Bluetooth or wirelessly. The controller comes with its own USB key in the box, if you want to go along the last connection path and connect it with your computer. You can connect the Stratus Duo to a Windows PC, Android device, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift and Oculus GO.

Moreover, no additional software is required – just plug and play to the end. The controller even supports Steam and Big Picture Mode. This allows you to easily switch to the game. If you are currently connected to one device but want to switch to another, it’s easy.

Just click the “Disconnect” button on the back of the controller and it will instantly return to pairing mode, waiting for connection to the next device. The controller is equipped with a standard microUSB port for charging or for connecting to a PC via a standard wired connection. It is a little sad that a completely new product does not use USB Type-C. This is an omission in modern times.

Play anywhere and anything

We tested SteelSeries Stratus Duo on PCs and smartphones in a dozen different titles: from racing and shooters to platformers and sidescrollers. It would seem that what could go wrong, is this a gamepad? In fact, in this area there are many insidious little things that you need to know about before buying. For example, all manufacturers have different factory calibrations of the so-called dead zones on analog axes, slew rate and attenuation, potentiometer accuracy – in general, everything that allows you to not only play, but also win.

steelseries stratus duo review

You can’t find fault with the quality of the sticks: the pressure resistance is excellent, the feeling of the central position is perfect. Shooting frags from a sniper rifle is not a problem. It’s clear that for shooters there are keyboards and mice, but sometimes it’s so nice to fall apart on the couch in front of the TV and just relax … The same can be said about the “trigger”.

The smallest possible dead zone does not give false positives, when in the most difficult moments you squeeze the controller in your hands with all your might. At the same time, the management itself remains clear and predictable. Driving in a drift (and driving not with a steering wheel, but with power), gently slow down before turning, without turning on the ABS, and without losing precious kilometers per hour – as easy as shelling pears.

The controls are perfectly accurate and without false positives – no worse than the immortal classics from Sony and Microsoft.
stratus duo

With the smartphone mount, the boundaries of “mobile” and “big” gaming are blurred even more: to hell with them, with “cut” PUBG and Fortnite, Steam Link anywhere allows you to launch anything from GTA V to the release of Resident Evil 2. Delays in management, of course, grow up (after all, the picture and your actions are transmitted over the network), but this does not particularly interfere with the story games. The human brain is not getting used to it.

Ergonomics and use experience

the Steelseries Stratus Duo controller is suitable for playing on any device.

Thanks to the balanced balance between the size and weight of the gamepad, the Steelseries team managed to make this model really convenient for long gaming sessions.

The grip is light, hands do not get tired of holding the manipulator. The absence of rubberized parts to some extent contributes to the fact that the hands do not overheat and do not sweat. However, even if it became very hot during the game and the palms are still covered with moisture, the controller will not slip so easily.

Stratus Duo controller

Feelings from joysticks remained purely positive. The course is smooth, without characteristic jerks. Sensitivity is also on top, problems with stepping were not found either on the right or on the left joystick.

During the game, a convenience problem arose only with the cross. After a long use of Xbox gamepads, the finger strives to jump down somewhere. Yes, and the plastic that was used in the D-pad also helps to quickly slide the finger off it.

If we take it into account, in terms of ergonomics and ease of use, this model, even if not on the head, but slightly ahead of competitors in its price category.

A few words about the connection as we said Wireless connection is available in two modes: Bluetooth – for pairing the controller with mobile devices and 2.4 GHz connection via a USB controller.

The gamepad holds communications well at a distance of about 3-4 meters. It wasn’t just the size of the room that allowed me to go further. There were no problems with pairing setup either: everything is done literally at the touch of a button on the front panel of the manipulator. No software or drivers are provided for the Steelseries Stratus Duo.

The Steelseries Stratus Duo did not reach the stated 20 hours without recharging the battery, but 18 lasted steadily and quite adequately, even when the charge level was already critical.

Attaching a SmartGrip to a gamepad turned out to be much easier than I thought at first. Even the instruction was not required, because all movements are understandable on an almost intuitive level. The phone is fixed firmly, even taking into account the presence of a mechanism for changing the level of the screen tilt. At first, I was afraid that if I shook the gamepad hard, the mount would leave and the smartphone would fall out of it, but as it turned out, my worries were in vain.

Steelseries Stratus SmartGrip

If you want the gameplay to never end, then this kit will definitely appeal to you. The excellent quality of materials and assembly, coupled with the convenience of using a gamepad and smartphone holder for long hours, will provide you with an unrivaled gaming experience on almost any device.

SteelSeries Stratus Duo is For those who truly love games

SteelSeries Stratus Duo gamepad is a versatile fighter squared. Or even in a cube. Firstly, it fits any genre and is perfectly tuned. Secondly, it freely switches from a wired mode to a wireless one, moreover, via one of two communication channels to choose from. And thirdly, it is compatible with Android and PC. So if you have long wanted to please yourself with high-quality gaming peripherals – Stratus Duo from that rare breed of the device in which versatility and omnivorousness does not adversely affect the quality of work. There is nothing to think about here, we must take it!

SteelSeries SmartGrip Mobile Phone Holder

As you could make out, we like the Stratus Duo. But we were a little disappointed to find that it did not have a special clip for fixing the smartphone during games on the go. Then, we visited the SteelSeries website. On it, they made SmartGrip – a clip that is compatible with all existing SteelSeries controllers. It can hold a smartphone, directly above the game controller, during the game.

SteelSeries SmartGrip

You have to buy SteelSeries SmartGrip Mobile Phone Holder separately for $ 10. We are just a little disappointed that it was not included in the Stratus Duo. Adding it to the box would make the controller a pretty attractive purchase. In general, the SteelSeries Stratus Duo + SmartGrip will cost you $ 60. We recommend that you consider getting a complete package. It is not known when you might need a mobile clip, for some games, on the go!