SteelSeries Stratus Duo Review
The SteelSeries Stratus Duo is your perfect companion while gaming on the go. Why? The Stratus Duo supports multi-platform wireless connectivity that seamlessly pairs with Android and Windows via Bluetooth or the included USB Wireless Adapter. Combine this versatility with no software required and its 20+ hours battery life, the Stratus Duo provides a no-fuss console-like approach to mobile gaming.
The Stratus Duo is wrapped in textured matt black plastic with gloss highlights that combine for an overall high-quality finish. You’ll notice that there is no RGB to be found here, only a simple dual-purpose battery bar and player number indicator, and this fine by me! As for other design features, you will find a Micro-USB port and a host of easily accessible buttons on the rear (for wireless mode, sync and battery).
The size and layout is a bit of a hybrid — If you’re familiar with a PlayStation controller then you will feel right at home with the layout. Xbox fans will also be pleased with the Stratus Duo’s ergonomics as they are some similarities as well. The controller is very comfortable to hold, even after extended sessions, while the construction is solid with no flex and weighs in at 245 grams. SteelSeries, unfortunately, did not include controller storage for the 2.4GHz USB Wireless Adapter, given the portability of the controller, I feel this would have been a nice addition instead of having to secure the dongle elsewhere.
I must admit, the SmartGrip accessory sold separately is a must If your planning to game while on the go, it basically levels up the usability of the Stratus Duo and transforms the controller into the perfect gaming station. Perfect for being a terrible road-trip passenger! The SmartGrip attaches to all SteelSeries controllers and is compatible with most phones 4 to 6.5”.
Attaching the SmartGrip is straightforward and it confidently secures both to the Stratus Duo and your smartphone. The SmartGrip lets you adjust phone tilt and can be locked into place. It does, however, block the charge port, power and wireless buttons. Despite this, I found the SmartGrip to be well worth its $15 AUD price tag.
The Stratus Duo uses Hall Effect magnetic sensors, providing durable and smooth actuation from top to bottom. Both clickable analog joysticks provide an excellent range of motion and precision accuracy and are perfect for nailing sniper shots and aiming down the sights.
The main action buttons feel responsive and provided ample feedback. The four triggers have a progressive feel and just the right amount of resistance. The throw is on the shorter side when compared with an Xbox One controller, but for games such as The Crew 2, it felt great — Acceleration and braking while racing and drifting really highlighted, keyboards should not be an option for this genre.
Most importantly, I experienced no lag with the Stratus Duo via Bluetooth or when using the USB Wireless Adapter in Windows. The Stratus Duo does miss out on haptic feedback, which is disappointing but understandable at the same time. Skipping this feature does play to its long-lasting battery life, but haptic feedback is something I think we’ve all come accustomed to in controllers, maybe a feature for the Status Duo II, SteelSeries?
The Stratus Duo offers full Fortnite compatibility on both PC and mobile platforms, meaning that If you are even half-serious about Fortnite on mobile then pick up the Stratus Duo + SmartGrip combo, you won’t be disappointed! The enjoyment and skill boost is not comparable and I even found myself enjoying Fortnite on my mobile.
The Stratus Duo is also a Steam supported controller and compatible with both Steam Big Picture Mode, this means you can enjoy your Steam games from the comfort of your couch and Steam Link across 5000+ controller-enabled Steam games.
Powered by a Lithium-ion battery rated at 20+ hours, the Stratus Duo can be used while charging via an included 1.8 meter Micro-USB cable, ensuring that you are never short of juice. While paired with Bluetooth, you’re reminded of this fact every 3 seconds, the constant flash is distracting and hopped I could have disabled in the SteelSeries Engine software but unfortunately, it is unsupported. This plays into the ‘no software required’ feature, but it would have been a nice option to include some basic support.
2 Controllers in 1
The Stratus Duo has dual, straightforward pairing options; The first being Bluetooth for Android, Oculus Go, and Samsung Gear VR. Second is wireless for Windows and Steam via a small 2.4GHz USB Wireless Adapter. Swapping between the two is controlled with the flick of a switch with no software required.
My experience on Windows 10 was also seamless — true plug and play! Windows actually detects the Stratus Duo as an Xbox 360 Controller, so the compatibility is excellent. Pressing the home button actually launches the Xbox Game Bar with some surprisingly useful info, while the controllers range while using 2.4GHz is an impressive 12 meters with no interference.
Pairing via Bluetooth was also a pleasant experience on my Nokia 7.2 as it is as simple as switching the wireless position to Bluetooth, hit the Android Connected devices menu and pair a new device.
SteelSeries Stratus Duo
- PERFORMANCE - 88%88%
- DESIGN - 78%78%
- VALUE - 80%80%
Overall, I am really impressed with the Stratus Duo. It is fair to say that it has almost won me over to mobile gaming. It adds a new dimension to mobile gaming and to be honest, gaming on mobile without the Stratus Duo is simply useless.
Pairing the controller with Windows adds a whole new aspect and allows gamers to ditch the keyboard and mouse, recline, and enjoy some tether free gaming!
For more on SteelSeries, check out our previous coverage.