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SteelSeries Stratus Duo Wireless Controller Review
Review By @ 05:59pm 01/07/20

Product: SteelSeries Stratus Duo
Type: Wireless Controller (Bluetooth and PC Compatible)
Price: $139.00 RRP
Availability: Out Now
Link: steelseries.com/gaming-controllers/stratus-duo

The SteelSeries Stratus Duo is labelled an Android wireless controller, and with its Bluetooth functionality it is very much that – a traditional controller for playing mobile games. Titles like Fortnite, Call of Duty, and others that benefit from the more tactile feel you get from actual buttons and analogue sticks as opposed to touch. But, the great thing about the Stratus Duo is that it doubles as a great choice for PC gaming and comes packed with 2.4GHz wireless dongle allowing it to quickly become a lightweight, comfortable, and go-to pad for a gaming PC.

In fact, the choice here is more either/or rather than the Stratus Duo being something that lives a double life. Android by day, Windows 10 by night. After dabbling in that arena we barely touch at AusGamers, mobile gaming, the Stratus Duo found a new and permanent home – sitting in front of my gaming monitor. Ready to pick up, should the need call for it. Especially if the call requires access to a sturdy and responsive d-pad – of which the Stratus Duo has a great one. Perfect for some classic Street Fighter and Samurai Shodown. And even better in the neon-soaked futuristic setting of Huntdown.

Grip It

  • Cable length: 1.8 meters
  • Connectivity: 2.4GHz, Bluetooth v4.1, or Wired USB
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion (20+ hours)
  • Range (2.4GHz): 12 meters
  • Connector: Micro USB
  • Weight: 245g

On the way to controller land there’s a single fork in the road, where one path leads to the analogue stick sitting atop the d-pad (ala Xbox One and Nintendo Switch) and the other where the analogue stick sits underneath (ala PlayStation 4). The SteelSeries Stratus Duo takes the PlayStation path, and for those looking for a great PlayStation-style controller for Steam – you probably needn’t read any further. The SteelSeries Stratus Duo is the choice for you, great wireless response, great battery life (better than that of the official Dual Shock) and a lightweight comfortable feel that’s perfect for longer sessions.

"Perfect for some classic Street Fighter and Samurai Shodown. And even better in the neon-soaked futuristic setting of Huntdown.”

For everyone else, yeah, it’s a configuration that might not appeal to one’s own personal taste and preference. But even if you’re strictly in the analogue-stick on top camp, having the d-pad in the prime position means that the Stratus Duo is one the best options out there for classic 2D gaming. Which is to say, my personal preference is the Xbox One and Switch Pro Controller approach so the transition took a bit to feel comfortable with when dipping into games like Red Dead Redemption II and Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Separate to this, the Stratus Duo is another excellent piece of kit from SteelSeries. In addition to the sturdy d-pad the analogue sticks have a great feel with a firm and soft-to-the-touch rubberised finish. The buttons are equally top-tier with great tension on the triggers and an overall build quality that should stand the test of time. On that front it’s hard to gauge wear-and-tear in a review but even after a few weeks of regular use the Stratus Duo performs just as it did on day one – and that certainly counts for something.

Press Start to Continue

That said, even though the 20-hour battery life is great and the ability to play and charge is more than welcome the use of Micro-USB over USB-C feels like a step backwards – or that this is a product from a few years ago as opposed to something brand new. Also, the tiny 2.4GHz dongle is something you’ll need to keep a close eye on, as there’s no way to store it with the controller – nor does the Stratus Duo come with a carry-case. And to lay out all out grievances in one controller-style “Up, Up, Down, Down, L, R, Y, B, X, A” flurry the lack of SteelSeries Engine software compatibility for customisation or tweaking is disappointing.

"The SteelSeries Stratus Duo takes the PlayStation path, and for those looking for a great PlayStation-style controller for Steam – you probably needn’t read any further.”

But the good here far outweighs the bad, excellent build quality, comfort, and feel make the SteelSeries Stratus Duo a winner. Lightweight with great battery life and what is without a doubt one of the best d-pads you’ll find, make this a great choice for PC gaming. And Android too, if mobile gaming is your jam.
What we liked
Great build quality and feel
Excellent d-pad
As suited for PC use as it is mobile
What we didn't like
No software support
Micro-USB and not USB-C
Bluetooth limited to mobile
Wireless dongle tiny and easy to misplace
We gave it:
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