appthumbWhen I first heard that SteelSeries was making an iOS 7 controller, I got really excited. Previously, we've looked at both the MOGA Ace Power and the Logitech Powershell, the only two kids on the proverbial iOS 7 controller block and while it's awesome to have physical controls in iOS games, they're each difficult to recommend. Logitech and Moga are both great companies who have both been releasing accessories for years now, but SteelSeries has been making products specifically targeted at the hardcore gaming crowd since they were founded in early 2001. I've been a huge fan of their products for quite some time, and hooked up to my gaming PC is the fantastic SteelSeries Sensei mouse and a pair of SteelSeries Siberia v2 headphones. SteelSeries is among the brands of gizmos I trust, if I need new whatever and they make it, chances are I'll just buy whatever they've got. So, it was with lofty expectations that I unboxed the SteelSeries Stratus iOS 7 bluetooth game controller.

As you're likely fully aware if you've been following controller news, the current market of iOS 7 controllers is disappointing to say the least. Yes, they work, and they surely enhance gameplay, specifically in games originally designed for a controller, but there's a silly amount of drawbacks. They suck up the Lightning port, making HDMI output impossible. Additionally, they are locked to the current form factor of iOS 7 devices. This poses the significant drawback of how hard the rumor mill is pointing at the iPhone 6 being larger and it inevitably not fitting in your controller. Last, but certainly not least, is the elephant in the room that is the ridiculous $99 price point of all of these controllers. All of these issues have securely landed iOS 7 controllers deep inside of the "gadget fiend early adopters only" camp.

The good news is, there's some light at the end of the tunnel with the SteelSeries Stratus. We're not talking Gandalf charging Helm's Deep light, but, more along the lines of "Hey, I think that's some light ahead, maybe," followed by severely squinting your eyes to make sure. First off, the SteelSeries Stratus charges far ahead of the competition by using bluetooth instead of the Lightning port. This provides the extremely significant advantage of being usable with any iOS 7 device, including the iPad, without worry of your controller being rendered obsolete by device design changes.

iOS Devices as a Portable Console

Also, obviously, this begins to open the door to the strange new world that is treating your iPhone like a portable game console hooked up to your TV. You could technically do this with the Moga Ace Power and Logitech Powershell, but it required beaming your video output via AirPlay, which arguably is the least ideal of all possible solutions given the significant amounts of nearly unplayable lag AirPlay introduces. Wiring your iPhone or iPad direct to your TV via the Lightning Digital AV Adapter significantly mitigates this. But, like seemingly all things to do with iOS 7 controllers, this comes with a massive caveat. As discovered by the guys at Panic, the Lighting Digital AV Adapter isn't the direct-wired HDMI output we thought it was. Instead, its doing some trickery that basically converts AirPlay to HDMI, much quicker than the actual AirPlay process combined with an Apple TV can.

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How much you enjoy playing games on your iPhone or iPad using the SteelSeries Stratus with your device piping the video out to a bigger display via the Lightning Digital AV Adapter largely depends on how sensitive you are to video lag. Personally, I had no problem playing video games back in the day on a first-generation DLP-powered pre-1080p "HDTV" which were absolutely notorious for display lag, so for me, this solution is pretty cool. A little video lag is there for sure, but it's not totally game breaking like AirPlay is. On the other hand, gamer friends of mine who have moved far beyond 60hz monitors for PC gaming found the lag introduced by the Lightning Digital AV Adapter to be incredibly irritating. Unfortunately, unless Apple does something to either improve the Lightning Digital AV Adapter or they flat out introduce a way to get direct HDMI video in the iPhone 6 or iPad Air 2, this is as good as it's going to get.

The Controller

The SteelSeries Stratus is a totally standalone controller with a single micro USB port on the bottom for charging. SteelSeries is touting 10 hours of play time on a single charge, which sounds about right as I've been playing a ton of games using it and I've still got two of the four battery display LEDs illuminated. It's easily described as a micro controller as it fits entirely in the palm of your hand. This makes it awesome for tossing in your bag, as its diminutive size and nearly imperceptible weight makes it a perfect companion for gaming on the go. However, this of course introduces the drawback that all tiny controllers have in that if you've got large hands the way you're going to need to grip the controller is going to feel incredibly cramped.

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I've found myself needing to take frequent breaks, as using a controller of this size involves supporting it against the curled side of your middle finger with your index finger wrapped around the top to hit the trigger buttons- A position that doesn't exactly lend itself to marathon gaming sessions compared to proper "full sized" console controllers that you support with your palms instead.

The up-side of it being made by SteelSeries is they know how to make a controller. The buttons all have a good feel. The analog sticks, while tiny, definitely get the job done. The only thing that's odd about the buttons is the trigger layout which aligns the triggers side by side along the top of the controller instead of having them next to each other. L2/R2 are on the inside of the trigger button area, while L1/R1 are on the outside. It's strange, but doesn't take long to get used to. Everything else is exactly what you'd expect.

Like the other controllers out there, playing iOS games using the SteelSeries Stratus is really awesome, particularly on games that'd typically be played with virtual buttons all over the screen. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas [$6.99] is my favorite game to play with this controller, as it feels shockingly similar to playing it with an actual PS2 controller. Also, laying back on the couch with your iPad propped up on a nearby coffee table is so much better than playing with your iPad in your hands, even with GTA:SA's surprisingly decent virtual controls.

The Price Tag

Sadly, the SteelSeries Stratus is still ruined in the same way that all iOS 7 controllers are, with a price point that is so far beyond ridiculous that I'm not even sure what to call it. It's becoming clear now that it's not the manufacturers of these controllers that are enforcing this price point, as they all give a nearly identical PR-laden non-answer when asked why in the world they think they can charge so much for them. There's decades of precedence when it comes to controller pricing, and with both the PlayStation 4 Dualshock 4 controller and the Xbox One wireless controller coming in at $59.99, $99.99 for an iOS 7 controller seems laughable in comparison. The value proposition is only made worse when you consider that both the PS4 and Xbox One controllers feel built like a tank, while even the SteelSeries Stratus, which is unquestionably the best iOS 7 controller that has come across my desk so far, feels so cheap in comparison.

It seems like what we're seeing here is Apple trying to redefine accessory pricing. We're all used to dropping a twenty dollar bill every time we need a new cable for our iPhone or iPad, but that never felt too foreign as even in the pre-iPhone world cell phone accessories always were the most notoriously expensive highest margin items in electronics stores. Talk to anyone who used to sling cell phones, and they'll gladly tell you the reason they push the $30 car charger so much with every sale is because they're nearly pure profit. As consumers, we're used to this, as we've bought $30 car chargers with every phone dating back to our AMPS Motorola flip phones.

Comparatively, as mentioned, as gamers we're either used to spending $60 on a high quality, first party controller, or around half that for a third party controller with questionable build quality that still worked alright. In the iOS world, what we're seeing is controllers priced on par with high-end Tournament Edition Fight Sticks that in your hand feel like the shoddy third party Super Nintendo controller you used to pawn off on the neighbor kid to play two player games when he came over.

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I'm not alone in this pricing mentality either, as I mentioned on Twitter, I kept my iOS 7 controllers in my bag with me during the holidays and asked friends and family how much they thought they cost. My sample size was a few dozen people, with backgrounds ranging between "Practically born with an Atari 2600 controller in hand" to "All I play is Candy Crush." The results were staggering when I asked people how much they thought these controllers cost. The average price was around $25, with the low being $10 and the absolute maximum guess was $40. Not a single person I showed them to believed me when I said they were $99.

I feel like this poses a serious problem for Apple, iOS 7 controller manufacturers, developers who would implement controller functionality, and the few gamers out there who fork out the cash for one. There's a stupid amount of potential here, but in order to reach that critical mass where official iOS 7 controllers become anything bigger than the niche fad that was iCade support, these controllers need to be priced well inside of impulse buy or supplemental accessory price range. Late last year everyone loved posting stories about how iOS is the most popular gaming platform of all time, and if iOS 7 controllers were prolific enough that developers devoted significant resources to developing games for them to the point that we could live the dream of just plugging your iPhone into your TV, grabbing your controller, and be playing what feels like a console game using your phone, iOS has potential to elbow dedicated game consoles out of the living room.

We're not going to hit that point when these controllers have a price point that's so high it's reserved solely for gadget addicts, early adopters, or just people with more money than sense, and that's a shame.

The Stratus "Wins"

With so few iOS 7 controllers out there, we're grading these devices on a significant curve. Inside of this microscopic accessory ecosystem, the SteelSeries Stratus is without a doubt the best controller out there. It sheds the drawbacks of previous controllers, and barring the incredibly unlikely scenario that Apple phases out bluetooth integration, should be totally future proof. Using a controller to control a iOS game you're piping to your TV with the Lightning Digital AV Adapter is really neat, and I waffle back and forth on whether or not I like the small size.

On one hand, it takes up almost no space in my bag and you don't even need to wear Jnco jeans to have a pocket large enough for it. On the other, the games that are the best with iOS 7 controllers are games like Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas which typically lend themselves to longer play sessions, which doesn't jive too well with the claw-like technique you need to use to hold the controller. Of course, this is going to vary for everyone with a more significant impact on those with larger hands.

In the end, even with the SteelSeries Stratus controller out there, reviewing iOS 7 controllers feels a lot like the classic Top Gear episode on the horrible "Communist Cars" that came out of Russia. When none of the options available to you are that great, it's very easy to stand out as the "best."

If you're a bad enough dude to fork out $99 for one of these and you want to be in the first wave of SteelSeries Stratus shipments, head over to the Stratus web site and preorder right now.

  • Pocketnova

    This actually looks GOOD. If I grab one, this would 100% be the one.

    • TechUser2011

      Agreed. Are all iOS games compatible with it? For example, Tomb Raider, Angry Birds, etc.

      • themostunclean

        Controller support has to be specifically included by the developer and is usually mentioned in the app description. It's not a huge list yet.

        Tomb Raider is (read the TA review) but I don't see how Angry Birds could possibly benefit or even work with a controller. Using touch is much more accurate and natural with that style if game.

      • Aekio

        Angry Bird Go is supported by the new iOS7 MFi Controller so it should work with this device.

        I really love playing games on my iPhone now because of the Moga Ace Power. This new controller seems like a good deal to try. Will definitely buy one.

      • TechUser2011

        What should I look for in an app's description to see if it supports these new iOS7 Bluetooth controllers? I know right now many apps say "iCade support" to support iCade. What new wordage should I now look for?

      • Martin

        Yeah, this is a good question TechUser2011. Moga recommended searching for Moga (back when I asked), but really, apple needs to (and likely will eventually) provide this information somehow in the application metadata in the app store.

    • SimonReidy

      You aren't turned off by the horrendous price, cheap build quality, lack of game support etc? I just can't bring myself to pay $100US for a plastic controller that provides a less than perfect experience.

      And I'm still so pissed off at Apple for killing off the native HDMI output from iOS devices when they introduced the lightning connector. Possibly Apple's most backward move yet. Not only does the conversion of graphics to airplay/H.264 introduce latency, but it crushes the native RGB quality of raw HDMI graphics into an over-compressed video signal. There simply has to be a way for Apple to get around this, given my cheap Android tablet can easily output uncompressed 1080p graphics over MHL (just as tiny a connector as lightning). Rant over -thanks for listening :)

      • http://ifury.net fury

        Seconded, thirded, and motherfucking fourthed on the HDMI thing. Seriously stupid move. They wanted to remove the complexity of HDMI from the source device, but they don't have a technology to replace it with that has enough bandwidth to provide the equivalent signal, so they have actually increased the complexity by forcing the source device to encode the video to H.264 and the dongle device to decode it.

        As for the price, well, early adopters have always paid more on iOS (as they did for the iPhone itself back in 2007). And the game developers aren't going to make games for the controllers until people buy the controllers. So, I bought a MOGA. Probably will buy this one too. (You're welcome?)

      • mclifford82

        with all five of you behind this, I must agree.

      • Pocketnova

        I hate the overpriced-ness of it as well, don't get me wrong, but if I did get (which I don't plan on doing, that was more hypothetical then anything) I would choose this one, as it works with iPads as well as iPhones etc.

        I've never used HDMI myself so I can't really comment on that.

      • B4rl3y

        Blooming Well said Simon,
        I just point blank refuse to pay that much for something so lacking in build quality.
        Fair play to anyone that wants one though.

    • SpacePenguinBot

      I'd go check out some photos of the controller in hand or next to an iPad. I think Eli may have understated just how small it really is. I was starting to think this was looking like a good option, but after seeing how tiny it is I'm going to keep waiting.

      • mclifford82

        Definitely hard to gauge the size with the side-by-side next to an iPhone.

  • GrumpyM

    My iPad is the gaming device I touch every day. It's useable pretty much everywhere. This looks like a decent controller, from a decent brand. For this review - I would have appreciated more commentary on the controller itself - the feel of the buttons, sticks, etc. However, it does sound good. To me the price point is higher than I'd like - but it is what it is and the difference between $60 and $100 is not going to change my lifestyle. If it's something I'll use a lot, it's clearly worth it. Some people play video games, others spend $150 on green fees for a day of golf. It's the price of the hobby, I guess.

    • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

      Excellent point. This is where I come down, too. Sure, it is "expensive," but it's not a car loan. If it works well and lasts a long time, I'll hold my nose and pay what it takes.

      It won't stay $100 forever. This looks like an iOS-only update to their SteelSeries Free Mobile controller, which originally cost at least $80 (possibly $100?) but can be found for $54 now. It works with Android devices and it's a shame there isn't an industry standard for this kind of thing that we could attach to any mobile device.

      For you retro fans: $100 is almost halfway to the price of an Nvidia Shield on ebay. That thing comes with a console-quality controller, a big, sharp screen, a 10-hour battery, 16GB of onboard storage, an SD card slot, streaming from cloud or PC games, just about every retro console and computer emulator you could ever want, and honking LOUD speakers. In essense, a modded XBOX made portable for your hands. I'm going to play some Star Wars: Jedi Academy on this over my lunch break.

      • Jans

        Why not just update the Free firmware for ios7? money grubbing louts

      • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

        LOL @ "louts"

        It's probably not as easy as that. Check out the (unnecessarily scathing) review at Android Police of the Impulse Controller, which used a similar scheme.

      • Jans

        The Free is still a great controller, or at least it was when it was released over a year ago. The problem is ios and its comparative inflexibility to a rooted android setup. It does support hid in android and pc, but only keyboard on ios (since hid is only official with ios7). my guess there is a hardware certification layer involved and apple has to approve particular devices, probably preferring them to be apple-only devices. louts! :)

      • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

        There are advantages to being jerks about compatibility though. At least with an MFi game, you can count on it working. I have to jump through all kinds of hoops and rain chants to get everything configured on my various Android toys.

        Microsoft really nailed it with the XBOX 360 controller. It's hard for me to understand why that isn't just the standard for everything. Or maybe the PS3 controller, that's great too. But then I really like the PS4 controller better. Ah well ... ;-)

      • Jans

        scratch that. I had a look at the firmware tool that comes with the SteelSeries Engine software v. 2 (v. 3 does not support the Free), and it's not listed among the products that are updateable. I suppose I shouldn't expect so much from a spur of the moment purchase. I'll wait until the price drops on the Stratus so I can test it with my ios apps, or emulate mfi with another machine depending how strict the spec is.

  • cobbyco

    Picked up a MOGA for £80, stopped working within 1 HOUR. Felt like cheap crap and triggers were horrid. Got a refund straight away.

    This has been a really shit start to what was supposed to be the 'next big thing' in iOS gaming. Especially at these stupid prices.

    • Kugiro

      Agreed.

    • n8stowell

      Same here. every time I took my phone out of the controller, it would just stop working and would need to be reset to get it going again. Complete crap. Got a refund and am waiting for a good controller to get in its place. This may be it.

    • derkoi

      When it stops working just reset it with a pin. In the reset button on the back.

      • n8stowell

        I did that, and that was the problem. For $100 I shouldn't have to carry a pin with me everywhere I go just to make the stupid controller work. You should be able to disconnect the controller from the phone without fear.

      • cobbyco

        I did that as well. Nothing. In fact I tried everything and still got no response from the controller.

        But why do you need a reset button in the first place? It's a $99 controller!

      • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

        Yeah, I'll wait for version 1.1.

    • grammatonfeather

      My one and only steel series purchase was the SRW1 floaty steering wheel for pc last year. It stopped working 2 days after I bought it. I sent if back to the online shop for refund and got a fanatec racing wheel and pedals instead. This reviewer seems to be a typical everything is wonderful journalist. Steelseries have a really bad track record for inferior products that break without any help from the owner.

  • prime31

    That was the longest review I ever read that didn't even review the product. There were probably 3 relevant sentences in there. The test was a rant best left as an editorial on iOS controllers, not a review. Don't get me wrong, I agree completely bit this isn't the time or place for it.

    Some questions that should have been answered in a controller review: How do the sticks respond? What about the shoulder buttons? What's the action like on the face buttons? So they feel well built, with solid feedback or chintzy and soft?

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      Check out the subheading "The Controller," I think what you're looking for is there?

    • Taclys

      You didn't even read the review, dimwit.

    • sweetdiss

      Why so many upvotes? I thought it was a great review. Lots of context.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        The first posted ultra snide comment typically enjoys a flow of up votes. Internet comments.

      • Cat Astrophy

        Dumping a bunch of fluff before anything of substance (the actual review) is definitely going to get a lot of people on prime's side.

    • Corky McButterpants

      TL:DRdownvote

  • Wizard_Mike

    Now THIS is the kind of controller I've been hoping to see! Dropping $99 for one won't be happening any time soon, but I'll be saving my pennies and pick one up eventually (hopefully for a lesser price, perhaps a used one).

    Glad someone realized the whole snap-your-device-right-in type of controller isn't the only thing in demand and that there's a market for a nice, standard feeling gamepad.

  • DtheGOPkiller

    Yeah $100? Nope. Not even close. In fact this price point will make it a fail. Look I don't think it should be $10 or $20 bucks. But a cool buck? That's just not going to reach the masses. It shouldn't be twice the price of the console top of the line controllers that are built better and with more features. Call me when the price comes down about $40.

    • drlemon

      "Tell me when it goes freemium"

      • Holcman

        You troll.

      • DtheGOPkiller

        Yes. Saying a hundred bucks is to much for a iOS controller and saying I would pay about the SAME as the high quality console controllers you know for actual game systems such as a Xbox or PS around $60 is the same as saying I rather wait until its free. Your head must still have the soft spot. I buy games like Xcom and Ocean horn at full price gladly because I believe in premium. But this controller? You want to compare it like that that? Ok would you pay $60-80$ for a iOS game? Because this controller being priced at twice the price a console wireless duel shock is like that. And really it sucks because not enough will buy it and support will lack.

      • http://ifury.net fury

        Your controller has run out of energy! Wait 5 hours to recharge, or buy a 3-pack of quick charges for $1.99 - on sale for just $0.99! Hurry up!

    • ᏞᎬᎧ

      Me too. Way too expensive for no reason. Aint worth my money. I wish some app makes dual shock 3 compatible with Ios some how. Even if that app costs 10 buck i would buy it in a heartbeat.

      • ᏞᎬᎧ

        Moderator why is my name displayed like this?

    • SpacePenguinBot

      It appears as though they have the right idea. I was thinking it might be worth it at $60, but after looking at some photos of it ‘in hand’ I’m going to wait for a different model. I know the review said it was small, but I didn’t realize how tiny it really is!

      We’re on the right track here, but it might take a few more iterations to get something worth paying for.

  • toby7ten

    Your review made me chuckle - Some nice references to my childhood & I can tell you grew up in the 90's!

  • Tommmy

    You can't call a controller for mobile device which costs 100 buck the "best" one. The maximum price point for this kind of device should be no more than 50$ (which will be "super-premium limited edition with signature of famous someone").

    • Unseen Studios

      If they all cost $99 however, then it certainly looks like the best option currently.

    • themostunclean

      All three out now are equally priced so they certainly can call one the best. Just because you don't like the cost doesn't mean one isn't superior to the others.

    • Goggles789

      Yes, they are really pushing the accepted market value with these ridiculous price points coupled with low-quality controller builds.

  • Squablo

    Again.........insulting. Next please.......

  • salvee

    Ugh...I'll wait til madcatz comes out with one. :/
    What happen to the days I could use my iphone as a controller on my ipad. Where's that support?

    • rseller1

      Agreed.

    • themostunclean

      Still lacked tactile feedback, shoulder buttons, analog sticks and not having to look down if you moved your fingers one millimeter out of position. That approach was a novelty but never felt like a solution.

  • zergslayer69

    May as well just use blutrol with your ps3 controller you most likely already have. Except not everybody will be able to do this. But hey, it's another option instead of shelling out another $99 plus tax. And more comfortable too.

    • Aimsworth

      Using a PS3 controller on an Ipad is easier than getting a controller to work on a PC game so you might have a point there. Is it working on IOS7 yet? I've yet to find a killer reason to jailbreak again..

      • Squablo

        They are updating for ios7 now. They said don't expect it before the end of January. I will patiently wait. $100 controllers are absolutely insane! Especially these crap controllers they keep putting out. At least this one is Bluetooth though.

      • themostunclean

        Xbox controllers work flawlessly with every PC game I've wanted to use one for. If all you have is a PS3 then there are plenty of simple to use controller emulators for free. The only trouble I've had is using a controller with a game that was designed for keyboard and mouse via a mod.

  • Aimsworth

    This is perhaps a difficult topic to cover. He had to go all the way around he did to explain why simply being the best gamepad for IOS yet doesn't mean much. It is mentioned that the price is utterly unreasonable, and that video out or airplay is too laggy to be playable. It is mentioned that its a reasonable controller that is kinda small and may give cramping especially of you've got big hands. Its hard to totally bag or totally rave over a $99 controller at this point.

  • Harry Ballsachs

    Will this not work on non-Lightning IOS 7 devices (like iPad 2)?

  • Taclys

    I would gladly drop $50 for this controller. A Xbox-like Bluetooth controller that works with iPhone and iPad? I want this. Now. But I can almost buy 2 next-gen controllers for this price, and I don't even like dishing $60 for those controllers. Until the iPhone controllers are AS GOOD as next-gen controllers, don't charge nearly double for them.

    • scamper

      Well, better than Xbox-like in one regard: the stick alignment is properly symmetrical! Glad to see that, at least.

      • Squablo

        This is your opinion. A large portion of the gaming community prefers the stick lineup of the Xbox controller, including me

      • err404

        If you thumbs aren't performing symmetric actions, why should the sticks be symmetric. PC gamer aren't asking for a dual mouse setup.
        The fact is that the d-pad and face buttons on a PS controller are in the primary ergonomic location for your thumbs. This is evidenced by they layout on the original PS controller (the one w/o analog sticks). When the analog sticks were tacked on, they were placed in a sub-optimal ergonomic location so as not to interfere with the existing d-pad and face buttons.
        The ps controller prioritizes the d-pad and face buttons.
        The xbox controller prioritizes the left analog stick and face buttons.
        Oddly neither prioritize dual analog input.

      • NinjaKitteh

        I have to go with XBox styled sticks as well. The left stick on PS products gives me thumb cramps fairly easily.

  • Kane

    Perfect Pad, But dat price doe...

  • Grummie

    Fanboy if I ever heard one, I'll stick with my moga for now. I'm happy with what it does

  • curtisrshideler

    I will never be a controller-adapter unless that price falls down below console controller prices. Just can't justify it. Hope Apple and these companies have to end up doing that in order to make money on them.

  • Phantom Bruiser

    Is 100 dollars a lot of money to most people? That's like an average dinner for two.

    • Michael O'Connor

      You must eat some very expensive dinners. I can feed myself well for a week on half that.

      • Phantom Bruiser

        Where do you live that you can live off of $50 for seven days worth of meals? And not ramen, actual food.

      • Michael O'Connor

        Ireland.

        I can buy a nice, full, warm dinner for about $5 from a local business that specialised in home meals. They cook them, you pick them up. Daily food cost me an average of $15 - $25 a week, give or take. A little more if I feel like spoiling myself.

        And that's considering that food here is twice as expensive as the US. $50 a week per head here is pretty standard. Obviously it you have a family that's a different matter, but I'm talking individually here.

        Talk about having first world problems.

    • NinjaKitteh

      Cake eater...

    • DtheGOPkiller

      What are you 10? I'm not saying this to be a jerk but your either a kid or fairly wealthy. I am a normal middle class guy. Income around 75k a year. Witch still is 25k over the national average for income and don't spend $100 on a meal for me and my wife. So either you eat a very over priced places or someone buys your food for you and you don't yet have a concept for money and what things cost.

      • Phantom Bruiser

        I'm a small business owner in NYC. Dinner is expensive. I guess it's a sliding scale; cost is relative. I mean, my electric bill is like 3-400 bucks a month sometimes, a week worth of groceries is usually $200+, so by comparison 100 isn't a ton of money.

  • Firedog5698

    Are all games compatible with it because if so worth all the money.

  • Axl3dd

    This is why people are being forced to jailbreak because the company's never give us what we want ! If u jailbreak u can get apps enabling PS4 and xbox controllers to work as ios7 game controllers. So making and selling controllers at that high of a price knowing a jailbreak can up them out of commission is ignorant of them and no one will buy there crap :PPP

  • terrence92

    I can't seem te find the controller on their site??

  • jeffyg3

    One thing I love about the Xbox controllers over the PS controllers is the analog stick placements, controlling characters is easier and more fluent with the left analog stick more comfortable placed on the upper left. I even have 3rd party controllers for the PS3 that mimics the Xbox 360 controllers. Much better for gaming, especially for 3D games. For games that I use the d-pad to control more often, I'll bust out the ps3 controllers for, but that's a rarity.

    I think I'll wait until the price point drops and a good controller comes out with the much better stick placements like on the Xbox controllers. I wouldn't mind a full sized controller also, since I plainly carry around my iPad in my backpack...I have room for it.

    • JaJaBinks2

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I, for one, consider the PS sticks to be in a much more natural layout then the Xbox controllers.

  • Boris Nguetie

    Can someone explain me how to use this on the go with an iphone??!!

    • rseller1

      I was thinking the same thing. If you have a table handy, then a portable stand would work. But on a plane or bus, or anywhere else where you can't easily set your phone down, then what? I might get one for my ipad, but still, it would be nice if it had a clip on top you could attach your iphone/pod to.

    • themostunclean

      Well just watch the video. Pretty sure this is being marketed more towards iPad owners.

    • yearoftherat

      Via Bluetooth

  • ScotDamn

    Can we all move past iOS controllers? It isn't, nor shouldn't be the future of iOS gaming. Why take away the very reason iOS gaming is unique? It's one thing for these controllers to be used on ports like the first Tomb Raider, but if future developers can't continue to use the touchscreen creatively, than why are we here? Sony Vitas and Nintendo 3DS are cheaper alternatives. We should embrace the touchscreen. I think it's fantastic. I'll pass on the controller.

    • rseller1

      Good point.

    • Goggles789

      I feel like this opinion is being sorely ignored. The more I hear about all these $100 controllers the more it makes me tired of the modern gaming scene. I love the unique feel that iOS games have, what with the whole touching the screen thing. It's cool, and is done well. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, I say. Though, I was tempted by the Razer Blade blue tooth controller. It's just...for $100 bucks we should get a controller that will work on more than just 30 or so games. The game support has been outrageously low from what I've seen to justify such a stiff price.

      • JaJaBinks2

        Yeah, because games which use a poorly implemented on-screen analogue stick and buttons shouldn't be played with a controller? If a game on iOS is going to make me use on-screen analogue sticks and buttons, I'll use a controller. If it has a great touch mode, however, I'll gladly give up the controller for that game.

      • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

        That's on the developers. And like I said above. It's one thing to use these controllers for ports like GTA or Tomb Raider. But as the future of iOS gaming.. It's going against the grain of what makes the platform unique. So far it's proved to be more effective in certain genres such as strategy games where direct control is an improvement over manipulating a UI through a controller. Just look at XCOM, it's far superior on iOS than on a console.

        I can see a future where iDevices hook up to your TV via AirPlay or Bluetooth and using your device as the controller. But trying to fit a traditional controller into a platform that offers a unique experience on its own is almost nonsensical in my opinion.

      • JaJaBinks2

        For those innovative games, yes. But so many games on iOS these days just use a lazily implemented D-Pad. Things like Plants vs Zombies and Civilisation play great. The port of Bastion has wonderful touch controls. But if a games going to force me to use on screen controls, like so many action games in the app store, then I would prefer to use a controller.

      • Squablo

        Every game I've played on ios plays better with a physical controller, with the exception of a few, like Battleheart, Infinity Blade, or Plants vs Zombies. Trust me. As an avid BluTrol user, I've tried a TON of games with a controller. Don't believe me? Try it yourself.

      • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

        You know why the controller doesn't work well with Battleheart and Infinity Blade? Because those two games use the touchscreen to its strengths.

    • jeffyg3

      Nah. Why spend money on a new gaming system, carry around another device, and spend more money for games that cost a lot more if you already happy with the ones you have on your iPhone and iPad at a much cheaper cost? Bring on the controllers so I can control the games better that are better with it, I have no interest in buying a whole new device that has more costly games, why spend more money if it's unnecessary? These controllers will eventually come down in price, I'll wait.

      • https://www.facebook.com/DigitalDistillery Scot Damn

        What I'm saying is pick one. But if you want to game on a touch screen, realize its strengths and uniqueness. As an iOS gamer myself, I love strategy gaming. I also love what IB gave us. An experience you can't get on any other platform. The closest would be a 3DS with its touchscreen. Even still, I love strategy games and those work great on a touchscreen. I love boardgame adaptations which work great. I love some line drawing games. The list goes on. I don't think there's anything wrong with wanting a controller for specific games, but not as the future of iOS gaming.

  • Kenny Ackerson

    "A great controller"... "Oh wait I lied" - Eli Hodapp.

  • Adsinjapan

    A great looking controller from a great company.

    However, I say this in the kindest way possible.

    For that price tag, Go F**k yourselves SteelSeries.

    • spsummer

      Ouch...

  • jfc1976

    I had that Turbo SNES 3rd party controller! The "touchpad" D-pad was actually really good in Street Fighter 2, Mortal Kombat, Killer Instinct, and the like (which was the target genre/market I think)... Those were the days. :)

  • InfectiousRed

    This review almost seems written by the manufacturer. Yeah, we know we're raping you at $100 and have a lot of flaws, but we're selling the gold plated turd in the line up of 3 available turds. Our products are the bestest(within reason)! Here's a link, go buy, buy, buy!

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      What?

      • NinjaKitteh

        What I got from that was he wants to be raped by gold plated turds? I think...

      • MrAlbum

        He's claiming bias in the reviewer using nonsensical, senseless curse words.

      • NinjaKitteh

        Yeah, I got that....just wanted to write "raped by gold plated turds." It's so rare you get the chance to do so.

  • salvee

    I bought a tactslider, a set of mini flings and some thumbies and attach them to my iphone or iPad and airplay them no problem to my tv...i get very little lag. Oceanhorn, shadowgun, stealth all work no problem. If I get lag I just reconnect or make sure I'm the only one on my wifi!

  • godofodd

    Still not a controller that I view as a "must have". I'm confident the right controller is coming, and soon. I won't be spending a penny until I get a controller that isn't reviewed as "good, but..."

  • decoy_octopu5

    $100? Haha, I thought you said a $100. Umm, how about NO.

  • peaThere

    has it come out yet or only pre-order

    • peaThere

      *for Canada*

  • TomCrown

    This looks like a really bad copy of the Drone by evolution controller that was kickstarted some time ago and retails for $60 with a much better looking build quality. Eli should get his hands on one of those and test, they aren't MFI certified but they are bluetooth.

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      I'm not sure it matters if it's bluetooth if it doesn't have the MFi certification stuff, as part of all that is what makes it recognized as an Apple-allowed game controller. It's my understanding that it's a lot like those dodgy third party Lightning cables, they might work, but don't be surprised if you get the "This is an unsupported accessory!" popup? Maybe?

      • TomCrown

        The other benefit is that it will work with Mac/PC/Android and probably iOS as well, for $60, much better than $100.

        Test it out for us to see how it fairs on iOS : )

      • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

        This should be knowable information. How about finding out and publishing a TouchArcade feature about what makes MFi different? It would be useful to know. Think of the clicks you would get! ;-)

    • Naraka

      without certification from apple it will not work. You can still pair some IOS devices (like the old gameloft controller) but no apple controller supported games will recognize it or use it (have tried just for kicks). you would need to jail break in order to use a 'regular' bluetooth controller in IOS gaming.

  • H4nd0fg0d

    Another piece of junk for $100 no less.

  • Onikage725

    I want this, though maybe I'll give it a few months and see if I can find a deal on amazon. I have large hands, so that is a concern. But I made due with the icontrolpad, and have a small moga controller for just is sort of thing with my android phone (including tv streaming). So I should be able to make do. I agree on the weird price vs quality hole though, Eli. Maybe because it's a niche market, so they feel they can nickel and dime. Or maybe just because it's Apple and they like to overcharge. My moga android controller, which doesn't feel awesome but is serviceable and has lasted me a year without complaint, cost me $40? Or somewhere around there. Amazon is flooded with $25-60 android controllers, so these ios devices aren't even competitive with their direct competition (which, as usual, has been at it longer).

    Still, my iPad mini is my portable gaming device of choice. And I have, use, and love a 3DS XL and Vita. I don't see these things muscling out consoles, though. The processing power just isn't there yet. As awesome as San Andreas and KOTOR may be, second to last gen ports and the occasional Ocean Horn aren't going to crush the Sony/Microsoft "all in one living room entertainment device" behemoth. I see it as more competing with Vita and (when it comes out) Vita TV. iOS still needs more industry notice to overtake it though, in my opinion. It seems like our big AAA (comparatively) Ocean Horns and Republiques are few and far between with little mainstream impact. It's going to be hard to crack the engines turning out Zeldas, Pokemons, Personas, Killzones, Guacamelees and things of that caliber every month.

  • chief78

    I got a Moga and I do like playing some of the supported games. 2 major drawbacks though. 1) some of the games "supported" are so horribly implemented it's not worth it (Metalstorm: Aces). Of the ones that are, some don't even use the analog sticks, which is a waste of even supporting the controller, and others will use an unnatural button setup (CoD:strike team comes to mind....very close to being good controls, but needs more customization and both X and Y axis sensitivity settings as well as assigning buttons)
    2) price point is just stupid
    So, to sum it up, there's 3 controllers to choose from, but I think the biggest issue that will continue is that support from devs is either spot-on or a half-assed mess of integration. I don't see this controller fixing any of that....

  • Joe Welke

    Bluetooth 2.1? That's odd. I had thought 2.1 had too much lag between input-action to be worrth it as a gaming controller, to say nothing about battery life issues. Any issues with control lag during your time with it, Eli?

    Also, out of curiosity, what the "standard response" you get when you ask about pricing?

    I still think we should all get together and Kickstart a TouchArcade MFi controller... it looks like the only way we'll all get what we REALLY want.

  • lr1919

    This pricing and my doubts on iOS controllers ever succeeding are the reasons why I bought a Vita.

    Until apple starts building controllers into their phones, they will never succeed or be fully supported...

    • Naraka

      Vita, good choice, amazing lil device.

      Apple will not build controllers into their phones, much like you won't use your Vita as a phone.

      Apple has fully supported controllers already. This was a huge change and it will take time for it to grow in apples ecosystem.

      64bit chip was a game changer in the IPhone5S. While not an immediate impact like Siri or a finger print reader when the programmers start utilizing it this will bring mobile gaming close to on par with home systems. These are all really things that will bear fruit a couple years down the road as apple will have the head start.

      You want your program / game to reach (sell) as many people as possible so most are still programming with the iPad2 / iPhone4 in mind.

  • PlannedObsolescence

    Another review of this controller mentioned it works with 'iPads newer than iPad 4 and iPad mini'. Does that mean these are only compatible with A7/iPad Air and iPad mini retina? if so that's fairly poor as not only is this accessory already overpriced but it needs most current hardware to work. no way i would upgrade my device just to be able to use one of these. it seems between the freemium model and thhis sort of thing they are making iOS gaming a black hole for our money. i don't think they understand gaming consumers so well and forget the majority already have consoles at home when they feel the urge for 'deep gaming' and can get by just fine with great mobile based games and avoid buying ports of games they already have on a console.

    • http://www.googlepants.com/ Wizard of Odyssey

      That sounds like it was meant for the other products, the ones that required a Lightning connector. I would think a wireless controller would work on anything running iOS7.

      Then again, we've seen enough single-game controllers to not be surprised by anything.

    • Naraka

      There are several Bluetooth specifications. All things that say bluetooth are not the same. This controller uses 2.1 bluetooth. This is only available on later models. So you need IOS7 + a compatible 2.1 bluetooth device. This offers greater data speeds, easier pairing, longer battery life, ect.

      IOS 2.1 Bluetooth devices
      iPhone
      5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5
      iPad Mini, iPad Mini with Retina Display, iPad Air, iPad 4th Gen
      iPod Touch 5th Generation

  • NinjaKitteh

    I think Apple actually doesn't want to deal with controllers. They hardly mentioned them during their presentations. They aren't really quality controlling devs implementation of the controllers. The PRICE...I'm pretty convinced they're behind the 100 dollar price point for one reason. They want these controllers to fail so they can forget about the whole thing. As for Bluetooth 2.1, they'd have to go back that far to support older devices. Pretty sure the iPad 2 is only 2.1 capable. Still I don't think Apple wants controllers to make the cut, unfortunately.

    • Naraka

      the slow quiet roll out does not surprise me. Remember jobs said it would never happen and was against controllers, wanted everything touchscreen. So I consider us all lucky that cook has opened the door to them. steve was a brilliant but stubborn guy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Matthew-White/1633850433 Matthew White

    I would buy one of these for $40. $99 is insulting.

  • rabidnz

    Those sticks are and hand folding nightmare!

  • Naraka

    FYI they take your money right away instead of when they ship it like most vendors do. Just a heads up.

  • Tizz986

    I think I will at least wait until CES is over to make sure no other controllers sneak out.

  • Ya Boy TwoKay‼️

    Cool

  • trazer

    If these are ever to become more mainstream then the price has to drop by half at the very least. It's Bluetooth, why can't anyone at all make a controller for whatever price they want and not have apple set these insane prices?

    $30 I'll buy three, 40 or 50 then I'll get one to share with the family. More than that and I just wait for the eventual fire sale when the close them out due to canceling them because of lack of sales lol

    I sure home the people making these read these comments,

  • SerapisB

    Haha, I love reading your reviews Eli. Such depth and your humor always gets lols from me. Keep up the good work!

  • Unfrozen

    It may be far from perfect but if it's reliable I will get one.

  • LazerTag

    I am one of those that was suckered into buying a couple 8bitty's from TG, worst purchase ever (even compared to my Ouya and I never use that stupid thing either due to its own controller issues). iCade support isn't terrible but so many games that would be good with it don't add it and the ones that do add support have button mappings that completely suck and no customizing.

    I will be waiting until this support is WAY more supported and perfected before I even fathom paying more than $30 again for this type of stuff.

  • icruise

    I have my doubts about the pricing being somehow mandated by Apple. I just don't see the upside for them. They might make a few more dollars on controllers at the cost of completely hamstringing iOS as a gaming platform. Isn't it more likely that these first few companies to come out with controllers are just trying to milk the market while they have a semi-monopoly? I'd be very surprised if we didn't see prices come down and quality go up soon. Of course I personally would prefer that they just make it possible to use a PS3 controller with an iOS device. It's possible on Android (even if it's a little clunky). Of course I realize that it would probably require support directly from Apple in the case of iOS, which seems unlikely, but it's annoying that we have these great bluetooth controllers that could easily be made compatible.

  • Draven2222

    Can't understand the reviewers, "stratus wins" as it's not available yet...and won't be until march 2nd, if all goes to plan.

    It's a $40 controller.. With no charge function..(can't be used whilst charging),(no large battery to charge iDevice). Yet it's $99 compared to MOGA/Logitech..
    This equals "Stratus Loses" in my opinion.
    Make it cheaper then I agree..

  • David

    Just got this Controller steel series stratus but it will not show up ob my ipad 4 while searching for bluetooth device......any ideas?

  • Muffinheadicus

    I bought one yesterday.

    One word: AWESOME.

    I put the controller through the ultimate test by playing Monster Hunter ios with it. It both feels and performs better than my PSP GO because its dual stick. It feels better than the vita because the sticks feel more like baby console sticks instead of handheld machine sticks.

    Buy it.