PC gaming keeps getting better and better, technology helps with this, from the latest innovations with CPU’s to Leaps in performance with GPU’s. There is always a marked leader or leaders, for CPU it would be Intel and AMD with Intel miles ahead of the competition, and then you have AMD and NVIDIA when it comes to roaring gaming performance, with NVIDIA slightly better, but more expensive.
When it comes to gaming peripherals there are plenty of mice, headsets, speakers and wired control pads, it seems Microsoft have always had the advantage by offering the best of the best when it came to control pads, with the PC compatible version of the excellent Xbox 360 and Xbox One control pads, but each of these came with a Stupid USB Dongle. We gamers already know how many USB’s we have and that is rather limited, if you are like me, you have one for a headset, printer, mouse, possibly a mouse mat (Razer Firefly) one for your phone charger etc.
The one thing I have requested and begged for, is more wireless devices that would use Bluetooth, it would mean less cables to fuss with, and more freedom. I have already scored the Creative T15 Bluetooth speakers, which I found to be bloody awesome, and a great asset for any gamer, to add to that now I managed to score the new SteelSeries Stratus XL, which works on Windows and Android.
When it comes to Steelseries attracting the gamers to their devices, their sales and marketing have done it again, with its dark minimalist design with a streak of orange to match the control pads analog shafts. The full design of the pad is shown in all its glory, using very little light to over saturate the image, when moving to the back, you get to see what the back buttons look like, as well as some selling features
- Feels comfortable in your hands for hours of gaming
- Just like console,clickable analog joysticks are the only way to game
- 40+ hours battery life, so you can play on and on
The one thing they do not tell you, this control pad works with any Xbox 360 or Xbox One configurable games, that gives you a shit load of games to play. This rolls perfectly, onto what games I played which include, Just Cause 3 and Assassin’s Creed: Synidicate, two games that work great or should I say, work much better with a game pad rather than Keyboard and Mouse.
Before I move on to the game play, need to discuss, how easy this game pad was to connect, you download the Steelseries engine UI from their website, turn the pad on, click the connect button, wait a little time and its complete, no need to do anything else. There is no need to ever go through the connection process again, as you can turn off and on the device and your system will pick it up straight away.
The Steelseries engine UI allows you to adjust the setting of both the sticks, decrease and increase the sensitivity, invert and configure the deadzones for the trigger buttons, a lot of benefits over the standard Xbox 360 and Xbox One control pads which offer no customisation as all.
Most control padsrequire you to constantly set up buttons to certain games and there buttons, the Steelseries Stratus XL does not require anything, it works and performs just like a Microsoft control pad, A, B, X, Y, L1, L2, R1 and R2 all the same buttons you would expect to see, also the sticks are push buttons, just like the Microsoft control pads.
So knowing that the Steelseries Stratus XL works similar to the Microsoft pads, they should work perfectly with all games that are compatible right? Well, it does, using Steams big picture mode, having my system connected to my BIG Screen down stairs, using no cables to connect, everything wireless, it’s a dream come true.
Launching Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, sitting down on my sofa, just like I would be, when playing on a console, having the power house of a top of the line gaming system to boot, a gamers dream come true.
The PS4 and Xbox One are the current powerhouses for users unable to afford high end gaming systems, but as we have seen, they both has issues running games at high settings, even seeing games having locked FPS, Resolutions even seeing total downgrades to get the games to run on these systems.
I am lucky in a way, I was able to afford an Aleinware system some time ago and not gone back to Console gaming for years now, and have always kept up to date with the latest gaming GPU’s and CPU’s, currently running the latest Gen Intel CPU and a high end GPU (Nvdia 970m). The only console I purchase now, would be Nintendo systems, due to their 100% exclusive games, high quality titles and their huge IP back catalogue, nothing comes close to what they own and throw out to their fans.
Enough waffle, back to the control pad, where was I? Oh yeah, sitting down on the sofa playing games, I could talk a load of bollocks here, but I am not, I am simply going to say this, IT WORKS, FEELS GREAT, NO LAG, CONNECTS UP AND STAYS CONNECTED FOR AGES.
The only issue I have, no lithium rechargeable batteries, instead Steelseries opted for the cheaper option, throw away, not sure if this was a manufacturing cost issue, or something else, but poor form Steelseries, being a high end firm, I personally expect high end choices, I feel an update is required and a rechargeable pack to be added.
GOODBYE Microsoft Xbox Control Pad, Hello SteelSeres Stratus XL… the best control pad for PC in a long, long time, Just add LITHIUM BATTERIES with charging option, GOD DAMN YOU.