Steelseries Free Mobile Controller
The moment I got my most recent smartphone the Samsung Galaxy SIII I became a mobile gaming addict. Thanks to some ingenious developers creating some robust emulators I held in the palm of my hand a SNES, N64, Gameboy, Gameboy Advance and my favourite the PlayStation 1. I had been waiting for the days of a handheld PlayStation 1 since I was first pulled kicking and screaming from in front of the screen to visit family in the faraway place known as the Land of the Scots.
The more classic games I played however the more I realised the touchscreen controls weren’t quite up to scratch, so I started looking for a reasonably priced android controller with dual analogue sticks. At £70 (on the official store) the Steelseries Free Mobile Controller ticked one of my boxes.
I know what you are thinking and I totally agree with you. Considering that there are other Android controllers on the market for a much lower price (and the ability to connect PS3 and Xbox controllers) it seems crazy to invest so much of my hard earned sterling on what is effectively a device that allows you to play mobile games a little better. A waste surely?
Yes, yes it is.
The controllers shape is really beautiful but functions poorly. There is no curvature to the back of the controller meaning it is constantly slipping down as you use the L and R buttons on the top. If you hold it with your index fingers, not on the shoulder buttons like every controller ever in the last 2 decades has trained you to do but instead place them crooked behind the dpads, you can operate the face buttons and joysticks easily but it feels so unnatural and blocks you from using L+R.
Out of the games that are meant to be compatible (85 on the IOS and 114 on android) I didn’t feel particularly inclined to play any of them, the ones I thought would get the most benefit from a duel analogue controller namely Modern Combat 4: Zero Hour and N.O.V.A actually aren’t natively compatible with it. When using it for a PS1 emulator I found out the D-pad and left joysticks actually count as the same button input so any real PS1 emulation was flawed as was any C-stick n64 emulation.
Although I know I shouldn’t be judging the controller based on games it doesn’t advertise itself as compatible with its not actually fully compatible with these games anyway! While preforming a mission on GTA:III where I was made to pick up a woman of the night (whore for anyone who doesn’t have a mother who is easily shocked into swooning by foul language) and take her to a client the mission text comes up ‘Beep horn to make Cindy come out’ but wait… where’s my horn? None of these buttons are a horn! Although you may think “It’s just a horn button bro! Chill your beans.” I couldn’t actually complete the mission without it. There also isn’t a button for changing weapon which seems like a ridiculous oversight. I’m not asking for much here just that the controller I paid for actually allows me to complete the game.
On the PC the controller fares better due to the robust ‘Steelseries engine App’ which allows for full configuration and remapping of all elements in the controller. I do not own a Mac so I can’t comment on its compatibility on that but Steelseries does boast full compatibility with ‘virtually every title’ because of the ability to emulate all mouse and keyboard functions. The games I tried were ‘Dark Souls: Prepare to die edition’, ‘Super Meat Boy’ and ‘Binding of Issac’ which played so much better with the controller than a keyboard.
If it was a lower price (£20-30) I could forgive its shortcomings but alas I find myself very unlikely to even carry it around with me anymore after I’ve finished this review. My mouse and headset are Steelseries and I know they constantly produce quality product after quality product, perhaps they hoped the name they have built up for themselves as an excellent peripheral developer would warrant the exorbitant price tag but it doesn’t.
If I was just basing this review on the performance of the controller on the Andriod OS it wouldn’t have scored higher than a 2 but because of the extensive customisation options from the Steelseries engine I’m giving it another point.
You are able to purchase the Steelseries Mobile Controller from here http://www.clove.co.uk/steelseries-free-mobile-wireless-controller currently for £49.99
Editors comment ” The Steelseries Mobile Controller is a great addition for PC gamers that like to carry there equipment on the go, as its nice small and does not take up hardly any room at all, the controller is pre configured already , however with the Steelseries Engine you can macro the buttons to work with different games so get can almost get every game full functioning on the pad with out the use of the keyboard and mouse. The only downsides I can see would be the actual size of the device and gamers with giant hands, the trigger buttons are very hard to press down and need a little adjusting make them more sensitive and that’s it really.”
- -Looks nice and made out of quality materials. Build quality is of a high standard.
- -Don’t have to root your android device or jailbreak your Apple product to use it.
- -On the Andriod games it’s natively designed for it works really well for the most part.
- -Small size.
- -Compatible on PC, Mac, Andriod and IOS.
- -10 hour battery life and usable while charging.
- -£50 is a bit too steep for a controller.
- -Button mapping issues on Android.
- -Poorly designed for large hands to hold for any length of time.
- -Not compatible with the games it advertises as working with on Andriod.
Quick Overview taken directly from the Steelseries site.
- -Wireless controller via Bluetooth technology
- -Cross-platform compatibility with PC, Mac®, Android smartphones and tablets, and iDevices including iPhone®, iPad®, and iPod Touch®
- -Classic controller layout with two joysticks, Dpad, two trigger buttons, four-button layout, and select/start buttons
- -Remap all 12 buttons via SteelSeries Engine
- -Light indicators for pairing and switching between multiple device platforms
- -Rechargeable battery with an estimated 10 hrs of continuous, wireless play time
- -Auto power save will turn off the controller after more than 3 mins of being idle
- -Mini USB to USB cable will charge the SteelSeries FREE in less than 2 hours and allows for charge and play functionality
- -Controller will work up to 20 feet away from your computer or device
- -SteelSeries FREE App for mobile devices will provide users with the quick start guide, and direct access to SteelSeries Engine support
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.