SteelSeries Status XL controller for iPhone and iPad
| SteelSeries Stratus XL

Earlier this year, we named the tiny SteelSeries Stratus "the new gold standard for iOS controllers". But in a twist that would make George R. R. Martin proud, it looks like the company just dethroned itself.

Where the first controller looked like it was for ants, the XL is made for human-shaped hands. Overall it looks and feels like an Xbox One controller, but the thumbsticks are at the bottom and symmetrically placed like a PlayStation pad.

The build quality is great. It has these nice textured grips on the thumbsticks, high quality plastic for the body, and it feels appropriately hefty. It's almost as high quality as a console controller and feels much more like a £60 / $80 peripheral than most of its rivals.

SteelSeries Stratus XL

The only thing that feels off is the triggers which sometimes produce a grim springy sound when you press them.

The controller works perfectly, of course, with ultra responsive buttons and great thumbsticks. Even the d-pad is solid and one of the best to be found on an MFi pad. Overall, this thing makes playing Bioshock feel almost exactly like playing the console version.

The Stratus XL runs off a pair of AA batteries, which is a bit of an odd retro throwback in a world dominated by lithium ion cells. But you do get 40 hours of gameplay out of that, and you can of course use rechargeable batteries.


It pairs over Bluetooth so you can play with an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, or even a Mac. But it doesn't have any kind of dock or grip, so you'll have to prop your device up somewhere. That's fine for iPad, but a bit odd and ungainly for iPhone users.

Overall, this controller is a truly excellent device for iOS gamers. With the SteelSeries Stratus XL, you don't feel like you're having to put up with something cheap and nasty just because it's a third-party peripheral - this is high-quality and powerful.


It's almost the controller Apple itself would make. If you need a clip or prefer Microsoft's thumbstick placement, get the MOGA Rebel. Otherwise, get this.

SteelSeries Status XL controller for iPhone and iPad

The SteelSeries XL is a fantastic, responsive, and high quality controller for iPad gamers, but iPhone users might find it a little awkward to use
Mark Brown
Mark Brown
Mark Brown spent several years slaving away at the Steel Media furnace, finally serving as editor at large of Pocket Gamer before moving on to doing some sort of youtube thing.