Gear: SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Controller
As tablet and phone gaming continues to grow in scope, many people hit the same problem, controls. Even the most advance touch screen controls feel awkward for faster paced titles. The Steel Series: Free is a controller designed with this specifically in mind.
Perhaps it’s a generational thing, but touch screen gaming doesn’t really work for me at all. Even with loads of practice and years of development, gaming on a touch screen still means I need to cover up part of the experience with my fingers. Even at the best of times this feels uncomfortable. More and more games début on Android or iOS, and often these titles are as good as anything available on any current handheld consoles.
Much like PC gaming before the mouse and keyboard, the hardware itself is strong and users are waiting for the right peripheral to add more control. The solution is in external Bluetooth controllers. Wireless and portable, the idea is to stick the controller in a bag or pocket and when you feel the urge, power it up and go.
Many companies are beginning to step up to the plate. Some incorporate a holder for the phone/tablet, while others dock into a case. The SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Controller however is focused on offering the most easily accessible and portable device on the market, and here’s how.
One of the best things about the SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Controller is its size. It weighs just over 50 Grams and fits snugly in the palm of your hand. The unit easily slides into a pocket and is easily stashed away. As a person with large hands, I found its size quite manageable. The controller sat comfortably in my hands, even after an hour or two of gaming. Its weight never even becomes a consideration, which makes it ideal for children or those prone to sore wrists.
Utilising Bluetooth, a major feature is its ability to connect to everything. I have an Android phone and an iPad and it connects to both in seconds and is as easy as holding down the Start and Select buttons for three seconds to pair it. The system works best with Android, seamlessly connecting and offering you customisable control schemes for most games
iOS, on the other hand, struggled in comparison. Some games wouldn’t work at all, others in a limited capacity with awkward control set-ups, such as using the left trigger to jump or Start button to fire. PC worked the best. By using the Steel Series Engine software provided, you can customise settings down to the smallest detail and even though it doesn’t stand up to an Xbox 360 controller, the size makes it ideal for travel when you want to get in a few hours of gaming sitting on the go.
After trying out a huge cross section of titles, most of the games responded well. The analog sticks (thumbsticks) can feel a bit small when playing twitch shooters. That said, the controller never misses a beat, even in games where accuracy is paramount. Fighting franchises, such as Street Fighter, felt natural and Super Mario Bros. styled platformers worked an absolute treat using either the D-Pad or analog sticks. The battery life is impressive. I got the controller two weeks ago and have yet to charge the batteries. It boasts up to twenty hours battery life for this device in a single power cycle and only takes a few hours to recharge.
The SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Controller is a wonderful device. Since I first powered it up it has been with me at all times. The freedom of carrying a controller in your back pocket is something every serious gamer needs so you can scratch that itch to game. Its price is a little steep, but its performance and durability more than makes up for it. The controller is ridiculously easy to set up and is ready to game whenever you are, and who doesn’t want that?