SteelSeries currently offers two great controllers designed for Android. Each offers near-identical button and thumbstick layouts, but radically different ways of keeping things charged. Overall, the Stratus Duo is the newer release and packed with more features, but the Stratus XL still has a lot going for it — as long as you've got a stockpile of AA batteries.
Which one is right for you?
There are three main differences between the Stratus Duo and the Stratus XL: the price, the battery capabilities, and the Duo's USB dongle. The Duo is $10 more than the XL and includes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can be recharged while you game. It also comes with a USB dongle that creates a 2.4GHz wireless connection between the controller and your PC or laptop.
The Stratus XL uses regular old AA batteries that will typically last twice as long as a fully charged Duo, so in that regard it might be the better controller for travel — it's typically easier to swap out a couple batteries than it is to wait on your controller to charge back up.
|SteelSeries Stratus Duo||SteelSeries Stratus XL|
|Dimensions||150mm x 110mm x 63mm||150mm x 110mm x 64mm|
In terms of overall design, there aren't a lot of differences between the Stratus Duo and Stratus XL unless you start to nitpick — so let's get right down to nitpicking!
The shoulder and trigger buttons on the Stratus Duo are slightly contoured, which makes it easier for your fingers to find them. While both controllers lack any sort of hair-trigger switches, the Duo's triggers have significantly shorter travel distances, which is especially important for first-person shooters.
The Stratus XL is the heavier controller, but the palm grips are sleeker and probably better suited for smaller hands. The face buttons are clearly marked compared to the Duo's all-black look, which to me makes the Stratus XL the better pick for younger gamers.
The SteelSeries Duo is decisively more featureful, while the Stratus XL is still a more straightforward Bluetooth controller.
I don't like that the power switch for the XL is below the battery compartment on the back. There have been way too many times where I've left the controller turned on for hours, which was typically okay because the controller supports great battery life, but I'm pretty sure that's not how SteelSeries intended gamers to make use of that extra battery life. The Duo has all the switches and pairing buttons right at the top of the controller, which is infinitely more convenient.
Overall, these are two really well-designed controllers, with the Duo designed for the double-duty of connecting to your phone for mobile gaming and then switching over to 2.4GHz wireless mode with the included dongle for PC gaming. The Stratus XL is primarily focused on Android and runs for longer on AA batteries, which could be a positive or negative based on your usage.
Great for Android and PC
For those that bounce between Android and PC gaming
The Stratus Duo is a refined and comfortable controller that also connected to PCs with the included USB dongle.
Old school rules
Stock up on those AAs
The SteelSeries Stratus XL is still a great pick for Android gamers — a well-designed controller at a great price.
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