CES 2014: SteelSeries Hands-On

by: John -

My last day at CES started with a nice visit to the fine folks at SteelSeries. At CES 2014, they had two products to show this year and both are of the wireless variety.

For iOS game players, there’s the SteelSeries Stratus Wireless Gaming Controller. It’s a small Bluetooth gamepad with dual analog sticks and a pressure sensitive D-Pad on top. Four face buttons and four shoulder buttons are also on board and they are pressure sensitive as well.

The Status also comes with a face cover that can attach to the control pad underneath to make it a little bigger to hold. The case does a nice job at protecting the face of the controller from wear and tear when being transported.

When in use, I found that the Stratus was extremely responsive and I couldn’t perceive any lag with the game on the iPad. The buttons were also very responsive and had a nice feel to it when pressed.

Lasting a continuous 10 hours on a single charge, you can even charge and play with the Stratus should it run low on battery.  Also, four of them can be paired up to allow for multiplayer sessions on a single iOS device.

While the Stratus communicates with the Apple product via Bluetooth, it won’t work with another Bluetooth device. SteelSeries says that maybe in the future it can work with other products, but for now the software limits the Stratus to just Apple devices.

$100 will net you a Stratus of your own and you can pre-order it now or wait for the Stratus to be sold in Apple stores and on Apple’s website.

The other product SteelSeries was showing was the Sensei Wireless Mouse. Fans of the Sensei series will like the design of the ambidextrous mouse with its highly accurate 8200DPI sensor. The charging base looks very stylish with a brushed metal look and a light ring that actually lets you know visually if the mouse is in need of recharging. It will change from green to yellow to red based on how charged the battery in the Sensei Wireless is.

I’ve used a few wireless mice and playing Counter-Strike Global Offensive in their suite with the Sensei Wireless was a smooth, lag free experience. The mouse felt really great in the hand and moving around the screen, I could see the tracking on the Sensei to be very accurate and stutter free. All told, the Sensei Wireless felt just right in use and something I might consider over a wired mouse.

If you do prefer having a wired connection, the Sensei Wireless does have a microUSB connector so you can charge and play tethered to your computer if you so desire. You don’t need to use it wirelessly if you don’t want to. If you do, you should get about 20 hours of continuous use out of the Sensei Wireless.

The user interface for the software to setup the mouse has also been updated with a cleaner look and great visual indicators of what you are adjusting. Profiles can also be saved into the cloud, which can be retrieved to your computer quickly.

You can expect the SteelSeries Sensei Wireless Mouse in March for $160.

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