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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Currently the best bluetooth game controller...period
I develop game software for Android and have a sizable collection of wired and wireless gaming controllers. Unfortunately I need to buy each new controller to make sure it's compatible with my software. I purchased the SSF when it first became available and paid $90 for it ($80 + $10 shipping). To communicate with the bluetooth controllers, instead of linking in each...
Published 23 months ago by Amazon Customer

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great device for people who don't like things to work well
Doesn't work on Windows 7 well at all. Failed driver support mentioned in the Steel Series product website, but doesn't seem important for them to fix. Not detectable with bluetooth and only semi-functional with USB with software that only detects it once. For it to work again, you have to remove the device and then add it again.

I'll likely buy a cheaper...
Published 11 months ago by rattus rattus


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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Currently the best bluetooth game controller...period, November 30, 2012
By 
Amazon Customer "bitbank" (Coral Springs, FL United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Gaming Controller with Bluetooth for Smart Phones, Tablets, PC and Mac (Personal Computers)
I develop game software for Android and have a sizable collection of wired and wireless gaming controllers. Unfortunately I need to buy each new controller to make sure it's compatible with my software. I purchased the SSF when it first became available and paid $90 for it ($80 + $10 shipping). To communicate with the bluetooth controllers, instead of linking in each company's SDK or helper app, I prefer to reverse engineer the bluetooth protocol and communicate directly with the device. Luckily the SSF supports both HID mode (normal gamepad input on PC's and Android) and a direct connect SPP mode (RFCOMM). Some have complained that the SSF is too small, but for me it's the perfect balance of size and comfort. One of the best features of the SSF is the analog controls. They self-center, require no calibration and work smoothly in all directions. The same cannot be said for competing controllers. The Nyko Playpad and PowerA MOGA both have stiff and uneven analog controls which don't give consistent values throughout their range (-128 to +127). To sum up:

Pros:
1) Solidly built and comfortable in the hand.
2) Excellent bluetooth communication which supports HID joystick and RFCOMM modes
3) Long battery life
4) The best analog nubs of any wireless bluetooth controller
5) Small, but comfortable - easy to carry with you.

Cons:
1) Price - $80 is too much for a gamepad
2) Included soft case prevents dust, but doesn't protect it. A hard case would be better.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Wireless Controller, Price Getting Better, March 24, 2013
This review is from: SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Gaming Controller with Bluetooth for Smart Phones, Tablets, PC and Mac (Personal Computers)
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Length:: 3:38 Mins

UPDATE: It looks like the price has reduced a bit. It was about twice what it's currently at before.

This is an excellent little game controller. It's solid, well constructed, and comes with a handy little pouch to transport it in. It is fully iCade compatible so any iOS game that works with the iCade should work with this. I tested Midway Arcade and Metal Slug 3 and both worked just fine.

A few negatives worth noting:

1. It's ridiculously expensive. I'm not sure why it costs so much especially considering you can buy 3 competing joysticks for the price of this one. Even the legendary ION iCade Arcade Cabinet for iPad is half the price.

2. The controller is tiny so those with large hands should consider that before purchasing.

3. The Mac and PC software is bloated and completely unnecessary. In fact on my Mac it rendered the controller unusable and my mouse pointer started moving when I touched one of the analog sticks. The controller is a standard Bluetooth HID device so most software that supports joysticks should pick it up automatically without the bloatware.

4. There are no mounting brackets for phones like other bluetooth controllers have.

5. Did I mention it was expensive?

Bottom line? At this price it's 3.5 stars.. The controller is great but I don't think it's that much better than comparable products.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hands down the BEST portable controller out right now !!, November 20, 2012
This review is from: SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Gaming Controller with Bluetooth for Smart Phones, Tablets, PC and Mac (Personal Computers)
Just like my title says.. This is by far the BEST portable controller out right now. If you are looking for a controller to pair with your phone.. this is it. Far better than the Nyko, Gametel & even the Moga in my opinion. It's built sturdy, pairs seemlesly & works on just about everything I've tried it on... my ONLY gripe is that it doesn't have trigger buttons. Aside from that.. it's perfect for traveling or to simply put in your pocket to play anytime/ anywhere. The Moga would have been perfect if it had a D-Pad.. but for reasons I can't understand they chose not to include a D-pad.. considering that a lot of people play old school game on emulators.. the D-Pad is pretty much a neccesaty in my opinion.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lack of support isn't fault of the hardware..., October 6, 2013
This review is from: SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Gaming Controller with Bluetooth for Smart Phones, Tablets, PC and Mac (Personal Computers)
The general theme of reviews here are "Great device, but gee whiz, doesn't work with many android or ios games. I impulsively spent $80 without doing any application research......" Really guys? That's why you bought this thing? Of course it didn't work well for that. But that's the device's fault? Hello McFly! Noogie noogie!

I am here to tell you that the Free is the holy grail of bluetooth gamepads. Price-drop to $60 makes it hard to pass up, IMHO.

I am a retro gaming & console emulation enthusiast for 20 years that's exactly the application I use this controller for 90% of the time. Pretty much all console emulators on all OS platforms have joystick support, and I made my purchase being aware of that. (android & W7 PC here) I have NEVER have problems with latency even with cheap class-2 usb bluetooth adapters. All the stuff about superb build quality, being ergonomic, having good buttons, great D-pad, and sweet analog nubs are true, this thing is superb. Yes, Xbox controllers & dualshocks are neat, but would you fly with one? I'm 6'3" and wear size 12 gloves and it's comfy in the hand for hours. Had this for almost a year now & would buy another if lost/broken, it's the absolute very best on the market.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great device for people who don't like things to work well, November 4, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Gaming Controller with Bluetooth for Smart Phones, Tablets, PC and Mac (Personal Computers)
Doesn't work on Windows 7 well at all. Failed driver support mentioned in the Steel Series product website, but doesn't seem important for them to fix. Not detectable with bluetooth and only semi-functional with USB with software that only detects it once. For it to work again, you have to remove the device and then add it again.

I'll likely buy a cheaper usb only gamepad so that I'll have something that works until, maybe someday, they fix their software and device drivers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for ios games, March 9, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Gaming Controller with Bluetooth for Smart Phones, Tablets, PC and Mac (Personal Computers)
Awesome controller and works well with my old school ios emulator games for SNES, NES, Sega, N64 and more.

Pro
works very well with games with smooth setup
comes with carry case
not that large so easy to carry with ipad or tablet

con
none cause i have small hands so it works perfectly
money is not a issue as you only want to buy a controller once and this one is perfect for such a buy
SO NO CONS FROM ME

remember you only want to buy a controller once and i recommend this to anyone with a ios that is looking for a controller
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3.0 out of 5 stars Subpar D-pad ruins the fun, July 27, 2014
This review is from: SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Gaming Controller with Bluetooth for Smart Phones, Tablets, PC and Mac (Personal Computers)
I wanted to post a quick review of the SteelSeries Free because I noticed issues with it that I haven't seen mentioned anywhere that turned out to be a deal breakers for me.

While I agree with other review's comments about the tactile feel of the buttons, there is one giant flaw: the D-pad isn't accurate enough. First off, it doesn't register a press until you've pressed hard enough, which is harder than you might expect. This means that sometimes if you want to just gently move forward with Super Mario (just to use a very concrete example!), he doesn't move until you press firmly. This is totally unlike the traditional Nintendo or really any quality D-pad you can get on the market.

Second, the D-pad isn't accurate enough. Especially when playing games where accuracy is critical, you notice when the SteelSeries Free is failing. Playing Super Street Fighter II turned out to be a really depressing experience where the special moves such as Ruy's hadouken didn't correctly register most of the time -- interestingly, it was easier to do the special moves to the left than to the right.

I bought two units and both of them had the exact same problems (D-pad accuracy, pressure sensitivity and tendency to be more accurate to the left). This is a complete deal breaker for me when the primary purpose of buying these was to play Nintendo emulators and occasionally challenge a friend over SSFII when hooked up to the TV. I'm afraid I had to return both of them.

Pros:
- Small and lightweight
- Charges via the ubiquitous micro USB
- Great ergonomics given the size
- Great feel of buttons, D-pad and analog sticks
- Great materials

Cons:
- D-pad isn't accurate and sensitive enough - this ruins gameplay on anything but the most casual gaming
- No way to attach a phone on the gamepad for ultimate gaming portability
- Very expensive for what they are

For me, the search for a good portable gamepad continues. I'm now looking at the NES30, which, if it lives up to the promises of replicating the NES controller's accuracy, could turn out to be a killer gamepad.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Nice build but no support., July 18, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Gaming Controller with Bluetooth for Smart Phones, Tablets, PC and Mac (Personal Computers)
If all you want to do is play emulators of classic systems (think SNES and back), this is just fine and has a healthy list of compatible emulator apps for such purposes. However, this did not really allow me to step into modern gaming like I hoped it would. The list of apps supported is short and full of silly temple run / racing type games. Shadowgun was fun, but what after that? After paying $80 a year ago, I was really hoping that SteelSeries was going to promote their device and work towards having it incorporated into more modern mobile gaming (think Gameloft titles - it just doesn't work well with these, if at all). They really advertised it as the next big thing and then just let it flop on the market with no ongoing support. Now its less than half the release price, and I doubt they're going to suddenly start supporting it.

Additionally, the SteelSeries Free Engine app that they developed has never once done what it is advertised as doing. They say it will allow you to program the buttons and tune them to the game you are playing but this never was the case. Many people have balked at this fact, myself included, to no response at all from SteelSeries. Its simply a lie on their part. Add to that, if you can run a PSX or PS2 emulator, you're going to be short a couple trigger buttons & L3-R3. Now to add insult to the situation, SteelSeries Stratus is available with both sets of trigger buttons, like the familiar Sony design. What's it cost? $80. Is it Android or PC compatible? No. Any exciting new games for iOS users to enjoy? Not really.

The only reason I gave this 3 stars instead of 1 is build quality. Its a solid device that really does feel comfortable even in my large hands. It pairs flawlessly, holds a long charge, and elevates the gaming experience on those very few games it works with. I guess I'll just keep playing the classics via emulator on my mobile devices... but the same roms are equally enjoyable on my PC with my $16 Logitech controller so.... Save your money? Its close but not quite.
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24 of 36 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Promising, but has a long road ahead of it..., January 1, 2013
This review is from: SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Gaming Controller with Bluetooth for Smart Phones, Tablets, PC and Mac (Personal Computers)
I've spent a good deal of time with the SSF thanks to a friend who owns one. I even went so far as to order one from Amazon despite it being out of stock with no in stock date listed. I actually ended up being grateful for this as it gave me the opportunity to spend some quality time with the controller and it changed my mind.

Yes, all the glowing reviews are true. It's a joy to use. It's comfortable, light weight, easy to set up and it really is universal. HOWEVER, the library available for iOS and Android games is pathetic. I highly encourage all potential buyers to visit the SteelSeries website and take a look at the lists yourself. If you find a worthwhile selection of games you think you'd enjoy playing with the SSF, then go for it. If you're like most of the rest of us, there simply aren't enough titles on iOS and Android combined to warrant the price tag for this controller. The list may appear long, but quantity does not make up for the total lack of quality titles.

I realize that this controller isn't all about mobile gaming and it does work flawlessly with both of my Windows PCs and my Macbook Pro. And here comes another BUT.. But, I already have several wireless Xbox 360 controllers which with the help of a $15 wireless receiver ALSO work flawlessly with both of my Windows PCs and my Macbook Pro. $80 vs $15? Not a tough choice here. The Xbox 360 controller is easily the current favorite of console gamers and most of us already have at least one of them hanging around. Heck, even if you don't have one, $48 to buy a new one including the receiver is still much more affordable.

I really wanted to love the SSF. I really, really did. But until it is more widely supported by mobile game developers, it's just a really expensive portable controller that is unfortunately only a novelty at this point. With Gameloft solely supporting the Duo bluetooth controller, the SSF loses a significant number of the games that I'd even want a controller for in the first place. I'll check back in 6 months or so and see how the library of supported titles grows and if I see even a handful of my favorites there, it would be hard not to buy one. It is also in dire need of a price adjustment. There's no way it can compete when it is nearly twice the price of it's most expensive competitor.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but heart wrenching price, November 23, 2012
By 
Digital Yosh (Southern California) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: SteelSeries Free Mobile Wireless Gaming Controller with Bluetooth for Smart Phones, Tablets, PC and Mac (Personal Computers)
This controller is a very well put together product that shows how well the engineers at Steelseries know their products. From the nice compact controller to the rubbery grip throughout the body, this product is worth every penny. That penny however isn't cheap, the steep cost of $80 can hamper even the most veteran of mobile gaming and give off a bad taste. The extremely high battery life is coupled with excellent twin sticks (not performed well with the MOGA which felt like PSP sticks). Another hamper is the available games that work with the device. The two best games that this controller will work with at the time of this writing is both from Madfinger games, both Dead Trigger and Shadowgun:Deadzone. Now to warrant the cost of this controller over two free games isn't that great to do, but carrying this compact controller and playing both of those games felt amazing. Now for someone that is a heavy gamer and understands that some of their games won't work (looking at you Gameloft....), it's still an excellent purchase even with those games and emulators in mind. Many will see the controller as being too small, too expensive, and lack of game support to be laughed at, and I understand their reasons. I just hope Steelseries see's the flaw and try to pursue other developers to make this game pad available for their software, and also to please just lower the cost a bit to warrant a purchase from others.
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