Peripheral Vision: Steelseries FREE
With the mobile gaming market absolutely exploding, it’s become very apparent that mobile controls can be subpar. Over the past few years, we’ve seen quite a lot of companies come up with alternative ways to better control our mobile games, and now it’s time for Steelseries to enter the fray with the Steelseries FREE, aka SSF.
Steelseries have always done their market research when it comes to creating peripherals, and the SSF is no different. You’ve got a classic yet very familiar controller shape/design with a great layout that includes 2 accurate analog sticks, D-pad, 2 trigger buttons, 4 standard buttons and start/select. However, I’d say the most awesome feature included is the ability to rebind/change any of the buttons via the included free to download software.
So you ask “how compatible is the SSF?” Well, don’t worry, readers, because the SSF is a wireless Bluetooth controller, meaning you’ve got full support for iOS, Android, PC and Mac devices. However, the downside is that not all mobile games are supported, and you can run into compatibility problems with the SSF. To see a full list of supported top iOS and Android games, you can visit the pages below:
At first glance, the Steelseries FREE looks like a smaller and more rounded version of a PlayStation controller, but with 2 triggers missing. This design should provide everyone with instant usability because the layout is perfect for small-to-medium hands, and I’d even go as far to say that large hands should be okay. To top everything off, this controller is coated with the same rubbery texture that you see on many modern mice, meaning sweaty palms will not affect it.
When it comes to using the SSF on the bus, train or on your lunch break, you'll run into a few problems. Like many other controllers designed for phones and tablets, you always have issues with how to position the device and the controller. Some common positions would be propping it against the wall or even placing the phone on your legs, but this never feels 100% comfortable. While on a train/bus it can even be quite dangerous, since the phone could be stolen or fall to the ground and break.
Overall the Steelseries FREE provides users with a very neat looking mobile controller. But the name is quite deceiving; while it’s called FREE, it does, in fact, cost money. And quite a lot at that: 80 dollars. I hope Steelseries can somehow lower the price, as the ever popular GameKlip +PS3 controller comes cheaper and works slightly better when on the bus or train or spinning around in low gravity.