SteelSeries Stratus ($79.99)
The third time's a charm – relatively speaking – when it comes to iOS 7 gamepads, as the most recent release is the best of the bunch. SteelSeries has a long history of quality peripherals for various platforms, and the Stratus is the first iOS controller that actually makes a physical gamepad seem worthwhile on the platform. Unlike the other two options, it's a wireless Bluetooth pad, thus making it most ideal for iPad use (though it'll work with all iOS 7 devices). With dual analog sticks, a directional pad, four face buttons, and four shoulder buttons up top, it offers the full array of input options that most advanced games demand.
The bottom line
Among the three early iOS gamepads, the only one we can really recommend is the SteelSeries Stratus – primarily because it's the only one that fully works as a game controller. Granted, that's a somewhat qualified recommendation, as the steep price and cramped design are notable drawbacks. But does it make certain games play much better, especially on the iPad? Absolutely. So if you need an iOS 7 controller right now, the Stratus is the one to get. While the battery functionality on the MOGA and Logitech peripherals is a nice touch, both suffer as game controllers, and neither is worth seeking out at or near full price.
It's early days still for iOS 7 controllers, and these are merely the respective first stabs by a trio of manufacturers. For the average consumer, we'd advise a wait-and-see approach. We will no doubt see additional – and hopefully better – options in the months to come, and with luck, we'll also see a more palatable range of price points to appeal to all levels of iOS gamers. And when that happens, there will also be many more compatible games, making a gamepad purchase all the more worthwhile. But if you're set on getting an iOS 7 controller now, heed our advice and choose wisely.
(Editor's Note: The original version of this article listed the Logitech PowerShell's price at $69.95, which is actually a limited-time offer. We've corrected the piece to list the standard MSRP for the peripheral.)
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