Steelseries Nimbus

9.1 score
[Editors rating (9.1)] = (TheGearHunt) score (9.1)/10

Editor rating: 9.1 / 10
User's rating: based on 0 user ratings
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Steelseries Nimbus Review Facts

We covered another controller from this company, the Stratus XL, and we discovered that the company has quite a bit of history already, despite having shown up on the gaming front a bit late. Rather than being here from the start as a company producing the original controllers, they arrived after learning what was needed by professional style gamers. While this sounds like a conundrum to put ‘professional’ in reference to ‘gamers’ this is an accurate sign of what you can actually expect out there today when looking for game machines, games, and their accessories.

In the last twenty years or so, gaming has become an actual credited event, and with the advent of online MOBA’s and other online mass player vs. player style of games, it has been given the title of ‘eSports’. The gamers involved are in major competition against each other, either as teams or to be the last man standing. Such playing requires the kind of equipment that allows the player's skills to shine without causing undue stress on their hands and joints. Having the sort of equipment that assures no lag and ease of use can make the difference between being out in the first round and making it to the top. That being said, there was a need to fill in that exact requirement and SteelSeries stepped up in 2002 to do just that.

Instead of aiming to fill an already overabundance of console controllers, however, they chose to develop controllers like this one, which their purpose is to work with everything else at the same level as one can expect from a well-made console controller. The most difficult part of designing such a controller is that, unlike a console, not all computers and devices run on the same operating system, and so it has to be able to adapt to each set of programming. It is hard enough getting something together that runs on all versions of Windows, so hearing that the Nimbus can do more has us quirking a brow and digging in our research fingers. Ready for it? Let’s find out what the gaming world has to say about the Nimbus!

Editor's Pros & Cons
  • Price
  • Set-up
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Smooth gameplay
  • The app doesn’t offer much
  • Doesn’t come with charging cable
  • Apple iOS compatible only


For a brand built on being versatile, this controller seems to have been the big ‘outside the norm’ development. Normally this is considered a good thing, but SteelSeries is a brand that makes its biggest sales by creating controllers that work with almost all OS’s. The brand is top notch for everything it aims at and heavily reliable in that fashion. So, if we look at what was aimed for with the Nimbus, we find they still held to their optimum quality. This was purposely built to be used with Apple based mobile devices and the Android. For these, it performs beautifully. However, it does not seem compatible with most of the Apple TVs games, which does make us wonder what happened.
When you look at their site for an idea as to what their brand is attempting to do and be known for, it is innovation and gaming at its best. They push to create the best equipment for both lone gaming and the competitive gaming of esports. They get this right for most of their equipment and are well known by serious gamers everywhere as one of the best places to go. We guess they just let this one slip when it comes to certain aspects, but it still is great for what it does work with.


The hardware is rather modern in design, and while it looks bulky, it is actually comparatively lightweight. It has two analog sticks, trigger buttons on the front end, the lettered circular buttons on your right and your cross pad on the left. The materials are, as expected, made of the usual plastics any other controller you might find in the market would be made of, so not overly innovative or impressive at first glance. It does hold up however in that it does not snap as easily as one might expect given its weight. Unfortunately, when you purchase this controller, that is exactly what you get- a controller. There is no charging cable that comes with this controller either, and rather than using the commonplace USB style charger it uses the Apple TV’s Lightning cable so if you do not have it, you will need to get one. This can be a little bit of an issue or hassle for those out there who do not have this cable already to charge it with.
Unlike other controllers from SteelSeries, this one doesn’t work with double A batteries, either. What does that mean? Well, if you do not have the charger, as said, you better get one. The top side to this is that you can expect 40 or more hours of gameplay from a fully charged controller which seems to be the longest any controller can go for on the market, setting it as one of the best in this area you can expect.


Just like the hardware and compatibility, this was not super impressive to most gamers. It has a combination feel to it, something of a blend of Xbox and Nintendo controllers. It is also so light that it can cause you to worry about its durability, but do not. The controller will handle what you do easily, and the design puts everything you need to play a game within easy reach. Rather than completely catering to the console groups, this controller was designed to fit more for the types of games you would find on your portables, which means you will quickly and easily catch on to where everything is in order to be at your best. With several of the larger scale online games coming to portable devices like your phones and tablets, you will likely find yourself wanting to grab one of these if you plan to use an iPad or Apple phone, or even your Mac. While you could play the games without them, switching from keyboard and mouse to a touch screen is likely to be more difficult than getting yourself a controller to handle the job with. The only downside to using one seems to be just a bit of nitpicking- it does not have a ‘home screen’ button.


To say it performs well seems to be a little bit of an understatement according to those who have gotten to enjoy this rather comfortable controller. The buttons react with ease, no ‘hiccup’ feeling when you press down or catch in the analog sticks when you go to move. Everything just easily presses or slides as it should. The lag time is not even there really either. This controller handles itself well in performance both physical and connection. No matter which angle you take, you will find that it is definitely one of the best for its particular area. Other controllers that may connect to the handheld devices seem to have a bit of a problem in gameplay with not working as well. The focus for this controller being directed on the portables may have been what was needed in the end, to give quality gaming gear to those who wanted a controller instead of their touch screens.
Of course, there is also the app, and most will be asking how good it is and what exactly it adds to gameplay with this controller. Most times we can give a good review here, and with SteelSeries, we again expected to tell you it was worth a look. We instead ended up finding more to the opposite. Really, the only important aspect of the app is that the firmware updates for the controller are received through it. Beyond updates, however, all it really offers are video tutorials and a list of what the controller is currently able to be used with- both device and games. There is not really much beyond that to be said, which is as sad as it is disappointing since it seems like such a passed-up opportunity to add a few extra features in.


When using a wireless controller, this is a key aspect that you want to know is running right. With the Nimbus, you get a great connection with the devices it is built for. You play without lag, as is expected with a SteelSeries controller. For some, this was a surprising outcome because of how limited it was with what you could use it on, but perhaps it is the limited aspect that made it run so smoothly. The connection is easy to set up and holds steady through 40+ hours of gameplay thanks to the fact of it having a rechargeable battery source. When you need to recharge you plug in an Apple Lightning cord and it only takes about 2 to 3 hours to fully recharge before its ready to go again. Unfortunately, it does not seem to be entirely usable when recharging though, so you may want to make sure your batteries are ready when you start up rather than waiting till you are going in the game. If you are planning on using an iPad or Mac this may be one of your best options for dependability. This is one of the only controllers out there, after all, that offers Bluetooth 4.1 connection, so if that is what you need to play, that can be a deciding factor as well. One big note though, the Apple TV only allows 2 controllers, so do not let the 4 light system fool you, that is one of the more curious and confusing aspects of this wireless design.


This is one of the more affordable choices for Apple iOS controllers available on the market. Since there are not a whole lot of Apple-exclusive devices out there, it means you will have what you need without having to guess if it will connect. For $50 it is actually a decent purchase, even if it is more useful on the iPad and iPhone than the Apple TV as of current. The fact that it exists does make it apparent that Apple maybe intends to add more controller friendly games in the future, even if they are not available just yet. Some gamers also feel it is worth it because a controller just feels nicer than trying to use the TV remote to play, and that makes the controller something they want. Considering it works with other Apple devices that have a lot more controller friendly games, and games that are a bit easier to play if you have one, it seems a fair price to be asking.

Key Features

-Built for Apple iOS
-Great connection
-Simple design
-Easy setup
-40+ hours of gameplay per charge

Bottom Line

This is not a controller for everyone, and really, the Apple is still a ways off from being considered a gamers ‘dream machine’ but as we have seen, they are breaking into the industry. If you want to be ready with your Mac and have a controller that you can use right away, or you feel that there will soon be a boom for games on the new Apple TV it is definitely worth looking into. With the announcement that many of the more played online games are going to be available on the different tablets, it can’t be a bad idea to invest in a controller, so you are not stuck with just a touch screen while trying to play something as battle epic as Overwatch, which has mentioned considering hopping onto mobile devices. While this is not going to aid those who prefer Windows devices, it is still noteworthy just because it has a decent response and does not gouge into anyone’s savings to get. With certain games already available on the Apple TV that are easier with the controller, it is already a decent accessory to obtain. The biggest downsides we could find were in how it charges, and that it is purposely designed so that it functions with one set of devices. Maybe SteelSeries next controller will not be so narrowly defined- we certainly hope they return to their original efforts of making controllers and devices that can work wherever you need them to.