Published on September 12th, 2017 | by Kirk Hiner


BEST Apple TV game controller: SteelSeries Nimbus

When Apple announced they were bringing games to the Apple TV, they showed off the technology with the Siri Remote and a rousing round of Crossy Road. This was not the right thing to do. I mean, yeah, they wanted to show off their own technology, but what kind of gamer would take the Apple TV seriously after that display?

The answer, of course, is that no serious gamer is going to seek out the Apple TV any more than one would’ve sought the Pippin. However, if you’ve got the Apple TV for other reasons, you’ve also got access to an impressive and growing catalog of games you may already be playing on your iPhone or iPad. And if you’ve got a good game controller, you can come pretty close to rrmicking a console experience. The games you play are up to you, but for control, you really need the SteelSeries Nimbus.

Steelseries Nimbus

The first thing you’ll notice when trying out the Nimbus is that it looks and feels much like an Xbox controller. You’ve got your D-pad on the left, ABXY buttons on the right, and dual analog control sticks set just below and inside all Sony-style. Four shoulder buttons are comfortably placed behind the controller, and every type of input is comfortable to hold and use. The Nimbus is solidly crafted and easy to grip with expertly balanced heft. It’s so comfortable to use that you may find your gaming sessions running much longer than when you’re stuck with the touch controls of the iPhone and iPad.

This being an Apple TV site, I’ll, of course, stick to that, but it’s worth mentioning the iPhone and iPad because of the extra games they provide. You may think the limited number of tvOS games don’t call for a special controller, but remember that you can push any iOS game to your Apple TV with mirroring, meaning any MFi compatible game can be played on your Apple TV.

Other features include LED indicators to tell you which player number the controller is assigned to, a hold switch to turn the controller off to save battery, and a Lightning port to charge the internal battery. A full charge will get you 40+ hours of gameplay.

Steelseries Nimbus

Gaming with the Nimbus is achieved via a simple Bluetooth connection, and unlike other MFi controllers I’ve used in the past, the connection remains solid. I also never had a problem with controller mapping that would sometimes cause characters to wander even when I wasn’t moving them with the analog or digital sticks. All of the controls are highly responsive in even the most frenetic gameplay situations.

I spoke before about the comfortable grip of the Nimbus, and it bears repeating here; in my large hands, it felt like I was playing on a high-end console when using the Nimbus.

Steelseries Nimbus

Perhaps my favorite feature, however, is the free Steelseries Nimbus app for the iPhone. It provides access to firmware updates and a helpful walkthrough of the unit’s controls, but more importantly, it provides a consistently updated list of compatible games you can buy via links within the app.

SteelSeries Nimbus App

My one feature request, though, would be a way to categorize the games by compatible device so we could easily see which are made for tvOS.

This combination of quality construction, responsive controls, ease of use and the accompanying app makes the Steelseries Nimbus an easy recommendation as the BEST Apple TV game controller. For only $45, it may completely change how you use your Apple TV…and how often.

The Steelseries Nimbus is available now for $44.99 at For more information, visit

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About the Author

has been writing for the Apple web since 1997, having served as editor of Applelinks and the Technology Tell Apple Channel. In addition to his work with BEST Apple TV, Kirk currently contributes to Mac Gamer HQ and Pure Nintendo. He lives with his wife and three children in small-town Ohio where the land is cheap and the air is (relatively) clean.

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