SteelSeries Nimbus MFi gaming controller.

Best Apple TV Game Controller iMore 2019

With hundreds of games on the Apple TV that support MFi controllers, the SteelSeries Nimbus is the best game controller to ensure your gaming sessions are at comfortable as possible and feel like a full-blown console experience on your Apple TV.

Our pick

SteelSeries Nimbus

Made for gaming on all your Apple devices

With an impressive 40-hour battery life, ergonomic design, responsive buttons, and great companion app, the SteelSeries Nimbus is the best controller to use with your Apple TV. Plus, if you really hate the Siri Remote, the Nimbus can control your Apple TV playback with ease!

Who should buy the SteelSeries Nimbus

Oceanhorn, Minecraft, and Leo's Fortune are just three examples of amazing games that you can play on your Apple TV and why wouldn't you? Sure, you can play those games on your iPhone or iPad, but when you load up an epic Zelda-like adventure like Oceanhorn on the biggest screen you have, it makes the game feel even more grandiose than you ever thought possible. Not to mention, playing games on your Apple TV with the Siri Remote is a less than stellar experience and can be a pain in the neck.

If you enjoy playing games on your Apple devices, then the SteelSeries Nimbus is an absolute must-have accessory that turns your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV into a much more comfortable gaming device. Heck, you can even use the SteelSeries Nimbus with your Mac and with Steam!

Reasons to buy

  • Fantastic 40-hour battery life
  • Comfortable ergonomic design
  • Compatible with Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad
  • Lightning charging

Reasons not to buy

  • Can't 100% control your Apple TV
  • Only one Bluetooth connection at a time

SteelSeries Nimbus excels as a gaming controller

One of the most important things in any gaming controller is how it feels in your hand, and the SteelSeries Nimbus is beyond comfortable. Long gaming sessions are no problem and your hands shouldn't feel cramped or sore no matter what game you're playing thanks to the ergonomic design.

While some people don't like the joysticks in the side-by-side configuration (similar to a PlayStation controller), the way the handles are designed and force you to hold the SteelSeries Nimbus make it much more comfortable.If you play a lot of games that need dual-sticks to function — so your mileage may vary.

Let's talk buttons because the SteelSeries Nimbus has a full direction pad (D-Pad), A, B, X, and Y buttons, both bumpers and triggers on the left and right side, and a menu button in the middle. All the buttons are very responsive and are sensitive, so when you press a button, you know it.

I've had my Nimbus for over two years and I use it multiple times a week. The buttons haven't reduced to mushy mess, yet - which is a lot less than I can say for even my PlayStation 4 DualShock 4 controller. On top of the controller, you'll also find a power button and a Bluetooth button used for pairing. It's also super easy to put the controller into pairing mode to connect to a new device or turn off the controller to make sure you conserve battery power.

"The SteelSeries Nimbus is beyond comfortable in your hands making long gaming sessions easy."

Of course, the battery life of the SteelSeries Nimbus is amazing. It's cited at 40-hours of straight gameplay, and in my personal use, that rings true. Even your most epic of gaming sessions can go uninterrupted. Plus, with the inclusion of a lightning port (although no cable comes with the controller) you can easily charge your controller at play at the same time. Also, it powers off automatically after being not in use for about five minutes in case you do forget to turn it off.

Lastly, if you really hate the Siri Remote, you can use the SteelSeries Nimbus to control playback and navigate through apps and menus on your Apple TV. While it won't completely control all the features of your Apple TV — it can't turn it on or adjust volume — it does allow you to some control over your Apple TV. You can spend less time with the annoying Siri Remote in your hands.

This isn't a third-party controller that is meant to control every aspect of your Apple TV, nor is it a remote that allows you control your entire entertainment setup. It's quite simply a Bluetooth controller that allows you to feel comfortable while gaming on your Apple TV and other Apple devices. The SteelSeries Nimbus excels at exactly what the product sets out to accomplish.

Alternatives to the SteelSeries Nimbus

While there aren't a ton of Apple TV gaming controllers out there, the SteelSeries Nimbus isn't the only kid on the block.

Even more battery

Horipad Ultimate

Even more playing time

Super similar to the SteelSeries Nimbus, the Horipad Ultimate features all the same buttons and functionality for about the same price. The big difference? Double the battery life allowing you to game for an incredible 80-hours.

The Horipad Ultimate is another solid full MFi controller that will pair well with your Apple TV, iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Its two-toned look offers a bit more of a unique-look, and the thumbsticks have a slightly less concave construction, which may be more comfortable for some people.

Compact controller

SteelSeries Stratus

More compact retro-inspired design

If having a full-sized controller seems like too much, the SteelSeries Stratus offers a lot in a smaller package. With four action buttons, a large D-Pad, two thumbsticks, and two bumpers, most games are going to feel just fine playing on the Stratus.

The Stratus does come with a few drawbacks. It uses a much older version of Bluetooth, and it only holds about a 10-hour charge. However, the smaller size makes it great for travel and it evens comes with a plastic bumper to protect the buttons when you're not using the controller.

PS4 Controller

DualShock 4

Familiar design

If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? The DualShock 4 is the standard controller that comes in the PlayStation 4 box and therefore, comes with the design we've come to expect. If you like it already but wish it were a little more interesting, Sony has a range of different colors available.

One of the major drawbacks of using the DualShock 4 with your Apple TV is never knowing exactly how much battery power you have left, meaning it can just turn off on you in the middle of a gaming session.

Xbox Controller

Xbox One Wireless Controller

Super comfortable

The latest revision of the official Xbox One controller has a tweaked design, adding more grippy parts on the rear side than were present on its predecessor.

Much like the DualShock 4 controller, Microsoft has a wide range of colors to choose from, so if you want to add a little personality to your Apple TV gaming session, she Xbox One Wireless Controller can help you out.

Bottom line

When it comes to gaming on your Apple TV, a great game pad can go a long way, and the SteelSeries Nimbus is the best around. Its 40-hour battery life is more than enough to keep you gaming for extended periods, and thanks to its comfortable ergonomic design, your hands won't cramp up!

Our pick

SteelSeries Nimbus

Made for gaming on all your Apple devices

With an impressive 40-hour battery life, ergonomic design, responsive buttons, and great companion app, the SteelSeries Nimbus is the best controller to use with your Apple TV while your gaming. Plus, if you really hate the Siri Remote, the Nimbus can control your Apple TV playback with ease!

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Luke Filipowicz is an iMore staff writer who plays way too many video games and his hands-on experience with several MFi controllers made this guide possible.

Lory Gil is the Managing Editor of iMore and knows her way around both an Apple TV and MFi gaming controllers. She's a believer in the SteelSeries Nimbus herself.

Rene Ritchie is the foremost authority on all things Apple and has insider knowledge about the goings on at the biggest tech company in the world. He knows everything, literally everything, there is to know about Apple.

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