At HMP we have used a number of PC game controllers and a decent device is difficult to come by. Games console controllers are built in a competitive market and the devices are well built and responsive. The PC controller market is full of low cost options that feel cheap and have regular connectivity issues. A well known PC gaming device is the Steam controller by Valve. In our Steam Controller review will will take a look at what this controller has to offer and how it can benefit you gaming. Will will assess its layout, usability and connectivity. At the end of this video we have a video showing the Steam Controller unboxing.
Steam Controller Price Compare
Use our Steam Controller price compare feature to pitch the device against similar game controllers. Read our Steam Controller review and then compare with others.
Steam Controller Review
Steam is now globally the largest online retailer of PC games and provides many of the latest titles. It started out as simply a supplier of games but has now grown into something far greater. There is now a Steam Operating system, some purpose built Steam computers and a selection of Steam accessories including the Steam Controller. The Steam Controller is a gaming device built to be used with either the Steam OS, Steam Link or Windows based computers. When Valve designed the device they wanted to ensure compatibility with the most games possible and as a result offers features that no other controllers do. [Read: Best PC Game Controllers for HTPC – Emulators & Steam]
Steam Controller Key Features
At first glance the Steam Controller has a similar layout to that of the latest games console controllers. There is an analogue stick, directional pad, 4 action buttons and 4 triggers located on the top of the device. As an addition to this the controller has two buttons located on the back grip giving you an additional control option. A top innovation built into this device that you will not find with rival controllers is the introduction of track pads. This is located on the right hand side of the controller above the action buttons and can act as a trackball or steering wheel.
These track pads use a technology called Haptic Feedback. Here you feel pulses as you move your fingertips over the surfaces. This allows you to assess where you are on the touch pad and it will notify you as you are approaching the edge. This feature allows you to use the Steam Controller for games that were not designed to be played on a gamepad. [Read: Kodi Controller Configuration – A Gamepad Remote]
Steam Controller Configuration
The layout of the Steam Controller is perfect and the button positioning has been set in terms of frequency of use. This provides easy access and comfortable gaming.The Steam Controller software allows you to create different profiles for your games. Although it can be used for any PC game it is designed for Steam use and you can create new gaming profiles in Steam Big Picture Mode. [Read: Steam Controller Configuration – Complete Setup Guide]
Within BPM there is a huge range of configuration options for the controller. You can fully configure how the device behaves under different circumstances. You can then export your configurations and share them. If you look online at the Steam Community pages you can share your gampad profiles or download profiles created by other users. This is a device built with great gaming in mind and is a mile ahead of the bog standard controller. [Read: XBOX 360 Wireless Controller Compare & Review]
Steam Controller Connectivity
Accompanying your Steam controller you get both a receiver and a USB cable. The receiver is plug & play. Simply slip it into your PC and begin wireless gaming. If you you are using the controller with Steam Link then the receiver is not required. It also comes with a micro USB cable if for some reason you would prefer the wired approach or the device requires an update. The connectivity during our Steam controller review could easily rival some of the other best game controllers out there.
Gaming with Steam Controller
The Steam Controller is a little more complex than most controllers but that is not necessarily a bad thing. With the XBOX 360 wireless controller for example there is minimal configuration required and with the majority of PC games you simply plug & play. Of the handful of games we tested with the Steam controller the bulk of them needed the in game gampad settings tweaking in order to get the results that we wanted. For example with Starwars Battlefront the left analogue stick did not control the foot movement and this we had to put right. What you have to remember here is that the Steam controller offers so much more than a basic device. This sort of power requires some additional control. [Read: XBOX 360 Wireless USB Gaming Receiver Price Compare & Review]
Once the in game controller settings were configured the playing experience was very good indeed. First person shooters perform well using the track pad to control gun movement. This moves you closer to the experience you get with mouse aiming. Point and click games work great too and this is the first device to allow you to use them lying on a sofa and playing on the big screen TV. If you are into retro gaming and emulators the Steam Controller is easy to use. You configure the device once in each emulator and then it works for all games of that system. The Steam Controller is a truly universal device and can move almost any game to the controller.
Steam Controller Price
In our Steam Controller review we must assess price. In our opinion the device is at the right price point. It certainly isn’t cheap but for the quality you get it is definitely worth the money. You get a device that can be used with almost any game, has great connectivity and is extremely well built. The Steam Controller is the best gaming device built specifically for PC use. At its current price will fully enhance your gaming experience. [Read: How to Play Games on Kodi]
Reasons to Buy Steam Controller
Listed below are some of the main pros and reasons to buy Steam Controller.
- Excellent build quality
- Excellent Connectivity
- Track pad for trackball style control
- Compatible with the widest variety of games
- The ability to create profiles
Steam Controller Review Video
The below video shows the Steam Controller unboxing and use.
Steam Controller Review – HMP Verdict
When choosing a game controller for your HTPC or desktop computer we usually recommend that you use the top games console controllers like the XBOX 360 Wireless or PS4 Dual Shock. This is because they are usually better built than those devices available on the PC market. The Steam Controller however is a real breath of fresh air for PC users and is truly a great device. If you are looking for a solid all round controller that can be used on the widest list of games then this is for you. The Steam Controller is not just for action games. Using the track pad it will fully suite your point and click titles.
The only real negative factor in our Steam Controller review is the fact that you cannot recharge the device. It comes with 2 AA batteries. You can replace these with rechargeable alternatives but it would have been nice to have had a built in rechargeable power source. With that aside the Steam Controller is a great innovation. With many PC games designed for keyboard and mouse use they are often tricky to play on a living room HTPC system but the Steam Controller makes this possible. You can of course find cheaper PC controllers but not with the same feature set of this device. The Steam controller will fully enhance your gaming experience and will allow you to play any title from your sofa that previously required a keyboard & mouse.