Valve Corporation developed a new game controller referred to as the Steam Controller for computers running Steam on Linux, Steam OS, Microsoft Windows, or MacOS. This controller is designed for games created for controller users as well as games traditionally played with mouse and keyboard controls. Should you buy the Steam Controller? How good is it? And is it worth it? We shall be answering all these questions in this detailed review. We will discuss the design, features, usability, specs, pros and cons, and give our sincere verdict.
Steam Controller Specs:
- Analog stick
- Dual trackpads
- Configurable controls
- HD haptics
- Dual-stage triggers
- Accelerometer and gyroscope sensors
- Local multiplayer capability
- USB 2.0 through Micro USB port
- Wireless or wired (dual mode)
The controller set comes with the following accessories:
- The steam controller
- USB wireless combination dongle
- Dongle extension dock
- 2 AA batteries
This gadget features two high-resolution clickable trackpads and thirteen buttons, including shoulder, face, and under grip buttons. The trackpads have been designed to replace the typical thumbsticks found on modern standard controllers. They include haptic feedback that sends tactile feedback to players as per the game events. While this controller is designed for a Steam Machine platform, you can still use it with Steam on existing personal computers. The controller includes gyroscopic sensors for detecting the relative orientation of a controller.
Presently, the controller is created to be operated within the Big Picture mode; this allows a player to access comprehensive options for setting different controller features on a per-game basis including button/trackpad mapping. Outside the Big Picture mode, the steam controller will operate like a standard 2-stick controller.
The original version only had four center buttons, and it lacked face buttons, but the final product offers more. Steam Controller’s gamepad has thirteen buttons, with six in the rear and seven front face buttons.
At the front left, you will find a control stick, including a haptic touchpad which is feedback enabled. On the right side are four familiar face buttons – A, B, X and Y, including another touchpad. The Steam start and back buttons are placed in the middle.
A big part of the face is dominated by twofold circular pads that are wired for haptic feedback. You can use the left pad (it’s inscribed with a d-pad) for custom commands. The right one is solely used for controlling the camera and looking around. Pads are made using plastic, just like the entire controller’s body, although the smooth matte finish makes the pads comfortable for the fingers.
Spin the controller around, and you will see two-stage triggers, two bumpers, as well as hidden buttons where your fingers can rest on the inside of the wings. The latter is a feature you will find in most aftermarket controllers from Mad Catz or PDP.
Controller bumpers sit on a plate which you can remove to put the batteries in their designated area, making the design more unique. Bumpers and analog triggers sit exactly where they are expected to be – where your middle and index fingers can reach comfortably. You will not get that kind of travel in analog triggers in other gamepads, but the ‘useful click’ will inform you that you have maxed out.
It’s wings are bulbous and concave in the middle. This element is a major departure from any standard controller design, making it a polarizing decision. You may or may not find it easier to use the touchpad because of the way the wings raise your palms above your thumbs. You may also find it hard to press the controller’s face button due to its design.
The gyroscope and accelerometer are placed inside the controller. Valve claims that they will help you steer in some games. Although there may be no games that support accelerometer or gyroscope, soon someone is bound to capitalize on this functionality.
Should you purchase the Steam Controller?
- If you plan on streaming to a TV, the Steam controller will offer more benefits compared to a traditional gamepad.
- The touchpads have an input method which is almost as great as a mouse. There are many buttons too, meaning you can go even without a keyboard.
- You need to be cautious if you want to use this controller on your desktop personal computer. Xbox controllers are more comfortable since the primary buttons are large. The Steam Controller provides fewer benefits to 3rd person action games instead of slightly enhanced aiming.
- If you are a hardcore 1st person shooter or you play strategy games, you’ll long for your old good mouse and keyboard.
- The longer you use the Steam Controller, and access games with optimized settings, the more you will enjoy your experience. You might want to begin practicing as soon as possible. Hopefully, your hands can fit.