Complete Review of Steam Controller
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Steam Controller: Complete Review

Toward the close of the sixth generation of consoles, the gaming industry was depressed – it seemed to many that the era of consoles was ending, the PS4 and Xbox One would not shoot, and the living rooms would start to empty. It was during that difficult time that Valve came up with the grandiose idea of ​​connecting a PC and a console together, giving people the opportunity to sit on the couch playing their favorite PC games bought on Steam. In this article, we will know about the complete review of the steam controller.

The task of stopping the eternal confrontation between the “console men” and the “bakers” was truly daunting and required a completely new gamepad – one that allowed you to shoot without reducing accuracy and even supported games where a gamepad is not provided in principle. That is, he could pretend.

And finally, an ambitious device called Steam Controller got to the Russian market – “Buka” is responsible for its distribution.

Hard start

So, the treasured box arrived at the publisher. Inside lies the controller itself, a pair of batteries, a USB-Micro USB cable, a signal receiving device, and a hub for it – in case the signal from the system unit goes poorly. Nothing extra and complicated, it’s immediately clear that were to stick, you can start the game in literally a minute.

The batteries were placed wisely – there is a lid on the latch on the back, which at the same time plays the role of a pair of additional control keys. Batteries are mounted under it, but not in the center of the controller, but in thickened “sides.” When the battery snaps into place, the latch extends from above – the battery will not be able to dangle. To remove the battery, push the latch-up – then it falls out of its recess directly into the hand.

In the Edition

In the edition, the device caused the same reaction for everyone. “Wow! The same controller from Steam? Oh, something plastic is cheap. And creaks. But it will get dirty. Well, yes, the designers are not from Apple.” I have to admit that against the background of some DualShock 4, the appearance of the controller is not impressive.

Everything looks cheap and unpretentious, as if before us is not a finished serial product for $ 50, but a concept. The buttons move freely enough in niches, causing involuntary associations with Sega controllers, the stick is harsh and does not give tactile delight, such as Sony sticks.

On the other hand, during the game, this nitpicking does not play a role: the stick listens perfectly, the buttons are pressed effortlessly. True, at first, due to the unusual location, I often lost the X key, but over time my hands remembered where it is located.

It seems that a contraption of this size needs to be cumbersome and uncomfortable – but no, Valve engineers made it so that the gamepad lies in the hands perfectly. After five hours of gaming sessions, my hands did not sag. There was not even any fatigue.

The only serious complaint about ergonomics is the bumper. They are unforgivably tough: in the game, sometimes, you don’t even go into the inventory once again to not interact with them. You have to change the grip altogether. Put index fingers on the bumpers, and middle fingers on the trigger. Not critical, but at first very unusual.

Specific features

The essence of Steam Controller, of course, is not in the bumpers, but in the trackpads. I must say right away that I am a convinced hater of this type of input device. While working on laptops, I did not just connect the mouse. So, the Steam Controller trackpads are great! Either the matter is in a slightly concave form, or in the feedback, but they do not cause either fatigue or discomfort and, moreover, understand well what exactly you want from them. And the more you communicate with them, the more convenient and more accurate they become.

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But after switching on, they become almost alive: they gently bend under the fingers, creak pleasantly, and vibrate slightly. Even without a markup, you always clearly understand in which part of the right trackpad your thumb is now located.


Separately, I note the same pair of lower keys that form the cover. This is a huge help, especially for action games. Firstly, because there are two more buttons that you can assign important commands to. Secondly, you need to press these lower keys with an unoccupied middle and ring finger (with an alternative grip – with your little finger and ring finger). Why is this needed? I will explain it.

If your default sprint is on the Y button (or any other of the lower right groups), then you have to squeeze it with the same thumb that is responsible for the right trackpad (mouse). Therefore, quickly run and twist his head does not work. But if you assign a run and a jump to the lower keys – calmly sprint and jump, without losing control of the cursor.

We can also shoot at the same time. We get the same degree of freedom as on the keyboard.


Tune in and play

Since the controller should allow you to defeat the enemy in shooters easily, the main tests were held in the new Deus Ex. Not in the stealth, of course, but through an aggressive style – with the involvement of hostile characters at the level in every fight and a complete sweep of the hostile ones.


The controller proved to be excellent – if at first, it was necessary to shoot mainly from shelters and bursts into the body, then by the end of the passage, I was already quite confidently giving out headshots from the pistol with single shots. It was possible to conduct moving goals pretty decently, but with sights, especially sniper ones, everything was not so convenient: the target constantly slipped away, the trackpad did not keep up with it.


Here the main problem is noticeable: for all its technical perfection, the small area of ​​the trackpad still cannot compete on equal terms with the mouse and the spacious rug. Either fast, but not too precise movements, or the ability to aim a squirrel in the eye – but not on the run, but from around the corner.


If compared with conventional gamepads, then the Steam Controller accuracy is clearly higher. If we talk about single games, then after moving to the living room in a couple of weeks, you will not feel a lack of accuracy or freedom of movement. You will have to get used to the network longer and will probably need to delve into the jungle of settings, “sharpening” the controller for yourself.


With old games from the Steam catalogue, everything is fun. For each of them, there are already predefined settings, which for sure will seem uncomfortable to you and will require refinement. And here the controller reveals its true capabilities – you can really configure everything in it! For example, the left trackpad can be “designed” as nine separate virtual buttons – and hang numbers on them to change weapons in Duke Nukem 3D. Don’t need a stick? Let’s turn it into a circular menu! Is there no mouse in the game? Let’s turn off the right trackpad! In general, freedom is such that it is just right to feel dizzy.


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In experiments, I went even further – beyond the boundaries of a cosy Steam environment. And on the third attempt, I collected myself a very convenient control for Diablo III.


True, there are subtleties: the controller itself switches settings only for games from Steam, so you have to load the desired layout yourself, digging into the not-so-logical menus for a long time. But it would help if you switched layouts – something that is good and convenient for moving around the desktop is completely unsuitable for Diablo or Heroes 3.

Alternatively, you can try adding third-party games to the library; in theory, then Steam should remember the settings for them. However, it didn’t work for me – the settings did not switch to the basic ones when leaving the game, I had to rearrange them myself. By the way, for many popular games not from Steam, there are already ready-made presets from the community – but not the fact that you will like them. For example, their layout option for Diablo III did not suit me at all.


To summarize

Only one function turned out to be untested – a gyroscope. In theory, this is a pretty cool solution for racing, but I’m not a fan of the genre, and there was nothing to test.

I suspect that the controller actively consumes all kinds of vibrations. Then I plugged in the cord and played it safe. People who do not like wires would probably put batteries.

By the way, an interesting point – when connecting via a cord, turning off the controller by holding the Steam button for five seconds does not work – just removing the cord from the USB port.


The general impression, despite the cheap plastic and rigid bumpers, is rather positive. The Steam Controller turned out to be surprisingly convenient and noticeably more accurate than the controllers from Sony and Microsoft. It’s a pleasure to play modern games from the Steam library with support for gamepads. You can also do everything else, but already customize the settings for yourself. And yes, if you consider Steam Controller not as a simple gamepad. But as an innovative gadget Then it is clearly worth the money. All of his problems are typical of first-generation devices.

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How I bought a Steam Controller

Once sitting on a picabu (at the end of November it was). I read before bedtime what interesting things to eat. And I come across an article that in Steam you can buy Steam Controller for only five bucks.


Undermined from the bed, go to the computer. According to the instructions, I launch a VPN, expose the USA, open the order page and order. Well, about five bucks, of course. The author lied. But 14 bucks for the original new controller is quite a gorgeous price.

I bought it. Just at the same time, in my USA, a package with various other nishtyaks is going to. The controller ordered the same there.

A convenient adapter by the way. A lanyard sticks in my pc to connect phones. So I stuck this cord into the adapter, and on top of the adapter. And do not reach under the table and the excess port is not busy.

Waste paper instruction. There is even a Russian language. True, there is more guarantee information than the case.

In the case, by the way, a lot of information is on in the profile topic.

Well, the controller itself. It certainly looks very interesting and unusual. On the front side, there is one stick. 4 YBAX buttons, two large touchpads (they can also work as crosses). Two optional buttons and a power button.The back of the battery cover. It also has two petals with two additional buttons. On top, there are two triggers and a MicroUSB port for wiring the controller to a PC. With the batteries installed, and pressing the “symlink” button. The controller starts up with a low squeak (there is a speaker in the controller), and this very symlink button lights up. The joystick can work as a mouse. More precisely, like a touchpad.

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