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Valve Steam Controller

Valve Steam Controller

from  $73.99+
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84 Engadget Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
84

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Review

The Steam Controller is an innovative, powerful evolution in gamepad design, but it's not very intuitive. Expect to struggle through an arduous learning curve to master its combination of touchpads, gyro sensors and new grips. It won't be easy, but if you put in the time, it's worth it.

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Pros
  • Innovative touchpads enable gamepad control experiences for mouse-heavy games
  • Customizable software allows controller to emulate, keyboard, mouse, gamepad and more
  • Community profiles make it easy to find a default controller configuration that works for you
Cons
  • Steep learning curve
  • Face buttons are a little small
  • Hard to use with non-Steam games
84 Engadget Score
There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.
84

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

How we score

The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Scores

Engadget

84
 

User Reviews

90
John
A lot of people have knocked this. I get it. It will take some time to adjust....read more
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Score Breakdown

 
90
Average user Score
 
90
John
11.23.15
A lot of people have knocked this. I get it. It will take some time to adjust. It does, however, feel great in the hand and has a certain coolness factor to it. No, it's not an XBox controller, and that will disappoint people. Nor does it have that instant recognizability of that controller, so the Steam Controller starts off on the wrong foot for some. Still, I think PC gamers should give it a shot. The triggers and the trackpad and the D-Pad all have a quality feel to them. Many people rip the thing for it being made out of plastic, but think about that for a moment. Would you really want to play with something made out of metal? It would get heavy fast. Plus, for ten dollars more, you get the all-plastic PS4 or XBox One controllers. No one complains about them. I'd put build quality a notch above those, and the weight in the same category. When you feel the triggers on the underside of the controller, you'll realize a lot of thought went into this. And that it feels kinda awesome.First, it works great with old games. This reason is what brings about the poor comparison to the 360 controller. For all the things it can do that our venerated controllers can't, the Steam Controller loses a bit of familiarity. It aims to do something no controller has succeeded at; replace the mouse/keyboard. Of course, m/k devotees will scoff. I say, give it time. Playing point and click adventures and RPGs and even some old shooters was easy, and actually more fun than using a keyboard. One thing I have seen no one talk about is how it works natively in Windows. I mean using the right trackpad to move the mouse cursor through the Windows environment. Very cool. It's awesome for slideshows and presentations. The haptic feedback feels right. Add another notch to the coolness factor. I'm not saying to replace your mouse with it, but if you're standing up giving a presentation, this thing rocks, especially with the included range extender. It takes seconds to adjust to in this way. Wish more people would mention this aspect. I like using it with my laptop to surf the web as well. It feels modern. You know, twenty years ago, I never thought we'd still be using a trackpad and a QWERTY keyboard to interact with our portable computers. This, I could see fulfilling that decades-old dream. I'd also like to note that going into the recommended 'Big Picture Mode' in Steam actually takes much of this interactivity out of the experience. Very strange that the controller has more function in Windows than in Steam's own environment.For current games, it's a mixed bag. I got demolished in CS:GO my first few go-rounds. Then, I got a little better. Never, however, did I get to a point where I wanted to replace the m/k. Then, I customized some settings. Now, I can live with it. Maybe, in a month, I might never go back. Then again, I never used a controller for that game. Bioshock Infinite fared worse at first, and this is a game I played both with an m/k and a 360 controller, liking both equally. The Steam Controller finished a close third to those, and again, over time, it may just work out. The XYAB buttons are what make things a little difficult here, as we are all used to them being on the extreme right of a controller. Valve is attempting to change the way we play. If they can pull this off with the help of the community through custom mappings, we may well have a revolution on our hands, one that is a long time coming.Of course, the controller works seamlessly with the Steam Link (and boy, is that thing worth fifty bucks) and if that purchase is on your radar, I can't recommend the Steam Controller enough. It is like using it in Big Picture Mode on your computer. It links without the USB dongle as well, so you can keep that in your computer. This controller works for me. The haptic feedback is sort of addicting. I think about using it when I am not. It feels well-built and as I said, has a touch of modern to it that compliments my rig. When people see me using it in the cafeteria, they get curious. Everyone wants to give it a shot. No one complains.For fifty bucks, this thing is a bargain. The community will fix the button-mapping issues as they arise. Valve is going to support this and its functionality will only grow. Get in on it now so that when it really hits stride you will have got past the learning curve. I suspect many will cling to their 360 controllers (I understand, I've thought about marrying my Razr Onza) but this controller really has value for people who play a wide variety of games. If you do any sort of presentation work or Powerpoint and such, this controller makes it way easier, and you look pretty cool while using it.