Have you ever found yourself envious of console gamers who effortlessly snatch a controller, settle into the cozy embrace of the living room couch, and immerse themselves in their beloved games? Even if you are an unwavering PC gamer, I reckon the thought of acquiring a controller out of sheer curiosity must have crossed your mind. And if you happen to be a dedicated console player yearning to experience the games from your Steam library on a grand scale, prepare to be captivated by the wondrous Steam Link – Valve’s enchanting streaming box.
Ever since the unveiling of the Steam Link back in 2015, a sense of ambiguity has surrounded the topic of compatible controllers. Valve has been adamant about the Steam Link’s seamless integration with specific devices such as the Steam Controller, Xbox One or 360 Wired Controller, Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows, Logitech Wireless Gamepad F710, as well as keyboard and mouse. Nevertheless, this is merely a glimpse into the extensive array of controllers that can be effortlessly paired with the Link. Therefore, let us now delve into the specifications of the finest Steam Link compatible devices that we have personally chosen for your convenience.
Steam Link Controllers
The allure of the Steam Controller is undeniably captivating. Its distinctiveness sets it apart from all other controllers, making it a potential game-changer for many. However, embracing its unique design may prove to be a make-or-break decision for some. Brace yourself for a challenging journey to conquer the intricacies of the Steam Controller buttons. Upon glancing at the visuals, one can’t help but notice its slightly bulkier form, which might not offer optimal comfort for those with petite hands.
Is the Steam Controller Any Good for First Person Shooters?
After honing your muscle memory and experimenting with the setup options, you’ll effortlessly delve into the realm of your beloved MOBAs and MMOs, encountering no hindrances. However, the burning question remains: can this hold true for shooters, where razor-sharp precision is of utmost importance? Could the Steam controller be the key to unlocking unprecedented accuracy, surpassing the limits set by a traditional wired mouse and keyboard?
Absolutely, you can definitely do it! However, as the wise saying goes, “The most wonderful things are not achieved overnight.” It might take a bit of time to become accustomed to the Steam controller, so don’t be surprised if you struggle to hit even a lifeless body in the initial days. But fear not, once you become a master of the controls, you will discover that the Steam controller is truly exceptional for shooting games. Admittedly, we haven’t yet created a controller that perfectly emulates a mouse and keyboard, but Valve’s gamepad comes pretty close. By using the right pad with increased sensitivity and the gyro for precise aim adjustments, you will experience an astonishing level of performance.
Rewritten When it comes to games that don’t prioritize precise movements like Dark Souls, the Steam Controller proves to be a suitable choice. Additionally, if you successfully add a non-Steam game, the exciting experience of playing Overwatch in Big Picture mode awaits you, although it’s worth noting that it may entail some extensive adjustments.
Fusion of Steam Link with Xbox Controllers.
Razer Wildcat Controller
Although the Razer Wildcat may not fall under the category of officially endorsed controllers, it surprisingly synchronizes flawlessly with the Steam Link. Throughout my experimentation, there were a couple of instances where the controller momentarily disconnected, necessitating a swift reconnection. Besides those minor hiccups, I encountered no complications whatsoever.
This time, Razer appears to have prioritized performance over ergonomics, leaving behind a design that my friend boldly labeled as “hideous.” However, I believe their characterization may be a slight exaggeration.
The controller comes equipped with the usual face buttons and thumbsticks, along with four additional inputs that can be customized to your liking. Configuring these buttons may leave you with clenched fists until you uncover its mechanics. To remap a button, simply press and hold the remap button at the controller’s bottom, then hold down the button you wish to remap and quickly press the button you want it to imitate. The best part is, you can remap your controls on the fly, even while in the middle of a game. However, keep in mind that the Wildcat lacks magnetic paddles, so you’ll require a special tool to remove the M3 and M4 buttons, if necessary.
Input: The most compelling aspect of the Wildcat is undoubtedly its ingenious control panel. Essentially, it allows you to effortlessly silence your headset microphone and effortlessly fine-tune the volume, all without the need for an additional adapter.
In my opinion, the Wildcat stands out as the ultimate controller for shooters, offering seamless weapon switching and the added advantage of trigger locks for reduced trigger travel and rapid firing. Just remember to activate the hair trigger mode before utilizing the locks.
Razer Wildcat eSports Customizable Premium Controller
Razer Wildcat vs. Microsoft Elite Controller
Now, you might be pondering, “Why should I opt for the Wildcat instead of the Microsoft Elite controller?” These two gadgets come at a similar price point and are both created with professional gamers in mind. However, the choice ultimately boils down to personal preferences. When it comes to aesthetics, the Elite controller stands in a league of its own. Nevertheless, with its integrated audio controls, four additional buttons, and a slightly heavier feel, the Wildcat holds a competitive advantage over the Elite. Furthermore, the Wildcat is primarily tailored to cater to the needs of first-person shooter enthusiasts, while the Elite controller serves as a versatile option suitable for any game. You have the freedom to customize paddle configurations, play any game you desire, and remap all buttons to your liking with the Elite. (On the other hand, the Wildcat only allows remapping for the four M buttons). Lastly, while the Elite controller is wireless, it can also be used in a wired mode if desired.
In a nutshell, the Wildcat reigns as a magnificent controller that effortlessly executes vital in-game maneuvers, all while keeping your thumbs firmly planted on the sticks. With its featherweight design and unparalleled comfort, the Wildcat empowers gamers to maximize their Gears of War or Halo experience, provided they can overlook a few minor setbacks.
Wireless Xbox 360
The wireless Xbox 360 controller can definitely be crowned as the ultimate trendsetter. Despite its long-standing presence, this gaming gem continues to reign as one of Amazon’s top-selling items in the Video Games’ department. Seamlessly compatible with the Steam link, this controller offers a seamless remedy to all your charging and wrist fatigue woes.
With its remarkable battery longevity, impeccable ergonomics, and exceptional wireless functionalities, the wireless Xbox 360 controller stands tall. It effortlessly powers your gaming adventures for a remarkable span of 15 to 20 hours before craving for a battery swap. Additionally, the Quick Charge kit proves to be a convenient companion in times of need.
The gamepad’s design is a subtle masterpiece. The upper part elegantly accommodates the Xbox 360 Play and Charge kit input, while the bottom gracefully houses the headset input. It’s unrealistic to anticipate a wireless controller to be weightless, and this one certainly upholds that notion. This controller, surpassing any wired counterpart I’ve held, carries a notable heft, which is justified by the added weight of the batteries.
Now, let’s shower some praise on its impressive performance. The Xbox 360 controller reigns supreme over most wireless devices I’ve had the pleasure of testing. Its responsiveness matches that of its wired counterparts flawlessly. Sure, the force feedback might be slightly gentler, but let’s remember, this is a wireless controller, not the one to settle the ultimate showdown between wired and wireless gaming peripherals.
In a nutshell, the wireless Xbox 360 controller is unequivocally bound for greatness, earning my wholehearted endorsement as an unrivaled gaming companion that reigns supreme in the vast realm of gaming controllers currently available in the market.
Xbox 360 Wireless Controller – Glossy Black
Steam Link Wireless Xbox One Controller
Experience seamless pairing and exceptional performance with the wireless Xbox One controller, which is proudly endorsed as one of the Steam Link devices. Say goodbye to pesky cables cluttering your living room floor and dive into a world of immersive gaming.
The Xbox One controller boasts the most remarkable analog sticks I’ve ever had the pleasure of testing, not to mention its impressive rumble triggers. However, it does rely on AA batteries instead of a rechargeable option. While the shoulder buttons may be a tad rigid, I must confess that I can’t find much else to complain about.
The Xbox One controller takes the essence of the 360 gamepad and elevates it to a new level of refinement. With its familiar layout consisting of two thumbsticks, a D-pad, an offset, four face buttons, two middle buttons, and an Xbox Home button, it brings a sense of comfort and familiarity. The ingeniously designed concave thumbsticks provide a secure grip, guaranteeing that no matter how you hold them, accidental slips are a thing of the past. As expected, the stick movement remains impressively precise, ensuring seamless gaming experiences.
The rumble triggers excel in racing games, defying articulation when it comes to their remarkable value. Their essence is best experienced and admired, leaving one at a loss for words. These triggers operate with utmost silence, ensuring a delightful gaming experience for you and your roommates.
The gamepad boasts an impressive battery lifespan, relying on trusty AA batteries, while its budget-friendly price tag completely rationalizes the omission of a rechargeable battery.
Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Controller, (Bulk Packing)[XBox One]
Steam Link’s Perfect Companion – The PS4 Controller
The DualShock 4 stands proudly as the epitome of PS4 controllers, a true gem that garners unanimous praise. Its flawless compatibility with the Steam Link only scratches the surface of the multitude of captivating features that won me over.
When it comes to design, the DualShock 4 surpasses its predecessor with remarkable improvements. Not only does it enhance comfort during extensive gaming sessions, but it also boasts a captivating feature – a mesmerizing glowing light located at the bottom.
The DualShock 4 takes pride in its remarkably enhanced motion control, surpassing both Sixaxis and DualShock3 devices effortlessly. The touchpad, with its intuitive and responsive nature, elevates your gameplay to new heights. It effortlessly allows you to effortlessly switch between modes, akin to the “Empire strikes back” moment, serving as Sony’s response to Microsoft’s innovative impulse triggers.
Let me share a few insights on the significant challenge you may encounter. The controller’s most formidable obstacle lies in its limited battery longevity. While the DualShock 3 grants a generous 30 hours of playtime, its successor’s battery depletes fully in a mere 8 hours or thereabouts.
The DualShock 4 brings an overwhelming sense of delight when in use. It is not just a controller that requires saving up funds for an upgrade. On the contrary, its durability, quick response, and elegant layout make it a truly wise and worthwhile investment.
DualShock 4 Wireless Controller for PlayStation 4 – Midnight Blue
Steam Link-compatible PS3 controllers to enhance your gaming experience.
The Steam Link seamlessly pairs with the DualShock3, although it’s worth noting that certain replicas may not be compatible. In such instances, the adage “Penny wise, pound foolish” holds true.
Anticipatedly, the wireless controller bears a tad more weight compared to its forerunner, the Sixaxis; nonetheless, it appears that the divergence lies solely within the weight and rumble functionality. Considering the cost and the fact that the DualShock 4 has already made its debut, I would unquestionably opt for the latter choice.
Logitech ChillStream Controller
When I think of Logitech, I immediately envision their exceptional prowess in crafting mice and keyboards. However, to my delightful surprise, they have ventured into the realm of extraordinary controllers that seamlessly synchronize with the Steam Link. One such marvel is the ChillStream model, boasting a remarkable innovation – a built-in 40mm fan meticulously engineered to ensure optimal hand coolness amidst exhilarating gaming duels. Now, the question arises – is this ingenious fan a mere gimmick or a brilliantly conceived design solution?
With its trio of predefined options – off, low, and high – the fan effortlessly delivers a refreshing gust of air to your palms, ensuring they stay perspiration-free. Nonetheless, be wary of selecting the “high” setting as it may unleash an unpleasantly cacophonous symphony of noise.
The controller boasts an uncanny resemblance to its 360 counterpart, sporting identical dual joysticks, ABXY buttons, a D-pad, two shoulder buttons, two trigger buttons, start and select buttons, and a central button.
The ChillStream gamepad is a fantastic option for budget-conscious gamers, offering a delightful balance between price and performance. While the sound of the fan may be a minor annoyance, the gamepad ensures cool and sweat-free hands, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the gaming experience. With its remarkable ergonomics and impressive responsiveness, this gamepad guarantees hours of enjoyable gameplay.
Logitech Playstation 3 ChillStream Controller
Unleash the Power of Steam with PC Controllers
Logitech F710 Review
Despite associating Logitech primarily with mice and keyboards, I find myself compelled to unveil a remarkable Logitech gamepad designed to seamlessly connect with both PCs and the Steam Link.
The F710, one of the approved devices, boasts exceptional compatibility, while its fraternal counterpart, the F310, also performs admirably. Sporting wireless capabilities and a vibration feature, the F710 embraces a sleek design with enhanced grip through the incorporation of soft plastic materials, courtesy of Logitech’s design enhancements.
Apart from that, the F710 bears a striking resemblance to the F310. Its button arrangement remains unchanged, yet it exudes a more substantial and resilient aura, primarily owing to the inclusion of batteries that bestow it with additional heft. Logitech refrains from divulging any battery lifespan estimate, leaving it to one’s conjecture, contingent upon the frequency of gamepad usage.
Input: So, if you’re wondering which gamepad I’d suggest for pairing with the Steam Link, here’s my recommendation: if you’re eager to break free from wires, opt for the F710. However, if you’re in search of a cozy and top-notch controller priced below $30, then the corded F310 version is the way to go.
Both controllers boast excellent tactile feedback in their buttons, while the sticks provide just the appropriate level of resistance. Although the dual triggers may be slightly rigid, they still fulfill their purpose effectively. However, the F310 disappoints in terms of its D-pad. Therefore, if you’re on a budget, don’t hesitate and go for the F310. But if you desire a controller with advanced features that effortlessly pairs with the Steam Link, consider the wireless F710 as your choice.
Logitech F710 Wireless Gamepad
iBuffalo Classic USB Gamepad
Transporting us back to a glorious era, the iBuffalo gamepad serves as a delightful nostalgia-inducing artifact. With its sleek rounded contours and the alluring presence of Turbo and Clear buttons, it effortlessly captivates the hearts of retro gaming enthusiasts.
Setting emotions aside, the controller guarantees exceptional response time and stands out as one of the most budget-friendly gadgets available. Yet, its affordability does not compromise its superior construction. The iBuffalo conveniently works with both Windows and Android devices, which is particularly exciting considering Valve’s upcoming release of a Steam Link app that will enable you to stream your beloved games on your smartphone too.
Buffalo iBuffalo Classic USB Gamepad For PC.
Asus TV500BG Wireless Gaming Controller (Bluetooth)
The flawless compatibility between the Asus controller and Steam Link is truly remarkable, although button mapping becomes necessary post-pairing.
The gamepad features snug analog sticks, which are a much better choice compared to flimsy ones that often signify a low-quality product. Regrettably, there is no ability to customize the stick sensitivity. Nevertheless, the TV500BG is an exceptional multi-purpose controller that caters to a diverse range of games. However, certain games specifically tailored for mouse and keyboard input may not function optimally with a controller. So, if you happen to select such a game, become frustrated, and attribute your performance to inadequate skills, it’s advisable to switch to a mouse and keyboard to ensure a completely worry-free experience.
ASUS TV500BG Gamepad Wireless Gaming Controller for Android
SteelSeries Stratus XL
During my extensive testing, I discovered that the SteelSeries Stratus XL effortlessly syncs with the Steam Link using Bluetooth. However, to my surprise, a few buttons on the controller seemed to have been oddly reassigned.
Apart from those aspects, this exceptional wireless controller seamlessly operates with both Windows and Android-powered devices, exhibiting its superior quality.
According to SteelSeries, their controller guarantees an impressive 40 hours of gameplay before requiring battery replacement. However, be mindful to power it down during idle moments, as neglecting to do so may result in a rather rapid drain of the battery life.
Should your gaming preferences lean towards the realm of finely honed abilities, such as the art of nailing pinpoint headshots or executing expertly timed grenade throws, rest assured that the Stratus shall remain steadfast in its loyalty. With its unparalleled ability to flawlessly interpret your every command, prepare to be awestruck by its unwavering reliability and lightning-fast responsiveness.
In my personal opinion, I believe that the Stratus XL has the ability to rival both the Xbox One and DualShock gamepads when it comes to its functionality and versatility. Although it may not possess the same level of sophistication as the Elite wireless controller, SteelSeries has managed to offer it at a more affordable price.
In conclusion, if you’re a gamer who enjoys playing on both PCs and mobile devices, the Stratus purchase is a foolproof choice. Whether you prefer gaming on the couch and want a controller that’s compatible with Steam Link but not necessarily focused on Android gaming, any of the gamepads featured in this section will meet your needs.
SteelSeries Stratus Bluetooth Mobile Gaming Controller
Best Keyboard and Mouse for Couch Gaming
Immerse yourself in the world of gaming with the remarkable Steam Link, enabling you to indulge in your beloved PC games with stunning 1080p resolution, all from the comfort of your living room TV. If you seek an alternative to the traditional controller for your preferred gaming style, delve into the realm of lapboards and peripherals created by esteemed vendors, offering a plethora of options to enhance your gaming experience.
Razer Тurret Lapboard
Elevating your couch gaming experience to unprecedented heights, the Razer Turret emerges as a cutting-edge blend of a Bluetooth-enabled mouse and keyboard, exuding an undeniable aura of excellence.
The mouse bundled with the Turret combo closely resembles the Orochi model, with the exception of its distinctive textured grips and captivating illumination.
The keyboard may appear diminutive, but that’s merely a trick of the eye. When unfurled, it reveals a concealed mousepad nestled alongside its keys. The Turret mouse possesses an ambidextrous design, though I must confess uncertainty regarding its usability for left-handed individuals, given the non-removable mousepad. If your gaming style involves broad, sweeping motions, I recommend perusing the Roccat Sova model below.
The Turret, a compact keyboard, bids adieu to the numpad while abstaining from the dazzling allure of RGB lighting.
Unlocking a realm of limitless possibilities, the Turret combo unveils boundless customization through its exclusive Synapse software. Seamlessly tailor your mouse sensitivity within an expansive spectrum spanning from 200 to 3,500. While the maximum DPI graciously falls beneath the renowned 16,000 benchmark, fear not for it thrives splendidly unless you’re immersed in a colossal screen. Moreover, rejoice in the programmability of each keyboard key, granting you absolute control over your gaming experience.
While the Razer Тurret combo may not offer the same level of comfort as your trusty full-size desk keyboard, it proudly stands as Razer’s inaugural creation for immersive living room gaming. Though not revolutionary, this remarkable combo surpasses the comfort of a haphazardly chosen mouse and keyboard by a staggering magnitude.
Razer Turret – Living Room Gaming Mouse & Lapboard
For those deeply immersed in the realms of Age of Empires, StarCraft, or RPGs, I completely empathize with your decision to bypass the controllers section mentioned earlier. It is undeniable that utilizing a controller to play these games is within reach, yet it demands considerable dedication, countless trials, and a myriad of failed endeavors to conquer each level.
If you find yourself yearning for a robust keyboard to satisfy your gaming cravings while lounging on the couch, prepare to be captivated by the Roccat Sova. Although it may come with a slightly hefty price, this remarkable device guarantees all the essentials for a blissful gaming experience right in the heart of your living space.
The Sova boasts a spacious chassis housing a captivating backlit keyboard. Additionally, it offers a versatile array of accessories including a customizable mousepad, a comfy wrist rest, and lap cushions. Delightfully, you have the option to select either a mechanical or membrane keyboard, with a subtle variation in cost. Without a doubt, any devoted gamer would ardently affirm that the essence of gaming lies in the mechanical keyboard, thus leaving no room for debate.
The Sova keyboard boasts a larger size compared to the Turret, although it remains tethered by a wire, whereas the Turret combo offers wireless functionality through Bluetooth. While neither the Turret nor the Sova claim the title of the ultimate gaming keyboard, they undeniably represent a positive stride forward.
Corsair Gaming Lapdog
In the realm of keyboard gaming, Corsair and Razer reign supreme, leaving little need to delve into the intricacies of Razer’s BlackWidow or Corsair’s K series of keyboards. Should you find yourself in possession of the latest Corsair K65 or K70, transforming them into the perfect companions for couch gaming is as simple as placing them snugly within the lapdog’s embrace.
The lapdog by Corsair serves as a devoted companion for your K70 and K65 keyboards. While it lacks a built-in wrist rest, fear not, for both keyboards possess this feature. Simply nestle them onto the lapdog’s surface and experience the ultimate comfort. Should you be willing to embark on a hands-on journey of assembling and disassembling, I highly recommend the lapdog as a superior alternative to the Sova and the Turret. Acquiring a K70 and a lapdog will not incur a higher cost compared to the Sova and the Turret, yet it grants you the ability to utilize the keyboard during PC gaming sessions.
Corsair LAPDOG – Gaming Control Center (CH-9500000-NA)
Couchmaster Cycon Ergonomic Couch Gaming Desk
Behold, behold! Behold the ultimate treasure, the Couchmaster Cycon, tailored exclusively for the ardent PC gamer yearning for an abundant realm to house their beloved peripherals. Should the entanglement of cords not deter you, the Cycon shall gracefully grace your living quarters as an impeccable extension.
What is Steam Link and How Does it Work?
The Steam Link is a ingenious device that revolutionizes your entertainment experience by effortlessly streaming both movies and games directly from your Steam library to your TV. With a maximum resolution of 1080p (full HD), immerse yourself in stunning visuals. Simply connect the Steam Link to your TV’s HDMI port, pair it with a compatible controller, and establish an Internet connection via WiFi or Ethernet cable. While Valve suggests a hardline connection for optimal performance, a dependable 5Hz wireless connection can be relied upon if drilling holes for Ethernet cables is not an option.
Please bear in mind that the prowess of the Steam Link is intricately linked to the entirety of your rig’s components. Should your CPU/GPU be lacking or if your Internet connection is sluggish, it would be unwise to anticipate the Steam Link to enhance the performance of games beyond what your host PC already delivers.