Review and test Steam Link and Steam Controller

Review and test Steam Link and Steam Controller

The idea is to broadcast a picture from a PC to a TV is not new. First, the game has joined Nvidia a tablet and software that allows you to play on TV using the power of the computer. Alas, to avoid small problems failed, and to make a splash or a revolution in the market too.

Despite all the shortcomings, this set perfectly fit the child from 6 to 12 years. The tablet is already purchased, the joystick is donated, the rest was gathered by itself. Of the disadvantages: had to keep the computer is turned on and periodically updated BY Nvidia to work properly. In fact, this set matches perfectly in the configuration of “Games with Play Market” + tablet + TV + joystick. Especially considering the good quality and lack of ergonomic miscalculations.

Steam Link should a priori on the head to surpass the idea of Nvidia, because Valve (the developer) has great potential in the issue of reasonableness and licensing games. However, while this period of his life still resembles the stage of beta testing, why you will find out later.

Review Steam Link


  • 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second
  • Support Wired network connections up to 100 Mbit/s; wireless 802.11 ac 2×2 (MIMO)
  • Ports and connectors Three USB 2.0 ports; HDMI output
  • Built-in support for the Steam controller Wireless; Bluetooth 4.0
  • Support the Steam controller, a wired Xbox One and Xbox 360, the wireless Xbox 360 for Windows wireless Logitech F710, as well as mouse and keyboard

At first glance there is nothing supernatural in the box have, on the contrary, the technical characteristics are quite impressive. Means of communication ports USB 2.0, network card to 100 Mbps, however, with Wi-Fi all right. Work as European channels and American, that some difficult conditions is at hand, because the channels are often overloaded.

Review and test Steam Link and Steam Controller

Provides output HDMI version 1.4 which does not support sending in resolutions above 1920 x 1080 @ 60 Hz. At this moment we should focus on. Over the past three years the price of 4K TVs has dropped significantly. For example, a careful analysis of the market I found at least three models with a diagonal of 50 inches and 4K matrices for 40,000 rubles. Alas, make use of advanced technologies with the Steam Link is not possible. This is the first disappointing news to me.

Second, the transfer of images is in the format of colors 4:2:0 and not 4:4:4, as on most high-quality displays. In other words, to convey visuals in an expanded color girth, will have the good fortune to play on the monitors with a direct connection.

Steam Link: package

Product set is very austere and contains only the vital accessories:

  • Steam Link;
  • Adapter with adapter and power cable;
  • 0 HDMI cable (such cables do not exist, all HDMI cables are compatible with the version 2.0 standard, but just focusing, describe the Valve in the supply model);
  • Ethernet cable (flat and ergonomic, with a length of two meters).

The company forgot to mention about the instructions that fit on one double page spread. For this reason we can not say that you have to go to the website and look for it yourself. Even minutes through ten active searches will find a direct distributor and try to find the localized description, but there it was.

A short course in user is: “Just connect your Steam Link to your TV and home network, where it will automatically detected by any computer, installed Steam client. All you have to do is take your favorite controller, relax and enjoy your collection of games, comfortably sitting on the couch.”

Steam Link: Connection

In fact there is little common with this procedure connection. First, decide which type of connection suits you – either wired or wireless. Then note that without a joystick enable Steam Link is problematic, because the power button is located on it. For example, we connected the keyboard and mouse, brought electricity to the box, and it did.

After initialization, will display the welcome dialog and select input device. You can enable both, as we will continue to enter passwords, and it is easier to do from the keyboard.

Model Steam Link is sold worldwide, so it is not surprising a large list of supported languages. Fortunately, the console in English.

LAN connection Steam Link detects immediately, with Wi-Fi everything goes according to the classical scenario – first, select the network then enter the password.

Strimer will try being in the network, to detect any computer, or on the same network and running the client Steam. In the absence of such, a little derision and turn into a useless machine.

Auto-update of the model happens automatically without a choice. In other words, it in fact tells you that it downloaded and installed, and now you will reboot. If Valve will release a fix with the error box will become a brick? The question is rhetorical, but I would like to get more involved in her life.

One of the steps involves measurement of the visible part of the screen display. Although half of the procedures can safely ignore, then you will have a chance to finish all through the settings menu Steam Link.

Of the available options note only the most interesting:

  • Sound – Type speaker – [automatic; two speakers; two speakers; surround sound 5.1];
  • Sound – Background sound – [on; off];
  • Sleep mode – [from 15 minutes to hours];
  • Stream – [fast, balanced, nice];
  • Stream – Advanced settings – top speed – [automatic, without limitation, 30-50 Mbps in increments of 5 Mbps, 3 Mbps];
  • Stream – Advanced settings – resolution Limit – [screen resolution, 480p, 720p, 900p, 1080p];
  • Stream – Advanced settings – Overlay, stream audio, stream I / o [on or off].

In one of the tabs displays information about the system, more precisely, firmware version, to get the beta version and reset the system.

To put the experimental build until the Steam Link is still fresh and unbroken, suggest, without delay. In the latest patch has improved the Wi-Fi. However, no annotations Valve does not provide.

Review and test Steam Link and Steam Controller

The download takes a matter of seconds, as well as the update. Do not have time to blink an eye, and the console went for the final reboot.

Left to scan the network and find the computer running the Steam client. But this is not the last stage of settings.

For pairing you need to enter a PIN code on the computer and only after that he will go to the list of compatible equipment.

Steam Link still have to check the quality of the connection. With LAN connection, not even theoretically be a problem, but we are interested in the fact that a stable connection over Wi-Fi. And here’s a surprise for you. The Broadcom adapter is easy to hit both on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency through two walls.

Of course, the delay is present, but for the watt box, the result is excellent. In online shooters will be difficult to play, but in arcade games where lag is not as sensitive, it will come down.

Ultimately open everyone knows the Steam client in Big Picture mode without any chips. In the library are your game, there are simple browser, chat, etc.

Due to limitations in 1080p page look unattractive. Besides to gain remote letters uncomfortable. Problem is solved by the keyboard and mouse, but going back to the well – known problem of compatibility- not all devices are connected with the Steam Link, especially via Bluetooth.

The store is turned the Steam website with absolutely the same new products, bestsellers and so forth.

When you press the hot key combination the Steam client on the computer is easy to roll, will remain a work Desk. Unfortunately, due to rough scaling the desktop in 4K resolution sat down to 1080p. Well, the icons become too small – it is possible to survive, but the entire text is also proportionally decreased in four times. But after moving to 4K TV, all the information a second time is distorted.

At this stage, will give you one more answer to frequently asked question about the possibility to the desktop and play movies. Yes, this mode is available. But I would prefer a direct connection to the TV, but if you have it more or less new, then it is bound to have the shell of Android, and more convenient to set it in the player and through the network to play movies.

Instead of simple off or on sleep mode Steam Link seems smarter than that, offering several options of farewell: to stop broadcasting, disable, minimize, or exit Big Picture mode, turn off the controller or even turn it off all together with a computer.

Steam Link: Limitations

Contrary to the conjectures Steam Link does not support broadcast or transmission of sound through itself. Simply put, connect the Bluetooth headset did not work, USB headphones, send sound to another device is impossible.

If you have a desire to reproduce the sound through an external device (speakers or otherwise) will have to commute with a computer and there to reassign the outputs. Awfully inconvenient, given the weak sound system of most TVs. Another option is to purchase a Sound Bar with HDMI pass-through port.

With USB and Bluetooth headphones and turned quite sad. Wanted to play without disturbing others, and could not. Even the regular audio output of the model Steam Link no. Another Hey dev, who had heard about the design for the upcoming iPhone 7 .

Review and test Steam Link and Steam Controller

Steam Link: Requirements

All Valve requirements to hardware and software rather modest:

  • A computer running SteamOS or Steam Big Picture mode on Windows Vista or above, Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher Linux Ubuntu 12.04 or higher;
  • A TV that supports a resolution of 720p or 1080p;

Any kind of input device (the Steam controller, wired controllers, Xbox One and Xbox 360, the Xbox 360 wireless controller for Windows, Logitech wireless gamepad F710, as well as mouse and keyboard). Note that common Logitech mouse doesn’t work. In haste I tried to connect Steam Link and three mouse Logitech different generations and… nothing happened. With wired there are no problems. But it was possible to create a Steam Link and steering.

Connection in your home network to Steam and Link the computer with the Steam client.

Steam Link: technical part

Inside Steam Link simple. Heart of the device is the ARM processor Marvell DE3005-A1, which is paired with a shell on Linux. It’s an ARMv7 processor with a clock frequency of 1.0 GHz and an integrated video core OpenGL ES2.0. As for the RAM and flash memory, there are two chips: Micron MT41K256M16LY-107 512MB memory (RAM) and Toshiba MT29F32G08CBAC a capacity of 4 GB (ROM).

For a wireless network is a Wi-Fi module 802.11 b/g/n/ac production with Marvell Avastar 88W8897 name. This chip gives Steam Link other network capabilities, such as: 10/100 Mbps Ethernet and Bluetooth 4.0 LE.

Processor known as project Marvell Armada 1500 Mini solution. It was used in the first Google Chromecast. CPU allows you to output to multiple devices to decode the streams from YouTube and Netflix with max. resolution up to 1080p. Verify that the Google Chromecast stick works without external power, and Steam Link cannot work without it.

Review Steam Controller

Go to the second device, without which box Steam Link loses the whole point is the Steam Controller. Before us is a joystick, which is very long developed, tested and changed several times design. As a result, he was unusual.

Review and test Steam Link and Steam Controller

Steam Controller: Ergonomics

The Steam Controller is the main unit of the Duo, without it, neither enable nor disable Steam Link. So buy better kit.

There are so many ergonomic and pleasant to the touch decisions that Valve decided to spit on the standards adopted and put in your controller two round touch pad.

For rendering individual parts of the joystick were invisible, but when he was in the hands, I revealed a few unpleasant moments.

Here’s a handy grip with both hands. In this position, the thumbs are above the touch panels.

And so it is necessary to keep to the basic moves in the games. You will find the reason why ergonomics is not perfect?

For a detailed explanation we need to add some more types of devices, that ye may understand, for whom it is intended, but rather – to brush what size.

Our brush should be large, the thumb of the left hand short, right long and index fingers are longer than average. Do not judge strictly, but as much as I wanted subconsciously in a few dozen minutes of playing my upper limb unintentionally try to hold the joystick properly. Because of this, the rear upper buttons remain unused, and the thumb of the left hand tired.

Review and test Steam Link and Steam Controller

Weakly to count the total number of buttons? Sure, you are sure to miss two implicit! Each touch panel perceives pressing in four directions: up, down, left and right. By default, the right panel simulates the movement of the mouse cursor and the left is responsible for the scroll wheel. For touch panels integrated resonant actuators and function they are similar to the vibrator motor but with quick reactions and smoothly variable frequency operation.

Battery cover is two extra keys, and comfortable! Well, USB is needed to update the firmware (Yes, firmware). During power Steam Link itself checks for relevance and proposes to update its cunning method. For this included is a standard cable USB to mini USB that connects the computer with Steam with a controller and updates the firmware to the latest.

Steam Controller: Experience

Since I often have to test the card in games, the lack of them was not. In the gaming scenarios, the tandem Valve is surely working with games from the Steam client.

But verification would be incomplete if I did not reveal the non-standard bugs. For example, trying to add is not entirely original games often leads to the failure of the joystick. On the Internet I found a website with the owners of sets who are able to solve this problem. They have posted a software Steam Controller Client Database which tells which file where to move or add to the joystick earned correctly. In addition, it automatically adds a third-party software in the Steam client.

In games Origin overlay does not work when running on the TV often appears a black picture with sound. Treated it elementary. Run for the desired game (on the icon) tool troubleshoot compatibility and choose recommended settings. Then do the test program and run again. Some of the other problems disappear when you launch the Steam client with administrator rights. Often when adding a third-party game makes a reference to the file is the launcher, not the file nathanaelagreene. Be sure to fix it.

Review and test Steam Link and Steam Controller

You can also note the sharp jumps in performance in the Witcher 3, to which correction is preparing a comprehensive update, and not working in some games gyroscope, and hang the shell when you try to change the configuration of the buttons. Not much there minor issues? What did you expect, the product only appeared on the market and constantly adjust. Most importantly, don’t stop and listen to the real users.

Of course, it is necessary to make another digression and understand that Steam Link paired with the Steam Controller is best used as intended – to play in a set games. Ideal GTA series, Tomb Raider, football and all races. And first-person games personally, I use the joystick uncomfortable. I still remember the “tractor” played Quake I on the keyboard without a mouse, and with Steam Controller in shooters remind himself of such friends. Amenities at exactly zero. What you can do in a split second with the mouse, you have to aim on a small touch surface.

And then I remembered about the gyroscope! Five minutes of setup and voila! But the controller does not replace the mouse completely and the gyro is not allowed to move as freely as a mouse Mat, movement is still being made on the touch panel. But accurate aiming is performed by the gyroscope. The principle of such work is unusual. A better word to choose, and the habit is fixed only in the constant training.

During the week of the game Battlefield 1, I was so used to the gyroscope, realized one thing – we are accustomed to the classical input (mouse + keyboard), but you should try different type of device, as the brain starts to resist. He must be made to move in the game using other tools and to stop clinging to habits. After that, you can so become one with the controller that the mouse and keyboard begin to be perceived as a foreign object.

Under the gyroscope reserved many settings, I found a use for it in the two genres. Simulation of mouse movement for “shooter” first-person. Simulate keys “A” and “D” simulators.

Finally I will talk about accuracy of perception of the pads of player movement. Steam Controller used trekpada GlidePoint TM040040, on which they are configured, is about 1300 dpi; the maximum resolution reaches up to 2600 dpi. Usually on a laptop touch-padah and generally in most parts of touch panels, there is one rule – the smaller the area of touch, the more accurate the input. If you are trying to manage with a laptop touch-pad with your thumb, the accuracy will be, to put it mildly, bad. In the case of the controller the opposite is true – when you work with your thumbs the accuracy is very high and is comparable with the precision touchpad of the laptop, if not higher.

In addition, the latest update has a vibration mode for touch-padah. However, I immediately turned it off. The sound from them came such as from a spoiled little fan with a disintegrated bearing. I have the feeling that inside him now, something will fall off and fall on the table. Perhaps, as the regime until the end of the run-in.

Review and test Steam Link and Steam Controller

All of the above settings will significantly expand the scope of the controller, but keep in mind, without included Steam controller works only in the “lizard-mode”. Mode emulates the action of the mouse when it is right the trackpad works as a touch pad of a laptop, the right trigger as the left mouse button, the left trigger as the right mouse button, the left touchpad as the mouse wheel.

Maybe with old games occasionally are lining at startup. The same GTA V refused to run, while the game was a resolution above 1080p. I had to disable Steam Link to start the game, moving it in 1080p. After that, the problem disappeared.

A temporary solution to the problem of the Origin games I found by disabling the overlay (in-game screen) in the program Origin. Alas, one of the most popular games, game FIFA 17, still resists. The thing is that he recognizes the Steam Controller as a mouse and keyboard. Until this is achieved through several operations.

After disabling the overlay in Origin go to the Origin folder and set file origin.exe compatible with Windows 7. And in the game folder of FIFA 17 set compatibility with Windows 7 everything .exe files that can run in the course of the game (fifa17.exe and fifaconfig.exe). Steam add Origin.exe as a third-party application and custom configuration of the Steam Controller. Launched Origin through a shortcut and if done correctly, the Origin for the launch will show a window that it is running in compatibility mode. After that, the controller needs to apply your configuration.

Steam Controller: Conclusion

Divide the resulting list into two categories. The first will include those observations that affect the hardware capabilities of a Steam Controller and Steam Link; second – those which belong to the software component of the kit.

Here we note that exclusive of Russia the company “Buka” has made a complex deal with Valve, giving customers a gift, consisting of nineteen games. Of course, this is all Valve games including hits such as Counter Strike, Half-Life, Half-Life 2 (all additional episodes), Portal, two parts of Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress and others. In my opinion, would be better to give the buyer a choice of two or three new games, and so players with experience will get a well-forgotten hits.

“Iron” features Steam Controller and Steam Link


  • Bad omnivorous BT devices;
  • Limitation to the authorization at 1080p;
  • Controversial ergonomics of the Steam Controller;
  • The problem with the choice of the sound source;
  • Steam Controller uses batteries (a plus and minus at the same time);
  • No Steam Controller the console is not properly included (only by on/ the power wires).


  • The lack of heat and low power consumption;
  • Great hardware;
  • Easy installation and configuration;
  • Deep customization of the joystick;
  • Confident reception Wi-Fi (bands 2.4 and 5 GHz);
  • Power supply adapters for any socket in the set;
  • The joystick can connect to computer directly.
  • Software features Steam Controller and Steam Link


  • When the client Steam in the system after switching on and pairing with your Steam Link automatically opens Big Picture;
  • After the completion of the game session and disable the console Steam is not returned to its original state;
  • Partial compatibility with third-party games (GOG and Uplay client is OK, Origin and not quite compatible);
  • A computer monitor displays a clone of the outgoing image, its automatic shutdown does not occur;
  • Average adaptation of computer games to the joystick.


  • Easy setup;
  • Open OS (the SDK for Valve’s Steam Link);
  • It is possible to transmit the image from the desktop;
  • Seem tips on the keys of the joystick in the games;
  • Games missing in Steam client, it is easy to add and play.

And yet, it is not necessary to consider the Steam Controller and Steam Link as a replacement for consoles. They have another purpose – to provide comfort from the game on the couch computer games with high detail and performance.

Worth mentioning was developed by company unique gamepad, because of its ability to surpass the analogues of flexibility. But this advantage is simultaneously a weakness because a larger number of parameters can scare off an unprepared player. While poor documentation does not allow to use many features without spent hours reading forums. However, once you sort out the intricacies of spending a dozen hours in the game with the best under your habits settings, you’ll be abandoning traditional input using keyboard and mouse.

Source: store.steampowered

Review and test Steam Link and Steam Controller was last modified: November 11th, 2016 by Tomas Shellby