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Steam Controller Review: Is it Worth Getting?

Steam Controller Review

Valve’s Steam Controller has been around since November 2015. It’s a sleek controller that offers a button layout most console players will be familiar with. A lot of the controller’s design will remind players of Xbox’s controller.

But there are a lot of differences, too, that make the controller a great choice.

When looking for a controller to bring your gaming experience to the next level, it’s important to consider the entire layout of the controller.

You need to know if you’ll have quick access to the buttons and movement needed to compete with any game at any level.

Steam Controller Button Layout and Setup

Steam has taken a lot from the Xbox controller’s design. But they have also changed a lot to make your gaming experience more intuitive.

You’ll be able to pick up this controller and start playing most titles without having to learn a new setup.

The main layout is:

  • Left track pad
  • Right track pad
  • Dual trigger setup on top of the controller
  • Left analog stick
  • X,Y,A,B button setup

The unit does have two programmable back buttons to add customization to your controller.

Steam control

Advanced Button Controls and Features

Dual track pads allow for more precision when gaming, and there’s HD haptic feedback to allow for better overall control.

There are dual-stage triggers as well as back grip buttons. It’s the back-grip buttons which allow for programming.

Haptic feedback is essential for action games, but a lot of gamers have no idea why this feature is so important.

Haptic feedback is the controller’s ability to simulate the sense of touch on the controller.

The feedback makes gaming more fluid and natural.

When using the trackpad, there is a 1:1 absolute positioning. As a result, you’ll move your character with the utmost precision each time.

Use the dual trackpads for steering wheel controls, as a trackball or even as an adaptive centering joystick. However, for flying games a joystick or HOTAS is still better.

A lot of gamers will program these buttons for their favorite games so that they can hit one of the main four buttons and the back-grip buttons for fierce combos.

But Steam is a giant community, and you don’t have to come up with your own input mappings if you don’t want to.

There are options to find all of your favorite mappings on the Steam Community.

You can create, share or use someone else’s mappings for your favorite game.

When using the dual-stage triggers, you’ll be able to use them as:

  • Analog
  • Digital

Both types of input can be used at the same time. One trigger offers multiple control options, so you can use one finger to:

  • Initiate iron-sights
  • Fire at an enemy

Steam has a lot of data available, and the Steam controller was created with an ergonomic fit and buttons that have been chosen based on frequency of use.

Compatible with Your Preferred Operating System

Steam knows that gamers need to have operating system freedom.

With the options to choose an operating system that you prefer, this means that you can play your favorite games on:

  • Linux
  • Mac
  • SteamOS
  • Windows

You don’t need to use Steam Link, but you will need to have Steam installed on your PC to use this controller properly.

But Steam link is really neat to have.

When you use Steam link, you’ll be able to hook your controller up to your Steam library.

All of the content will be playable on your television, so you’ll be able to sit back and play your favorite games from your couch.

Steam’s controller does do things differently than the DualShock 4 or Xbox One controllers that everyone is using.


  • Haptic feedback is exceptional
  • Customizable options and downloadable layouts
  • Programmable buttons on the back
  • Buttons optimized for a more comfortable experience


  • Trackpads can take some time to adapt to

Steam Controller

If you’re used to using analog sticks, you’ll find that it does take some time to get accustomed to the trackpads on the Steam controller.

The trackpads are very precise, and the haptic feedback is exceptional, but it will take a few days to get really comfortable with this controller.

With the programmable options and ability to use Steam link, this is a unique controller that does offer more customization than competing controllers.

If you’re serious about your gaming experience, the Steam controller will offer you a fluid gaming experience with high customization and very responsive controls.

Keep in mind while you can use the Steam controller on Steam games, you can also use the controller for non-Steam games, too.

It’s a universal controller that can be used for all of your games – Steam or non-Steam.

Low-latency, the controller is wireless and provides games with the responsive controller that boosts gameplay and remains comfortable in the player’s hands.

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