Steam Link Review – Think Before you Link
Let me start by saying that I have heard NOTHING but glorious praise for the Steam Link. The description of the Steam Link is like your wildest dream come true (if you’re a tame dreamer like me). The ability to play all your amazing games right from the sofa on a big TV screen in High Def with no lag! What the Steam link allows is for you to use it to stream the image from your computer and in conjunction with the new Steam controllers, play Steam games directly from the comfort of your living room. All the shiny graphics of your amazing PC rig (mine was built to play Dragon Age Inqusition on Highest settings, but had to be lowered for The Witcher 3) with the comfort of your sofa with your cat in your lap.
My experience with Steam Link was more like an irritating nightmare come true. We tried playing around with the settings as recomended by a quick googling, but to no avail. No matter what we change, the Steam Link was too laggy to allow any kind of action game to be played. Tostada fell to her death in Guacamelee again and again as the delays increased and decreased in time with my defeated roars. Some more quick googling told me that the Steam link would run lag free with a connection speed of 30mbps or more. Now listen here, Valve, I doubt Canada is getting Google Fiber anytime soon, so if you just wanna go ahead and release a device that actually works for the normal human gamer, that’d be great.
I checked the website for the Link again and there it was, right on the page, something that I hadn’t noticed when I pre-ordered (if it was even there at that time). ‘Wired Connection Reccomended’ well, donkey butt. My internet connection is in the kitchen and in order to watch Netflix in my living room when I first moved into this apartment, my partner and I installed a wifi signal booster. Since then our internet has been problemless and the internet boosting thingimagjig tells me the signal is strong and steady. According to Steam link, our internet sucks; it is the equivalent of a tiny man running very slowly and trying to move the signal all by his lonesome.
Now obviously your mileage may vary on this, depending on your setup it’s possible you could have the euphoric Steam Link experience everyone’s been talking about. But for me and I suspect a lot of apartment dwellers; it’s really just not an option. I’m literally forced to give the Steam Link a bad review because I can’t use it in the way it’s intended and that leaves me feeling like I paid $60 for a very underwhelming paperweight. For that reason, I feel it’s my job to say something. Think before you Link, people.
If you’re one of the few blessed with a large wallet providing internet service of above 30mbps or lucky enough to have your internet connection fitted right next to your Television, Steam Link could be a great choice for you! If you want to throw more money at the problem you can even buy a twenty five foot ethernet extender and go wired (and you thought the days of hastily stapling your wires around doorframes were over). Remember when the Kinect came out and there were rants abound about how unrealistic it was to expect people to have that much room, etc. Well, this is kind of the same, honestly. The ultimate downfall of the Steam Link, like the Kinect before it, is that it just doesn’t live in the real world.
+ It’s uh…nice looking I guess.
+ Could work great if you have the right setup, allowing you to play games on your PC via your TV.
– Doesn’t deliver on promises.
– Learned honesty from a lawyer.
– Expects too much. 🙁
As part of the far off land of Canada I have no doubt I’ll be dead before we see Google Fiber (the now famous internet service provider that runs so fast I literally can’t even breathe when I read the stats on it.) I’m sure I’m not the only person who sank to my knees in pained defeat when the internet guy told me the only connection he could give me was in the kitchen. When would the kitchen ever by the place you need internet most? Needing a connection speed above most Canadian consumers price range to run even the most basic of games on the Steam Link is, in this blogger’s humble opinion, unacceptable. It is therefore my sacred and terrible duty to give the Steam Link only two Lorna’s out of five, subtracting three Lorna’s for the shameless and horrible crime of crushing my dreams.
Rating: 2 out of 5.
If despite this terribleness you still want to buy the Link, check it out here.
Et tu, Gabe? Et tu?