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Steam Link Review

Steam Link Review

The ability to play PC games from the comfort of my bed has long been a dream. I once had the PC at the foot of my bed, but the monitor was too small for me to read anything on it. My wifi connection in the bedroom isn’t reliable, so I needed an alternative.

The box contains Steam Link, flat ethernet cable, HDMI cable, power cable with four adaptors: USA, UK, Europe and Australia. Having never seen an Australian outlet before, I was so confused for several Google-free moments…

The Link and plug are both well designed, and even though you can swap the end of the plug it doesn’t feel flimsy like some (RIM Blackberry chargers for example). All of the cables are about 1.5m long, and the only one I’m not using is the ethernet one. It’s far too short to go out of the bedroom and down the stairs…

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The first thing I did after plugging it in was check for a system update, which I’m very glad I did. It completely changed the layout and how everything looked -- so I didn’t have to get used to two firmwares, just the one.

When connecting to the relevant computer, you need to input a security code. Not easy when your memory sucks and you have to remember four digits between the bedroom and living room… That done, I loaded up Marvel Heroes to both get my daily login bonus, and to give it the first test. It performed horribly.

Everything was so laggy that I could only assume my internet was being throttled to 56kbps. Annoyed, I gave up messing with it, and went to bed.

The next day I decided to change the settings on the Link, and make sure that my PC was running nothing but Steam. It’s eight years old, so perhaps the 6GB of DDR2 RAM and Intel Core 2 processor weren't up to scratch.

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I attempted to load some really low memory programs, such as Visual Boy Advance and gens, but neither showed up correctly. So I went for Star Trek 25th Anniversary, though as I have that DRM-free from GOG, it didn’t load up through Steam’s Big Picture Mode, nor did Simon The Sorcerer. With a sigh, and a desire to finally play it, I loaded up The Novelist.

As it’s a simple first-person perspective, I was happy to find it running perfectly. No lag, inputs were obeyed instantly, and the graphics were perfect. I played it for a good few hours, before coming off to try using some desktop apps, as I’d been told it was capable of doing.

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Unfortunately the best I could get was that it showed the desktop, then crashed. Not my PC, but the Steam Link. I checked the PC, and it was still running perfectly, and Elite Dangerous: Horizons looking pretty fantastic. When either game got busy, there was a drop in framerate and the odd artifact on the screen for a moment, but it was pretty great playing from the comfort of my bed.

Now that it’s up and running, I’ve been finding excuses to take my game playing upstairs, if you know what I mean. Of course, I mean my Steam Link. It’s a great bit of kit, and it’ll be even better when I’ve done my planned PC upgrades.

3.00/3

Steam Link Review

A great lightweight alternative to having a laptop or second PC, which lets you know that even your old Intel Core 2 still has the power to stream.

This item was supplied by the manufacturer or relevant PR company for the purposes of review
Andrew Duncan

Andrew Duncan

Editor

Guaranteed to know more about Transformers and Deadpool than any other staff member.

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