Syber Mini Remote Touchpad Keyboard
If you use the Vapor exclusively as a PC gaming console, you will rarely need the Mini Remote touchpad / keyboard combination. The Mini is great for inputting your username and password, then putting it on a shelf, never to be used again.
The keyboard section is smooth, and gives a crisp, tactical feel when you press a key, but like the keyboard on your smartphone, the buttons are small, so you have to pay attention while inputting commands.
The trackpad section is small, so the sensitivity is set high, allowing you to move across the entire screen in one swipe. The downside is you lose a little control, because a small movement on the pad equates to a large move on the screen. This can be tuned in the controller panel mouse settings, but that isn't the biggest problem with this input method.
The touchpad utilizes a tap to click function. On several occasions, we ended up clicking in different areas than we wanted to. If you vary the pressure on the touchpad, the system seems to recognize that as a click gesture. Mix the premature left clicks with the overly sensitive touchpad and you'll end up clicking all over the place if you try to use the device in a careless fashion. With that said, you can use the device effectively if you treat it with white gloves- soft and gentle... not exactly how gamers treat controllers in the heat of the moment.
Logitech F710 Wireless Controller
While Steam works out the kinks in the official Steam Machine controller, CyberPowerPC decided there isn't a need to reinvent the wheel when more than fifty designs are already selling on the market today. I don't think it's a coincidence that the Logitech F710 resembles Microsoft's Xbox design, with a dash of PlayStation DualShock on the side; it's the best of both world's really. The buttons lay in a position that is natural for my hands, but your mileage may vary.
Since the Vapor launches directly to Steam's Big Picture Mode, this is your primary control method. Unlike PlayStation and Xbox consoles, if you don't like this controller, you can purchase and use one of several different designs on the market. While I like the Logitech F710, I prefer the Thrustmaster Ferrari Wireless Gamepad 430 Scuderia Limited Edition with optical control for the best precision, and smoothest control.
Users who want to play multiplayer games with two controllers can add another F710 for around $39.99 from online and retail stores.
Steam Big Picture Mode
I could write a multipage article just on Steam's Big Picture Mode. The feature is built into every Steam installation, so you can take a tour of this controller-optimized software that pulls PC gaming into a console-like structure.
The Vapor boots into Windows, and then directly into Big Picture Mode as soon as Windows loads. Once inside, your primary controller takes over. The software uses a flowing menu system, similar to what both Microsoft and Sony consoles use. Big Picture is organized better than Xbox's interface, while offering more controller features than PlayStation consoles.
If your game isn't optimized for controller use, Big Picture warns you before the game loads. Steam also has a nice feature that allows you to add games to the library that were not purchased through the service. This gives your non-Steam games an icon in the library. After your initial configuration, you really never have to leave Big Picture Mode.
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