Given the rapid speed at which our PCs have had to become all-encompassing content creation tools, ease of use has arguably never been a more important consideration. In response to this, companies like Razer are making the ability to quickly and easily access multiple, complex actions at the push of a button easier and sexier than ever before – for the right price. The Razer Stream Controller X is a gorgeous crafted unit at $269 RRP, sporting complex but powerful software that makes it a strong market competitor, once you’ve settled into the ecosystem.
The Razer Stream Controller X sports a familiar form factor, opting for the age old ‘if it ain’t broke…’ school of design. The unit clocks in around 10cm wide and 8cm tall if you’re using the included stand, and is super lightweight to boot, a humble 177g. Sporting 15 face buttons, the minimal black matte design pairs nicely with the smooth plastic finish on the panels, making for a discreet and easily adaptable unit that can comfortably slot into just about anywhere on your desk, within reason. The included stand props the device up at an accessible 50° angle (though you’re free to use it as is by laying it on your desk), and includes a cubby hole in the back for USB-C cable passthrough and anti-slip design to ensure your device won’t wander. My only small gripe concerns the hard to define ‘push-feel’ of the buttons, which aren’t unresponsive by any stretch and have a certain softness that didn’t allow for as much tactility as I would have liked.
The Razer Stream Controller X is a sleek little unit
While the core design of the unit is sleek and understated, it’s once you plug it in that that the Razer Stream Controller X starts to shine, with those aforementioned glossy face buttons lighting up with 15 preloaded functions, all begging to be customised to your heart’s content. While I’ve been in the content creation space for several years now, I’m the first to admit that I’m not the most adept at the particulars of PC-powered customisation. So with that in mind, it should be noted that while the unit does eventually yield fantastic results, its software may require more effort than you’re expecting. Loupedeck is, ultimately, a very powerful tool that will allow you to deeply customise your Stream Controller X, but it isn’t the easiest software to master.
Razer has wisely included a set of pre-loaded functions on the device though, allowing relatively quick use of the unit for streaming sound effects, basic computer functions, and social media. Additionally, the Stream Controller X will smartly switch functionality based on the primary program you’re running, dynamically adapting to things like OBS and Adobe’s suit from the jump. Drilling deeper down into Loupedeck though, users can pull from a surprisingly robust list of plugins, and that’s before you’re even able to upload and customise your own. There is a Loupedeck marketplace I largely ignored, but if you’re so inclined you can purchase a variety of things from it, including stream overlays and plug-ins for an even deeper Twitch experience.
Loupedeck is a fantastic tool once you find your way around it
For me, the ability to easily switch between screens and have immediate access to sound effects, quick cuts, and animations made the unit invaluable in terms of content creation. I’m loathe to put functionality anywhere but the front-facing part of a device (seriously my phone home screen is all folders for immediate app access), and Loupedeck allowed me to cram as much as humanly possible onto the first slate of tools on the unit. While the option to scroll between functions was useful for Adobe tools, for streaming I much preferred and valued the quick double taps and trigger functions that allowed multiple actions to be assigned to the same button.
If streaming isn’t your jam but you just want more control over your PC’s general functionality, the Stream Controller X is also a nifty little tool for basic tools and tricks. Want to assign additional keyboard shortcuts? Go for it. Tired of using your mouse for everything? Slap that right click onto the controller. Loupedeck’s suit of tools, while initially overwhelming and a little off-putting to newcomers, can really let you thrive in your own space, giving you access to useful shortcuts in style. You can program up to 14 pages onto the unit too, which combined with the dynamic switching, makes the Stream Controller X a remarkably adaptable tool.
With its discreet form factor and deep customisation options, the Razer Stream Controller X is a beautiful and adaptive bit of hardware. Some minor sensory weirdness around the buttons and a reliance on complicated software make the initial onboarding a little wobbly at times, but once you’ve found your way with the unit, it’s hard to go back to life without one for your PC. From basic application and system functionality to high-level content creation, the Razer Stream Controller X gives you a robust and satisfying degree of controller over your digital world.
Review unit supplied by the manufacturer