Stadia contains just two small pieces of hardware. One is the core Stadia controller, and the other is the Chromecast Ultra, which helps you tap into a network to play.
The Stadia controller utilizes an effective industrial design. It adopts a simple and curvilinear shape that feels good to hold. Its outline is very rounded and smooth. It comes in white or dark blue presently. A small amount of orange-red glowing light under the two joysticks and on the Stadia key creates a nice ‘live’ effect.
The shell of this controller is very similar to the Pro Controller introduced by Nintendo for Nintendo Switch. The buttons and joysticks follow the PS4 design which has dual joysticks in the middle with the arrow keys on the left. It looks like a fusion of the two competing systems.
The keystroke design of the Stadia controller is slightly different from that of its counterparts. The ABXY and arrow keys can feel stiff when pressed-especially the arrow keys, which are similar to the keys on the Nintendo Joy-Con. This is merely a personal preference and may vary from person to person; in addition to the standard Option key and Menu key, the controller also has a Google Assistant key and a screenshot key. The positions of these four keys are similar to those of the system function keys on the NS Pro Controller. Overall the button locations are very similar and will take no time to get comfortable with.
How is the Gaming Experience?
- Smooth, beautiful, and low latency. Up to 4K@60fps, support for HDR and 5.1 surround sound... Since the quality is controlled by the remote Stadia server, as long as the client has a fast network environment, you can enjoy high-quality game video which will look as good to you as the competitors do.
- Play anytime, anywhere. That’s the benefit of cloud computing. Where ever there is a network, there can be gamers. Since the there is so little hardware, you’re free to play at lunch at school or work because you can play using your cellphone or tablet if yours is supported. It’s also convenient to take on a plane since it fits nicely into any backpack. Just plug into an HDMI port on a hotel tv, or library or work monitor and go.
- Play with one click. Using your phone to manage your account and controller, Stadia knows who you are so your games are ready to go quickly. Games are stored in your online account, which contains a store where you can purchase games from a growing list.
- The advantages of cloud computing. No real way to cheat during games. This might take the fun out of gaming for some, but the rest of us appreciate a level playing field. For just $10/month, you’ll get access to free games you can claim as yours to your account.
Overall, it’s a neat system. The only downsides are the number of games available, which is growing rapidly (but there are plenty currently to keep you busy with titles you will recognize), the fact that if there is no internet you can’t play locally, and your WIFI quality affects your game play. It’s great for mobile players and those that travel for work.
You know what it doesn't come with? A good padded electronics case. Perhaps you can find one on our site, say... here.
Where’s the hardware?
Then get your account stadia.google.com and you're ready to go.