by Greg King on December 1, 2006 in Peripherals
One common problem that PC and console gamers alike experience, is sweaty hands. Yes, this can easily happen during an intense Moto GP or Need for Speed session. Logitech to the rescue with their latest gamepad, which includes a beefy 40mm fan to help you keep your cool during gameplay.
The argument between console and PC gaming has been going strong for as long as I can remember. Whether you are for the tried and true PC, or you’re a hardcore console gamer, more often than not, the primary difference for both is the controls. With a console, you have handheld controller that you use to navigate your character or vehicle through the game. This is favorable for most because they can sit back comfortably with both hands on a single control. In contrast, the PC crowd will argue that the keyboard and mouse is the ideal way to take charge of the game. I have personally been in the middle of this debate. I have owned my share of consoles and I obviously have been a fan of PCs for a long time too. I have had a few gamepads for the PC in the past but anything outside of racing games and the gamepad was useless to me.
Last December, we took a look at the XBOX 360s wired controller and its performance when used on the PC. For some, this wasn’t really anything new as many people had used the original XBOX controller and its smaller brother, the controller S, with their PC. This was done with drivers that could easily be found and a custom USB plug that could either be purchased or made if you were up to the challenge. I in fact, still use my green controller S for my PC gamepad and have slowly been getting used to the 360’s wired controller too.
One company that has been making peripheral for the PC and consoles alike is Logitech. More known for their mice, PC speakers, and keyboards, Logitech has built a name for themselves by manufacturing quality gaming gear. Today, we are taking a look at their latest gamepad, the Chillstream. With a built in 40mm fan, the Chillstream aims to keep your hands cool when in the middle of long gaming sessions. With a similar design the XBOX controllers; can the Chillstream deliver smooth controls while keeping your hands cool? Or is the Chillstream just a clever gimmick?
Packaging and Hardware
Coming to us in the retail packaging, the Chillstream quickly brings up thoughts of the XBOX 360 controller. It’s layout is almost exactly the same with dual joysticks, a D-pad, a ABXY button cluster, start, select, a pair of shoulder buttons, a pair of triggers and finally, a center button that looks a lot like the XBOX Live button on the 360 controller.
Once out of the packaging, we see that the sides of the Chillstream are perforated to allow air to flow out of the controller and onto the user’s hand, keeping them cool while gaming. As asked before, will this be function or gimmick? Personally, my hands can get quite sweaty in the middle of an intense race and if it works as it should, I shouldn’t have this problem for much longer.
The Chillstream does not require much of a PC and the system requirements confirm this. To be able to use the Chillstream, your PC must meet the following stipulations:
- PC with Pentium processor or compatible
- Windows XP, or Vista
- Available USB port
Notice that the Chillstream is already confirmed to work with Windows Vista. The gamepad even takes advantage of Vista and the player can use the Chillstream’s center button for special features in that OS. I am sad to report that my Vista RC2 hard drive decided it had taken quite enough, and left in a hurry in a clicking ride into the sunset.
In the package, the Chillstream comes with an installation paper and a small and ‘cute,’ as my wife called it, driver disk.
According to the manual, you are to install the drivers for the Chillstream before you even connect the gamepad to your PC. Following these simple steps, we had the controller up and going in no time. Before we get into gaming with the Chillstream, let’s take a closer look the gamepad itself.
The pad looks very similar to the XBOX 360s controller. As we covered earlier, the button layout and overall design of the controller is almost identical to that one.
When we take a closer look at the front of the Chillstream, we see that unlike the smooth lines of the 360 controller, the Logitech has more of an angled look with definite lines.
On the left side of the Chillstream, there is a small button to the right of the D-pad and just below the right joystick. This buttons only function is to operate the speed of the internal fan. There are three settings: off, intermittent and full on. When the fan is spinning at full speed, you can definitely tell that it is on and that’s without even touching it. The fan is somewhat loud but not offensively loud, just noisy.
On the back, we see the grill covering the fan. This grill is made out of metal and should prove to be durable for those who might abuse their controllers.
To connect to your PC, the Chillstream uses a standard USB interface. The cord is a bit short at 6 feet but should prove to be long enough for most. This is when one wishes that they had front USB ports.
Before we get into the results, let’s take a look at a few more angles of the Chillstream. These pictures show the openings that allow the air to flow out across your hands. As you can see, there are openings on the bottom of the controller as well as on the top and sides. If the Chillstream does what it says it does, those openings should keep your hands nice and dry.