Is the Amazon Luna controller worth it?

It’s been over a year and a half since Amazon launched its Luna cloud gaming service, and it wasn’t until March 1, 2022 that it was officially open to subscribers. One of the service’s biggest points of emphasis is the dedicated Luna controller.

There are plenty of casual gamers out there who tend to prefer cloud gaming services. Those users aren’t equipped with advanced, expensive and sometimes esoteric computing hardware. So, Amazon released a dedicated controller alongside the new game streaming platform.

The Luna controller is similar to other console controllers, but where it stands out is it reduces input latency. This feature provides fun and easy gaming with the lowest level of frustration possible. We got our hands on one to see if this feature held up and to test how it worked for various games.

Testing the Luna controller

Amazon created the Luna controller for casual gamers or those who might be new to gaming. Nonetheless, we made sure to hand off our testing unit to an enthusiastic gamer with 15 years of experience on various consoles. We tested it in several game genres to make sure it delivered a solid performance across the board.

Like any controller or input device, our process involved paying careful attention to every aspect of using the device. This process goes from unboxing the item all the way to turning it off and recharging it for the next use.

What is the Luna controller?

Every other controller out there connects straight to a console or PC. The Luna, by contrast, uses a Wi-Fi radio to connect to your home network and communicate directly with the Luna server. This feature sets the Luna controller apart from the rest. When you use any other Bluetooth controller with a cloud gaming service, it has to communicate with your TV or streaming device first and then send information to the Luna server.

Input lag doesn’t matter with every game, but titles that rely on split-second decisions require the lowest lag possible. The Luna controller delivers the lowest lag possible to address this issue.

In terms of gaming performance, we were impressed by the Luna controller. We’ve used many controllers in the past, and the Luna didn’t feel much from them — and that’s a good thing. It didn’t introduce any additional lag when we tried it with a smartphone or PC, either.

The internal Wi-Fi connection is novel and unique, and we wondered how reliable it would be. We were impressed that once it connected, it never showed any signs of a dropped connection or weak signal. Since that was our biggest worry, the Luna controller got especially high marks for dependability.

Of course, we encountered a few minor issues. The balance was slightly off, and it actually felt like the controller was too centered — it could use some more weight in the wings to achieve the perfect balance. We did get used to it after a couple of hours, but it’s still something we noticed.

There’s a similar issue with the triggers. The shoulder buttons were positioned perfectly, but the triggers extend a bit higher than those on other big-name controllers. We had to stretch our fingers slightly to get the perfect angle on the triggers. Again, it’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s something to consider, especially for players with small hands.

Luna controller price and where to buy

The Luna controller costs $70 direct from Amazon.

How to use the Luna controller

Right out of the box, it felt like a premium, well-made controller. It has a near-identical layout to the Xbox controller, which many gamers hail as one of the best game controllers ever. If you’re a fan of symmetrical controllers, such as the PlayStation DualShock and DualSense, you’ll probably need time to adjust to the Luna controller.

You will need to install the Amazon Luna app to configure the controller on your smartphone. Once we did that, we didn’t have any issues linking it to other devices, including a PC.

Switching screens and devices also proved interesting. Since we registered the controller with our Luna account, there was essentially zero waiting time when changing between displays. We just opened the Luna app, and everything was ready to go.

Keep in mind if you’re using the controller with anything other than the Luna service, the Luna controller works much like a standard Bluetooth device. Once you download Amazon’s Bluetooth driver to ensure it recognizes other signals, it’s relatively easy to pair this controller with Windows 10 and Android OS.

Luna controller benefits

  • Perfect for Luna cloud gaming: It does a great job at minimizing input latency, which is easily the biggest issue with any cloud gaming service. It’s also remarkably streamlined if you want to use Luna with different devices.
  • Relatively durable: It feels equally as durable as other OEM console controllers, which are the gold standard for controller finish and reliability.
  • Compatible with Steam and other PC platforms: If you have any games that are only available on a PC, this controller is worth considering.

Luna controller drawbacks

  • No console support: You can’t connect the Luna controller to an Xbox or Playstation.
  • Buttons were stiff: Although manageable, the buttons weren’t as smooth as ones you’d find on premium controllers.
  • It’s not cheap: Since it’s relatively expensive, it may be hard to justify the purchase if you don’t plan on using the Luna cloud gaming service.

Should you get the Luna controller?

Luna Controller

If you want to subscribe to the versatile Luna cloud service, get the Luna controller. In general, Luna provides an excellent gaming experience without requiring any high-end hardware. The Luna controller works with it perfectly by minimizing input lag significantly.

If you don’t plan on subscribing to the Luna service, consider getting a different controller. Most high-quality controllers work with the cloud gaming service, so even if you change your mind, you can still use it with Luna.

Other game controllers to consider

Microsoft Xbox Series X/S Wireless

Microsoft Xbox Series X/S Wireless

Many gamers consider this to be the best gaming controller ever made, as long as you’re comfortable with its classic asymmetrical layout. It also works swimmingly with Windows since it comes from Microsoft.

Sold by Amazon

Sony PlayStation Dualsense

Sony PlayStation Dualsense

This controller is right up there with the Xbox controller, especially when it comes to precision, build quality and reliability.

Sold by Amazon

8bitdo Pro 2

8bitdo Pro 2

While the button labels are tailored to the Nintendo Switch, this is actually one of the best PC gaming controllers money can buy.

Sold by Amazon

SteelSeries Stratus Duo

SteelSeries Stratus Duo

This controller is an excellent choice if you play on Windows, Chrome OS or an Oculus Go VR headset. However, it doesn’t connect with consoles.

Sold by Amazon

 

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Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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