Everything You Need to Know About The Best Handheld Steam Deck PC Games Console

Valve Steam Deck

Steam Deck Overview

The Steam Deck is an upcoming handheld gaming PC developed by Valve, the creator of the popular Steam gaming platform. With its powerful hardware and ability to play thousands of Steam games, the Steam Deck aims to bring PC gaming on the go like never before.

This guide will provide everything you need about the Steam Deck, including its features, specs, price, release date, games, and more.

Steam DeckDetails
Release DateDecember 2021
ManufacturerValve
Dimensions298mm x 117mm x 49mm
WeightApprox. 669 grams
Storage64 GB eMMC, 256 GB NVMe SSD, 512 GB NVMe SSD
Display7-inch 1280×800 LCD touchscreen
GraphicsAMD APU with RDNA 2 graphics
ProcessorCustom Zen 2 CPU
RAM16 GB LPDDR5
Battery Life2 – 8 hours
Operating SystemSteamOS 3.0 (Arch Linux-based)
Price$399 (64GB), $529 (256GB), $649 (512GB)

Introduction

The Steam Deck is Valve’s entry into the handheld gaming space. It aims to bring the extensive Steam PC game library to a portable form factor for the first time. The device features powerful and customizable hardware in a compact design with gaming-focused input methods.

Valve announced the Steam Deck in July 2021 as the Steam Machine living room PCs successor. However, unlike the Steam Machines, the Steam Deck is fully portable with a built-in display and controls. Valve attempts to compete against the Nintendo Switch by giving gamers access to triple-A games on a handheld device.

The Steam Deck promises full-fledged PC gaming on the go. Gamers can play their existing Steam library on a 7-inch touchscreen or connect the device to monitors and peripherals for a more desktop-like experience. With the Steam Deck, PC gaming is no longer confined to desks and living rooms.

Valve Steam Deck Image
Valve Steam Deck

Steam Deck Release Date

Valve opened reservations for the Steam Deck in July 2021 for a $5 fee. The Steam Deck will launch in waves starting in December 2021.

The company aims to start shipping the 64 GB and 256 GB models first in December 2021. Reservations made now will be fulfilled sometime in 2022, depending on demand. The higher-end 512 GB model will ship at a later date.

Valve intends to roll out the Steam Deck globally over the course of 2022 as production ramps up. The initial launch regions include the US, Canada, the European Union, and the UK. Additional regions will get access periodically.

While December 2021 is the official release date, not everyone who reserved will get their device right away. Valve is prioritizing existing Steam users based on account longevity. New Steam users may have to wait longer into 2022 to purchase a Steam Deck.

Steam Deck Models and Pricing

The Steam Deck will be available in three models based on internal storage capacity:

  • 64 GB eMMC: $399
  • 256 GB NVMe SSD: $529
  • 512 GB NVMe SSD: $649
Valve Steam Deck
Valve Steam Deck

The only difference between the models is the internal solid-state storage. Otherwise, they share the same 7-inch 1280×800 touchscreen, AMD APU, 16GB RAM, and 40Wh battery.

Additional storage can be added through the microSD card slot or high-speed USB-C port. Valve recommends a U3 A2 microSD card or USB-C SSD for optimal performance.

The 256GB model offers the best value considering its reasonable price and four times the base model’s storage. The 512GB version mainly benefits those who play storage-heavy games or wish to install their entire Steam library.

All models can connect to peripherals like Bluetooth controllers, keyboards, headsets, external SSDs, and monitors. This allows for a more traditional PC gaming setup when desired.

Valve Steam Deck
Valve Steam Deck

Steam Deck Hardware Specifications

Here are the hardware specifications for the Steam Deck:

  • Display: 7-inch 1280x800px LCD touchscreen
  • Processor: AMD custom Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz
  • Graphics: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz (up to 1.6 TFLOPS)
  • Memory: 16GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • Storage: 64GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1) / 256GB NVMe SSD / 512GB NVMe SSD
  • Battery: 40Whr battery, 2 – 8 hours
  • Input: Joysticks, D-pad, ABXY buttons, L4/R4 bumpers, View and Menu buttons. Rear buttons.
  • Output: USB-C with DisplayPort 1.4 Alt-mode support; up to 8K @60Hz or 4K @120Hz, USB 3.2 Gen 2
  • Audio: Stereo speakers, 3.5mm headphone/headset jack
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Dual-band Wi-Fi radio, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, 2 x 2 MIMO
  • OS: SteamOS 3.0 (Arch Linux-based)
  • Dimensions: 298mm x 117mm x 49mm
  • Weight: Approx. 669 grams

The Steam Deck’s AMD Aerith APU is optimized for handheld gaming. It combines Zen 2 CPU cores with RDNA 2 graphics based on the Van Gogh architecture. While not as powerful as a gaming laptop or desktop, it provides decent performance in a compact form factor.

Steam Deck Design

Valve designed the Steam Deck specifically for handheld gaming with the following hardware features:

Valve steam deck image
Image Credit Steam Deck
  • Comfortable handgrips with textured plastic on the back
  • Full set of dual analogue sticks, d-pad, face buttons, and shoulder triggers
  • Capacitive touchscreen for navigating SteamOS or playing touch-friendly games
  • Rear buttons for extra inputs that are configurable per game
  • Large tactile buttons for main interface navigation
  • Dual microphones for voice chat and assistance
  • Stereo speakers with DSP for immersive 3D audio
  • Gyro for motion controls in compatible games
  • Rumble haptics for tactile feedback

The overall design is reminiscent of the Nintendo Switch with controls flanking either side of the central touchscreen. This provides comfortable and intuitive access to all inputs while gaming. The handgrips are slightly angled with balanced weight distribution for playing over extended periods.

A customizable touch menu provides quick access to settings, brightness, volume, keyboard, and more. Multiple Steam Deck devices can also connect locally for shared local multiplayer gaming sessions.

SteamOS and Software

The Steam Deck runs SteamOS 3.0, a new version of Valve’s Linux-based operating system. It is based on Arch Linux and optimized for the Steam Deck hardware and for gaming.

SteamOS provides the following features tailored for the Steam Deck:

Valve Steam Deck Image 4
Valve Steam Deck
  • Gaming-first user interface
  • Easy access to your Steam game library
  • Steam Store for purchasing and downloading games
  • Support for suspending/resuming games instantly
  • Game compatibility tools like Proton for running Windows games
  • Customizable performance settings like frame rate caps
  • Ability to switch to desktop mode to access Linux apps and settings
  • Full KDE Plasma desktop environment is also available
  • Installing Windows 10 is supported unofficially

The default SteamOS interface shows your Steam game library with customizations for controlling games and accessing system settings quickly. A desktop mode can toggle on the full KDE Plasma desktop for standard Linux app usage and deeper system access.

Valve provides Proton compatibility tools to allow most Windows PC games to run on the Steam Deck. Anti-cheat compatibility for online multiplayer titles is still being improved. Thousands of games are already verified to work great on Steam Deck, with more added daily.

You can dual-boot Windows 10 for full game compatibility, however, the experience is not optimized. Drivers and tweaks are needed for proper performance and battery life compared to SteamOS.

Steam Deck Battery Life

Battery life is the main limitation of the Steam Deck as a portable gaming device. Valve estimates a range between 2 and 8 hours depending on the game and settings. More graphically intense 3D games will drain the battery faster than 2D indie titles.

Steam Deck Back Side
Valve Steam Deck

Factors impacting battery life include:

  • Game graphics complexity and frame rate
  • Screen brightness level
  • Sound volume level
  • Use of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, rumble, etc.
  • Display resolution and FidelityFX options
  • In-game graphic settings like v-sync, anti-aliasing, etc.

Playing simpler 2D and older games may reach 6-8 hours while AAA 3D titles will be closer to 2-3 hours. 30 FPS frame rate caps can extend play time over 60 FPS gameplay. Medium resolution and details is the sweet spot for decent graphics and battery span.

You can monitor battery percentage and tweak performance settings on the fly using the Quick Access menu. The Steam Deck charges via the USB-C port which takes about 2-3 hours for a full charge. External batteries can also prolong gaming sessions.

Valve Steam Deck Store

They had to create a separate section for games whose controls perfectly map over. However, many games have controls that do not map well or have unknown compatibility, making it a tossup. There are also games on the Steam Deck Store Page that are utterly unsupported by Steam Deck and will not work. So, whenever you search the store, you can specify Steam deck “verified games only,” which works great. You can also take a chance and include games that are playable but not perfect, which is entirely up to you.

So, the Steam Deck’s challenge is to be able to play any of the games Steam Deck verified games list, wherever you want, which is an incredible goal. You can take your steam library, or at least the majority of it, with you on the go, which is something I never thought would be possible other than by bringing a gaming laptop with you. Still, now you can pretty much bring your entire steam library with you on a console that’s a little bigger than a Nintendo switch.

Valve Steam Deck
Valve Steam Deck

For example, all games have a Steam Deck compatibility rating when browsing the Steam Store.

To be fair, in the meantime, those games that have been tested will either be verified entirely, will work and be playable but will have some issues, or will be considered unplayable on the system. Verified games should function strictly as intended. You should have no trouble using all the controls on the Handheld Gaming PC Valve Steam Deck.

Top 10 Steam Deck Compatible Games

Grid Legend

Hitman Steam Deck
Both Image Credit Valve Steam Deck Store (GRID & HITMAN)
Aragami
Before We Leave
Carto
Edge Of Eternity
Everhood
Final Fantasy 1 to 4
Grid Legends
Haven
Hitman
Noita

Steam Deck Software Updates

The Steam Deck already has a dedicated community of fans mapping the controls to various new games.

Since I first got it, Valve has released several software updates for it. Bug fixes, new features, and experiments People are out here plugging it into a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse.

Even if I’m not the most significant gamer in the world, the fun is being able to take these two new games to new places and play them in places I would never usually be able to. If you want that experience, you should try to get a Steam Deck, but there aren’t many of them. But if you are, go ahead and check it out.

Steam Deck Keyboard
Image Credit Valve Steam Deck

Steam Deck Has Received An Upgrade That Brings More Games Available!

Okay, guys, this is yet another massive update for the Handheld Gaming PC Valve Steam Deck, so let’s talk about why you should install it right now if you haven’t already. To begin with, many features and fixes improve the quality of life. Improvement The first update in the general category is that the range sliders are now more precise, especially with large numbers; additionally, changing the value will accelerate.

They also fix scrolling on the home page, make the what’s New section more reliable, fix an issue with loading the game Carousel in the recommended Tab and fix crashes related to screenshots and audio. Bluetooth and streaming from another deck improved the responsiveness of the on-screen keyboard and allowed it to run at 60 frames per second.

steam deck image
Image Credit Valve Steam Deck

They fixed a long-standing annoyance with the keyboard where some keystrokes would miss input and resolved the problem where the virtual keyboard couldn’t sometimes type into a chat tab. Then they updated the keyboard so that external controllers were more reliable when using it and they turned their attention to the media tab now this is where you can view and manage your screenshots they made this page more performant for people who have a large number of screenshots.

They also added the ability to scroll through your screenshots in full-screen mode using the left and right buttons. This also means that when you exit full-screen mode, you’re properly focused on the image you last viewed, which is a fantastic feature update.

Steam Deck Review

I’m ready to deliver my final review judgment on it. There have been many updates to this ambitious handheld gaming PC since then, but I was most looking forward to the graphics driver that would allow us to test it as a standard Windows PC and avoid the limitations of Valve’s Linux-based steam-OS.

We have that now, and the Handheld Gaming PC Valve Steam Deck has also smoothed out some of its launch issues, so how good is it? When the stars align, this chunky little handheld can do some absolutely impressive things, putting a pretty powerful tiny pc in your hands, but given how many popular games do not work on the Steam deck right now.

Is The Steam Deck Worth It?

Yes, It has a long way to go before it can genuinely let you take your Steam library anywhere. It never lets you forget that it’s a PC, and it’s not as smooth as an experience with a walled garden console.

It’s interesting to consider that with just a few accessories, the Handheld Gaming PC Valve Steam Deck could be someone’s only computer, which wouldn’t be a bad setup. While Linux may appear intimidating, even if you run Steam OS in desktop mode, you’d find it pretty familiar and much easier to use than you might think. Non-gaming applications respect the battery, whereas games chug it like some electrified frat boy. We got over 8 hours of battery life.

FAQ’s

Is the Valve Steam Deck worth it?

Although the Steam Deck is an impressive gadget, it may not appeal to every gamer. However, it could become your preferred gaming device if you are a PC gamer or prioritize portability. In my case, it has surpassed conventional PC and console gaming and has become my favourite device.

Is Steam Deck just a PC?

To utilize the Steam Deck, you need to create a Steam account, which is free of charge. The games can be bought and downloaded through the Steam Store. Nonetheless, since the Steam Deck is essentially a PC, it is possible to install third-party software and operating systems on it.

Is Steam Deck better than PS5?

When it comes to performance, the Steam Deck cannot be compared to the PS5. It would be more appropriate to compare it with the Nintendo Switch, which is a similar device. However, it is worth noting that the Steam Deck is actually more powerful than the Nintendo Switch.

Can you play Steam Deck offline?

To launch games on SteamOS and Steam Deck in offline mode, you will first need to be online to download the games and play online multiplayer. After a game is installed on the device, it can be played offline unless it requires an internet connection, similar to playing on a PC.

Which is better, Steam Deck or Switch?

If you consider yourself a Nintendo gamer above all else, it’s advisable to stick with the Switch unless you already own a Steam Deck. However, if you’re mainly a PC gamer and possess most or all of your games on Steam, then the Steam Deck would be a more logical choice.

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I'm Furqan, a passionate writer and technology enthusiast with a deep love for gadgets and the latest advancements in the tech world. I'm excited to share my knowledge and insights with you through my blog, Techuzy.
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