Recently, Valve announced their Steam Deck, a powerful and portable gaming console. There is so much to talk about this cool & amazing looking device and without wasting any further let’s dive into it.
So, Steam Deck is a new handheld/portable and powerful gaming console by Valve. Here is my list of 8 facts about the Steam Deck that, in my opinion, makes it the most amazing portable gaming console yet in 2021. Don’t believe me? Let’s get started with my list:
1. Screen resolution of Steam Deck
So, in my opinion, this might be the coolest device to come up in 2021. It is a portable gaming console thing and according to the description of the product it sounds awesome. For $399 at the base price 7” 1280*800px (16:10) aspect ratio, touch screen, which I think is the perfect resolution for this kind of device.
There are a lot of devices that try to do the handheld gaming console thing, and a lot of company goes for the higher resolution screens because it looks better on spec pages. But in terms of actual playability, high resolution screen sucks in the handheld devices because it just drains the battery life of the device. Therefore, optimum resolution screen on the handheld device like the Nintendo Switch is the sweet spot for any portable gaming devices.
2. Memory in Steam Deck
16 GB of real fast RAM in steam deck, 5.5 Gigahertz dual channel LPDDR5, this stuff is the top of the line. It’s fast, and this is exactly what a gaming console needs. The system is running AMD APU and this thing just loves fast memory.
3. Storage in Steam Deck
Looking at the storage, 64 GB of eMMC at the base level is not the fastest out there. But our main concern is that lot of Steam games specially AAA game title, they are huge and can easily cross over 64 GB if it is a big enough game. However, the 64 GB variant is just the base model so if you are planning on playing AAA title game in this Steam Deck then I would recommend you to go with higher variant of the Steam Deck where you get a lot better storage.
Having said that, the device comes with the Micro SD card. But I don’t know how exactly the SD card will function. Like for example, let’s say I have a big game like 75 GB, so how will the storage work? Will the half of the game will be stored in the hard drive and the other chunk in the SD card, I don’t know?
But what makes this device a compelling product is, $399 for a powerful portable gaming console. I mean, this thing is powerful. This isn’t like RTX 3090 powerful but RDNA2 1.6 teraflops on a 7” screen, 1280*800px is plenty.
Nevertheless, it’s going to be the very viable system for the vast majority of games out there and the best part is, it is the full fledge PC. You can plug it up with Monitor, TV, Keyboard, mouse, and all the regular gaming PC peripherals, and then you have a $399 Powerful gaming PC. So, in terms of Hardware, it is excellent and beyond our imagination at this price point.
4. Software in Steam Deck
Now, the Software. In terms of the software, it’s kind of surprising that how open this platform seems to be. The Deck is running the Linux based Steam OS 3.0 (Arch based) but you can install whatever you want on it. You can install windows, or any other competing gaming services like Origin or Epic games or whatever you want. It is literally a powerful gaming PC in your hand. I mean, it’s crazy to think about that at this price point you can do anything on it and does not seem to have a limit.
I mean you can install Discord, Homebrew, emulation and the list go on, simply you can do whatever you want in this device and can seamlessly handle all the things. It’s cray for this kind of price, that’s super impressive.
5. Weight of the Steam Deck
Weighing in around 700 gm for the handheld device, that’s heavy in my opinion. Like as compare to the Nintendo Switch that is around 300 gm.
However, the agronomic of the device looks pretty sleek and the curvature on the devices seems very comfortable and may override that chunkiness of the device.
6. Controls of the Steam Deck
Now talking about the controls in the devices, on the first reaction, those controls look weirdly positioned. Like they are so high up, which does not seem to be the traditional spot for the controls. So, I actually have to hold the Steam Deck in my hand before I can say anything about it. But one thing I do want to point out is that touch capacitive sensor thing, I love it.
On the steam controller, they had that tech a couple of years ago, and I just simply love it. So, it’s nice to see that they put in it on Stem Deck. You can seamlessly use that sensor as a trackpad. So, if you have the operating system or certain games that can make use of trackpad or regular cursor, then you have it covered.
7. Battery life of the Steam Deck
Now let’s talk about battery life in Steam Deck. The Spec sheet of the Steam Deck mentions the 40 Wah battery. Well, considering the size of the device, I don’t know if they could have made it any bigger.
Generally, the bigger the battery, the chunkier the device, right? In my opinion, 40 Wah battery on APUs of 15w like the high-end model, is not supper battery draining, combine it with not a super high-resolution screen, I think it’s good.
They are quoting 2 to 8 hrs. Which is a huge spread. But there is a line in the IGN video where they were saying if you are playing Portal 2 at max settings, you can get about 4 hrs. of gameplay, but if you limit to 30 FPS, then you get about 6 hrs. of battery life.
8. Accessories in Steam Deck
Now let’s talk about accessories that comes with the device. Even the base model comes with the carrying case which looks very nice and the USB-c charger.
So over all, Steam Deck looks pretty nice package to me at $399.
Quick Tech Specs in Steam Deck
CPU: Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz (up to 448 GFlops FP32)
GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz (up to 1.6 TFlops FP32)
APU power: 4-15W
|RAM||16 GB LPDDR5 on-board RAM (5500 MT/s dual-channel)|
|Storage||64 GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1)|
256 GB NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
All models include high-speed microSD card slot
|Controls and Input||Gamepad controls, Thumbsticks, Haptics, Trackpads, Gyro|
|Display||7″ 1280 x 800px (16:10 aspect ratio) IPS LCD, 60Hz refresh rate, Touch enabled|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, Dual-band Wi-Fi radio, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, 2 x 2 MIMO, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac|
|Audio||Stereo with embedded DSP for an immersive listening experience, 3.5mm stereo headphone / headset jack|
|Battery||40Whr battery. 2 – 8 hours of gameplay|
|Expansion||microSD, External connectivity for|
controllers & displays (USB-C with DisplayPort 1.4 Alt-mode support; up to 8K @60Hz or 4K @120Hz, USB 3.2 Gen 2)
|Size and Weight||298mm x 117mm x 49mm, Approx. 669 grams|
|Operating System||SteamOS 3.0 (Arch-based)|
So, my overall take on this Steam Deck is that I still can’t understand why? Because if you think about Valve, it’s a very profitable company. And for them to bring the device like this, obviously not the hardware, it is not the play here, right? The hardware is more like a stepping step toward to get somewhere.
This is a huge endeavor. Personally, in my opinion, they will be selling a lot of this device because it looks that amazing, cool and very compelling specially at this price point. Their official website says that the company will be shipping and Steam Deck from coming December 2021. But you can add it to your wishlist now from their website.