Valve Steam Deck Docking Station review: “A premium accessory that won’t be for everyone”

The official Valve Steam Deck Docking Station has arrived, permitting you to attach your Steam Deck to a TV or monitor with relative ease. In the 12 months or so delay to its launch, different producers have stepped in to fill the hole to supply nice alternate options within the race to be the very best Steam Deck dock, nevertheless, the query now could be whether or not Valve’s official equipment actually is the easiest possibility, particularly when these alternate options are considerably cheaper than Valve’s $89 / £79 possibility. Today’s greatest Valve Steam Deck Docking Station offers (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)Design & Features(Image credit score: Future/Sam Loveridge)The Valve Steam Deck Docking Station is a neat little system, successfully working as a shelf to carry your Steam Deck while concurrently providing up all the varied ports you’d want to attach it to a gaming TV or gaming monitor. The design is properly thought out, with a groove through which to take a seat the Steam Deck itself, and rubber undersides to maintain it firmly in place. There’s a lip to cease the Steam Deck sliding ahead too, which does not obscure the display in any means. It lacks any branding too, so it lets the Steam Deck simply exist as a part of your desktop or lounge setup. Around the again of the Dock, there are all of the ports that you may most likely ever want. There are three USB 3.1 ports, one HDMI 2.0, and one DisplayPort 1.4 (one thing that’s lacking from nearly all of rivals to the official Dock). There’s additionally an Ethernet port, and USB-C port for energy. It handily comes with its personal energy provide – the identical charger as comes with the Steam Deck itself – after which has a USB-C cable that comes from the rear to enter the highest of your Steam Deck for connecting it to the Dock itself. The truth it comes with a charger, one thing that cannot be stated for nearly any of its rivals, means that you’ll be able to maintain the Docking Station setup wherever you want it to be, with out having to detangle your wires to take the Steam Deck on the go.(Image credit score: Future/Sam Loveridge)Those USB ports are important for connecting any peripherals chances are you’ll wish to use. We opted for a mixture of a wired Xbox One controller, and a wi-fi gaming keyboard and gaming mouse throughout our testing. It all labored seamlessly, with the Steam Deck Docking Station even recognizing the Xbox One controller and altering the interface to match the button mapping – together with the Xbox brand itself. However, as a result of the ports are throughout the again, utilizing a wired controller could make the setup fairly messy-looking, notably for those who’re going wired for your different inputs too. Overall although, it is extremely simple to arrange – however you will have your individual HDMI/DisplayPort cable – after which it is nearly only a case of plug-and-play. The design is so good, the truth is, that others have aped its comfort, together with the iVoler 5-in-1 Steam Deck Dock, which does nearly every part this official possibility does bar the Ethernet and DisplayPort connections.Compared to the iVoler possibility although, you’ll be able to inform this official unit is a premium little bit of equipment. It’s properly made, has unbelievable construct high quality, and feels actually sturdy – sufficient that you’ll be able to take it with you for a conveyable setup with out worrying about damaging it.(Image credit score: Future/Sam Loveridge)EfficiencyThe Valve Steam Deck Docking Station is well the most suitable choice for providing a plug-and-play expertise for the Steam Deck. For something that’s Verified for Steam Deck, it will mechanically alter the settings to get you the very best expertise for your TV or monitor. For instance, working Wolfenstein 2: The New Colossus or Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection was not solely seamless but in addition truly appeared fairly good. Currently, the Valve Steam Deck Docking Station helps as much as 4K 60Hz or 1440p 120Hz, and might supply multi-monitor assist so long as you employ each the HDMI and DisplayPort directly (somewhat than two HDMI). An replace is coming to repair this situation however nonetheless is not stay on the time of writing. The similar can be stated for FreeSync assist, which once more is en route however not at present obtainable. It’s price remembering that you are by no means truly including any processing or graphical oomph whereas docking your Steam Deck, so you are still restricted by the {hardware} limitations of the Deck itself. Some video games do require tweaking and fumbling round within the settings, so it is not all the time a case of simply booting up and assuming you are getting the very best obtainable for your bigger show. It’s by no means going to be fairly as simple as docking a Switch – notably when navigating the Steam Deck UI is rarely as simple with the unit docked as it’s when utilizing the Steam Deck in your fingers.(Image credit score: Future/Sam Loveridge)Overall – must you purchase the official Steam Deck Dock?But for nearly all of the time and nearly all of video games we tried, the official dock gives a unbelievable expertise – notably for those who’re snug with tweaking settings and diving into menus. Its design is top-notch and units it other than nearly all of its rivals, particularly relating to the variety of ports it options.However, at $89 / £79, it is a severe funding, so until you are certain you are going to benefit from the larger display expertise then it is price testing out a less expensive various first earlier than making the dedication. The Valve Steam Deck Docking Station is a premium accessory that won’t be for everybody. Today’s greatest Valve Steam Deck Docking Station offers (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)How we examined the Valve Steam Deck Docking StationWe examined the Valve Steam Deck Dock with a 512GB variant of the Deck for weeks on finish to place it by way of its paces. We examined the official unit with a TV and a monitor – the superb G1 from LG, a superb 120Hz 4K TV, and a 4K monitor for gaming from ASUS – and with quite a lot of video games from our present Steam library. Games had been examined utilizing each the Xbox One controller and a wi-fi keyboard and mouse combo from Razer.You can learn extra about our strategy to gaming tech in our full GamesRadar+ Hardware Policy.To additional fill out your Steam Deck setup, try our guides to the very best Steam Deck headsets, and greatest gaming displays to raise your immersion.

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