Rated E for Everyone – Review Geek


1 – Absolute Hot Garbage
2 – Sorta Lukewarm Garbage
3 – Strongly Flawed Design
4 – Some Pros, Lots Of Cons
5 – Acceptably Imperfect
6 – Good Enough to Buy On Sale
7 – Great, But Not Best-In-Class
8 – Fantastic, with Some Footnotes
9 – Shut Up And Take My Money
10 – Absolute Design Nirvana

Price: Starting At $399

Marcus Mears III / Review Geek
The Steam Deck is flexible and highly effective sufficient to run absolutely anything you need it to. Noisy followers, scant battery life, and occasional SteamOS hiccup in all, the Steam Deck is probably the most thrilling piece of gaming tech in current reminiscence.I’ve been enjoying my favourite titles on Valve’s Steam Deck for a number of months now. While I can’t say it’s freed from flaws, it’s undoubtedly probably the most thrilling piece of gaming tech I’ve utilized in the previous few years. The Steam Deck helps you to play what you need, with pure controls, wherever you’re.
Valve’s 2022 handheld gaming PC is outfitted with desktop-level specs, an array of intuitive management strategies, the highly effective Arch-based SteamOS working system, and a 7-inch, 1280 x 800px touchscreen show. Its drawbacks, like a fan that does its finest hair dryer impression throughout lengthy downloads and annoying gaming periods, do little to discourage the Steam Deck from giving gamers a easy, pleasing gameplay expertise.
Note: I’ll cowl the mid-tier ($529, 256GB NVMe SSD) Steam Deck on this evaluate. If you choose for the $399 entry-level model (64GB eMMC), you’ll get much less, slower storage than the mid-tier Deck (and no Steam Community perks, like animated profile footage and backgrounds). The most costly possibility ($649, 512GB NVMe SSD) doubles the storage of the mid-tier mannequin, comes with anti-glare etched glass, and earns you extra digital perks for your Steam profile.
Here’s What We Like
Excellent management structure and customization
Capable {hardware} can run most video games
Quality in-hand really feel
SteamOS is straightforward to make use of and tinker with
Easily moveable

And What We Don’t
Loud followers in resource-hungry conditions
Fleeting battery life
A couple of bugs and lacking options in SteamOS

Review Geek’s professional reviewers go hands-on with every product we evaluate. We put each piece of {hardware} by means of hours of testing in the true world and run them by means of benchmarks in our lab. We by no means settle for cost to endorse or evaluate a product and by no means combination different folks’s evaluations. Read extra >>
Design and Display: Souped-Up Sega Game Gear
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

Display: Optically bonded IPS LCD
Display dimension: 7in
Resolution: 1280 x 800px (16:10)
Brightness: 400 nits
Refresh Rate: 60Hz

Remember the Sega Game Gear? Imagine it up to date with 2020s tech and fused with a Nintendo Switch; that’s what I consider after I see a Steam Deck.
Black-on-Black Design
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek
A matte black end with shiny black trim, the Steam Deck doesn’t attempt to make a style assertion. Its onerous plastic chassis lets the show have the highlight, mixing into the background whilst you traverse worlds unknown in No Man’s Sky or hold your patrons joyful in Travellers Rest.
At almost a foot throughout (11.7in), the Steam Deck is comfortably held in the identical positions you’d use a controller—up by your chest or down close to your lap. It’s considerably heavier than a controller, although; weighing in at 1.48lbs (23.6oz), Valve’s handheld strikes a pleasant steadiness between an affordable plastic really feel and a 10-pound dumbbell. I don’t often expertise forearm or wrist fatigue whereas utilizing the Steam Deck, although I usually change positions on occasion.  
Valve is not any stranger to promoting beauty skins that complement gamers’ in-game gadgets (Dota 2’s annual match, The International, raked in a $40,018,195 prize pool in 2021 on account of crowdfunding). However, you gained’t discover any official Steam Deck skins (or wraps) on Steam’s web site—the gaming big doesn’t promote any. So, except you search out a third-party facelift from an organization like dbrand, the one colour you’ll see on the Steam Deck is the sunshine gray accent of the buttons and thumbsticks.

Moving to the highest fringe of the Steam Deck, from left to proper (not together with triggers), you’ve gotten quantity controls, a 3.5mm headphone/microphone jack, a fan and vent, one USB Type-C port, a standing LED, and the ability button. These controls are simple sufficient to achieve whilst you’re in-game, and the position of the USB-C port isn’t a burden to achieve with the charging cable. You could, nevertheless, really feel some warmth radiating from the topside vent in case your fingers brush the again of the Steam Deck or cross over the fan’s airflow.
The backside face of the Steam Deck is way much less populated, housing solely an SDXC card slot for microSD storage growth. Around the again, there are 4 paddle buttons, a vent, and a recessed Valve emblem.
A Quality Display
I used to be somewhat apprehensive the 7-inch display can be too small, however it’s really a really snug dimension for most situations. In some instances, the 1280 x 800px decision makes textual content fairly small and hard to learn, however for probably the most half, the display’s dimension and determination don’t hinder my gameplay expertise.
You might make an argument for the next refresh price—some gamers, particularly those that’ve been locked at 30FPS on consoles earlier than, may very well welcome 60Hz with open arms—however something greater, and I’ve a sense the battery would completely disintegrate as quickly as you pressed “Play” (I talk about the battery extra in a later part).
And 60FPS isn’t too shabby, both; I want higher-resolution graphics at 60FPS to lower-res at 144FPS for a variety of video games, particularly single-player titles like Days Gone and Horizon Zero Dawn. But for those who play aggressive titles like Rocket League at 120FPS or greater, you might have considered trying greater than the Steam Deck provides you.

I like my screens vibrant. They don’t need to compete with the solar, however I’m trying for clear, vibrant colours. The Steam Deck delivers a prime brightness of 400 nits, which is nothing to scoff at. Sure, it’s no 2000-nit iPhone 14 Pro, however it’s vibrant sufficient to stave off my complaints.
I didn’t go for the top-tier Steam Deck with anti-glare glass, and the implications of that call rear its head sometimes. Take a automobile journey subsequent to a window, for instance. If you’re enjoying a very gloomy recreation (or one with black bars), you might even see extra of your reflection than you do the small print on the display. This isn’t the case all the time; I’d name gameplay-impeding glare a uncommon prevalence at most. But for those who primarily play in sunny areas, you could wish to decide for the anti-glare possibility (or a third-party display protector).
You’re in Control

The Steam Deck’s management map was one of the vital fascinating features to me when trying into it for the primary time. Usually, you’re restricted to controller, mouse, or touchscreen inputs—or some mixture from that record. With the Steam Deck, you get all three.
If you wish to play video games like Cities: Skylines from the metropolis builder style, you’ll most likely end up utilizing the built-in trackpads on both facet of the hand-held. These are maybe probably the most intriguing of all of the Steam Deck’s controls. I figured these can be an afterthought that I’d primarily use to browse YouTube after I wasn’t in a recreation, however I used to be mistaken. The trackpads are a good way to play video games that require mouse inputs, and you may mix them with the triggers to raised emulate the peripheral; the trackpad strikes the cursor, and the left and proper triggers act as respective mouse buttons. When scrolling with a trackpad, you’ll really feel a haptic rumble that signifies whether or not it’s presently energetic or not, which is an pleasing added contact.
On the opposite hand, for those who’re laying waste in an action-packed twin-stick shooter like The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth or clawing for progress in your newest souls-like title (Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice for me), you’ll probably wish to use the controller structure. The Steam Deck’s proper facet options ABXY buttons, the correct thumbstick and trackpad, a Menu button, and the Quick entry button. The left facet homes the D-pad, View button, left thumbstick and trackpad, and Steam button.
The thumbsticks have a satisfying resistance to them, sufficient that you simply gained’t fling your digicam round for those who brush the stick, however not a lot that micro-adjustments turn out to be unimaginable. I hate mushy controls, so I used to be thrilled to really feel the haptic click on that comes with every press of the Steam Deck’s ABXY and navigation buttons.
The triggers additionally function a pleasant tactile bump when bottomed out, although I want they allowed for only a hair extra journey distance. You can nonetheless depress the set off midway (suppose driving half-speed in a racing recreation like Forza Horizon 5), however it’s a little bit of a balancing act as a result of the triggers don’t should be pushed down a lot to activate totally.

The bumpers are there, too. I might take them or depart them; they really feel flat and somewhat uncomfortable in comparison with an Xbox 360 controller (which got here out almost 20 years in the past, by the best way), however they do their job effectively.
Lastly, the 7-inch touchscreen helps 10-finger multitouch management, although I discover it’s principally used as a catch-all for pesky menus and UI gadgets that don’t but assist the Steam Deck’s management scheme.
However, utilizing an analogous course of as once you remap different buttons in Steam, you may customise the management structure for each recreation in your library. You can bind every button manually for those who like, or you should utilize one of many templates supplied by Steam or its neighborhood members. I often accomplish that by choosing the sport I wish to play and selecting the controller icon on the correct facet of the display.
And, in case your arms miss the texture of your favourite controller, you may all the time simply use it as a substitute. With Bluetooth and USB-C connectivity, the Steam Deck helps you to play your video games with no matter controls really feel finest for you.
Audio: Surprisingly Not Bad
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

Digital Audio: Multichannel audio through DisplayPort over USB-C, normal USB-C, or Bluetooth 5.0
3.5mm stereo headphone/headset jack
Microphones: Dual microphone array

You could not anticipate a tool like a handheld gaming PC to have first rate audio, however the Steam Deck’s audio system supply a nice shock.
No, you gained’t get the identical expertise as a house theater system, however you’re going to get a satisfying speaker setup that you could crank up loud sufficient to listen to a tune or present whilst you prepare dinner dinner.
If something is missing, it’s the bass. The excessive and mid tones of Cream’s “Sunshine Of Your Love” come by means of crisp and assured, however the backside doesn’t fairly give me the wealthy background hum I’m trying for—it’s there, however it’s faint. 
When it involves gaming, the audio is terrific. I’m by no means left wanting one thing higher, however in case you are, you may all the time use a Bluetooth speaker or join a pair of wi-fi earbuds. 

Performance: AAA Titles? No Problem

Processor: AMD APU

CPU: Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz (as much as 448 GFlops FP32)
GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz (as much as 1.6 TFlops FP32)
RAM: 16 GB LPDDR5 on-board RAM (5500 MT/s quad 32-bit channels) / VRAM: 1,024 MB

Looking on the Steam Deck, particularly for those who’re interested by tech from 10 and even 5 years in the past, you could not suppose it’s full of the ability to run AAA titles like Grand Theft Auto: V and DEATHLOOP, however it completely is.
They gained’t run on the highest settings, however you may cruise Los Santos or break the loop from a bus cease, physician’s workplace ready room, or anyplace in your house, and that’s sufficient to make me say “highest settings be damned.”
If you benefit from the pastime casually, the Steam Deck will greater than get the job performed. The choice to play extra resource-intensive video games is all the time there if you’d like it, too.

Pick a Game, Any Game

Of course, top-tier {hardware} doesn’t imply a lot for those who can’t play any video games on it. Leading as much as my Steam Deck buy, I used to be weary of the sport choice I’d have at my disposal.
However, upon booting the hand-held up for the primary time, I discovered most of my favorites out there for obtain. A large variety of titles claimed to be unsupported on the Steam Deck, too (take Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, for occasion). I made a decision to delve into them in any case.
Tip: You can all the time go to the Great on Deck Steam Store web page to search out verified titles to play.
And the sport…ran completely fantastic. I didn’t even need to configure any controls; the ABXY buttons and thumbsticks have been capable of navigate the primary menu and accompany me on my journey by means of the galaxy.
Given some quantity of modification, you may feasibly run virtually any recreation on the Steam Deck. You could have to create a customized management setup, set up Windows, or make the most of a Steam Deck Docking Station for keyboard and mouse hookups, however it’s doable.
That’s what makes the Steam Deck so fascinating in my eyes; it may be no matter you need it to be. A easy, handheld console for video games that gained’t even declare 1GB like Vampire Survivors, or an entry-to-mid-level gaming PC that may comfortably run aggressive titles like Rocket League and Dota 2.

What about non-Steam video games? There’s excellent news and dangerous information. The excellent news: you may obtain and run video games from launchers like GOG Galaxy and Epic Games on the Steam Deck. The dangerous information: it’s most likely not so simple as you need it to be.
Firstly, you’ll need to obtain a third-party launcher just like the Heroic Games Launcher. Then, after getting every part arrange and downloaded, it’s a toss-up whether or not or not the sport you wish to play acknowledges the Steam Deck’s controls. And, because it’s a non-Steam recreation, you may’t simply remap the buttons to make sense to the sport. You’d want a appropriate Bluetooth controller or a Docking Station and PC peripherals.
Similarly, operating emulated video games on the Steam Deck is as simple as downloading an app like EmuDeck and following the on-screen setup directions. You’ll be met with some funky management configurations for video games that run on older methods just like the PlayStation Portable, although.
Tip: Worried you’ll need to swap backwards and forwards between Gaming and Desktop mode each time to play your Steam and emulated video games? Try making a dynamic library in Steam to carry your emulated video games (EmuDeck can do that for you).
All in all, it’s about as simple because it will get to make use of the Steam Deck as an emulation machine. It can run virtually something you throw at it, encompasses a desktop mode to kind and configure recreation recordsdata, and you may even begin emulated video games out of your Steam library.
Storage: Expandable Enough
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

Available storage choices:

Tier 1: 64GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1)
Tier 2: 256GB NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4 or PCIe Gen 3 x2*)
Tier 3: 512GB high-speed NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4 or PCIe Gen 3 x2*)
All fashions embody a high-speed microSD card slot

Have you seen the storage necessities for video games these days? A single AAA title like Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will fortunately chew by means of 200GB of your drive, which isn’t a urgent difficulty when you’ve got a console or PC storage devoted to gaming, however could spell doom for those who decide for the entry-level Steam Deck tier.
Of course, you may all the time purchase a microSD card and pop it into the slot discovered on the underside edge underneath the display. This growth possibility allows terabytes extra storage capability, however it comes at a value. A 1TB microSD card with as much as 150MB/s switch speeds from SanDisk comes with an asking value of over $100; this entry-level Steam Deck and microSD card combo comes out to almost the identical value because the mid-tier Steam Deck (although you find yourself with significantly extra, albeit slower, storage).
I made a decision to seize a 512GB microSD card and, along with the onboard 256GB NVMe SSD, I can comfortably retailer a combination of some bigger video games just like the 60GB Days Gone and several other smaller titles like Fallout 3 – Game of the Year Edition (8.7GB) on the similar time. I’ve about 30 Steam video games, together with a handful of non-Steam video games, presently put in with roughly 21GB of remaining area.

NVMe over eMMC storage—this was a deciding issue for me when selecting the mid-tier Steam Deck over probably the most inexpensive mannequin. An NVMe drive provides you extra storage and sooner learn/write speeds (which suggests shorter loading screens) than an embedded MultiMediaCard (eMMC)—although you could not want one your self.
If the video games you boot up are often smaller, indie titles like Stardew Valley, or for those who use a cloud gaming service like Nvidia GeForce NOW, you stand a superb likelihood of skating by on the 64GB possibility (particularly for those who complement your Steam Deck with an affordable 128GB microSD card).
SteamOS: User-Friendly Linux With a Few Hiccups

Operating System: SteamOS 3.0 (Arch-based)
Desktop: KDE Plasma

SteamOS is an working system primarily based on Arch Linux, and except you modify your Steam Deck, it’s the working system that runs by default.
Booting up the Steam Deck, you’re met with a Steam Deck emblem and startup chime, and then you definitely’re taken to a dashboard that aggregates your lately performed video games, some related information, lately put in updates, and different data about you and your Steam pals. After logging in throughout the first-time setup procedures, your complete Steam library will probably be out there to obtain. Just click on the Steam button underneath the left trackpad to open the navigation menu and choose Library to view your video games.
To change to desktop mode, click on the Steam button, then choose Power, and Switch to Desktop. Here, you may make the most of the Steam Deck as a full-fledged PC. Download third-party apps, browse the web, customise your background—it truly is a pc that you could carry comfortably.
Features just like the File Manager, the SteamOS equal of the macOS Finder, are fast to open and attentive to instructions. System Settings will get you virtually anyplace you have to be on the subject of customization and optimization.
There are, nevertheless, a couple of bugs and head-scratching selections to find once you dive into Valve’s new working system. For instance, do you employ voice dictation in your iPhone or Android? You gained’t on the Steam Deck, there’s merely no possibility for it. How about taking screenshots; simple sufficient in Gaming mode, simply click on R1 and the Steam button down on the similar time. But in Desktop mode? Impossible and not using a third-party app.
It’s user-friendly, simple to customise, and adequate general…however it feels prefer it wanted yet one more spherical of sprucing earlier than getting shipped out the door.
There’s all the time a chance that Valve might add these options in a future replace, however for now, DIY options are the best way it needs to be.
Battery Life and Charging: Needs a Power-Up

Marcus Mears III / Review Geek

Battery: 40Whr (2 to eight hours of gameplay)
Charging: 45W USB Type-C PD3.0 energy provide
Charger cable size: 4.9ft (1.5m)

If I might enhance one facet of the Steam Deck, it will be the fleeting battery life. While the 45W USB-C charging is fast and environment friendly, the should be tethered to an outlet digs into the portability this handheld gaming PC in any other case provides.
Not to say, for those who’ve been enjoying for about two hours or so with the charger connected, the wall block begins to run sizzling. I’d think about it a barely worrisome temperature and advise you to temp-check your charger periodically throughout longer gaming periods.
Note: Charging the Steam Deck from zero to 100% utilizing the inventory 45W adaptor plugged right into a wall outlet (with little-to-no use) took 2 hours and 54 minutes on common.
With that mentioned, the battery will definitely get you thru an off-the-cuff between-class or lunch-break recreation session. Suppose you’ve gotten a two-hour airplane journey forward of you; I’d take into consideration charging the Steam Deck to 100% simply earlier than getting on. You might additionally decrease the display’s brightness and even perhaps the refresh price within the Performance menu to be sure you don’t have to have a midair Steam Deck eulogy ready.
Tip: You can get to the Performance menu by tapping on the battery icon together with your finger or urgent the Menu button on the right-hand facet of the Steam Deck.
When having fun with media other than video games, like YouTube, Hulu, or Spotify, the Steam Deck lasts considerably longer. You can simply attain 8-12 hours on a full cost for those who aren’t enjoying resource-intensive video games. I left The Mandalorian streaming for so long as the Steam Deck might deal with from a 100% cost. The brightness and quantity have been at 50%, and the battery life purchased me simply over eight and a half hours of streaming time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I play my Steam video games with no Wi-Fi connection?

Yes, so long as the sport itself doesn’t require an web connection to play. You gained’t be capable of entry sure Steam options just like the Store, Friends & Chat, and Community sections, although.

Can I play non-Steam video games?

Absolutely. The Steam Deck is a full-fledged handheld PC. Using SteamOS (with KDE Plasma because the default desktop atmosphere), you may browse the online or entry the app retailer to obtain different launchers like Epic Games. You might even code and run your personal video games on the Steam Deck for those who wished to.

What if my Steam Deck breaks? Can I restore it?

Valve partnered with iFixit to fabricate elements and create complete restore documentation. However, be warned that opening the Steam Deck to finish repairs your self will void the Hardware guarantee. Only restore your Steam Deck for those who’re snug voiding the guarantee and are assured you realize what you’re doing underneath the hood.

Does the Steam Deck have assist for extra storage?

Yes. The Steam Deck has an SDXC (microSD card) slot which helps as much as 2TB of extra storage. You may even improve the interior storage (for those who bought a mid-tier or greater mannequin) with a brand new 2230 NVMe SSD, although this may void the Hardware guarantee.

Can the Steam Deck run different OS like Windows?

Should You Buy the Valve Steam Deck?
Marcus Mears III / Review Geek
The Steam Deck is among the few must-try units of the previous few years in gaming. Because of its unimaginable versatility, whether or not you solely play the informal recreation each every so often or log sufficient hours to contemplate gaming a part-time job, the Steam Deck has precisely what you have to get pleasure from your pastime.
Be conscious of the meager battery life and noisy followers; they’re removed from deal breakers, however they’re the 2 details of competition I’ve with Valve’s handheld. As lengthy as you’ve gotten a charger close by (and possibly some noise-canceling headphones), the Steam Deck does little or no to disappoint.
You can buy the Valve Steam Deck in the present day in three fashions: $399 (64GB eMMC), $529 (256GB NVMe SSD), and $649 (512 GB NVMe SSD).

Rating: 9/10
Price: Starting At $399

Here’s What We Like

Excellent management structure and customization
Capable {hardware} can run most video games
Quality in-hand really feel
SteamOS is straightforward to make use of and tinker with
Easily moveable

And What We Don’t

Loud followers in resource-hungry conditions
Fleeting battery life
A couple of bugs and lacking options in SteamOS


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