Earlier this year, there were rumors about Valve working on a handheld Nintendo Switch-like portable PC gaming console and a new official report has it that the device will go for presale on Friday at US$399 while shipping will commence as soon as far as December. The console dubbed Steam Deck is like a Nintendo Switch for PC gaming which is definitely going to be a good news to many.
The device has support for the Nintendo Switch playbook with full-size controls and a separately sold dock with which you can easily connect to an external display.
ASs for specifications, it comes with a 7-inch touchscreen with dual trackpads and built-in microphones, network connectivity via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. You’ll also get microSD support, a headphone jack and a USB-C port for charging the device. There will be a docking compartment for connecting with external display.
In terms of power, it gains its energy from a 40Whr battery which we’re expecting to give you hours of gameplay between each charge. There’s also a suspend feature that lets you pause the action with a quick press of the power button, then resume right where you left off later.
“We partnered with AMD to create Steam Deck’s custom APU, optimized for handheld gaming,” the device’s launch site reads. “It is a Zen 2 + RDNA 2 powerhouse, delivering more than enough performance to run the latest AAA games in a very efficient power envelope.”
Preorders begin at this link at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET, 5 p.m. GMT) on Friday, July 16 in the US, the UK, Canada and the EU. (It’s £349 in the UK, according to GamesRadar.)
What you get on the Steam Deck
There is a heavy similarity between the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch and it’s quite cheaper than the Switch OLED model announced earlier this month. This device could making handheld gaming more interesting.
While you’ll have to really have a hands-on experience of the device in order to judge its prowess, it comes powered with custom-built AMD chip with a Zen 2 CPU and RDNA 2 graphics along with 16GB of RAM and internal storage space that range between 64GB to 512GB. However the pricing varies depending on the storage model you pick. 64GB is $399; 256GB is $529; 512GB is $649). But there’s also a microSD card slot to expand storage. The 7-inch, 1,280×800-pixel LCD screen is the same size as the upcoming Nintendo Switch OLED, with nearly as many pixels.
The Steam Deck also dock before a TV and can also be projected to a monitor via USB-C cable. Valve also made it known that the device should be able to work with any powered USB-C adapter or dock and that itself is a good news for many. The separately sold dock (price TBA) has a lot of ports: DisplayPort 1.4, USB 3.1, two USB 2.0, HDMI 2.0 and Ethernet.
The good advantage Steam Deck has is the fact that it taps directly into the Steam’s store and libraries of humongous games which will be a good news for those who wants to adopt the download-only device for handheld gaming.
It also comes with a number of controls such as dual analog sticks, shoulder and triggers, four buttons on one side and a D-pad on the other side. There there are two trackpads at the front and four extra control spots on the back.
It’s not all that lightweight, though: Valve lists it weighing in at 1.47 pounds (0.67 kg), considerably bigger than the Nintendo Switch but lighter than almost any PC.
Supports SteamOS, Linux as well as others
SteamOS is available on the Steam Deck which allows for Steam games on Linux but there is an hands-on review by IGN stating that the device will also be able to run other software like Windows and Linux apps via Proton.
How flexible does that make the Steam Deck, then? Good question. Valve told IGN that the Steam Deck could install any software you want, and work with a wide range of peripherals. Which suggests… a lot of ways to get games to play on the Steam Deck. But we haven’t tried one yet.
According to IGN’s hands-on impressions, the hardware was robust enough to play Portal 2, EA’s Star Wars: Jedi Fallen Order, Death Stranding and Doom Eternal. That sounds promising indeed.
Which version should you buy?
There are three configurations with varying prices and that includes the model with 64GB of storage starting at $399, then a jacked up 256GB version for $529 and then the much larger model with 512GB of storage for $649. The 512GB version also has an anti-glare etched glass on the display.
You’ll still be able to increase the storage space via an external microSD support for game storage. The model with 512GB will offer much more feature in terms of speed and capability but until December, if you place pre-order now, you should experience the handheld gaming experience too.