Much to everyone’s surprise, Valve’s new handheld, the Valve Steam Deck was announced last night. Coming in three models ranging from $399 to $649, Valve’s answer to the Nintendo Switch is going to be a big hit for kids this Christmas when it ships in December 2021. Wise parents would do well to make the most of reserving one here at 10 AM PT (6 PM BST), although there are some reservation availability and reservation fee restrictions in place to deter scalpers.
Steam Deck Release Date
We are expecting the Steam Deck Release Date to stand firm and ship mid-December but fully in time for the holiday period. We wouldn’t anticipate there being any delays but as ever, watch this space closely and we expect your handheld gaming PC to be with you before you know it.
What is Steam Deck?
The Valve Steam Deck is a handheld gaming PC that takes inspiration from Nintendo Switch. Whilst it comes pre-installed with Steam OS, it can be formatted to run a copy of Windows. Valve is also selling a dock separately which will allow for traditional desktop PC play. More information is coming soon regarding this. Reading between the lines, this means users can enjoy Xbox Game Pass, Epic Games, GOG and more whilst on the go.
Can I reserve a Steam Deck?
UpdateL Pre Orders now open. You are now able to reserve your Steam Deck
For the first 48 hours, only accounts created on steam prior to June can place a $5 reservation fee deposit to secure a Steam Deck. This will prevent bots creating accounts and snatching up consoles, an ordering process that should have been implemented when the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S launched last year. This will probably mean that you will need to grab your kid’s steam login details, or maybe you already have an account? Either way, at least Valve has tried to introduce a fair ordering process with its reservation system into the mix to allow the maximum chance of getting your hands on one.
You will need to have had a purchase on Steam prior to June to qualify for the pre-order to get your portable gaming PC in your hands when you purchase the Steam Deck.
How Powerful Is The Steam Deck?
Although Valve has gone on record to state Steam Deck can “run the latest AAA games in a very efficient power envelope.”, don’t expect to run Cyberpunk 2077 on ultra settings. Whilst Valve has shown off running Jedi: Fallen Order and Control with some smooth settings, users will need to tweak in-game settings to get the best out of Steam Deck.
Steam Deck Specs
- CPU: AMD 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)
- RAM: 16 GB DDR5
- Storage: 64GB, 256GB, 512GB versions; expandable with MicroSD cards
- Display: 7″ diagonal, 1280×800 (16:10), 60Hz LCD touchscreen
- Audio: Stereo speakers that “pack a punch,” says Valve, 3.5mm stereo jack, dual mics, multichannel USB-C/Bluetooth output
- Controls: Two analog sticks with capacitive touch, D-pad, face buttons, analog triggers, bumpers, assignable grip buttons, “view” and “menu” buttons, gyro
- Trackpads: There are two of them, and Valve says that they have “55% better latency compared to Steam Controller.”
- Wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
- Wired connectivity: USB-C with DisplayPort 1.4 Alt-mode support; up to 8K @60Hz or 4K @120Hz, USB 3.2 Gen 2
- Battery: 40Whr, “2-8 hours of gameplay”
- Size: 11.7″ x 4.6″ x 1.8″ (298mm x 117mm x 49mm)
- Weight: Approximately 1.47 lbs (669 grams)
- Carrying case included
How Much Is The Steam Deck?
The base model is going to be a push for users looking to play any kind of AAA game, with install and download sizes often exceeding the 64GB on-board eMMC memory (this will be less when including Steam OS or any other operating system). In an ideal world, the 512NVMe $649 model would provide the fastest experience and enough room to squeeze a handful of big games in there. Of course, players may find better performance for this price point in a laptop or desktop PC, but it’s not a handheld device.
Steam Deck represents something gamers have been looking for since the Nintendo Switch launched. A well-built handheld gaming device that can handle demanding games so as long as you have had your Steam account prior to June 2021, reserve a steam deck immediately and also get a bonus Steam Community Profile Bundle and exclusive virtual keyboard theme at the same time.
Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch
Due to both of these devices being handhelds gaming devices, natural comparisons have been made between the Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch. While they are both handheld consoles, they’re both different in their own right and are certainly aimed at two very different audiences. The Steam Deck trumps the Nintendo Switch in the performance category but the new Nintendo Switch OLED comes out on top in when considering the display.
All we can say is that this could be a battle for the ages so let’s see who comes out the victor!
If you want to read a more in-depth comparison of the two, we’ve written up a full piece here.
Is Steam Deck OLED?
Unfortunately, the screen resolution of the Steam Deck isn’t quite up to scratch to today’s standards. It comes in at 1280×800 which is essentially 720p and therefore, is nowhere near the lofty heights of OLED. This means if you’re pitting the new Nintendo Switch OLED against the Valve Steam Deck, Nintendo certainly comes out on top.