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As we near two years since the console’s original release, is the Steam Deck LCD still worth it? Valve’s recent announcement of the Steam Deck OLED has brought attention back to the line of portable gaming PCs, as gamers debate if they should invest in the newer or older model. With its better screen and battery life, the Steam Deck OLED has a few necessary improvements over its predecessor, but it’s not the complete device overhaul that was expected by some.
In terms of raw performance and power, not much separates the two Decks; and with a generous price reduction, perhaps the Steam Deck LCD should still be a contender for your handheld console investment. In this article, we’ll go ahead and bring the Steam Deck LCD into the spotlight to weigh in on whether it’s still worth it.
Advantages of the Steam Deck LCD
When you compare the Steam Deck OLED vs Steam Deck LCD, the OLED device offers far better display specs and refresh rate, and is relatively more efficient due to its 6 NM chip. However, in terms of raw performance, there isn’t much separating the two Steam Decks, and it could even be said that the Steam Deck LCD holds some advantage over its successor. Of course, we’ve got the full lowdown from our hands-on experience with the console in our Steam Deck LCD review.
Firstly, one of the primary reasons Valve opted for an LCD display is its cost-effectiveness. While OLED screens are known for superior contrast ratios and deep blacks, they come at higher production costs, and therefore higher retail prices. By choosing to go with LCD, Valve has managed to keep the overall cost of the Steam Deck more accessible to a broader audience.
Additionally, OLED displays are susceptible to burn-in, a phenomenon where static images displayed for extended periods can result in permanent damage to the screen. Yet underneath this new and thinner OLED screen, Valve has packed in a larger fan, a thicker heatsink, and a 22 percent higher capacity 50-watt-hour battery, which optimizes how well the deck performs. LCDs, on the other hand, are less prone to issues of burn-in, making them a more durable choice for a handheld gaming device that will last you a good few years. It’s also not like you get any extra games or software features, so do its advantages make the Steam Deck LCD worth it over its new sibling?
Is the Steam Deck LCD worth it?
The Steam Deck LCD is still worth it for many gamers who are looking for a handheld gaming PC at an affordable price. While the Steam Deck OLED might come with a superior screen, battery life, and cooling, these features naturally add a fair bit to the device’s price tag.
The Steam Deck LCD with 64 GB of storage now comes at a price of just $349. Thinking logically, adding 500 GB microSD storage to the device would cost you around $30 to $50 more, taking your total spend to around $400. On the other hand, the 512 GB variant of the Steam Deck OLED has an MSRP of $549. Put simply, there’s still a $150 difference between the two, which is close to 40%. Even considering the 512 GB Steam Deck LCD, it now comes in at $449, which is still $100 less than the price of Steam Deck OLED.
Thus, if you are looking for an affordable gaming option, the OLED model of the Steam Deck might not actually be worth it. This is especially true if you don’t necessarily plan on playing games for extended hours at a time, because it will nullify the benefit of investing in the superior battery of the OLED Deck.
Moreover, while the Steam Deck OLED is better in terms of display, it doesn’t run any faster. Since the OLED can’t offer many advantages in terms of raw performance, it takes away the biggest edge the device could have had over the Steam Deck LCD. Therefore, despite not being able to offer the features and efficiency of the OLED device, the Steam Deck LCD is still worth it because of its cost-effectiveness.
The Steam Deck‘s LCD screen is a strategic choice by Valve, balancing performance, cost, and durability. While it might not boast the same visual prowess as OLED, it still brings several advantages to the table. Ultimately, whether the Steam Deck’s LCD remains worth it depends on individual preferences and priorities. If you prioritize deep blacks and a higher contrast ratio, an OLED display might be more to your liking: it could even be worth considering the top-end of the handheld market, such as the Lenovo Legion Go. However, if cost, durability, and consistent performance are your primary concerns, the Steam Deck’s LCD might just be the perfect fit.