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Steam Deck OLED vs Steam Deck LCD – should you upgrade?

Let the battle of the Steam Deck commence!
Last Updated on January 2, 2024
Comparing Steam Deck OLED and Steam Deck LCD versions.
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Valve has recently announced an upgrade to its popular handheld console, the Steam Deck, so today we’re comparing the two in the Steam Deck OLED vs Steam Deck LCD. The Steam Deck, the portable PC gaming device, was released back in 2022 to much acclaim. A year later, the device is finally getting some improvements, including an OLED screen – but what else? In this article, we’re diving into the battle of the Steam Deck’s to see what divides the two consoles, and to see if the newer model could be the investment.

Steam Deck OLED vs Steam Deck LCD specs

The Steam Deck OLED might not offer a complete overhaul to the original consoles’ form factor and power, but it does provide a specs refresh similar to what the Nintendo Switch OLED offered. While there aren’t huge improvements in the device’s raw performance, the 6 nm APU brings better efficiency, and updated memory to 6400 MT/s boosts the console’s latency and power management. This, combined with a bigger 50Whr battery, gives the Steam Deck OLED 30 – 50% more battery life than the Steam Deck LCD.

Other changes that separate the newer console include a larger 7.4″ OLED screen that boosts a 90Hz refresh rate, up from a 7-inch with 60Hz refresh rates. Also, thanks to an increased thermal module thickness and a bigger fan, the Steam Deck OLED is able to run cooler, so you can enjoy your gaming session for longer as well as with improved visuals! We’ve got the full down-low on the Steam Deck OLED release date, specs, and price here.

Steam Deck OLED vs Steam Deck LCD table comparison

SpecsSteam Deck OLEDSteam Deck LCD
Display7.4-inch HDR OLED screen7-inch optically bonded IPS LCD
Resolution1280 x 800 x RGB1280 x 800 x RGB
Refresh rateUp to 90 Hz60Hz
Processor6 nm AMD APU7 nm AMD APU
RAM16 GB LPDDR516 GB LPDDR5
Storage512 GB or 1TB GB64 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
Thumbsticks2 x full-size analog sticks with capacitive touch2 x full-size analog sticks with capacitive touch
HapticsHD hapticsHD haptics
Trackpads2 x 32.5mm square trackpads with haptic feedback2 x 32.5mm square trackpads with haptic feedback
Gyro6-Axis IMU6-Axis IMU

Steam Deck OLED vs Steam Deck LCD price

The OLED model of the Steam Deck is getting two storage variants compared to the three initially released for the Steam Deck LCD. The lower-priced option has 512GB storage, and its $549 price tag also gets you a 4.5W power supply with a 2.5m cable, a carrying case, and a Steam profile bundle. On the other hand, the 1TB variant is priced at $100 more expensive at $649. The 1TB upgrade also gets you a few smaller benefits, such as a carrying case with a removable liner, an exclusive startup movie, and an exclusive virtual keyboard theme.

  • Steam Deck OLED 512GB – $549 / £479
  • Steam Deck OLED 1TB – $649 / £569

However, in reaction to the launch of the OLED Steam Deck, the Steam Deck LCD has now become even more affordable as creator Valve aims to gradually phase out the older 64GB and 512 Steam Deck. Therefore, if you still haven’t gotten your hands on an original Steam Deck, you can now get one for a lot cheaper. You can also read more about our views on LCD Steam Deck in our recent review of the console.

  • Steam Deck LCD 64GB Model – $349 (Previously $399)
  • Steam Deck LCD 256GB Model – $399 (Previously $529)
  • Steam Deck LCD 512GB – $449 (Previously $649)

Is the Steam Deck OLED more powerful?

Valve was sure to make clear with its creation of the Steam Deck OLED that it’s not intended to be a huge performance upgrade from the original console. While the 6 NM chip might help with efficiency, the Steam Deck OLED is not more powerful than the Steam Deck LCD. However, the newer model does offer significant advantages in terms of display and cooling.

Steam Deck OLED vs Steam Deck LCD – should you upgrade?

So, while the Steam Deck OLED might not offer the complete console overhaul that some Stream fans had hoped for, it still brings many essential upgrades to the original Steam Deck device. For a bit of a bigger investment, you can get an OLED screen and a more efficient system. However, the Steam Deck OLED has not been advertised as a full-blown successor, and performance-wise it’s pretty on par with the LCD model. To get the most out of your money, the newly reduced Steam Deck LCD could still be worth considering, but the lighter, brighter, and longer-lasting Steam Deck OLED does come with a surprisingly reasonable price tag. We’ve also knuckled down with comparing the Steam Deck OLED to more of its market competitors, including the Asus ROG Ally and the fresh-from-launch Lenovo Legion Go.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.

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