Valve Steam Deck – here’s Valve’s portable game console

Valve’s portable Steam Deck, one of the hottest news of the year, will not be released until December 2021. But the interest is already great. Therefore, M3 now guides you in everything you need to know before a possible purchase.

Valve Steam Deck

What is Steam Deck?

Portable game console? Laptop? The truth is that the answer is more complicated than a simple placement in either category. Valve’s upcoming machine is a portable gaming device running Steam OS, Valve’s Linux-based operating system. This allows you to carry your entire Steam library for portable gaming.

Steam Deck is reminiscent of the look of a stiffer Nintendo Switch. In terms of performance, it is also sharper, as it is powered by a quad-core Zen 2 processor with eight wires, a graphics card of type RDNA 2 and 16 gigabytes of lpddr5 frame memory.

SteamDeck and PC
Photo: Valve

Valve’s new machine is available in three variants, where all share the same performance, but offer different sizes of internal storage capacity. The cheapest model is equipped with an emmc memory of 64 gigabytes, the middle model with an nvme ssd memory of 256 gigabytes and the most expensive model has a full 512 gigabytes in a high-speed nvme ssd memory.

In terms of control, we have the usual design with the common buttons, with the big difference that the unit is also equipped with so-called “grip buttons”. These are common in elite and professional controllers, but also in Valve’s forgotten Steam Controller. Speaking of which, Steam Deck is also equipped with two trackpads. These are especially useful for games that are not otherwise “hand control friendly”, such as strategy games.

What kind of screen is it equipped with?

All Steam Deck are equipped with 7-inch multitouch touch screens. The most expensive model of the device also comes with anti-reflective etched glass. The resolution is 1,280 x 800 and the refresh rate is 60hz. The device can handle more than that, but only if it is connected to a separate TV screen or monitor.

How much does Steam Deck cost?

The cheapest model of Steam Deck costs 419 euros (approximately 4,564 kronor). The intermediate model lands at 549 euros (approximately SEK 5,981) and the most expensive at a full 679 euros (approximately SEK 7,398). Note that the only difference between the units is the storage space, and that the most expensive model is equipped with anti-reflective glass.

What games and programs can it handle?

According to Valve themselves, there is not a single Steam game that does not work on the device. However, you can expect to reduce the effects and number of frames per second, depending on the title you play. Some numbers mentioned in this context are 800p and 30hz.

Since the operating system itself is based on Linux, it is free to use Steam Deck as a PC. But it will also be possible to install other operating systems on it, such as Windows.

This may be necessary for you who want to play some games that are not currently compatible with Steam OS. Some examples are Destiny 2, Apex Legends, PUBG and Rainbow Six. According to Valve themselves, they are working to remedy the problem together with the companies concerned.

What other features does it have?

The installed software is based on Steam OS. So you can count on getting the usual Steam experience, albeit in portable form. This means your existing friend lists, community forums, Steam chat, cloud savings files and the ability to stream games from your home PC directly to Steam Deck.

How long does the battery last?

According to Valve, Steam Decks’ built-in battery lasts between 2-8 hours, depending on the title.

What accessories will it support?

Steam Deck is compatible with basically all the controls and accessories you might want to connect via usb-c or bluetooth. This means everything from hand controls and headsets to mice and keyboards.

Most interesting, of course, is the ability to connect the device itself to an external monitor or TV, much like the Nintendo Switch. Here you will be able to choose to either buy Valve’s official docking station or fix the connection with your own accessories. According to the specifications, Steam Deck then has the option to send signals of up to 8k in 60hz, or 4k for those who prefer to play in 120hz.

In addition to the built-in storage, you will also have the opportunity to expand the space for games further with sd cards (micro sd, sdxc and sdhc). According to Valve, the emmc and nvme ssd memories in the units themselves should not be replaced by consumers, but we guess that some enthusiasts will try anyway.

When and how can I buy a Steam Deck?

As with other game consoles, the demand for Valve’s new machine is great. In fact, the Steam store crashed when Valve opened it for pre-bookings. The official launch is scheduled for December 2021. However, all copies of the first set of consoles have been fully booked for a long time. According to Steam’s dedicated page for the console, a pre-booking today gives expected delivery during the second quarter of 2022.

If you choose to pre-book via Steam, a pre-booking fee of 4 euros will be charged. So far, it is unknown if you will be able to buy Steam Deck in places other than Steam. If we do not count on the secondary market, of course.

Update (2021-11-11):

Delayed until February

For those who have been waiting for the launch of Valve’s Steam Deck that was promised before Christmas, the company has some sad news. The new laptop game computer will not be released until February 2022, the company writes in one update in the Steam store.

The delay is due to a component shortage and it is thus about another product that is affected by the global chip shortage.

Those who have pre-booked a copy remain in the same place in the queue, but the expected delivery dates are adjusted to start in February for those who booked first.

Is this the salvation of PC gaming?

We believe that Steam Deck is an excellent opportunity to invite other audiences who do not necessarily use the computer as a gaming machine for various reasons. Maybe people who do not have the time or energy to get acquainted with how to build a gaming PC.

Of course, the existing PC audience also benefits from Steam Deck, partly because we now do not have to buy portable versions of our favorite games, partly because the range differs from the only competitor – Nintendo Switch.

Shouldn’t Valve work on Half-life 3 instead?

One does not necessarily have to exclude the other…