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HomeTechOLED Steam Deck: Hands-On With a Complete Handheld Gaming Upgrade

OLED Steam Deck: Hands-On With a Complete Handheld Gaming Upgrade


Excellent news, handheld-gaming vacation customers: Valve simply dropped a pleasant shock. The year-plus-old Steam Deck has a brand new model with a bigger OLED show, arriving Nov. 16. I have been utilizing it for the final couple of days, and it is actually good.

Handheld gaming consoles have been again on the rise currently, not simply with the Nintendo Swap, indie handhelds and the upcoming PlayStation Portal, however in PC gaming too. To compete with the Steam Deck, the Asus Rog Ally and Lenovo Legion Go carry Home windows-based handheld players much more choices. The brand new OLED Steam Deck replace begins at $549 and the unique LCD-based fashions stay on sale at diminished costs, beginning at $349.

Evaluating the brand new OLED Steam Deck subsequent to the unique at residence, I noticed some clear benefits. The brand new Steam Deck has a 7.4-inch HDR OLED show that, whereas nonetheless the identical 1,200×800-pixel decision, appears much more vivid and colourful. Enjoying video games on the OLED Steam Deck provides me the identical feeling I’ve taking part in on the Nintendo Swap OLED: I do not need to return to the unique and its LCD display. The bigger show additionally results in a sleeker, thinner body bezel on a similar-sized chassis.

Steam Deck game handheld in its packaging on wood floor

The Steam Deck OLED is available in a brand new onerous case that has a detachable internal softer case. It is like two circumstances now.

Scott Stein/CNET

The brand new OLED Steam Deck additionally has a bigger battery, boasting as much as 50% extra battery life. I have never skilled what that really provides as much as in on a regular basis use but, however that is welcome information. Much more surprisingly, the hand held is barely lighter. Storage configurations have been boosted, too: There’s now a 1TB Steam Deck choice, along with a 512GB mannequin. The 512GB model is $549, whereas the 1TB model is $649 — which is fairly incredible, since these have been mainly the costs of the Steam Deck higher-config fashions beforehand. $649 now nets you twice the storage, an OLED show, higher battery and numerous different enhancements.

Valve is promoting earlier LCD fashions at a reduction going ahead, with a lot of the financial savings on higher-end configurations. The 64GB model drops to $349 ($50 off), the 256GB mannequin is now $399 ($130 off) and the 512GB mannequin is $449 ($200 off).

There’s additionally a elaborate limited-edition clear 1TB OLED mannequin, too, for $679, which appears good, however it’s the identical {hardware} because the $649 1TB OLED mannequin.

Steam Deck with OLED display next to a power cord, with yellow background

The brand new energy adapter has an extended twine (good).

Scott Stein/CNET

Enhancements throughout the board

Valve added numerous different tune-ups to the Steam Deck within the new mannequin: a stunning quantity, the truth is. The laundry checklist is intensive, however here is what Valve is promising:

  • 7.4-inch, HDR OLED show (1,200×800-pixel decision); most 1,000-nit brightness in HDR; 90Hz max refresh.
  • Sooner-response touchscreen.
  • Higher haptics on the Steam Deck and touchpads.
  • Analog sticks have improved grip.
  • 50Whr battery (up from 40WHr).
  • About 1 ounce lighter weight.
  • Wi-Fi 6E.
  • Extra power-efficient AMD APU processor (6nm as a substitute of 7nm).
  • Bluetooth 5.3 (controllers can get up Steam Deck).
  • Louder audio system.
  • Microphone and headphones can be utilized without delay.
  • Longer cost cable, quicker charging (45 minutes for 20-80% charge-up) and a cost LED on the Deck.
  • Bigger followers, promising higher cooling.
  • Modified internal design and screws for simpler repairability.
  • Included onerous case now has smaller journey shell case inside for simpler bag matches.

What I’ve observed probably the most to this point, aside from the show, are the touchscreen enhancements. The unique Steam Deck was effective, however the responsiveness now feels higher, nearer to a telephone or pill. The touchpad haptics are improved: The haptic “clicks” now really feel much more like a traditional on a regular basis touchpad click on, much less clearly a vibrational impact.

The 1TB OLED mannequin nonetheless has a matte-glass display, which makes video games pop somewhat extra to my eyes. It is an amazing show, and the Steam Deck OLED would have been a welcome improve only for that alone.

I really like that the general “console” really feel of the Steam Deck simply feels higher now. And I admire the included onerous case’s new internal smooth case. You could possibly pull the onerous case off now and simply journey with a lighter shell case as a substitute. 

The Steam Deck nonetheless helps microSD playing cards to develop storage additional, and there is nonetheless 16GB of RAM onboard. This is not a “Steam Deck 2,” however by way of its total upgrades it looks like a Steam Deck 1.5.

Two Steam Deck game consoles next to each other

The brand new Steam Deck OLED (high) versus the unique Steam Deck LCD. You may’t admire the OLED show in a photograph, however discover the bezels are smaller and display bigger on the OLED mannequin.

Scott Stein/CNET

Steam Deck OLED vs. the Home windows handheld competitors

The Steam Deck nonetheless feels huge to carry and use, however it’s not as huge as some rivals. The Lenovo Legion Go, which I’ve additionally began utilizing, is huge as compared, with a fair greater and higher-res 8.8-inch show, and detachable controllers. 

The benefits of Home windows-based gaming handhelds is you possibly can run all of Home windows simply on them, together with Microsoft’s Sport Move and streaming choices, along with Steam. Steam Decks run their very own Linux-based OS that is optimized totally to Steam gaming, though they’re hackable you probably have the curiosity or persistence. Out of the field, the Steam Deck feels way more like an entire console expertise, though not all Steam video games play on Steam Deck.

With these new updates and the value not having elevated, it is welcome information for anybody who’s searching for one. I do not know if it is advisable improve from an unique Steam Deck simply to get these modifications, however the collective enhancements look to make this a must-buy choice over the LCD fashions, you probably have the price range.

Valve has already made me a believer in PC handheld gaming, and the Steam Deck’s enhancements elevate it on the proper time as PC gaming feels much more conscious of the hand held panorama. Valve has beforehand advised a real Steam Deck 2 will not be round for some time, so within the meantime this appears like your finest wager. 


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