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Steam Deck Review: Switch Pro in Disguise?

What do you get when you combine the looks of the Switch with the power of a gaming PC? That was the question Valve asked when it was at the drawing board for the Steam Deck. The handheld is a brand new piece of hardware from the revolutionary gaming company. With this device, you can play a certain set of games, but if you want to enjoy all the browser-based games we recommend you to play in non GamStop casinos at Gamblingpro.pro as they offer you all the entertainment you are looking for.

In our Steam Deck review you can read whether Valve is once again introducing a true revolution for the gaming world.

Since Valve dominates the PC market with Steam, the company has been pretty quiet. In 2020 we saw the Valve Index, a foray by Valve into the VR world, but actually it stopped there. Yet it turns out that the American company still manages to surprise, because Valve came up with the Steam Deck this year.

Familiar Design

In terms of form, it’s not hard to see where Valve got its inspiration from. The Steam Deck is very similar to the Nintendo Switch, although the Wii U tablet also seems to have been used as a source of inspiration. That’s not to say you can’t distinguish the two, as Steam has made its own additions in various places.

The two main additions come in the form of the trackpads. These are located on both sides of the device next to the screen. These work like a laptop’s trackpads, making it easier to play PC games like Age of Empires or Crusader Kings. RTS fans are provided that way, but that’s not the only target audience that benefits from the trackpads.

Valve has designed the trackpads in such a way that you can also use them as a replacement for the D-Pad. It’s all about options and the Steam Deck provides them in abundance, thanks in part to the four back buttons that are programmable per game. That D-Pad is, just like the usual ABXY buttons, a bit far on the edge of the handheld, so that they are not always very pleasant to use.

This is especially noticeable with the D-Pad, because it doesn’t feel quite right at all. In terms of size, it is good, just like with the ABXY buttons, but the solid shape seems a bit rickety in the device. As a result, you prefer to use the stick on the left or the aforementioned trackpad.

Magic in a Box

That all those options and button combinations are there is of course fantastic, but the Steam Deck itself must of course also perform well. Fortunately, that generally works thanks to the 4-core, 8-thread AMD Zen 2 CPU and the 8-core AMD RDNA 2 graphics card. Together with 16GB LPDDR5 RAM memory, they ensure that large, recent releases such as Elden Ring run like a charm on the handheld.

The only thing you can’t expect is that you play the game in 4K with a stable 60 frames per second. The Steam Deck is built as a handheld and those are the performances that are presented. During gaming sessions, that translates to a 1280 x 800 resolution on a 7-inch screen with an IPS panel that can play games at up to 60 frames per second.

Games like Hades, for example, can hit 60 fps well and play very smoothly. Larger games like God of War (2018), Elden Ring and Death Stranding have a little more trouble with that higher frame rate and play best when you choose 30 fps. This also plays very well as a handheld title.

The Deck delivers performance that is more than good enough and also has the secret weapon that save data is transferred directly to the cloud. This means you can continue in the highest quality when you’re back at your PC. The trump card makes users who don’t have a gaming PC immediately consider building it anyway (after which the Steam Library will follow automatically).

Clear Images

It is clear that the handheld offers better specifications than the Switch, although the OLED screen of Nintendo’s hybrid console is significantly nicer. Still, the Steam Deck screen can certainly be there, although this depends on the model you choose. Only the most expensive model, the edition that costs 679 euros, is equipped with an anti-glare screen so that you are less bothered by backlight on the screen.

It’s not an essential feature for the screen, but one that makes the playing experience just a little bit better. On the other hand, the screen of the Steam Deck can shine a lot because it taps the 400 nits. The Switch can only manage 318 nits in comparison since its 2019 revision, while the Switch OLED remains at around 375 nits.

Great Performance?

Those resolutions provide excellent performance and you can actually play God of War smoothly on the train. It is essential that you keep a close eye on whether games from your Steam Library are actually supported on the Steam Deck. This is not always the case.

That is also the pitfall of the achievements you get on the Steam Deck. Provided games are verified by Valve they play like a charm on the Steam Deck, but if they are only partially supported or have not been tested yet, there is a good chance that you will run into problems. It is a pain point that will be worked on by Steam in the coming months and with the support of the first months it is clear that there is certainly still a lot to improve in this area.

Still, it should not be a problem that the Steam Deck has not yet verified all games in its own library. The Steam Deck has an option to switch to Desktop Mode. This makes the handheld, as it were, a PC that runs on Linux (which you can connect to a dock like this to turn the handheld completely into a PC). When you do that, you can find options from within the Steam Deck to install emulators on the console, so you can still build a huge library of well-running games.

Steam Deck Review – The Switch Upgrade You Need

All in all, the Steam Deck is not yet top notch because Valve is still busy getting games working on the Steam Deck. The basis that is currently presented is already very strong and will convince almost every console gamer to create a Steam account. The build quality of the handheld is very neat thanks to a nice screen and plenty of options when it comes to the controls.

Get a Steam Deck Here!

The Steam Deck offers a great experience to play cool AAA games like Elden Ring on the go. The fact that the handheld quickly makes you consider tinkering with your Steam Library (and even a future gaming PC) says it all. Is the Steam Deck a revolution? No, it’s not, but it’s a piece of technology that gamers should definitely not ignore despite the varying battery life.

Jenna Jose
Jenna Jose
Jenna Jose is an experienced gaming editor with a journalism degree and a passion for RPGs and strategy games. She's your go-to source for the latest gaming news and comprehensive game lists. Off the clock, she's all about retro games and board game nights.

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