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As one of the most anticipated product debuts of recent times, Valve has attempted to make a handheld console, Steam Deck.

The Steam Deck is a hybrid between the Nintendo Switch and a gaming PC that can be used on the go. You can link it to a monitor, connect a keyboard and mouse, or even install Windows atop its Linux underpinnings if you choose. Even though it appears like a console, it is as open as a PC. The Steam Deck, on the other hand, has a few unique characteristics that make it feel more like a console.

Also, to put it another way, if you’re used to the idiosyncrasies and annoyances of PC gaming and have an extensive Steam library, you’ll probably enjoy Steam Deck and put up with some of its flaws. If you’re a console player, you may be disappointed.

If you can get beyond these minor issues, the Steam Deck is an excellent alternative to traditional consoles because it is so flexible and customizable. A USB-C hub may be plugged into any monitor or TV, allowing you to play video games on the large screen. Just use the Steam Deck as a tiny PC by installing Linux software and using the Steam Deck as a desktop computer. Even Windows 11 can be installed on your computer.

The lack of support for games is another one of those blemishes. If you buy a Nintendo Switch game, you can count on it working on your console if you purchase one. The Steam Deck isn’t always compatible with games purchased from the Steam store. As a result, many of the games that operate on the Steam Deck are only available for Windows. Proton, a Linux gaming solution developed by Valve, isn’t ideal, but it’s better than nothing. It’s possible that some games – notably those with anti-cheat software—will not run.

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With a technology dubbed Proton, the Linux-based operating system, SteamOS, will be able to run games that were originally designed to run on Windows. As well as suspending and restarting games, the system supports AMD’s new FidelityFX Super Resolution upscaling functions.

In order to determine which games are compatible with Steam Deck, Valve has devised a simple method. A green checkmark in the Steam Library indicates that a game has been certified by Steam Deck and will run without error. All menus and text will be readable with the default graphics settings and control options.

Yellow ticks can be found in several games as well. There may be problems getting these games to operate, but they are ‘playable,’ even if they haven’t been well tested. It’s very possible that the majority of your Steam library is currently in this camp.

A major selling point for PC users, the ability to play their Steam library on the Steam Deck without buying the titles twice, is worth the effort. The $399 / £349 beginning price is a far better value if you already have a large library of Steam titles.

The Steam Deck is very well-made, and despite its size, it isn’t too bulky; nonetheless, little hands may find it difficult to use. Rather, it’s the sheer variety of games available on the Steam Deck that’s so impressive. It played God of War flawlessly and is an excellent showcase for independent games. That’s where the Steam Deck shines, with short-burst games and attractive graphics that don’t put a strain on the Steam Deck system.

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Steam Deck Versions

The simplest version of the Steam Deck, which costs $399 / £349, comes with 64GB of eMMC storage and a carrying case. There are also two more expensive models, which cost $499 / £399.

The NVMe SSD, carrying case, and exclusive Steam Community profile bundle are included in the mid-range price of $529 / £459 for the NVMe option. For review, we sent this version.

Also included in the $649 / £569 price is an NVMe SSD with the fastest storage, premium anti-glare etched glass, an exclusive carrying case, an exclusive Steam Community profile bundle, and an exclusive virtual keyboard theme.

Storage capacity is the primary difference between Steam Deck models. This model’s 64GB of storage is insufficient for today’s most popular games. In order to play some of the games, you need more than 65GB of storage capacity, which means the base model won’t be able to run them.

As long as you have a microSD card reader, you can easily expand the storage capacity of your Steam Deck. In order to get the most out of the base model, you’ll likely have to pay for a microSD card, which reduces its value.

Additionally, the screen on the 512GB variant is slightly different from that of the 256GB model. While the anti-glare coating decreases reflections, it isn’t enough to justify the additional price of the model we tested. We still recommend the 256GB version of the Steam Deck.

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Steam Deck Design

As a portable system, the Steam Deck is significantly larger and heaver than the Nintendo Switch and is one of the largest we’ve ever used. The Steam Deck was designed to allow gamers to play for long periods of time.

As we get used to it, the Steam Deck becomes a lot more comfortable. There are two capacitive touch sensors incorporated into each side of the screen on the Steam Deck, which Valve claims provides “a level of precision and comfort not found on other portable gaming devices.”

The D-Pad, which comes in useful for 2D and retro games, sits just above the left thumbstick, while the four A, B, X, and Y buttons are positioned above the right, just like on the Xbox controller.

View, Menu, Steam, and Quick Access buttons are also available. If you’re not familiar with what each button does, it can be a little confusing to figure out how to use it in certain situations.

Stereo speakers and two microphones are located at the front of the Steam Deck, allowing you to communicate with your friends without the need for a headset.

A 7-inch, 1,280 x 800 display with a 16:10 aspect ratio graces the Steam Deck. It has a touchscreen as well, which provides an additional mode of input. Although it isn’t used in games, the fast-select feature is convenient when navigating menus.

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Steam Deck Performance

The Steam Deck’s performance is a mixed bag; at times it impresses us greatly, and at others it frustrates us greatly. Many of the issues you’re encountering are the result of using an initial form of Steam OS, which is constantly being patched and improved by the Valve community.

Getting a game’s Steam Deck verified is a common goal for many indie game creators. You’ll see a green tick icon next to these titles in your library since they have been thoroughly tested on the Steam Deck and feature smooth gameplay and easy-to-read interface settings. Playing one of these on the Steam Deck is practically risk-free, as you don’t have to mess with its settings.

In addition to huge titles like God of War, there are also oldies like Portal 2 in the Steam Deck Verified list. Hades, a fantastic game that we felt would be excellent for the Steam Deck, wasn’t Steam Deck Verified when we originally started reviewing it. However, the creators provided an update a few days later that confirmed it. However, even in its unconfirmed state, it performed quite well.

The best part is that most games that have been Steam Deck Verified run perfectly with the default settings. Don’t stray from these if you don’t like to play around with different possibilities.

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Steam Deck Battery Life

The Steam Deck’s battery life has been a problem for us during our time with it. Many passengers, such as those who had intended to use the Steam Deck for lengthy trips, would be dismayed by this news. Steam Deck’s battery life can be extended by lowering the settings or using a battery pack, but this portable gaming system does not seem as though it is truly portable because it requires a USB-C connection to recharge.

Gaming laptop battery life has been a problem for years for gamers who have had to deal with it. In the end, if you want to play modern games on a small device, you’ll have to compromise on battery life. This is a big deal for console players who are accustomed to extended battery life on their handhelds.

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