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Steam Deck Comprehensive Review: Portable PC Gaming Power

Gaming Blogs | Author: Mazen "Mithrie" Turkmani Posted: May 09, 2024 Next Previous

Is the Steam Deck worth your investment? In our comprehensive review, we dive into the Steam Deck’s performance, game library, and unique features, as a Steam machine without the fluff. Find out if this device stands out in the crowded field of portable gaming.

Key Takeaways

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The Powerhouse of Portable Gaming

Steam Deck OLED model showcasing the device's screen and controls

The Steam Deck is not just another handheld console—it’s portable PC gaming with gamepad controls unleashed. With specs that rival many desktops, it’s no surprise that the Steam Deck is turning heads in the gaming community. Its advanced hardware, exemplified by the generous 16 GB LPDDR5 RAM and the choice between a 512GB or a 1TB NVMe SSD, makes it a formidable contender in the realm of portable devices.

But what really sets the Deck apart is its superior performance, even when placed beside heavy hitters like the Nintendo Switch. The raw power it brings to playing games on the move is simply unmatched.

Efficient AMD APU

The efficient AMD APU lies at the core of the Steam Deck’s superior performance, and internal components are a synergistic combination of a quad-core CPU and an RDNA 2 GPU. This powerhouse is capable of reaching clock speeds up to 3.5GHz for the CPU and 1.6GHz for the GPU, ensuring that pc gaming on the Steam Deck is a smooth, visually stunning experience.

This system is engineered to deliver more than enough performance for contemporary games, balancing power usage and heat generation effectively. The result is amazing motion rendition and game running performance that feels both fluid and responsive.

NVMe SSD Storage

The Steam Deck’s NVMe SSD storage revolutionizes gaming, where speed is of utmost importance. Load times are lightning-fast, and system responsiveness is second to none, thanks to the high-speed storage capable of up to 3000MB/s sequential read speeds. NVMe SSDs are a leap forward from the eMMC storage found in other handhelds, providing a significant boost in both read and write speeds.

This means games not only load quickly but also run smoothly, and with storage options up to 512GB, there’s ample room in your steam library for a plethora of titles, including the master chief collection, to download games.

Display Options: LCD vs OLED

Comparison between LCD and OLED displays

When it comes to displays, the Steam Deck doesn’t hold back. With both LCD and OLED versions available, gamers can choose the visual experience that suits them best. The OLED model, in particular, stands out for its lighter weight and enhanced visuals, offering a superior color gamut, better viewing angles, and deeper blacks compared to the standard LCD model.

Not to mention, the OLED Steam Deck boasts improved battery life, offering 30-50% more juice than its LCD counterpart, ensuring that you can play steam deck oled games for longer.

You can see a general review about LED vs LCD here:
OLED vs LED LCD: what’s the best display tech?

Diagonal Display Size

The Steam Deck offers a 7-inch screen, acknowledging the critical role of diagonal display size in enhancing the gaming experience. on the standard model and an upgraded 7.4-inch screen on the OLED version. Both offer a 1280 x 800 resolution, ensuring that games look crisp and that the larger picture on the OLED screen doesn’t compromise on image quality.

Plus, with touch-enabled displays, navigating menus and interacting with games is intuitive and fluid.

Brighter Colors and Pure Blacks

The OLED display excels in providing a top-notch visual experience. Brighter colors and pure blacks provide striking contrast and brilliant clarity, bringing games to new light.

With a wide color gamut that covers 110 percent of DCI-P3 and support for HDR, the OLED screen makes every game pop with vibrant, dynamic visuals that are bound to captivate any gamer.

Steam Deck Operating System: SteamOS 3

SteamOS 3 user interface showcasing the gaming dashboard

Beyond hardware, the Steam Deck demonstrates remarkable competence through its operating system, the SteamOS 3. Based on Arch Linux and featuring the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment, SteamOS 3 offers a secure and stable platform with an exclusive startup movie tailored for gaming. Rolling updates keep the system fresh and responsive, while an immutable file system, except for the user’s home directory, ensures a robust gaming and computing experience.

Additionally, the inclusion of Gamescope, a microcompositor, boosts gaming performance on the Steam Deck, and users can enjoy a full desktop experience with the KDE Plasma 5 desktop environment.

Game Compatibility

The Steam Deck shines in its ability to handle a vast array of steam games, thanks to Proton, a compatibility layer that enables Windows-based games to run seamlessly on the Linux-powered device. Games like the Skyrim Special Edition and Forza Horizon work very well on the platform.

This means that even titles like Hitman 3 and Doom Eternal not only work on the Deck but can also show enhanced performance compared to their Windows counterparts.

User-Friendly Interface

The user-friendly nature of the Steam Deck contributes significantly to its appeal. The operating system’s interface is a familiar extension of the desktop version of Steam, complete with indicators for battery life and wireless connectivity. Moreover, controller support is fully integrated, providing a console-like user experience that’s accessible even when you’re on the move.

Battery Life and Power Management

Steam Deck AC adapter illustrating power management options

The Steam Deck excels in one of the main areas of concern for any portable device - battery life. On average, users can expect around 6 hours of gameplay, which can extend up to seven or eight hours for lighter activities like web browsing or playing less demanding games. Furthermore, simple tweaks, such as reducing the screen frame rate to 30 FPS or lowering in-game resolution, can significantly enhance the battery duration without dramatically altering the gaming experience.

Bigger Battery

The OLED model of the Steam Deck offers the following improvements:

Adjustable Performance Profiles

With customizable performance profiles, the Steam Deck enables users to tailor their gaming experience. These settings allow gamers to adjust the frame rate limit and other parameters, optimizing power consumption and performance for each individual game or globally across all titles.

The Battery Saver mode is a particularly useful feature, automatically adjusting settings to achieve better battery life while maintaining performance for less demanding games.

Expanding the Steam Library

Expanding the Steam library with the Steam Deck

The Original Steam Deck evolves to accommodate your expanding steam library. Developers can take advantage of a game-specific API to ensure their titles run optimally on the device, making it a popular choice among steam decks.

And for those who want to carry a large collection of games, the option to use a 1TB SD card for additional storage is a welcome feature.

Downloading Games

Downloading games on the Steam Deck

The flexibility of the Steam Deck can also be seen in its game management capabilities. The ability to transfer installed games from a PC to the Steam Deck over a local network offers several benefits:

This ingenious feature not only saves time but also improves your gaming experience, especially in games like Monster Hunter Rise.

Stable Online Play

Playing multiplayer games online on the Steam Deck

Improved Wi-Fi connectivity in the OLED model provides:

Whether you’re teaming up with friends or competing against rivals, the Steam Deck’s stable online play ensures you’re always in the game.

The Steam Deck Ecosystem: Community and Third-Party Support

Community and third-party support shape the rich and diverse ecosystem of the Steam Deck. Customizable control inputs, including touchpads and triggers, cater to individual gaming preferences. Integrated Steam features like user profiles, cloud saving, and Remote Play enhance the connectedness of the platform.

And with the versatile dock unit, the Steam Deck can easily become part of an integrated gaming setup, allowing connections to external displays and power sources for an even more immersive experience.

You can also purchase a Limited edition carrying case with removable liner, Steam profile bundle.


Embarking on a journey with the Steam Deck reveals a device that’s not just cutting-edge in terms of portable PC gaming but also a pioneer in creating a versatile, connected gaming ecosystem. From its powerful hardware to the vibrant OLED display, from the expansive Steam library to the supportive community, the Steam Deck stands as a testament to what the future of gaming looks like—unrestricted, dynamic, and always within reach.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Steam Deck run all Steam games?

Yes, the Steam Deck can run most Windows-based games using Proton on SteamOS 3, and some games may even perform better than on Windows.

How does the OLED model of the Steam Deck improve battery life?

The OLED model of the Steam Deck improves battery life by featuring a larger 50Wh battery, providing 30-50% longer battery life than the original model, allowing for extended gameplay sessions.

Can I customize the performance settings for each game on the Steam Deck?

Yes, you can customize the performance settings for each game on the Steam Deck to optimize power consumption and performance based on your preferences. Enjoy personalized gaming experiences!

Is it possible to expand the storage capacity of the Steam Deck?

Yes, you can expand the Steam Deck's storage using a MicroSD card, with options available up to 1TB for a vast game library. Enjoy expanding your storage capacity and gaming options!

Does the Steam Deck support online multiplayer gaming?

Yes, the Steam Deck supports online multiplayer gaming with improved Wi-Fi connectivity for a smooth and stable experience.

Useful Links

Best Steam Games of 2023, According to Google Search Traffic
Comprehensive Review For Handheld Gaming Consoles of 2023
Nintendo Switch - News, Updates, and Information
Top Gaming PC Builds: Mastering the Hardware Game in 2024
Top New Consoles of 2024: Which Should You Play Next?

Author Details

Photo of Mazen 'Mithrie' Turkmani

Mazen "Mithrie" Turkmani

I have been creating gaming content since August 2013, and went full-time in 2018. Since then, I have published hundreds of gaming news videos and articles. I have had a passion for gaming for more than 30 years!

Ownership and Funding is a Gaming News website owned and operated by Mazen Turkmani. I am an independent individual and not part of any company or entity.

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Use of Automated Content uses AI tools such as ChatGPT and Google Gemini to increase the length of articles for further readablity. The news itself is kept accurate by manual review from Mazen Turkmani.

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