In 2021, Valve threw a curveball at the gaming world by announcing the Steam Deck, a handheld gaming device very similar to the Nintendo Switch, with a small screen and controls on the left and right sides.
With the Steam Deck on the way, you probably have a lot of questions. U.S. too.
When is the Valve Steam Deck release date?
The Valve Steam Deck was released on February 25 in a few markets, with initial pre-order models sent to early buyers around February 28. The next decline in orders is expected shortly thereafter. Each recognized market by Valve for release is currently in the US, UK, Canada, Germany and France.
Valve described some rough estimates of when you can expect the Steam Deck in other markets, but that’s basically “after Q2 2022”. Sorry Aussies, we don’t have an exact release date for the region yet.
How to pre-order the Steam Deck in Australia
Thanks to some online magic, it’s actually possible for an Aussie to pre-order a Steam Deck when it launches in the US. You will need a VPN set to a US location – after setting this the order page should unlock and you should be able to pre-order when stock becomes available. It’s the same thing the Aussies had to do to get the Early valve index. So yes, it’s possible to get the Steam Deck in Australia, but it’s best to have a clear understanding of what that might mean for small things like access and charging and big things like your consumer protections and guarantees.
Steam Bridge Awards
This is not a cheap kit and will set you back several hundred dollars. There are three models available, so you have a good choice in terms of what you want to get out of the device. We’ll convert prices from USD to AUD below, but as we know, simply converting the cost of technology from the United States to Australian dollars does not give us the full price (how much is the value* of the Australian tax?).
Also consider shipping when purchasing. Also, if storage is very important to you, you can expand it using a MicroSD card.
- The cheapest option is $399 (converted, or around $555), with 64GB eMMC internal storage and a carrying case.
- The mid-range model costs $529 (about $740, direct conversion), containing 256GB SSD internal storage, a carrying case, and a set of Steam Community Profiles (for your Steam profile).
- Finally, the most expensive model costs US$649 (converted, $903, so probably a $1,000 tip), with 512GB NVME storage capacity, anti-reflective etched glass, “exclusive” carrying case, an exclusive set of Steam community profiles and an exclusive virtual keyboard theme.
Here is a quick disassembly video of the Steam Deck
Last year, Valve released a little hands-on video of a Steam Deck teardown, revealing what it looks like internally.
The company mainly did this as a warning, recommending users not to try this at home, but not discouraging teardown and system modification. You have the right to do it, it’s just…be careful.
“While this is your PC, or will be once you receive your Steam Deck and are perfectly free to open it and do whatever you want, at Valve we don’t recommend really not to open it,” the narrator said. said.
What are the Steam Deck specs?
The most interesting question for a PC gamer like me: what are the specs? Well, they are really impressive for such a small device. Here’s a quick overview:
- Processor: AMD Zen2 APUs
- GPUs: 8 RDNA 2 UC
- Memory: 16GB LPDDR5 built-in RAM
- Storage room: 64 GB eMMC, 256 GB SSD or 512 GB NVMe SSD (all models can be upgraded with a MicroSD card)
- To display: 7-inch 1280 x 800 IPS LCD touchscreen with 16:10 aspect ratio, 60Hz refresh rate and 400 nits brightness
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 and Dual Band Wi-Fi
- Audio: 3.5mm headphone jack, multi-channel audio via USB-C, two built-in microphones and onboard stereo sound
- Battery: 40 Wh battery provides 2-8 hours of playtime depending on the game
- Harbor: USB-C charging and data port
- Cut: 298mm x 117mm x 49mm, weight 669 grams
- Software: Steam OS 3.0
- Modes of use: portable and connected to a screen.
Steam Deck Features and Design
The Steam Deck is most similar to the Nintendo Switch, both in form and functionality. It’s designed to be a modern portable game console, rectangular in shape with your hands meant to grip the sides of the device where the buttons are.
The primary way Valve wants people to use the Steam Deck is in handheld mode – using the built-in buttons, thumbsticks, and triggers, Valve wants players to use the Steam Deck on the go or simply away from their primary setup. It also has cloud capability for owned Steam games and MicroSD storage.
However, the Steam Deck can also be used while connected to a display. Much like the Nintendo Switch, the Steam Deck can be played on a monitor or TV. Unlike the Switch, you don’t need a special Dock to do this. Instead, the user simply needs to connect the USB-C port to the display of their choice. It’s so simple.
Beyond the two modes of use, the Steam Deck has a range of features. Games can be played from the cloud on the Steam Deck (provided you own them on Steam and have them installed on a computer) and your storage can be expanded by a microSD card. The device is powered by SteamOS, a Linux-based operating system, but can also run Windows 10.
Steam deck game
Although we haven’t gotten to grips with Valve’s handheld yet, our colleague in the US has. Here is an excerpt from his review:
Valve is racing to fix bugs, add features, and improve the performance of its software before the Steam Deck lands in customers’ hands. Even today, after weeks of updates, the software remains a work in progress. You should be somewhat relieved to know that things are moving in the right direction. I’m a fan of the overall SteamOS interface.
We know the games run reasonably well on the tech, given the hands-on previews we’ve seen (including Linus’ tech tips preview below), but at this time we don’t have any gameplay footage. outside the domain of pre-output models.
If you’re looking for gameplay footage from Valve itself, here’s the trailer released by the company.
Valve is checking games for the Deck, Valve has a running list of what you can expect to play and we’ve broken it down a bit further via this link.
Steam Deck Accessories
Ordering the device will net you a carrying case for the console, but that’s about where it ends when it comes to official accessories.
Although there are no official accessories except the carrying case, the device is compatible with keyboards, mice, headsets, headphones, Bluetooth devices and wireless devices like controllers. Functionally, it’s capable of all the accessories you’d expect from a basic gaming PC.
Can I use the Steam Deck for anything other than Steam Deck games?
That’s an interesting question – yes, the console can do more than just play Steam Deck (or just Steam) games. Here’s how it works: Steam doesn’t use Windows, although it uses a Linux-based operating system called SteamOS. SteamOS on the Steam Deck includes a compatibility tool called Proton, allowing any game designed for Windows to run on the Steam operating system. It’s a good trick. Alternatively, if you’re not a fan of SteamOS, the system allows dual booting in Windows 10 and Valve is even working with AMD to make sure Windows 11 runs smoothly on the device.
What’s even neater is that the device lets you have more than just the built-in Steam launcher, which means you can have non-Steam games running, as long as they’re hardware compatible.
How does the Steam Deck compare to the competition?
The Steam Deck has some competition, although until the device is commercially available it will be hard to tell how it compares to these other consoles.
Compared to other PC-based handhelds, the closest counterpart is the AYA Neo, a crowdfunded PC gaming handheld running Windows 10. It features impressive specs similar to the Steam Deck, with two models available at higher price points.
Starting from the AYA Neo, there are a few other options. the OneXPlayer Looks a lot like the AYA Neo, featuring a bigger screen and similar specs. The OneXPlayer also runs an Intel CPU and Intel Iris XE GPU, as opposed to the AMD processor in the Steam Deck.
Moreover, the GPD Win 3 is a portable Windows 10 machine aimed at portable gaming (including a sliding screen that reveals a small keyboard), running an Intel processor instead of the AMD Deck and Neo processor.
The Australian availability of these Steam Deck alternatives varies, but if you’re just looking for a portable gaming device, the Nintendo Switch is readily available.
This article has been updated since it was first published, and we’ll keep it updated as we learn more, so be sure to check back.