I’ve only had one for a month, but I’m already convinced that the Steam Deck has become a leader in laptops, replacing the need for other handhelds as well.
Steam Deck is Valve’s latest effort to expand its Steam service to another platform. In recent years it has been trying to work with other developers to run games on Linux, along with Windows and macOS. Steam Deck is the summation of this effort, and it’s great at it.
However, I had no desire to have one to begin with. I’d read our Matt Hanson feature about using it as a work machine and be impressed, but with a Gaming PC in my office, I couldn’t justify it.
And then they showed me that it could be even better than the Gaming PC I had, and I’m at a point where the PC is sold, and the Steam Deck is now my go-to for PC gaming.
I made a reservation in July, and suddenly in September, Steam sent me an email confirming that my Steam Deck was ready for payment in full and delivered.
The original plan was to sell the Gaming PC before the Steam Deck arrived, as the delivery dates put mine in December, but both made things a lot easier for me, as I’ll explain later.
Three days later and the Steam Deck arrived in an environmentally friendly cardboard box. The first thought was how big it was, but eventually you get used to it, just like the iPhone 13 and the bottom notch.
I chose the 512GB model as the games I play tend to be around 150GB in size, so if it was the 256GB model it would have been Red Dead Redemption 2 and some Dreamcast ports, along with Sonic Origins.
The unspoken use of a Steam Deck
Saving in games is something I’ve been thinking about since the PlayStation 2 introduced the concept of “Backward Compatibility” where you could plug in 99% of PlayStation 1 games and they would play without a problem.
Although Sony has stymied this effort in recent years, it’s not a problem with a PC. You can download Tomb Raider II without worrying about whether it’s usable and playable, but once you’ve set it up, you’re playing without a problem, and somehow better.
But there are those who have been using Steam Deck as an emulation machine. While we don’t support this, the ease of use for playing Onimusha 2, Metal Gear Solid 3 and then Wind Waker HD is amazing.
Everything plays at full speed, and you can expect a good six hours of battery life when playing each of them. And yet there is a feeling that it is not needed be this easy
Template for handheld computers
There’s no getting away from it, I think, after Valve’s been trying to make an impact on handhelds for so many years.
The constant updates the company has been pushing have been impressive, as we’re at a point where the boot screen can be changed to almost anything you want.
Combine this with the ease of further customization thanks to SteamOS and Linux, the huge library available on Steam, and Deck’s excellent design makes it the best in its category, and makes me wonder what the second generation might hold.
But please Valve, at least let us download games and updates when idle.