Earlier this year, rumors began circulating that Valve was developing a handheld games console that was similar in form to the Nintendo Switch. Yesterday, this rumour came to fruition as Valve have officially announced a handheld gaming PC called the “Steam Deck”
This came as a surprise to many, particularly due to the less-than-successful line of “steam machines” that Valve had attempted to spearhead in 2015. There had since been radio silence on Valve from the hardware front (excluding their highly successful Valve Index VR Headset).
The Steam Deck Specs – A Ryzen Handheld?
The Steam Deck is powered by a custom-designed AMD APU capable of clock speeds of up to 3.5GHz, running the Zen 2 architecture. Developed in partnership with AMD – it remains to be seen what the real-world performance of the Steam Deck will be.
Given AMD’s track record with Mini PC‘s lately however, we’re comfortable saying that we have a positive outlook on how the handheld will perform.
This handheld also features 16Gb of cutting-edge LPDDR5 RAM, which should provide excellent performance in a variety of games in tandem with the custom-designed AMD APU.
The Steam Deck also comes with three different storage configurations. The first of these and the cheapest being a £349 model that comes with 64GB of eMMC memory. The latter two £459 and £569 models featuring 256GB and 512GB NVMe SSDs.
Allegedly, the 512GB model features a faster SSD than the 256Gb model. We are yet to see real-world performance however. All models feature expandable storage via a microSD card slot.
For wireless functionality, it features built-in Bluetooth 5.0 compatibility, and Wi-Fi 5 functionality, standard-fare for most handheld devices nowadays.
The Steam Deck Controls – Haptics Galore?
The Steam Deck features 7-inch 1280x800p display capable of touch input. The aspect ratio of this is 16:10, which is standard-fare and should work fine for most modern titles.
Curiously, the Steam Deck features two trackpads present underneath the analogue sticks. This technology was previously seen in Valve’s now-discontinued Steam Controller and was met with a mixed reception.
The handheld also features gyroscopic aiming, a feature that was first widely noticed on the Wii U.
When is the Steam Deck launching?
The Steam Deck begins shipping in December 2021 to the United States, Canada, Europe and the United Kingdom. You can however place a reservation for the Steam Deck on Valve’s storefront for a small fee.
Note that this release date is tentative however.
Are there alternatives to the Steam Deck?
Are you looking for an alternative to the Steam Deck? If so, you have three main choices to consider.
GPD Win 3
Much like the Steam Deck, the GPD WIn 3 is similar in appearance to the Nintendo Switch. Featuring a central screen flanked by controls on either side. The GPD Win 3 uniquely features a touchpad keyboard that is obscured by a sliding screen.
The OneXPlayer is another handheld gaming PC developed by One Netbook, the company behind devices such as the One GX1 and the One Mix 3 Series. The OneXPlayer contains an 11th Generation Intel processor.
This handheld PC features the largest display at 8.4 inches. Beyond that however, there is not much to say. Currently, there is no way to buy the OneXPlayer. This will undoubtedly change in the future however once the device reaches the mass production phase.
We’ll be keeping tabs on the Steam Deck as it will undoubtedly bring more attention to the scene of handheld gaming PCs as a whole. For the latest updates, feel free to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.