The Pros and Cons of the Steam Deck: Is Valve’s Handheld Console Worth It?

Valve, the company behind the popular gaming platform Steam, has recently announced its latest product: the Steam Deck. The Steam Deck is a handheld device that can run PC games from your Steam library and other software and applications. It is designed to offer a portable and versatile gaming experience, with a 7-inch touchscreen, built-in controllers, and a dock that allows you to connect it to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

But is the Steam Deck really worth it? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this device compared to other handheld consoles or gaming laptops? In this blog post, we will explore some of the pros and cons of the Steam Deck based on the information available so far.

The Pros of Valve’s Handheld Console

The Steam Deck has powerful hardware that can run most PC games smoothly

According to Valve, the device has a custom AMD APU that combines a quad-core Zen 2 CPU with an RDNA 2 GPU, as well as 16 GB of RAM and up to 512 GB of SSD storage.

The device also supports microSD cards for additional storage. The Steam Deck can run games at up to 60 frames per second, with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels on the touchscreen or up to 4K on an external monitor.

The Steam Deck has a large and diverse library of games to choose from

Unlike other handheld consoles that are limited by their own ecosystems, the Steam Deck can access your entire Steam library and other platforms like Epic Games Store, Origin, or GOG.

You can also install other operating systems like Windows or Linux on the device, opening up more gaming and productivity possibilities. The Steam Deck also supports cloud gaming services like GeForce Now or Xbox Cloud Gaming, allowing you to stream games from the internet without downloading.

The Steam Deck has a flexible and customizable design that suits different preferences and play styles

The device has a variety of input options, including dual analog sticks, a D-pad, four face buttons, four shoulder buttons, two trackpads, four rear buttons, gyroscopic sensors, and a touchscreen.

You can also use external controllers or peripherals via Bluetooth or USB-C. The device also has a dock that lets you connect it to a monitor, keyboard, mouse, speakers, or Ethernet cable.

You can also use any standard USB-C dock or hub for the same purpose. The device also allows you to adjust settings like resolution, frame rate, graphics quality, and power consumption.

Steam Deck Cons

The Steam Deck is relatively expensive compared to other handheld consoles

The device starts at $399 for the 64 GB model, which uses slower eMMC storage instead of SSD. The 256 GB model costs $529, while the 512 GB model costs $649. These prices do not include the dock, which will be sold separately. For comparison, the Nintendo Switch costs $299 for the base model or $349 for the OLED model, while the PlayStation Vita costs $199 for the Wi-Fi model or $299 for the 3G model.

The Steam Deck has a limited battery life that may not last long enough for some games

Valve says the device can last between two to eight hours on a single charge, depending on the game and settings. However, some games may drain the battery faster than others, especially if they are graphically intensive or require online connectivity. The device also takes about three hours to charge with the included power adapter fully. You may need to carry an external battery pack or find a power outlet if you want to play for longer periods of time.

The Steam Deck may face some compatibility issues with some PC games or applications

While Valve claims that the device can run any game in your Steam library, some games may not be optimized for the device’s hardware or input methods. For example, some games may require keyboard and mouse input that cannot be easily replicated on the device’s controllers or touchscreen. Some games may also have anti-cheat software that prevents them from running on Linux-based systems like the SteamOS that powers the device. You may need to tweak some settings or install additional software to make some games work properly on the device.


The Steam Deck is an ambitious and innovative product that aims to bring PC gaming to your hands. It has many advantages over other handheld consoles in terms of performance, library, and flexibility. However, it also has some drawbacks in terms of price, battery life, and compatibility.

Whether it is worth it depends on your preferences and expectations.

If you are looking for a portable and versatile device that can run most PC games and applications without compromising quality or functionality, then the Steam Deck may be a good option for you.

However, if you are looking for a cheaper or longer-lasting device that can run specific games or platforms without any issues or modifications, then you may want to consider other alternatives.

Related Questions

What are the differences between the three models of the Steam Deck?

The main difference between the three models is the storage capacity and type. The 64 GB model uses eMMC storage, which is slower than SSD storage. The 256 GB and 512 GB models use NVMe SSD storage, which is faster and more reliable. The 512 GB model also has an anti-glare etched glass screen, which reduces reflections and improves visibility. All models have the same CPU, GPU, RAM, and display.

How can I play games that are not on Steam or that require Windows on the Steam Deck?

The Steam Deck runs on SteamOS, which is a Linux-based operating system that can run most Steam games natively or through a compatibility layer called Proton. However, some games may not work well or at all on SteamOS, especially if they have anti-cheat software or require Windows-specific features. You can install Windows or other operating systems on the device by replacing SteamOS or dual-booting. However, this may void your warranty or affect your performance or functionality. You can also use cloud gaming services like GeForce Now or Xbox Cloud Gaming, which allows you to stream games from the internet without installing them on the device.