Which Steam Deck Model Should You Buy?

At its core, the Steam Deck is a gaming PC. It is a highly effective piece of equipment that brings your Steam library into your arms, so you may play your PC video games wherever you might be. When you’re considering of shopping for a Steam Deck, you may need observed that there are totally different variations. How have you learnt which to purchase?

On this article, we’ll clarify the distinction between the three fashions of Steam Deck, together with providing some recommendation on which is greatest for you.

What Are the Variations Between the Steam Deck Fashions?

There are three variations of the Steam Deck that differentiate on worth, storage capability and kind, anti-glare display screen, and bonus goodies like a digital keyboard theme.

Mannequin 1 Mannequin 2 Mannequin 3
Price $399 $529 $649
Storage capability 64GB 256GB 512GB
Storage sort eMMC NVMe SSD NVMe SSD
Extras
  • Carrying case
  • Unique Steam Group profile bundle
  • Anti-glare etched glass display screen
  • Unique carrying case
  • Unique Steam Group profile bundle
  • Unique digital keyboard theme

Storage apart, the {hardware} inside all three Steam Deck fashions is an identical. It contains an AMD APU (combining Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architectures), 16GB RAM, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, 40Whr battery, and runs SteamOS.

Offering a recreation passes the Steam Deck compatibility verify, Valve’s handheld can run it, albeit extra intense video games you may have to crank all the way down to medium graphics in order for you 60 frames per second.

MAKEUSEOF VIDEO OF THE DAY

For full data on the {hardware}, see Valve’s Steam Deck tech specs page.

Do You Want Higher Storage?

Probably the most important distinction between the three Steam Deck fashions is the storage. Earlier than we evaluate, it is price noting that every one Steam Deck fashions help expandable storage by way of microSD or USB 3.0 storage gadgets, however your video games will all the time run most effectively from the interior storage.

First, all three fashions have totally different capacities: 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB. Your resolution right here is dependent upon the forms of video games you play and what number of you wish to have put in concurrently.

If largely play visible novels, puzzle video games, and platformers, these usually do not require a great deal of cupboard space. Nevertheless, in case you get pleasure from AAA titles, these typically demand loads of area—Pink Lifeless Redemption 2 wants 150GB, for instance, so it will not match on the interior storage of the Steam Deck’s base mannequin.


Take into account additionally what number of video games you require in your Steam Deck at anybody time. After all, you may obtain and (un)set up as required, however what in case you’re with out web? In order for you loads of video games obtainable at your fingertips, 64GB is not going to chop it.


a game running on the steam deck
Picture Credit score: Valve

Second, the fashions use totally different storage applied sciences. The 64GB mannequin makes use of eMMC, whereas the 256GB and 512GB fashions use NVMe SSD. The latter is the quicker know-how. According to Valve, the 64GB eMMC masses video games 12.5% slower in comparison with the 512GB NVMe SSD. For boot speeds, the previous is 25% slower than the latter. Additionally, due to the best way that NVMe scales, the 512GB mannequin is faster than the 256GB mannequin.

The interior storage is just not designed for end-user substitute, so you will not be capable of simply improve it such as you would for the standard PC. Make your selection fastidiously. When you play highly effective video games and need as many put in directly as potential, get the 512GB Deck. In any other case, for most individuals, the 256GB mannequin shall be satisfactory.

Is the Anti-Glare Display Value It?

Each mannequin of the Steam Deck has the identical show {hardware}:

  • Panel: Optically bonded IPS LCD
  • Decision: 1280 x 800 pixels (16:10 side ratio)
  • Measurement: 7 inches diagonal
  • Brightness: 400 nits
  • Refresh price: 60Hz

Whichever mannequin you select, you need to discover the Steam Deck’s display screen to be crisp, vibrant, and colourful. Whereas it will possibly’t compete with the vivid show on the OLED Nintendo Swap, it is nonetheless respectable.

The distinction with the $649 mannequin of the Steam Deck is that the display screen has anti-glare etched glass. This implies it needs to be simpler to see in vibrant environments—like enjoying exterior on a sunny day.


playing the steam deck outside
Picture Credit score: Valve

In accordance with PC Gamer, with the Steam Deck at most brightness and the solar beaming, you may nonetheless comfortably make out what’s on the display screen. Nevertheless, it famous that the display screen does wrestle open air whenever you’re enjoying a very darkish recreation.

TechRadar claims that “whereas the anti-glare coating actually reduces reflections, it’s not sufficient of a change to justify the upper worth”.

In the end, it is dependent upon the place you propose to play your Steam Deck. Whereas the $649 mannequin objectively has the higher display screen, in case you’ll largely play indoors then you definitely’ll hardly ever see the profit. Nevertheless, in case you dwell in a sunny local weather and plan to play open air, think about the improve.

What is the Deal With the Carrying Circumstances?

All variations of the Steam Deck include a carrying case, although the $649 mannequin comes with what Valve name an “unique” carrying case. All instances are functionally an identical, however the unique case has aesthetic tweaks and two extra minor equipment.

The 2 photos above present the common carrying case which comes with the $399 and $529 fashions. The case zips up, has a carrying deal with, and has a padded inside. The again of the case has a storage pocket and elastic retaining band.

The 4 photos above present the unique carrying case with the $649 mannequin. The entrance emblem is a distinct shade, and the zipper pulls and inside material are totally different. It additionally features a separate drawstring pouch for the ability wire, and a microfiber cleansing fabric.

Whereas a pouch for the ability wire is useful, it is not important, and you may simply choose up low cost microfiber cleansing cloths. Plus, the aesthetic adjustments are purely that—it’s possible you’ll even desire the all-black look of the usual case. Total, there’s actually no have to base your Steam Deck buy resolution on the carrying case.

What In regards to the Steam Deck’s Digital Goodies?

There are many methods to customise your Steam profile, like with a background and avatar border, and you may seize these from the Steam Factors Store. The $529 and $649 fashions of the Steam Deck include an unique Steam Group profile bundle, solely obtainable by way of buy of a Deck, which you’ll see within the Reddit publish above.


The $649 Deck contains the profile bundle plus an unique digital keyboard theme, which you’ll see in Valve’s tweet above. It makes the on-screen keyboard of the Steam Deck seem like a mechanical keyboard.

These digital goodies are enjoyable, however minor. It is probably they will not influence your buy resolution. In addition to, there’s an entire wealth of Steam profile customization choices already obtainable, and the Steam Deck has different keyboard themes to select from.

Which Steam Deck Is Finest?

The principle issue it’s essential to think about when weighing up the three Steam Deck fashions is the storage. Whereas the anti-glare display screen, fancier carrying case, and digital goodies are all good, they are not important.

Importantly, you wish to have sufficient area to put in the video games you prefer to play. For most individuals, the $529 256GB mannequin is one of the best match for performance and worth. In case your finances can deal with it, go for the $649 512GB Deck as a result of it is undoubtedly one of the best. And until you are money strapped, keep away from the $399 64GB mannequin on account of its slower run and boot speeds.

All that mentioned, you are prone to get pleasure from whichever Steam Deck you resolve to purchase. Valve has created one thing particular.


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