Steam Deck goes OLED: improved screen, battery, and new 1TB option

Daniel Sims

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Something to look forward to: Valve's Steam Deck has been successful enough to potentially pave the way for a new PC gaming hardware tier, however many gamers have complained about its average-quality IPS screen. This new revision addresses the display and overhauls many other areas at once.

Valve will launch a new version of the Steam Deck next week. The hardware refresh includes an OLED screen, HDR support, a new variant with 1TB of internal storage, improved battery life, and other revisions like the addition of Wi-Fi 6E. There's also a new translucent version that looks amazing – check out some early reviews here.

The OLED display reaches 1,000 nits in HDR mode with a 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio and a 110% P3 color gamut, but the 600-nit SDR mode is also a slight improvement over the launch model's LCD screen.

Furthermore, reviews indicate that engaging HDR mode in games is significantly more straightforward than it often is in Windows. Valve has shrunk the Steam Deck's bezel to increase the screen size from 7 to 7.4 inches and raised the max refresh rate from 60 to 90Hz while retaining the 1280 x 800 resolution.

Also read: Why Steam Deck is One of the Most Significant PC Gaming Moments in Years

Although the refresh maintains the original's performance target, numerous nip tucks may provide a slight improvement. While still a 4-core, 8-thread Zen 2 with 8 RDNA 2 CUs, the APU shrinks from 7 to 6nm for lower power consumption. The RAM is still 16GB and LDDR5 but speeds up from 5,500MT/s to 6,400MT/s, which could give certain games an edge.

Combined with a larger fan and a battery improvement from 40 to 50Whr, these changes should result in longer play sessions before you need to recharge. The OLED screen also helps in this area by using less power. Moreover, the adjustments make the system slightly lighter, cooler, and quieter altogether.

Users with fast connections and Wi-Fi 6 routers can experience speedier downloads thanks to the added Wi-Fi 6E support. Valve also refreshed the controls to improve tactility and responsiveness. Changes to the frame will likely please the folks at iFixit, as adjustments to the screws, the screen, and other components mean easier repairs.

A new model means major pricing changes. Valve is discontinuing the 64GB and 512GB LCD models, selling the remaining stock at a reduced $349 and $449, respectively. Meanwhile, the 256GB LCD Steam Deck becomes the new base model at $399.

The Steam Deck OLED will arrive in two variants – $549 for 512GB and $649 for a new 1TB storage option. Valve is also releasing a limited edition translucent smoke grey 1TB portable with an exclusive bootup screen.

While the PC gaming giant won't say how many Steam Deck units it's sold exactly, it's estimated that sales are in the ballpark of a few millions units – a tremendous success for a single pre-built PC model. Looking forward, Valve confirmed that a more powerful "Steam Deck 2" is two or three years away.

The refreshed Steam Deck competes with a new generation of handheld gaming PCs like the Asus ROG Ally, the Lenovo Legion Go, the GPD Win 4, and others. Although higher wattage and AMD's Zen 4-based Ryzen Z1 APU give some of these machines better performance than the Deck's, they can struggle with battery life and a Windows operating system not designed for small screens.

Availability for the Steam Deck OLED begins on November 16 at 10 am PT.

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Smaller bezels to make the 7" screen 7.4" is my primary wish for the ROG Ally 2 (and of course an updated APU).

All these tweaks make for a compelling offering. Although there are a few games like Spiderman that need the stronger APU in my Ally. (Upgrade) decisions, decisions.
 
It certainly makes it more compelling...

Maybe even enough to convince a few friends to jump onto PC gaming lol
 
AMD is taking their sweet time with their APUs and it's really holding back the form factor. OLED is a nice upgrade but even if they put the Ryzen z1 extreme in it, it's 12 compute units for graphics is just too small. They can do some indie games and minecraft like stuff, but most games get 30FPS on low at 800P with upscaling.

Smaller bezels to make the 7" screen 7.4" is my primary wish for the ROG Ally 2 (and of course an updated APU).

All these tweaks make for a compelling offering. Although there are a few games like Spiderman that need the stronger APU in my Ally. (Upgrade) decisions, decisions.
I think many people would rather have a 6core APU with 16 CU's than an 8core with 12 CU's. I really don't like how AMD is handling their APU lineup. You don't need 8cores for gaming especially at the settings these portables run at. I don't see intel or nVidia in this space at all yet so they don't have any competition but they need to get a little more graphics power into these things. I don't see these things as much more of a curiosity or gimmick right now.

I remember when AMD started talking APUs and thought "the sounds great, get rid of entry level graphics cards" and I guess they kind of did, but I like the idea of an APU that can game well enough that you buy the CPU/mobo now and the APU tides you over for several months or even a year until you can get a real GPU.
 
It certainly makes it more compelling...

Maybe even enough to convince a few friends to jump onto PC gaming lol
I refunded mine; it had so many compatibility issues with games it was ridiculous; I get a more responsively stable experience on my W98 PCs. And seeing as the cost is around that of a laptop it becames increasingly inferior once the tiny screen; cramped controls, and terrible battery life came into play.
 
I refunded mine; it had so many compatibility issues with games it was ridiculous; I get a more responsively stable experience on my W98 PCs. And seeing as the cost is around that of a laptop it becames increasingly inferior once the tiny screen; cramped controls, and terrible battery life came into play.
So you bought a small gamepad PC and expected it to be a laptop? LMFAO.

I'd love to hear what these "incompatibilities" are. If you are playing games that are deck certified everything should work fine. Unless you are trying to play Actitrash games there are very few known incompatibilities today.
 
Good on Valve for continuing to support and make updates to the deck.

It's not really my cup of tea and I'll likely never buy one unless I can find one used for dirt cheap just to goof around with, but it's exactly the kind of thing that keeps me anchored to a store like Steam over something like, say, EGS.

When I buy stuff on steam, I know my money is not just supporting the platform, but also these quirky (sometimes throwaway) projects like Steam Link, Steam Controller, Index, Steam Machine etc possible.

My "console" hooked up to my TV is a homebrew Steam Machine in Big Picture mode cobled together from spare parts from older builds and it's great for playing console ports from my couch.
 
This needed a six core to be a buy for me. The 4 core CPU is struggling with many titles and makes the future proofing limited. If you buy it for the existing library or future independent titles it is a great entry point.
 
Screen is way to small for actual pc games; great size to beat the Sega Gamegear, but not for anything vs even a 11" laptop. Not to mention how many issues the deck has and how many games don't work at all. I've never refunded a product with such relief before.
 
Steam Deck is so important - getting games running on Linux without fiddling - mainly via emulation but who cares as long as it 'just works' - will hopefully be a game-changer actually giving consumers a real choice about the OS they install on their PC's.
 
This needed a six core to be a buy for me. The 4 core CPU is struggling with many titles and makes the future proofing limited. If you buy it for the existing library or future independent titles it is a great entry point.

That's what I've been using it for, it's important to remember what it is and what it isn't. I've been able to use it to clear a lot of older games and indie games from my backlog and save my gaming PC for more heavyweight titles. Proton's definitely come a long way especially with supporting off-steam games (Uplay, EA etc.), their updates can break it but its fairly quick to resolve now.

I refunded mine; it had so many compatibility issues with games it was ridiculous; I get a more responsively stable experience on my W98 PCs. And seeing as the cost is around that of a laptop it becames increasingly inferior once the tiny screen; cramped controls, and terrible battery life came into play.

When was this? It's made good strides over the last year since I've had one. There are going to be some things that wont run on it, bigger AAA titles but it punches well above its weight, it's a very well optimised bit of kit. I think because its a standardised bit of kit the community around it can suggest settings, the plugins are great, the emulators are great. The equivalent laptop you could get for the same price would absolutely not be very good, the controls are pretty good I'd say, not ideal for twitch shooting but passable otherwise. Battery life is fine, especially compared to competitors like RoG Ally. I think you may have been expecting too much.
 
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That's what I've been using it for, it's important to remember what it is and what it isn't. I've been able to use it to clear a lot of older games and indie games from my backlog and save my gaming PC for more heavyweight titles. Proton's definitely come a long way especially with supporting off-steam games (Uplay, EA etc.), their updates can break it but its fairly quick to resolve now.



When was this? It's made good strides over the last year since I've had one. There are going to be some things that wont run on it, bigger AAA titles but it punches well above its weight, it's a very well optimised bit of kit. I think because its a standardised bit of kit the community around it can suggest settings, the plugins are great, the emulators are great. The equivalent laptop you could get for the same price would absolutely not be very good, the controls are pretty good I'd say, not ideal for twitch shooting but passable otherwise. Battery life is fine, especially compared to competitors like RoG Ally. I think you may have been expecting too much.
Regardless of strides it is still a very subpar product in terms of compatibility, battery life, and use with actual PC games vs cinsole crossplays. To me it is a perfect example of "The Emperor's New Clothes".
 
For someone who hasn't used one, you really have a bee on your bonnet against the Steam Deck.
I refunded after using it. That is the one good thing I can say about Valve here is that they allowed me to refund it once the novelty wore off and the inferiority set in. The real achilles heel besides the tiny screen and awkward controls is the OS; so many compatibility issues with games it made me rethink how bad I used to think Windows 95 drivers were.
 
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I refunded after using it.
Ah, I see, you're claiming to have bought one, used it for 5 seconds and refunded it. Got it.

Do you own and use any other portable gaming devices? Nintendo Switch? Mobile Phone? 3DS? Game Boy? Or was the Steam Deck your first foray into such a device?
 
Regardless of strides it is still a very subpar product in terms of compatibility, battery life, and use with actual PC games vs cinsole crossplays. To me it is a perfect example of "The Emperor's New Clothes".

In comparison to what? There aren't many handheld PCs on the market, and all of them are inferior in most respects. In any case the market seems to disagree with you - sales appear to have been a huge success for Valve, and community interest seems to be very healthy.

My personal experience is that they make incredible complementary devices. I get as much use out of mine as I do on my high end desktop or PS5.
 
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