Valve’s Steam Deck is now available to purchase without needing a reservation, the company has announced. More details on the docking station have also been revealed, including technical specs and pricing.
For those completely new to the Steam Deck, this is Valve’s answer to the Nintendo Switch – a beefed up handheld allowing gamers to play their Steam library anywhere on the go. It’s done pretty well in performance tests across a variety of AAA games, though it’s worth noting that not all titles have been optimised for this hardware. You also need to factor in the button layout of the Deck, mimicking a modern gamepad with two accompanying touch pads and a touchscreen. So far, the system has been rated favourably among games media.
Valve has shared more information on the docking station peripheral, which is now available to order for £79. Small, compact, and weighing around 120 grams, this companion device is powered via USB-C, allowing Steam Deck users to connect the device to a display or television. Ports on the back of the dock include a HDMI 2.0 video out, DisplayPort 1.4, 3 USB 3.1 ports, and a Gigabit Ethernet port. It can support up to 4k 60hz, or 1440p 120hz, with multi-monitor and FreeSync support available.
It’s worth noting that plugging your device into the docking station does not boost performance and, while Valve has tested “thousands” of displays and peripherals, not all of them are guaranteed to be compatible. Additionally, there will be firmware updates for the dock as new fixes and features become available.
Meanwhile, the Steam Deck offers 3 versions, priced between £349 and £569. At that top end you’re getting the most amount of internal storage (512GB NVMe SSD) at the fastest speed with anti-glare etched glass a cluster of Steam account bonuses.
With the Deck now being more widely available, it will be interesting to see whether it can bite a serious chunk out of the handheld gaming market. As someone who’s in the market for a new gaming PC but isn’t performance obsessed, it seemed like a no-brainer for me, allowing me to play through my eye-watering Steam backlog without being hunched over my desk.