Valve officially pulled the curtain back on the Steam Deck on Thursday--a $399 gaming handheld designed to bring your Steam gaming library to the palms of your hands, powered by AMD hardware and Valve's own Linux-based SteamOS operating system. The Steam Deck looks like the Nintendo Switch, if the Nintendo Switch was created by diehard PC enthusiasts. You'll find a big 7-inch display front and center--the same size as the new OLED Switch--complete with touchscreen functionality. It's not OLED, alas, but Valve says the display shines at a very respectable 400 nits (crucial for outdoor use) and runs at 60Hz, a.k.a. the PC gaming gold standard. The Steam Deck's screen should also be a bit clearer than its Nintendo rival, with a 1280x800 resolution and an "Optically bonded LCD for enhanced readability."
You'll often hear PC enthusiasts--including yours truly--say that the Nintendo Switch is the perfect companion console for your gaming rig, thanks to its handheld mode for on-the-go gaming, deep indie library, and access to Nintendo-exclusive games. The stickiness of that last benefit will soon be put to the test, as Valve's newly announced Steam Deck handheld PC mimes the Switch form factor but revolves around your existing Steam account...and all the games already in it. In the battle of the Steam Deck vs. the Nintendo Switch, who comes out on top? We'll take it to the tape below, but first let's talk about what matters most: the games, and why the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch might not even be true competitors at all. The $399 Steam Deck and $299 Nintendo Switch have two totally different gaming philosophies.
The Valve Steam Deck currently comes in three configurations: a $399 model with 64GB of eMMC storage; a $529 model with 256GB of NVMe SSD storage; and a $649 model with 512GB of NVMe SSD storage. The storage speed increases with the size, and the more expensive configurations come with extras. All configurations come with a carrying case, for instance, but the most expensive Deck includes anti-glare etched glass in the display. You can hold the Steam Deck for hours without your fingers cramping! Valve's Steam Deck is one of the largest handheld gaming consoles to be sold in the last 30 years but, at 1.47 pounds, Valve has worked some magic to make the Steam Deck feel almost weightless in your hands.
The Nintendo Switch and Valve Steam Deck are a world apart as far as handheld gaming consoles go, but many have understandably drawn comparisons between the two. Whether it's the display, battery life, design, performance, or general availability of games there is a lot to compare between the two consoles. And while both were created for two different groups of gamers, if you're serious about mobile gaming you're probably intrigued by both options. So, if you have money to drop on a handheld console but aren't sure which one to get--or if you even need to get one at all--here's what you should know about the Switch and Deck. All three of Nintendo's Switch models--the original Switch, Switch OLED, and mobile-only Switch Lite--have a longer battery life than Valve's Steam Deck, ranging from five to eight hours.
Sick of waiting for your favorite PC games to come to Switch? Valve today unveiled its rumored Steam Deck, a handheld machine for PC gaming. It's due out December 2021 and has models priced at $399, $529 and $649--scaled by storage and processing speed. The Steam Deck's big pitch is on-the-go, faithful PC gaming, but it's taking an even bigger swing: It's basically a handheld PC. Users can install and operate PC software on it, like a web browser, other game stores-- including the Epic Games Store--and video-streaming services.