Comparison reviews

Steam Deck Hands-On: PC Gaming in My Hands

Less than a month ago, Valve announced the Steam Deck, its AMD Zen 2-based take on portable PC gaming. The next day, pre-orders opened, making all of Steam, the company’s launcher and game distribution store creak under the load, signalling vast interest in the Steam Deck, as it was swiftly backordered to Q2 2022. We had the opportunity to go hands-on with the handheld at Valve’s headquarters in Bellevue, Washington to see what you’ll get before you need to finalize that reservation when the device starts shipping this December.

The major caveats to keep in mind are that what we saw was not the finalized hardware or software, but rather Valve’s “EV2” prototypes, which will be shipping to developers as the official launch approaches. So while the device isn’t finalized, it’s pretty close. The biggest changes you might see, people who work on the console told me, are largely fit and finish, including the possibility of some different plastics, as well as a bunch of work to get the software done in time for launch.

I primarily got to spend my time with the 512GB model, the high-end, $699 device with the etched-glass, anti-glare display. That being said, a unit with the glossy display was there, too. More on the display differences later.

The games pre-installed on the units (I could not install games of my choice, nor could I log into my account) were on a mix of the internal storage and an SD card.

Wide, But Not Unwieldy 

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