If you’re trying to figure out whether the Steam Deck is worth it then stop. It is. Just buy it already.
Valve’s Steam Deck has changed the way that I play games.
If you’re looking for a TL; DR summary of why I love the Steam Deck, I couldn’t put it more succinctly than that.
If you’re a busy adult gamer who is struggling to fit in game time around all your grown-up responsibilities, then a Steam Deck might be a good fit for you, too.
Why I Wanted a Handheld Gaming Device Like the Steam Deck
As an adult gamer, my game time has become increasingly restricted over the years. I also work from home, so my gaming setup doubles as my workspace. Come the end of a busy day at work, the last thing I want to do is to stare at the same screen while sitting in the same chair that I’ve spent the past 8+ hours in.
This meant that I often wouldn’t bother to slip in a quick gaming session when the opportunity arose.
For years, I was convinced that a handheld gaming device was the answer. Not a Nintendo Switch, but something that would allow me to play my games – any game – whenever and wherever I wanted. Something that I could grab and play whether I only had a spare 10 minutes or an evening to myself.
I Considered Steam Deck Alternatives
Before I even considered whether the Steam Deck would be worth it, I tried cheaper solutions and considered other handheld gaming devices.
I’ve wasted small amounts of money that have added up to a substantial chunk of change on “gaming” phones, tablets, and various mobile-compatible gamepads. Everything that I tried either wasn’t powerful enough, wasn’t comfortable, or just didn’t provide an enjoyable gaming experience.
So, I decided to increase my budget and save up for a more premium gaming handheld. Something comfortable with the power to give me the experience that I’d been looking for.
I researched Android gaming devices like the Ayn Odin and Anbernic RG552. I knew these devices had apps that would allow me to stream from my PC and consoles. However, the thumbsticks seemed too shallow to be comfortable for longer gaming sessions.
I also considered the Logitech G Cloud, which had the controls I was looking for along with a beautiful screen. It looks gorgeous, too.
While the Logitech G Cloud certainly looked the part, £300 for a device that isn’t powerful enough to play many games natively seemed a bit steep.
Enter the Steam Deck
It was then that I started looking at the Steam Deck. At £349, the 64GB version of the Steam Deck is only slightly more than the Logitech G-Cloud, but for that extra £49, you get a handheld gaming PC that can play everything from indie games to AAA titles natively.
My mind was made up. I had to have one.
Fortunately, I also had a decent amount of Steam credit saved up over the past several years, which just sweetened the deal further in my eyes. So much so that I decided to go for the 512GB version of the Steam Deck. A huge investment. My expectations were high.
I won’t lie, I had doubts.
I’d been burnt many times before. I worried that I was throwing good money after bad and that I’d end up disappointed again, but with an even more expensive wasted device. I questioned whether the Steam Deck would be worth it. But I knew that if any mobile gaming device would work for me, it would be the Steam Deck.
I didn’t have to wait long. I had the Steam Deck in my hands within a week of placing my order.
And it was love at first sight.
The Steam Deck is Everything
The first thing that struck me about the Steam Deck was its weight. I expected it to be heavy, but in my hands, it felt remarkably comfortable. The whole device has been designed to be ergonomic and the weight distribution is spot on. It is a joy to hold whether playing a quick game of Rocket League or something more intensive for hours on end.
I also love how versatile the Steam Deck is. I can play most games using SteamOS, but I’ve also put Windows on an SD card. That way, I can choose which operating system to boot into. This means that I can install and play my PC Game Pass library natively on Windows, rather than streaming from my PC.
Speaking of streaming, being able to stream from my Xbox Series X is a massive bonus, too. I’ve yet to find a game that I cannot play on my Steam Deck one way or the other. It is also compatible with Nvidia GeForce Now, if there’s a PC gamer that I want to play on ultra settings with ray tracing, etc.
But The Steam Deck Isn’t Perfect
Don’t get me wrong – the Steam Deck isn’t perfect. The 1280 x 800 screen would benefit from anreat OLED panel and an increase in resolution. However, it does look after installing a mod to tweak the colour saturation and contrast.
My biggest gripe with the Steam Desk is the battery life. It is poor compared to other devices. Playing AAA games on higher settings with the screen brightness turned up could deplete the battery within an hour or so. However, lowering the FPS to 30-40 FPS and reducing the screen brightness to around 50% makes a significant difference, doubling or even tripling the battery life. I primarily play with my Steam Deck around the house, so I have it plugged in most of the time, but it is great to know that Valve has given gamers the flexibility to tweak the settings to maximise the battery life should they wish.
The Steam Deck won’t be for everyone. The screen and battery will be enough for some people to justify avoiding it all together. But those that shun it will be missing out on a truly life changing machine.
The Steam Deck Has Changed Gaming for Me
The Steam Deck allows me to fire up a game every time a gap in my schedule allows it. Waiting to collect the kids from school? Steam Deck. Partner finishing a TV show before we watch a movie? Steam Deck. Need to commute into the city for a meeting? Steam Deck. Whether I have five minutes or an afternoon spare, the Steam Deck allows me to chip away at my gaming backlog instead of mindlessly scrolling through Reddit.
It is no exaggeration at all when I say that the Steam Deck is one of the best gaming purchases I have made in the past decade. I have loved playing everything from the latest AAA games to retro games from my youth via emulation – and all in between my usual responsibilities, without taking time away from my family.
The Steam Deck Is Worth It
The Steam Deck is worth it. Heck, I now consider it to be essential in my life.
If you are looking for a new gaming device that boasts power, versatility, an ergonomic design, and a massive library of games, then this is it. Whether on-the-go or on the couch, the Steam Deck offers an unparalleled gaming experience. It is everything that I wanted it to be and more. If you are an adult gamer struggling to fit game time into your busy schedule then it could be just what you’re looking for, too.
Now, please excuse me. I have 10 minutes until my family gets home and the Steam Deck is calling my name.