Valve announces handheld console: Steam Deck

I must admit I did not hear about this before now but Valve today announced a new handheld console, the Valve Steam Deck.

Let’s start with the press release:

Valve announces Steam DeckTM

Reservations available starting July 16; shipping begins in December 2021

July 15, 2021 – Valve announces Steam Deck, the first in a new category of handheld PC gaming devices starting at $399.

Steam Deck is a powerful all-in-one portable PC. With a custom processor developed in cooperation with AMD, Steam Deck is comparable to a gaming laptop with the ability to run the latest AAA games. Your Steam library will be on Deck to play games wherever and whenever you want. Steam Deck is also an open PC, adding the ability to install any software or connect with any hardware.

“We think Steam Deck gives people another way to play the games they love on a high-performance device at a great price,” says Valve founder Gabe Newell. “As a gamer, this is a product I’ve always wanted. And as a game developer, it’s the mobile device I’ve always wanted for our partners.”

Steam Deck starts at $399, with increased storage options available for $529 and $649. Reservations open July 16th at 10 AM PDT; shipping is slated to start in December 2021.

Steam Deck details:

· Powerful, custom APU developed with AMD

· Optimized for hand-held gaming

· Full-sized controls

· 7″ touchscreen

· WiFi and Bluetooth ready

· USB-C port for accessories

· microSD slot for storage expansion

· 3 different storage options available

Specs

The handheld comes with a custom build AMD Zen 2 + RDNA 2.  This coupled with 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM. You get to choose from 64,256 o 512 GB of storage but only 256 and 512 GB comes with a NVMe SSD.

The display is a 7″ 1280×800 touch screen with a 60 Hz refreshrate. You can however use USB C to connect a 4K display at 120 Hz (or 8K at 60 Hz).

The handheld comes with both twin sticks and touch pads. It will be ineresting to see how it works. you can see at least one game being played using the touch pads in the videos below.

The battery life is  2- 8 Hours and the handheld uses the Arch-based SteamOS 3.0 as operating system. If you want Valve says you can use it with other software (“The default Steam Deck experience requires a Steam account (it’s free!). Games are purchased and downloaded using the Steam Store. That said, Steam Deck is a PC so you can install third party software and operating systems.”).  More specs at the end of the article.

Why?

I think this sentence from the Steam Deck website says i all:

Your Steam Library, anywhere

For those of us that are in the Steam eco-system the idea of a relative powerfull handheld that can play most of our steam games, either as a handheld or connected to an external screen, sounds very appealing. It does look like an oversized Nintendo Switch so it will be interesting to see how it will feel like when gaming in handheld mode. Valve will release a dock for it later which should make it easier to use when you have a table around, kind of like in the image below.

How much and when?

Reservations start tomorrow (16 july) for some regions ( United States, Canada, European Union, and the United Kingdom) with abailability in December 2021 and the price here in Europe is 419€/549€ and 679€ for the three versions. This is quite steep but you are getting a mini-PC so might still be worth it. I look forward testing it.

Videos

Valve included some videos in their presskit to show you how you can play games with the Steam Deck.

 

 

Processor
  • AMD APU
  • CPU: Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz (up to 448 GFlops FP32)
  • GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz (up to 1.6 TFlops FP32)
  • APU power: 4-15W
RAM
  • 16 GB LPDDR5 RAM (5500 MT/s)
Storage
  • 64 GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1)
  • 256 GB NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
  • 512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
  • All models include high-speed microSD card slot
Gamepad controls
  • A B X Y buttons
  • D-pad
  • L & R analog triggers
  • L & R bumpers
  • View & Menu buttons
  • 4 x assignable grip buttons
Thumbsticks
  • 2 x full-size analog sticks with capacitive touch
Haptics
  • HD haptics
Trackpads
  • 2 x 32.5mm square trackpads with haptic feedback
    55% better latency compared to Steam Controller
    Pressure-sensitivity for configurable click strength
  • Gyro
  • 6-Axis IMU

Resolution

  • 1280 x 800px (16:10 aspect ratio)
Type
  • Optically bonded LCD for enhanced readability
Display size
  • 7″ diagonal
Brightness
  • 400 nits typical
Refresh rate
  • 60Hz
Touch enabled
  • Yes
Sensors
  • Ambient light sensor

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth
  • Bluetooth 5.0 (support for controllers, accessories and audio)
  • Wi-Fi
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi radio, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, 2 x 2 MIMO, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Audio

  • Stereo with embedded DSP for an immersive listening experience
  • Dual microphone array
  • 3.5mm stereo headphone / headset jack
  • Multichannel audio via DisplayPort over USB-C, standard USB-C, or Bluetooth 5.0
Power Input
  • 45W USB Type-C PD3.0 power supply
Battery
  • 40Whr battery. 2 – 8 hours of gameplay

Expansion

  • microSD: UHS-I supports SD, SDXC and SDHC
  • External connectivity for controllers & displays: USB-C with DisplayPort 1.4 Alt-mode support; up to 8K @60Hz or 4K @120Hz, USB 3.2 Gen 2

Size and Weight

  • Size: 298mm x 117mm x 49mm
  • Weight: Approx. 669 grams

Software

  • Operating System: SteamOS 3.0 (Arch-based)
  • Desktop: KDE Plasma

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