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  • Writer's pictureLaMar Bridges

2023 OLED Steam deck review

Is the 2023 OLED Steam Deck better than the Nintendo Switch?


OLED Steam Deck Review
New OLED Steam Deck

Steam Deck Review

Valve's Steam Deck OLED has some great feats that any PC gamer would love, but it also brings in some cons to question if it is worth that 600-dollar mark. Of course at the time of writing this article the original Steam deck is on sale, so maybe get that one if you don't want to cough over almost 600 dollars.



The Good, the bad: a great Handheld Device


What can I say? That OLED screen is worth the pricing of the Steam Deck. I got my portable PC a day after Thanksgiving, and I was thankful. Right out of the box, I went for it, turned it on for the first time, and got to see that 7-inch screen light up after setting up my deck, which took about 20 minutes, not because of the handheld itself. I could not get my phone to scan the easy access bar code. But that is a different story after setting up the deck, I downloaded a series of different-sized games.


The first game I installed was, of course, you guessed it, Batman Arkham Knight, which is 56 total Gigs. Then Cyber Punk 2077 a total gig count of 76, next was Horizon zero dawn, Like a dragon Gaiden, Ratchet and clank, Baldur's Gate 3, Evil Genius 2, Mafia Defenitive Edition, and Oxygen Needed. From what I can say about the download speeds it varies because God of War (2018) took the longest to install over 30 minutes. Where as Cyber Punk 2077, Batman and Mafia Definitive Edition all took a range of 15 to 20 minutes. Not the quickest times I know but that is just one of the conveniences of having a portable handheld gaming device that can play your PC games. It just needs 30 minutes to install.


However, in my time of playing with the deck I noticed the features just do not matter for all games. For example Batman Arkham Knight does not perform at 90 fps with the refresh rate being set to 90hz. I found that not all games perform well on the deck as a whole and I am talking about the games that steam has dubbed works great on steam.


I say this because yeah some games can reach that 90 fps mark, but you have to work around the graphical settings to maybe crack that number. I suggest lower the rate down to 50 or 60 fps. You save energy on your battery and have a longer time playing the game.


Comfort grip is not for the long run, so get a case


The deck has a better comfort grip than the nintendo switch does. I found myself playing with the system an hour longer than I have with the switch. It's something about a big bulky devjice sitting in your hand or it could be the design is fit for you to hold the gaimng device like it is a controller. However, after an hour and a half reaching that 2 hour mark, my hand started to cramp up. But unlike the switch that has a flat backside that was designed for a childs hand. Valve steam deck fits all sizes comfortably.


I don't have huge hands in terms of length, but in width, I have huge fingers, so a lot of handhelds never truly fit me. But once i bought the deck my complaints never appeared. After an hour, I found myself getting more comfortable with the locations of the buttons. I bought a comfort case to help keep my hands from cramping up.


This addition has helped me gaming much longer than I would have without it. I did not buy the Asus rog ally, but i did tamper with it for a bit and the size of it is the same of the Steam Deck game console.


As a handheld gaming device on steam I thought about two things. Portablility and remote play. Because I had so many long waiting time of installing games on my deck. I thought remote play would be the best option.


Remote play works but again if you have a great internet service ( Like i thought I do ) then remote play can and will become the most frustrating feature to use. However if your internet service is great you can play remote play away from your PC. This was a second thought for me because I placed my PC upstairs in the office space. So I thought being lazy would work in my favorite it did not.


Steam vs nintendo


Here's my thing about the deck can make it all the wild. If you have a steam account this will fit right up your alley. Almost all of your games will be ready to download. But if you don't have a steam account why should you pick this over the switch? My answer is for those who want a chance at a gaming PC, it's worth the price.


in comparison to the switch both gaming devices use a usb-c port, both systems use touch screen and both the deck and the nintendo switch have games play and plenty.


But if you are wondering which to play, understand that the deck can play games like Elden Ring and more heavier first-person shooters if you are into that type of action.


Who has the better game library is subjective, to say the least. That choice is entirely on you. The steam deck can play almost any game on steam.


Portable PC vs Gaming Laptop


I love my asus tuf 17 gaming laptop. It has a Navidia 4050 with a ryzen 9 cpu virtually there's no game i cannot play. But I had one problem, and that was lugging that big boy around to play games.


It's a great laptop and i got it specificly to take my games on the go with me almost any where. When I just want to get out of the house and hang at my local coffee shop. I would bring my laptop it worked for to great reasons. one i could work on anything I needed to and two i could continue my game session. But after a few months that became more and more like a chore than I thought it would be.


Which is why I bought the new Oled model. That 7-inch screen is perfect for gaming. Not to worry about my work, I can use the deck in desktop mode, but I choose to use my phone for my job if need be.


I think we always forget how great laptops are. They are the real portable PCs and if you have a great one keep it. In my opinion it is a better two in one than you think. The funcinality on a laptop is far better than the steam deck can be and I will say that the deck can not replace a gaming laptop long-term. I find myself using my Deck more strictly for gaming and only that.


One, because my iPhone has a faster time on the wen than the deck does. two, because the steam deck uses Lynex, and that is not a familiar system to use. Three, a lot of the software i use for my blogs and reviews are not availible like they are on my laptop.


But to be fair, my laptop cost me 1100 dollars, so I better be able to do more on there than my 600-dollar steam deck. But the steam portable gaming system comes close. There are not many gaming laptops around the 600 dollar mark that can play as many games the deck can so if you are looking for both a deck can be a good pick up.


The OLED version vs the original


I did not get the original because I thought the price and what it offered was not worth the price. To be honest i still think the deck is quite high in price compared to the Switch and the new Switch OLED. If you are willing to spend a bit more on the OLED that would be a bump up in my opinion. You get a better batter and that means longer time to play the game.


The OLED screen has a better refresh rate ( did not make much of a difference during my time playing with it ) but when the refresh rate would kick in most games looked great for the level of graphics on a handheld.


Again, it all depends on what you are willing to spend money on.


The real reason you are here is it is worth a buy


To finish this new steam deck review and answer your question should you buy. My answer is yes, the deck is worth a buy. You can play console games, it's a handheld pc at the end of the day.


If you have time to learn a new system, then Lynx will not be a problem. I did not have many complaints about the deck per se. I did have the ocassional restart. One or two games kept restarting my deck when i would try to exit out of the application.


The deck is the perfect handheld gaming device to pickup this holiday season.

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