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Early Steam Deck previews praise performance, but question comfort
No mention of the Steam Deck OS is allowed at this time
The first round of previews of Valve‘s Steam Deck have dropped, and with them comes praise for the handheld’s performance, but some questions over the comfort over long term use.
LinusTechTips, a YouTube channel boasting almost 15 million subscribers, began this preview by highlighting the Steam Deck’s various control options, which include two thumbstick, a D-pad and 2 touch pads.
“While I can reach every button comfortably from a neutral, relaxed position, I do find a number of them a little awkward to use.”
He continued “it’s a small price to pay for the unprecedented input flexibility afforded by Valve’s design” and would later praise the joysticks as “miles ahead of every other handheld I have touched, with the exception of the Aya Neo Next”.
According to the Valve’s embargo, those with preview units are allowed to talk about 7 games – Forza Horizon 5, Control, Dead Cells, Ghostrunner, Devil May Cry 5, Portal 2 and Street Fighter V: CE.
They were not allowed to mention anything about the system’s OS.
The included charging cable also appears to be an issue. It doesn’t appear to be very long, and as Linus points out in his separate unboxing video, as the charging port on the machine is at the top, users might want to order a replacement, longer USB type-C cable if they’re interested in playing with the machine in an area that isn’t close to an outlet.
Performance appears to be the Steam Deck’s strong point. Control, when running on low (which is the Steam Deck preset) runs consistently at near 60 fps. Devil May Cry 5 manages even more impressive performance, with a frame rate of over 80fps consistently achievable on the machine.
Forza Horizon 5, however, doesn’t seem to perform quite as strongly. “The animation stays true to the frame-rate, but the experience of playing the game is uneven and jarring,” Linus says, likening the experience to a video speeding up and slowing down to account for buffering.
The screen is also praised as one of the handheld’s highlights. “The screen on the Steam Deck stands out as just plain better,” he says. “It’s not shockingly violent like the Switch OLED, nor does its 1280×800 resolution give it the sharpness of the 1X Player Mini, but it’s a very complete package.”
Linus heavily criticises the machine’s haptics, which he says have a “loose, cheap toy (like) feel”.
However, Linus closes by praising the system’s load times, pointing out that games running from a micro SD vs the machine’s internal SSD often load at the same time. He does wonder how viable this will be for titles that rely on SSD speeds, but notes that with the current testable software it seems impressive.
The Steam Deck will launch on February 28th, although pre-orders for the machine have been sold out since they became available. Valve will distribute the first batch of order emails to reservation holders (in the order they were placed) shortly after 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm GMT on February 25.
Customers will be given 72 hours from receipt of their order email to purchase a Steam Deck or their reservation will be passed to the next person waiting.
Prices start at $399 / £349 (64GB eMMC), with increased storage options available for $529 / £459 (256GB NVMe SSD) and $649 / £569 (512GB NVMe SSD).