Steam Deck Specs, Price, Release Date, Reservation, and Everything We Know so Far
Valve’s recently announced handheld gaming PC isn’t the Steam developer’s first dalliance with hardware but it might be its biggest gamble in the space yet. The Steam Deck may look like a thicker, heavier Nintendo Switch but is bound to target a very different market.
Interest in the Deck is high, with it selling out in seconds after reservations went live on July 18. If this level of interest persists, it could significantly change the way PC games are made and consumed. Of course, that’s all up in the air until the console hits the shelves. Following is what we do know about the handheld so far.
Valve starts shipping the Steam Deck in December 2021 to select regions (mentioned below). Reservations are open right now to customers from these regions.
The device has three storage variants, starting with a 64GB base model priced at $399. The other two variants come with a speed boost and additional bonuses.
- 64GB eMMC internal storage
- Carrying case
- 256GB NVMe SSD internal storage (faster)
- Carrying case
- Exclusive Steam Community profile bundle
- 512GB NVMe SSD internal storage (fastest)
- Premium anti-glare etched glass
- Exclusive carrying case
- Exclusive Steam Community profile bundle
- Exclusive virtual keyboard theme
Regional Availability on Release Day
The Steam Deck will start shipping to United States, Canada, United Kingdom and the European Union in December 2021. Valve promises that more regions will be added at some point in 2022.
As mentioned earlier, reservations are open today but only to those in eligible regions, namely, the US, Canada, UK, and EU. You may have a long wait on your hands if you’re reading this, however, since the Deck sold out seconds after reservations were made available on July 18. The base model, at the time of writing, won’t be available until Q1, 2022 while those hoping to get their hands on the pricier NVMe units will have to wait until Q3, 2022.
Valve promises to offer info about availability in other regions “soon.”
Only one Steam Deck can be reserved per customer. To protect the system from scalpers, Valve has limited reservations to accounts in good standing that have made a purchase on Steam prior to June 2021.
- CPU: AMD Zen 2, 4-core/8-thread, 2.4–3.5GHz
- GPU: AMD RDNA 2, 8 CUs, 1–1.6GHz
- RAM: 16GB LPDDR5 @ 5500MT/s, 32-bit quad-channel
- Internal Storage: 64GB eMMC / 256GB NVMe SSD / 512GB NVMe SSD
- Expandable Storage: SD Card slot
- Software: SteamOS 3.0, KDE Plasma
- Display: 7-inch IPS LCD touchscreen, anti-glare etched glass on 512GB version
- Resolution: 1280 x 800 (16:10)
- Refresh Rate: 60Hz
- A, B, X, Y buttons
- 2 x analog sticks with capacitive touch
- L & R analog triggers and bumpers
- View & Menu buttons
- 4 x grip buttons
- 2 x 32.5mm square trackpads with haptic feedback
- 6-axis IMU gyro
- Audio: Stereo speakers, 3.5mm jack, dual mic array
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C with DisplayPort 1.4 support, 1 x USB-A 3.1 port, 2 x USB-A 2.0 ports
- Battery: 40Wh (2-8 hours of gameplay)
- Size: 298mm x 117mm x 49mm
- Weight: 669g (approximately)
There is an official dock in the pipeline for the Deck, one that’ll allow players to hook the device up to a TV or monitor as well as power and additional peripherals for a desktop gaming experience. It will be sold separately. Valve hasn’t yet revealed a price for the accessory.
- Connectivity: Ethernet, 1 x USB-A 3.1 port, 2 x USB-A 2.0 ports, DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0
- Power: USB-C Power Delivery passthrough input
- Size: 117mm x 29mm x 50.5mm
- Weight: 120g (approximately)
Will the Steam Deck Get a Power Boost When Docked?
Product designer Greg Coomer confirmed that Valve did consider adding a “higher power mode” to the Deck for when it is docked but eventually decided against it to maintain parity between docked and handheld modes. “We felt that it was actually better, all things considered, to not modify based on docked status or mobile status,” he said in an interview with PC Gamer.
What’s in the Box?
- Steam Deck
- Power Adapter
- Carrying Case
The Steam Deck runs the latest version of SteamOS, version 3.0 on launch, a custom operating system based on Arch Linux. The device also employs KDE Plasma, likely to offer a desktop interface for when it’s docked.
That’s just what the Deck will be running out of the box, though. There are no restrictions on what can be installed on the portable PC. Buyers could, for example, install Windows on the device.
About Battery Life and Performance
One of Steam Deck’s selling points is that it offers a higher degree of freedom and customizability than the competition. That comes with its own challenges, of course, the prime challenge being battery life. You’ll be able to push the limits of what the handheld can churn out, but at higher visual fidelity and framerates, games will quickly chew through battery life.
Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais told IGN that the Deck can run Portal 2 for about four hours, and about five to six hours if the framerate is limited to 30 FPS. Griffais went on to say that the “high frame rates and high resolutions” valued on other platforms should scale down to the Deck’s “800p, 30Hz target really well.” The implication, many assumed, was that 30 FPS may be the extent of the device’s capabilities. Griffais later tweeted out a clarification to allay said concerns.
“The ‘30 FPS target‘ refers to the floor of what we consider playable in our performance testing; games we’ve tested and shown have consistently met and exceeded that bar so far,” he wrote. “There will also be an optional built-in FPS limiter to fine-tune perf vs. battery life.”
It’s likely most heavier games will struggle to take full advantage of the handheld’s 60Hz display, at least until such titles are optimized for the device, if ever. The good news, however, is that the team behind the Deck is yet to come across a game in the Steam catalogue that the device has had issues running.
Will it Ever Get More Color Options?
In an interview with PC Gamer, Valve revealed that there was “a lot of debate” as to what color the Steam Deck’s chassis would be. Product designer Greg Coomer said that there were also “discussions like ‘well, can we have lots of colors?’ We had all those discussions. We are continuing to have those now.”