It’s been a couple of years since the Steam Deck first made its appearance on the gaming scene. In that time several copycat contenders have shown up, including the Asus ROG Ally. But, given that it’s 2023, it’s just about time the original hardware got an upgrade. And that’s exactly what Valve has just announced.
The major difference between this and 2021’s version? 2023’s Steam Deck is launching with a 7.4in OLED screen and an increased price point. That second point is not just to make up for the switch from LCD to OLED, either. There are a few other tweaks and upgrades that make Valve’s new handheld the one to buy.
All hands on Steam Deck
Obviously, the OLED panel up front represents a substantial upgrade over the previous 400-nit (SDR) display. The new Deck’s screen peaks at 1,000 nits for HDR but sits at around 600 when it’s not showing off.
A slightly more efficient APU from AMD is at its heart, which should squeeze out even better battery performance. Speaking of which, Valve’s upgrade from a 40Wh battery to a 50Wh unit. You’ll spend more time inside virtual worlds before it has to go and charge again. Or you can just keep playing. The charge cable has been extended from 1.5 metres in length to 2.5m. That may be enough to let you continue even when the battery is almost toast. Storage options are 512GB and 1TB, up from 256GB and 512GB.
Connectivity has seen an upgrade too, with Bluetooth 5.3 and WiFi 6E making an appearance. A subtle redesign is in the offing, with thumbstick size and placement slightly modified. Valve’s switched in Torx screws, which means your younger sibling will have more difficulty stripping the new Steam Deck down for spares.
Read More: Asus ROG Ally review – An applaudable effort
That said, it’s still a Steam Deck. The processor is functionally identical, there’s still 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM inside, and the same 45W power supply is running the whole show. The buttons are, by and large, also the same as any other Deck but you might find there are some very minor variations on how they handle.
Pricing for the new OLED Deck starts at $550 (R10,300). Given that the 64GB LCD version starts at R16,000 in South Africa, don’t expect to get the new goodness at anything close to the American pricing when they eventually show their OLED faces on our shores.