Here’s what you need to know about Valve’s Steam Deck

Video game developer and publisher Valve Corporation has announced its upcoming handheld video game console: the Steam Deck. Branded as “the most gaming power you have ever held,” the Steam Deck promises all-in-one portable PC gaming.

Valve—the company behind digital distribution service Steam as well as popular video game franchises Counter-Strike, Dota, Half-Life, Left 4 Dead, Portal, and Team Fortress—says its new device will bring Steam games and features to a powerful and convenient form that players can take wherever they go.

The product will start shipping in December 2021. However, reservations have already started for select regions.

Customers will be notified once inventory is available to make their purchase in the order that reservations were made.

Initial region availability is limited to the United States, Canada, the European Union, and the United Kingdom. More regions will come in 2022, according to Valve.

Three models of the Steam Deck providing different storage options are available. There is no in-game difference in graphics quality or frame rates between these. Moreover, all of the models include a microSD slot for additional storage capacity.

The lowest price point is $399 (roughly P20,000) for the version with 64 GB eMMC internal storage and carrying case. The mid-level price point is $529 (roughly P26,000) for the version with 256 GB of NVMe SSD internal storage, faster storage, carrying case and an exclusive Steam Community profile bundle.

Lastly, the highest price point is $649 (roughly P32,000) for 512 GB NVMe SSD internal storage, fastest storage, premium anti-glare etched glass, exclusive carrying case, exclusive Steam Community profile bundle, and exclusive virtual keyboard theme.

The Steam Deck runs the latest AAA games with full-fidelity controls and the ability to connect to peripherals like a big screen. It can basically “do all the other PC things you’d expect.”

From the start, the player’s Steam Library is already on their Deck. All they need to do is power the device on and log in on Steam.

Valve even partnered with semiconductor company AMD to create Steam Deck’s custom APU (accelerated processing unit) optimized for handheld gaming. This is a Zen 2 + RDNA 2 powerhouse that delivers more than enough performance to run the latest video games with efficient power use.

Games run on a new version of SteamOS rather than the operating system on the usual desktop PC.

Hardware features include a 7″ touchscreen, capacitive touch thumbsticks, trackpads, analog triggers, user-assignable grip buttons, and gyro.

Additionally, the Steam Deck offers Hi-Fi audio with stereo speakers and an embedded DSP. Users can connect their headsets or use the onboard dual microphones to chat with friends. (Read: Variable lists 6 games to get you started playing video games)

The device comes with an official dock to prop it up while connecting to external displays, wired networking, USB peripherals, and power. This will be sold separately with more information coming soon. Alternatively, users can opt to connect the Steam Deck to a powered USB-C hub.

Several hours of playtime are assured by the device’s 40Wh battery. Up to 7-8 hours of battery life are expected for lighter use like game streaming, smaller 2D games, and web browsing.

WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity allow for a wide variety of wireless peripherals like controllers, headsets, keyboards, and mice.

The developers even built a quick suspend/resume feature into SteamOS. By pressing the power button, Steam Deck will suspend the game and go into sleep mode. Pushing the power button again will wake up the device right where you left off.

Pressing the Steam button pulls up the main menu to access the Library, Store, and Community, among others. Meanwhile, the Quick Access menu is a dedicated feature for checking notifications, messaging friends in-game, checking the time, and fixing other important settings. The Universal Search feature gathers results from the user’s library, friends, list, and the Steam store. Lastly, Steam Overlay has been overhauled to provide access to more Steam features while the game is running.

Players can also install and use PC software on the Steam Deck.

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