While the Steam Deck was already the best handheld available when it launched, there was always a few points of criticism that were certainly valid. The battery life being somewhat short (less than 2 hours on the most demanding titles), and the LCD screen not being one of the best, especially compared to what’s available nowadays on other devices (phones, tablets) where OLED screens are becoming more widespread. And now, they have just announced a revised Steam Deck, addressing all of these issues.
The revised Steam Deck now features the following:
- A larger battery (50Wh instead of 40Wh) which is a very decent boost in capacity.
- An HDR OLED screen (90Hz) with a smaller bezel, too
- The AMD GPU now on a 6nm lithography instead of 7nm, with slightly faster RAM.
- Wifi 6 and a dedicated Bluetooth module now separated from the Wifi module
The above changes are all incremental, but the most important aspect is that HDR is now supported by the device and the display - which makes sense following all the work done to support HDR through Gamescope in the past year - now we finally see the result of that work.
2 of the Valve guys explain the overall changes to IGN in this video:
You also end up with a much improved battery life as:
- the screen consumes less power compared to the previous LCD one
- the APU consumes less power with its improved lithography
- and the larger battery gives juice for a longer time, of course
How much improvement? Well, now you can check the following video from Digital Foundry which conducted several tests between the two versions of the Steam Deck - as you can see you can also expect somewhat added performance as well (mostly due to the higher speed RAM of the new APU):
The new OLED Steam Deck will ship from November 16th. There are two versions you can buy:
- 512 GB OLED for 549 USD
- 1TB OLED for for 649 USD
Well, to tell you the full story there is also the Limited Edition of the OLED Steam Deck, only for the US and Canada, which features some kind of translucent case with red shades on buttons and some internal parts:
It was also pictured in the IGN video (quick screenshot):
Note that you can still buy the previous, first version LCD Steam Deck, 256 GB one, for 399 USD now (so in effect it became a replacement for the previous 64 GB model).
For people like me who live in Japan, you will need to as usual go on Komodo to purchase it at the following pricing:
- 512 GB OLED for ¥84,800
- 1 TB OLED for ¥99,800
The ongoing drop of the Japanese Yen value vs the US Dollar is starting to feel very painful, price-wise.
As seen from the above IGN video with the Valve guys, they are thinking about a Steam Deck 2 but it’s not going to be for anytime soon, because the technology needed to make the leap is not there yet. They wanted to provide something with a great battery life and there’s just no other option right now on the market to get there with the available chips. So you either have this Steam Deck with a great battery life, or the alternatives that use better, more recent APUs from AMD but consume way much more and have way poorer battery life. Your choice, in the end.
Anyway it’s great news. The best handheld on the market just got even better, and it’s just in time for the holidays, who would have thought!?