Valve’s new portable gaming computer the Steam Deck might be “going after” a completely different audience but it’s still drawn plenty of comparisons to the Nintendo Switch.
The final product is now in the hands of various tech and video game outlets, so what’s the final verdict, and what’s it like compared to Nintendo’s hybrid device? If you’re interested in knowing more about this new system – read on! We’ve rounded up a series of reviews – many of which make reference to Nintendo’s hybrid hardware.
Beginning with a Steam Deck review by Polygon, here’s a sample of what the site’s editor-in-chief and co-founder, Chris Plante, had to say:
“The Steam Deck Shines as an ultra-powerful Switch…I enjoyed the Steam Deck most when I treated it like a powerful Nintendo Switch instead of a hybrid portable PC.”
“…I love the Nintendo Switch because it makes video games approachable to more people than ever before, allowing them to easily enjoy games at their convenience without any additional investment of time or space. No TV required — hell, no living room required. And I still believe that for newcomers, and people unfamiliar with PC gaming, Nintendo’s device remains the best starting point for this hobby.
“But for people who already have a Steam library, or are eager to dip their toes into the waters of PC gaming, the Steam Deck already feels like a legitimate alternative. It builds on the Switch’s pitch of playing anywhere and everywhere, because now my games and save files aren’t tied to a console. They live in the cloud, following me wherever I can access Steam — from my Steam Deck, to my gaming PC, to my work laptop, and wherever else I might want them in the future.”
Tom’s Hardware senior editor, Andrew E. Freedman, awarded the device four out of five stars and said the following:
“There’s a certain intimacy to playing games on the Steam Deck, the same way there is on the Nintendo Switch. Sure, I can play games on my rig hooked up to a monitor or a TV. But sometimes, I’m just more comfortable curled up on the couch under a blanket with a cup of tea in reach. That flexibility has encouraged me to play some games I might not have tried otherwise.”
Wes Fenlon of PC Gamer gave the device 85 out of 100 and said it was a system a “Leatherman guy would love”:
“The Steam Deck is a handheld gaming system a Leatherman guy would love. It was quite possibly designed by Leatherman guys at Valve, who decided that a handheld gaming PC would only work if it had a big screen, two big analog sticks, trackpads, and access to a proper Linux desktop underneath its friendly UI. The problem I’ve always had with Leathermans (please don’t be mad at me, Leatherman guys) is that the miniature scissors and other doodads are never as good as the proper tools they replace. And the Steam Deck isn’t completely immune to that jack-of-all-trades problem—after two weeks with it, it’s not a replacement for my desktop PC or as portable as a Nintendo Switch.”
Engadget senior editor, Jessica Conditt, awarded Valve’s new hardware 81 out of 100 and while she believes the Switch comparisons are “totally fair” it’s more like a hybrid of two older devices:
“A lot of people are going to compare the Steam Deck to the Switch, and that’s totally fair, but after spending more than a week with Valve’s portable PC, I think there’s a better analogy at hand: The Steam Deck is what happens when the Vita and the Wii U get drunk on Linux and make a big baby together.”
The IGN “in-progress review” by its executive editor, Seth G. Macy, mentioned the following:
“The Steam Deck’s LCD screen runs at 1200×800 at 60Hz, and it looks really good. I have no complaints about the resolution – at this screen size there’s a diminishing return on packing in extra pixels. I have to say, though, that the OLED screen on the latest model of the Nintendo Switch has spoiled me on handheld screens, and the Steam Deck doesn’t live up to the vibrance and clarity afforded by Nintendo’s latest update. But it’s still lovely, especially if you aren’t jumping back and forth between this and an OLED screen. Similar to the Switch, the screen is touch-enabled, so you can easily navigate through menus and even control some games with a quick tap here and a drag there.”
“…It’s interesting to contemplate that, with just a few accessories, this [Steam Deck] could be someone’s only PC and that wouldn’t be a terrible setup. When you factor in all of that multi-use capability, the extra cost above a Switch – which to this day still has no web browser or Netflix app – doesn’t seem unreasonable. It’s missing a camera, so you can’t use it for video conferencing, but aside from that it’s a decent little PC that easily handles light, everyday tasks but also plays games at a level you won’t find in other hardware around this price.”
So, there you go – some actual reviews of Valve’s Steam Deck along with some comparisons to Nintendo’s Switch. What are your own thoughts about the Steam Deck so far? Have you pre-ordered one? Do you see it as an alternative to your Nintendo Switch? Leave your thoughts down below.