Games Technology

Steam Deck OLED Is A Premium Dose Of Character


For those who’ve been holding off on shopping for a Steam Deck for a bit, I’ve bought some nice information: In the present day, November 9, 2023, Valve introduced a {hardware} refresh for the Steam Deck. It’s known as the Steam Deck OLED and, sure, the brand new, (and really) improved display is one in all its major options, however there’s lots extra to get enthusiastic about Is it price upgrading to the brand new gadget? Is now the precise time to get a Steam Deck? Nicely, Kotaku bought some hands-on time with the brand new unit and I’m able to share our preliminary findings.

Steam Deck OLED pricing and specs

Earlier than we soar into the specifics, let’s speak worth so you will get an concept of what all of this can price you should you’re considering of grabbing one. Valve will offer a selection of Steam Decks at these worth factors:

  • $399 – 256BG Steam Deck LCD
  • $549 – 512 GB Steam Deck OLED
  • $649 – 1TB Steam Deck OLED
  • $679 – 1TB Steam Deck Restricted Version

With these costs, the Steam Deck’s lowest worth tier (which has the unique Deck’s display) improves with extra storage. However importantly, the brand new 1TB OLED Deck is identical worth the top-of-the-line launch unit was, now with double the storage, and an improved display, battery life, and extra.

Valve has made clear that the Steam Deck OLED is aiming for the “similar efficiency goal” as the unique mannequin, referring to the brand new OLED refresh because the “definitive first-generation Steam Deck.” Meaning you received’t be taking part in extra demanding video games on the unit however the video games you at the moment have are going to look remarkably higher and extra vivid than they did earlier than.

A Steam Deck OLED runs Cocoon.

Photograph: Valve

Steam Deck OLED display particulars

Because the identify suggests, the premiere function of the brand new Steam Deck OLED is, sure, the brand new OLED display which impresses on first look—notably when held as much as the unique, LCD Steam Deck.

Listed here are the Steam Deck OLED specs:

  • Vast coloration gamut
  • 110% P3
  • Pure blacks—million to at least one distinction ratio
  • Improved, extra responsive touchscreen
  • Bigger 7.4” image (up from 7” as a result of smaller bezel)
  • 90Hz refresh price (up from 60Hz)
  • 1000 nit peak brightness (up from 400 nits)
  • <0.1 ms response time
  • Extra energy environment friendly
  • Premium anti-glare etched glass (1TB and Restricted Version fashions solely)

A comparison of sreens shows vibrant colors on the bottom image

High is the unique, LCD Steam Deck. Backside is the brand new OLED (operating Sprawl)
Photograph: MAETH / Kotaku

The display improve is a exceptional enchancment over the preliminary LCD. In my time with the brand new unit, I bounced round between The Invincible, Signalis, Management, Sprawl, and Sea of Stars. In all of those video games, colours are considerably extra vivid. Not simply vivid, they mainly glow. I seen this distinction whereas taking part in Sprawl, a retro-style first individual shooter set in a darkish cyberpunk metropolis filled with glowy indicators that dazzle on this new display.

In Signalis, the deeper blacks of the OLED display dramatically improved the expertise. On the flip aspect, Sea of Stars appears vibrant, clear, and colourful. Due to the OLED inside moments of booting up the hand held, I ended caring concerning the specs of the machine and was swiftly immersed in every recreation I performed.

A comparison shot shows screen bleed in an LCD screen.

The OLED display is able to far deeper blacks, as famous on this comparability of Sea of Stars’ loading display (backside is the OLED mannequin).
Photograph: Sabotage Studio / Kotaku

It is a beautiful, vibrant display that elevates the expertise of the Steam Deck. The improved colours and black ranges make it really feel extra premium than its first iteration. Is it a revolutionary leap? No, the unique Steam Deck remains to be an superior gadget. However the OLED mannequin merely appears like the very best instance of what this model of the machine may be.

A comparison image shows the better colors of the Steam Deck OLED.

Backside display is the OLED mannequin, with dramatically extra vivid colours.
Photograph: Sabotage Studio / Kotaku

I additionally discovered that desktop mode is a bit nicer on the brand new display. It feels much less cramped, and shifting home windows round with the contact display may be very straightforward. It virtually makes me dream of a future the place this might simply be my major working system as an alternative of Home windows.

A comparison image of two Steam Decks shows differences in color.

Steam Deck OLED is on the left.
Photograph: Valve / Starward Industries / Kotaku

Higher battery, sooner downloads, lighter weight

The Steam Deck OLED additionally packs a 50Whr battery (the unique had a 40Whr) which mixes with a extra energy environment friendly refresh to the machine’s processor to make for improved battery life. Valve estimates that the Steam Deck OLED has anyplace from a 30 to 50 p.c enchancment in battery life.

It’s exhausting to quantify how correct that’s proper now primarily based on early hands-on time, however merely organising the gadget alongside my authentic 512 GB Steam Deck, it was clear that my previous one was burning via the battery at a sooner price.

Valve additionally states that the inclusion of a bigger fan will enhance thermals, however don’t fear: The exhaust vent still smells great.

With a Wi-Fi 6E module onboard, you’ll even be downloading video games a lot sooner. I used to be capable of obtain Management in round 10 minutes on my residence Wi-Fi with 555 Mbps obtain charges. However even on public Wi-Fi, the Steam Deck OLED nonetheless downloaded video games remarkably sooner than the unique unit was capable of. Having set each machines as much as A/B check a couple of video games, the OLED was able to play a recreation with time to spare whereas the unique Deck ticked away at its downloads.

Valve additionally states that the machine is roughly 5 p.c lighter, and that distinction is noticeable. If I’m being sincere, I want the load of the unique, however hey, I’m a weirdo.

Right here’s a listing of the technical adjustments:

Efficiency and Thermals

  • APU die-shrink from 7nm to 6nm for energy financial savings
  • 6400 MT/s reminiscence, improves latency, extra energy administration
  • Improved thermal efficiency as a result of bigger fan
  • Sooner resume time by roughly 30%


  • Vastly improved responsiveness
  • Increased polling price (180Hz)
  • Decrease latency, higher accuracy, and consistency.


  • BT 5.3 module with a devoted antenna for a greater expertise when utilizing Bluetooth and Wi-Fi concurrently
  • Higher connectivity, particularly whereas docked
  • Now helps extra Audio Codecs like Aptx HD and Aptx low latency
  • Helps wake through Bluetooth controller


  • Improved, larger constancy haptics
  • Redesigned trackpad for improved constancy and edge detection


  • Louder audio system with improved bass
  • Onboard mic can now be used concurrently because the headphone jack


  • 30g, or ~5% lighter
  • Improved thumbstick texture and geometry for extra consolation and management


  • Redesigned energy provide with an extended cable (2.5m vs 1.5m)
  • Sooner charging with improved battery chemistry, 20%-80% in as little as 45 minutes
  • WRGB charging LED


  • Switched to machine screws on the rear cowl with metallic bosses, to disassemble/reassemble extra reliably
  • Torx screws to scale back head stripping
  • Lowered the variety of screw varieties all through the system
  • Fewer steps required for widespread repairs
  • Bumper change is now on the joystick board for simpler restore, improved bumper shock reliability
  • Changing the show doesn’t require taking the again off

As you’ll observe, Valve has determined to place Torx screws on the again as an alternative of the present Phillips head screws. Fortunately, these will not be the safety Torx variants with the raised dot within the center. As said above, this was achieved to stop stripping.

Aesthetic adjustments give the Steam Deck OLED a greater sense of character

Although there’s a restricted version, translucent mannequin that Valve will supply for $30 greater than the highest Steam Deck OLED, the common mannequin does have some nicer aesthetics than the unique.

An photo shows an orange power button on the Steam Deck.

Photograph: Claire Jackson / Kotaku

The cutest is maybe the orange energy button (which is joined by an out-of-sight RGB energy gentle that turns inexperienced when the gadget is totally charged). Orange appears to be the theme of the OLED variant: The splash display has a Steam Deck emblem with an orange middle and the newly designed case (which comprises a Velcro strap to shut it and a detachable interior shell for extra space, however sure it nonetheless has the mystery sock, handy rear strap, and mystery pocket) additionally has the orange-themed Deck emblem.

Valve additionally changed the thumbsticks, which not solely really feel higher, however the black stems, mixed with extra subdued colours within the face, […], and Steam buttons assist the gadget fade away a bit extra when you’re taking part in a recreation. Curl up in a darkish nook on the sofa, and all you’ll see is the gorgeous OLED display, nothing else distracting.

Total the extra hanging uniformly black look, mixed with the neat orange button, presents some refined character, that I haven’t seen in most Valve {hardware}, which often is extra utilitarian in type.

An image shows the color themes of the Steam Deck OLED Limited Edition model.

The restricted version variant of the Steam Deck OLED has snazzier coloration themes and a darkish grey translucent shell.
Photograph: Valve

That is much more true of the restricted version (out there in USA and Canada solely) mannequin which incorporates a snazzy translucent display, and coloured accent marks on the thumbstick stems and rear exhaust grill.

Must you improve your Steam Deck?

Valve’s characterization of the Steam Deck OLED because the “definitive first-generation Steam Deck” is on level. But it surely’s not a subsequent gen leap for the Deck. It goals to ship the identical efficiency, simply approach prettier.

So should you’ve been holding off on an improve for larger processing energy, this won’t be the Deck you’re searching for—however rattling does it look good.

For those who haven’t gotten a Deck but and have been ready, fortunate you. The Steam Deck OLED was definitely worth the wait—. internally it’s mainly the identical machine that many people have fallen in love with within the final 12 months, however the greater and far more attractive display (and different aesthetic enhancements) make this an superior choice for first-time consumers

But when you have already got a Steam Deck, I don’t know that I’d instantly shell out one other six-hundred-plus bucks for an additional. Mine’s solely been in service for a few 12 months, so it will be powerful to justify shelling out for the OLED so quickly. That stated, if cash is of no object to you , the visible enchancment of the OLED’s display is a beautiful step up. I’d be much less obsessed with taking this one aside for positive—and never as a result of it feels much less fragile, I simply really feel extra compelled to protect this unit because it exists than I did with the unique.

Additionally, the Deck is a conveyable machine. Perhaps you’ve taken yours on numerous journeys and it’s suffered quite a lot of battle scars from drops and extra? Perhaps you’ve modded yours out to enhance aesthetics or efficiency (or considerably of a haphazard mess) and will use a brand new unit to both protect in its situation when you mod out your previous one. For these, should you’re okay with the identical efficiency goal, the OLED Deck is likely to be a pleasant {hardware} refresh.

The Steam Deck OLED is a superb first Deck should you’ve been holding out. The brand new HDR OLED display appears completely attractive in individual and enhancements to storage capability and battery life solely sweeten the deal. It’s the sort of enchancment that makes you suppose much less concerning the gadget and extra on the video games you’ll be having fun with.

Purchase Steam Deck LCD: Steam | GameStop