Is the Steam Deck OLED Worth the Extra $150? A Comprehensive Analysis


The Steam Deck, Valve’s handheld gaming PC, has taken the gaming world by storm since its launch in early 2022. Now, Valve has unveiled an upgraded OLED model of the Steam Deck, boasting various improvements over the original. But the question remains: is it worth the extra $150? Let’s delve into the details to find out.

Design Enhancements

Steam Deck OLED

Design Evolution

The OLED model of the Steam Deck maintains the ergonomic design and controls of its predecessor. While the overall layout remains unchanged, Valve has managed to slim down the weight slightly, making it a tad lighter and more manageable for extended gaming sessions.

Exclusive Colorway

Valve offers a unique smoky translucent color variant exclusively with the OLED model, giving it a distinct appearance compared to the original Steam Deck. This exclusive colorway adds to the appeal of the OLED Steam Deck, making it stand out from its predecessor.

Display Upgrades

Steam Deck OLED
Valve Steam Deck OLED 1TB Handheld Gaming Console
  • 1TB NVMe SSD
  • 1280 x 800 HDR OLED display with premium anti-glare etched glass, 7.4" Diagonal display size up to...
  • Wi-Fi 6E
  • 50Whr battery; 3-12 hours of gameplay (content-dependent)

OLED Display

The most significant upgrade in the OLED Steam Deck is its display. Featuring a 7.4-inch diagonal OLED panel, this new iteration offers HDR support, a wider color gamut, and higher contrast for truer blacks. The addition of OLED technology results in more vivid visuals and reduced motion blur, enhancing the gaming and media viewing experience.

Improved Visibility

Valve claims that the OLED Steam Deck boasts a peak brightness of 1000 nits, a substantial upgrade over the LCD model. This increase in brightness enhances visibility, particularly in bright lighting conditions, ensuring a clearer and more immersive gaming experience.

Enhanced Touchscreen

The OLED Steam Deck also sees improvements in touchscreen performance, with an increased polling rate of 180Hz. This upgrade enables lower latency and better accuracy for stylus input, further enhancing the overall user experience.

Performance Boosts

Upgraded Components

Under the hood, Valve has refreshed some components to boost performance in the OLED Steam Deck. The inclusion of LPDDR5 RAM clocked at 6400 MegaTransfer Per Second, along with a faster display refresh rate of 90Hz, results in smoother motion clarity and responsiveness during gaming sessions.

Optimized APU

Valve has optimized the 6nm AMD APU at the heart of the OLED Steam Deck, enabling higher clock speeds than its predecessor. Combined with the faster LPDDR5 RAM, this refreshed APU delivers better frame rates and overall gaming performance.

Improved Connectivity

The OLED model comes with Wi-Fi 6E support, offering higher wireless throughput and lower latency when connected to compatible routers. This enhancement ensures a more stable and reliable connection for online gaming and streaming.

Battery Life and Charging

Increased Battery Capacity

The OLED Steam Deck features a larger 50Wh battery compared to the 40Wh battery in the LCD model. This, combined with the more efficient OLED display, results in improved battery life, offering 3-12 hours of gameplay depending on the intensity of the game.

Enhanced Charging Experience

Valve includes a 45-watt USB-C PD3.0 power adapter and a 2.5-meter cable with the OLED Steam Deck, an upgrade over the original model. The longer cable makes using the device while charging more convenient, enhancing the overall user experience.

Speculations on Steam Deck 2

While the OLED model has just been launched, speculations about a potential Steam Deck 2 are already circulating. Based on advancements in mobile computing, we can expect even more powerful hardware, possibly featuring AMD’s next-gen mobile APUs built on the 5nm Zen 4 architecture and Navi 3 RDNA 3 graphics.

Pricing and Value Proposition

Comparable Pricing

The OLED Steam Deck maintains the same pricing as the original, with the base model starting at $399 for the 256GB NVMe SSD. The OLED model, priced at $549 for the 512GB NVMe SSD, offers significant enhancements for a mere $150 increase in price.

Verdict: Is It Worth the Extra $150?

The Steam Deck OLED takes what was already great about the original Steam Deck and makes it even better. The OLED display alone justifies the upgrade, offering fantastic contrast and colors for a premium gaming experience. Combined with performance boosts, improved battery life, and enhanced connectivity, the OLED Steam Deck delivers excellent value for the extra $150.

For existing owners, the decision to upgrade may depend on personal preference and budget. However, for new buyers, the OLED Steam Deck is undoubtedly the best choice for portable PC gaming, offering worthwhile improvements that justify the slightly higher price tag.

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