The handheld gaming market is heating up with two major contenders vying for the top spot: Valve’s Steam Deck OLED and Lenovo’s Legion Go. Both devices promise exceptional gaming experiences on the go, but they take different approaches to achieve it. In this comprehensive comparison, we’ll delve into various aspects of these devices to help you decide which one suits your gaming needs best.
Design and Ergonomics
- 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)
Steam Deck OLED: Refined Ergonomics
Valve’s Steam Deck OLED maintains the iconic design of its predecessor, offering contoured hand grips and balanced weight distribution for comfortable extended play sessions. The device has undergone some weight reduction, now weighing 640 grams, enhancing its portability without compromising on ergonomics.
Legion Go: Versatility in Design
- Release Year: 2023
- Processor Manufacturer: AMD
- Processor Type: Ryzen Z1 Extreme
- Processor Speed: 3.30 GHz
Lenovo’s Legion Go opts for a fresh form factor, deviating from the traditional handheld design. Although slightly heavier at 854 grams, its detachable controllers offer versatility. The right controller doubles as a mouse for FPS games, and a kickstand allows for tabletop mode. While both devices feature trackpads for PC navigation, the Legion Go’s modular design provides added convenience and flexibility.
Steam Deck OLED: Enhanced Contrast
The Steam Deck OLED boasts a 7-inch screen with deeper blacks and heightened contrast compared to its predecessor. Despite a lower resolution, the OLED display offers an immersive gaming experience, accentuating visuals and enhancing gameplay.
Legion Go: Setting a New Standard
Lenovo’s Legion Go features an impressive 8.8-inch 1600p panel with a blazing 144Hz refresh rate, setting a new standard for handheld visuals. With vivid colors and smooth animations, the Legion Go’s display elevates the gaming experience to new heights, surpassing the Steam Deck in sheer specs.
Steam Deck OLED: Capable Performance
Powered by a semi-custom Aerith APU, the Steam Deck OLED delivers capable gaming performance while maintaining efficiency. With Zen 2 CPU cores and RDNA 2 graphics, it offers decent performance at 50-watt hours of battery, suitable for a range of gaming experiences.
Legion Go: Raw Horsepower
Lenovo’s Legion Go harnesses the advanced AMD Z1 Extreme SoC, built on 4nm Zen 4 and RDNA 3 architecture, representing a significant performance leap over the Steam Deck. With 15% higher CPU throughput and 50% improved graphics performance per watt, the Legion Go outshines its competitor in raw horsepower.
Thermals and Acoustics
Both devices prioritize efficient cooling to maintain steady performance under load. The Steam Deck utilizes a custom vapor chamber cooler and dual fans, while the Legion Go incorporates a 120mm central fan and multiple heat pipes. Based on hands-on reviews, both devices handle thermals well, ensuring optimal gaming experiences without excessive heat or noise.
Software and Features
Openness and Flexibility
Both the Steam Deck and Legion Go offer inherent software openness and flexibility as handheld PCs. While the Steam Deck ships with SteamOS, users can easily install Windows or any compatible OS, leveraging the full-fledged PC hardware inside. Similarly, the Legion Go utilizes Windows but can be configured with SteamOS, Windows 11, or custom operating systems, providing endless customization options for gamers.
The Steam Deck OLED and Legion Go come in at similar price points, with the Legion Go priced slightly higher, reflecting its premium specs and modular design. While the Steam Deck focuses on refined ergonomics and software openness at an accessible price point, the Legion Go targets sheer performance with its high-end specs. Buyers must weigh portability, power, and platform factors to determine the best option for their gaming needs.
Compelling Choices in Handheld Gaming
In conclusion, both the Steam Deck OLED and Legion Go offer compelling choices in the handheld gaming space. While the Legion Go excels in raw power and display technology, the Steam Deck shines for more casual Steam gaming at an approachable price point. Whether you prioritize maximum AAA performance or versatility, both devices cater to different gaming preferences, pushing the boundaries of handheld gaming PCs. As the handheld gaming market continues to evolve, we anticipate further upgrades and innovations from both Valve and Lenovo, raising the bar for portable gaming experiences.