On Monday Valve sent a pretty cryptic email to us offering to send some sort of hardware for review. We of course would never turn down an opportunity like that, but at the same time the curiosity was killing me, and Valve was not loosening their lips about what it might be. Hardware could mean a lot of things, and previous reports all indicated there was no sort of Steam Deck hardware revision in the works, so my initial thoughts moved towards perhaps a new type of Steam Deck dock or maybe they were even going to reintroduce the Steam Controller! Who knows! Well, as Valve tends to do, they sort of sprung the news on everyone out of nowhere, and I in fact learned about it at the same time as everyone else, but I’m excited all the same. There is indeed a new Steam Deck on the block, and this one’s got OLED baby!
The two most significant upgrades in the new model compared to the original are of course the OLED screen as well as a significantly larger 50Whr battery compared to the original’s 40Whr battery. Coupled with the more power efficient OLED screen this should translate into a pretty significant upgrade in battery life. Valve’s numbers say the original got somewhere between 2-8 hours depending on the game, and the OLED model should get more like 3-12 hours, again depending on what you’re playing. Also, the OLED screen is 7.4" diagonally compared to the LCD which was just 7" so it’s ever so slightly larger, but since all they did was reduce the size of the bezels the actual footprint of the Steam Deck remains the same.
Not to be forgotten is that the Steam Deck OLED also comes with WiFi-6E, which should allow for much quicker download times compared to the original model’s Wi-Fi 5. The custom AMD chip used in the original Steam Deck hasn’t been upgraded other than going to a new 6nm platform compared to the original model’s 7nm, and while that may translate to some sort of performance gains in various ways, you should expect almost identical performance in the OLED model compared to the LCD models. This is akin to Nintendo upgrading the Switch to an OLED model more than a true Steam Deck successor or anything.
What if you don’t care about a fancy OLED screen but you’ve still been wanting a Steam Deck? Now would be a good time to grab one then. The previous 64GB and 512GB models have been permanently reduced in price, to $349 and $449 respectively, and once that stock is sold through those will be gone for good. The 256GB LCD model now slides in as the introductory offering at $399, and will continue to be sold alongside the new OLED models. Those new OLED models clock in at 512GB at $549, and 1TB at $649, and will be available to order on November 16th. Oh, and there’s also a super special Limited Edition of the 1TB model that will cost $679 and has an exclusive red colorway and translucent black casing, and from what I understand these are in incredibly short supply, but if you want to take a crack at getting one they go on sale at the same time as the others. Oh, also Valve’s official dock has also dropped in price to just $79, so that’s cool.
You can find links for pre-orders when they go live, as well as links to buy all the existing models that are already available at discounted prices, over on Valve’s redesigned Steam Deck website. I should have this new Steam Deck OLED in my own hands shortly, so expect some hands-on coverage in the coming days as well. What a time for Mikhail to be asleep!