The 5 reasons why NOT to buy the Steam Deck

The 5 reasons why NOT to buy the Steam Deck

The Steam Deck will, without a doubt, enter the ranking of the best or worst technological products of the year. Although it was presented last year, it has only recently been, for some months, that the consoles are finally arriving in the hands of Italian gamers. Having ordered it immediately at the opening of the pre-orders, we received it about a couple of months ago, or a little less, so we can say that we have used it enough to have a fairly precise idea of ​​this game console. In fact, we must note that on the web it has often been portrayed as a console with excellent qualities, with few defects and many advantages.

Our judgment is probably a little more critical than the average, and for this reason we want draw up a series of flaws that we believe should warn anyone who is still considering whether or not to buy this console. Let's be clear, we do not believe that the Steam Deck has only defects, in fact we are working on an article in which we also want to tell the merits of this console, but since the defects are often more important to evaluate in a purchase choice, we have decided to start with this article. So let's see all the flaws, or to put it another way, the reasons why not to buy a Steam Deck.

Steam Deck is not a portable console

When was the Steam Deck presented we imagined using it during a trip, by plane, always carrying it with us in our backpack. Any moment would have been good to use the Steam Deck and we would have had the opportunity to recover all those games that, due to lack of time, or simply because too many come out, we have not been able to play over the years. This dream shattered the exact moment we opened the box.

The Steam Deck website reads "all-in-one portable device for video games", and we believe that with this statement Valve has given a meaning of its own to the term "portable", which we would like to correct, to maximum, with "portable". We are not having fun playing puns, but we truly believe that a console of this size and weight cannot be called a “portable console”. A Nintendo Switch is a handheld console. A Nintendo DS is a handheld console. A PSP or PS Vita vetch is a portable console. Or any of the retro gaming consoles found on Amazon are handheld consoles. The Steam Deck can be moved from one room to another in the house, but it does not follow the "portability" standards that the world of portable consoles has accustomed us to.

Battery life is ridiculous

This is a point on which practically everyone agrees, and it is a recurring catchphrase that can be read right from the first reviews of foreign specialized sites. The Steam Deck battery lasts on average between an hour and an hour and a half. If you use a recent video game with thrust 3D graphics, you will aim for the hour of autonomy. To increase battery life you will need to set quality levels no higher than average and enable the FPS limiter. Obviously, what has just been stated can change according to the game you will use, also because there are more or less heavy and more or less optimized titles. We have tried so many games in recent months and if we consider, as indicated, the AAA titles, this is the trend.

While some of these behaviors could be improved with software updates, very little can be done for reduced autonomy. This is no small defect, as it has a great impact on the model of use and further amplifies the problem of portability. A console to be used on the move cannot have such a reduced autonomy and if you are forced to carry additional external batteries with you, the concept of portability becomes even worse.

Steam Deck makes noise, continuously

The Steam Deck fan is constantly on. The only way to prevent it from continuing to spin and blow hot air is to use undemanding or retro games. If you use modern games, especially those that are a bit demanding from a graphical point of view (but not too much), you will have a continuous background noise in your ears. Thankfully the Steam Deck's speakers are loud enough, but unless you always keep the audio on full or nearly full, you'll always hear this fan.

Each of us can be more or less bothered by this noise, but if like us you can't stand it, you'll always end up using a pair of bluetooth earphones with ANC. You will have the advantage of not hearing the fan and hearing better quality audio, but we are not at all happy with this situation.

To be fair it must be said that Valve has improved the Cooling fan operation with a firmware update, but that only means it was worse before, so the situation has gone from being unbearable to being irritating, at least at times. If you are among those who are not bothered by the constant blast of the cooling fan, cross this defect off the list, for all the others be prepared for a compromise.

Heat is a problem

Steam Deck gets a lot hot in use, but Valve has done a great job of thermal management, or nearly so. Obviously the noise of the fan we have just talked about is linked to the heat of the heatsink which must be cooled. Fortunately, Valve was able to channel the heat in such a way that it did not reach the side handles, in fact the hands are always cool or in any case the temperature increase is marginal. However, among the points that heat up the most there is also the lower edge, and this could be a problem. If you imagine a model of use with the console resting on your stomach or legs, while you are lying on the sofa, in bed or sitting in an armchair, remember that it will be the lower edge that will come into contact with the body.

Again we make a distinction: are you insensitive enough to heat? Then remove this flaw from the list, if you are sensitive, then you will have to make some compromises in terms of positions in which you can use the Steam Deck.

The screen is small

The screen it is 7 inches, and although it cannot be defined absolutely small, considering that there are and have existed consoles with even smaller screens, we believe that 7 inches are few for the model of use that dictates the format of the console. Let's try to explain ourselves better. If you use the Steam Deck seated at a desk, with your elbows and forearms resting on the shelf, then your head will naturally be in a position close enough to the screen to be able to see the images and various details without any particular problems.

If, on the other hand, you are lying down, sitting in an armchair, or even simply sitting in a chair with the Steam Deck in your lap, you will find yourself bending your elbows bringing the screen closer to your eyes. The arms will not be in a natural position, they will be slightly bent, but the width and grip of the console will force you to compromise between the crease of the elbow and the crease of the wrist. It is nothing different from what happens while holding a joypad: if you keep your arms stretched on your legs in a natural way, your wrists will be relaxed. If you bring your hands close to your face, then placing them on your stomach or towards your chest, your wrists will bend at an ever greater angle and fatigue you. To make matters worse there is the width of the console which amplifies the discomfort and the need to bend the wrists upwards as well, since if you can use a normal joypad horizontally, you will have to rotate the Steam Deck upwards to allow you to to look at the screen.

All this can be called a general ergonomic problem, but if the screen had been bigger, we probably could have left it further away and consequently everything would have been more comfortable.

Once again the game makes the difference, but in almost all games it is necessary to read some writing that is a little too small, to better look at the virtual landscape in which we are venturing, in search of details that require you to bring the screen closer to your eyes, so this too is an objective defect that you have to deal with.

Other defects

The ones we have described are for us the main defects that could had made you desist from purchasing the Steam Deck. Some of you may consider some less important defects, since as we have said in some cases they are related to a personal use model. For others, however, one of these defects will be enough to decide to save money. We obviously don't want to boycott Steam Deck sales with this item, we're sure many will buy it anyway, but if you're not passionate enough to put up with these flaws, think about it. For example, if you want to use the Steam Deck as a retrogaming platform, many of these problems will disappear, as well as if you are fond of non-demanding strategic games from a technical point of view. Of course we find it a bit limiting to buy a Steam Deck for this type of use, but everyone is free to do what they want.

Among the defects that we consider minor and that we therefore mention in this article without going into depth we find:

Continuous software bugs and in many games Information on the compatibility of games only fragmentary, with often incorrect information Ergonomics of the control systems, not everyone likes the layout of the joypads Fluctuating performance, especially with AAA games Disabling random of some buttons Incompatibility of some games with the integrated joypad (even if the game is listed as compatible)

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