Steam Deck – it’s here.

Steam Deck, 512GB, Q1

And it’s as glorious as expected.

The outer box was standard brown cardboard, without much indication of what’s inside. Anyone know follows the Steam Deck would still know, though, due to the shape and Valve name on it.

Iside it is the probably already well known carrying case, wrapped in a white paper and plastic wrap, with the deck inside. On the left side is a small box with charger and cable, and on the rear of the case, under the elastic band, a small pouch for the charger.

Inside the case we can find the deck itself, as previously mentioned. The screen doesn’t have any protective film on it. Under the deck is a microfiber cloth for the screen.

Besides a few letters with general recommendations, this pretty much sums the content of the box.

Inside the box, outside the deck

As you can see, the limitations of the single USB port are already showing.

The first impression is that the deck is surprisingly light, though this is obviously highly subjective, and rather physically big. For comparison, the length of the device is pretty much the same as is the width of MacBook Pro, 13″.

The plastic resembles the “rough” surface of the Steam Controller. At first impression, it fits well into my oversized hands (I measure 190cm in height, or 6.2″ in Freedom units).

The sticks are a bit more firm than I am used to in DS4, Xbox series, Xbox Elite 2 and perhaps even on the Steam Controller. Same can be said about the back paddles, which are really stiff, way, way above the Steam Controller or the Elite 2 controller paddles.

The Steam button, and quick access button, on the other hand, are super shallow. They feel as if they had less than 1mm key travel. Especially the quick access button feels as if I couldn’t press it at all. It does work, however, so it’s only a perception thing, but I don’t like it.

The screen is interestingly not as “smooth” or easy to glide with a finger on. I assume it’s due to the anti-glare coating of the 512GB version. It’s not like a sand paper, don’t worry, just not as smooth as a phone or a tablet screen. More like a glass touchpad.

The setup

Please excuse the excessive dust. We are renovating the house, and the dust gets everywhere within seconds.

As per instructions, I first connected it to the charger. This action had awaken the giant. I was soon presented with a prompt to pick a language, pick a time zone, and set up a wifi connection. After doing the last step, the device began updating, upon which it restarted and brought me back to the first step. All the previous options, however, were stored, so it was as simple as pressing “A” a couple of times to repeat the entire setup. Neither settings nor the wifi password had to be entered again.

Interesting note is that the fan is audible, even though rather silent, during the entire setup. It wound down only after being left alone while writing this paragraph, when the device was sitting idle in the login screen. After touching the keyboard, the fans spun right back up. I would compare the fan volume to my Legion 7 laptop while idling.

Afterwards, the Steam login prompt appears. The keyboard is now providing haptic feedback upon touching the keys. I like when my virtual keyboards provide a feedback, but the feedback from the deck is way, way too much for my taste. Feels a bit as if a tiny woodpecker was chipping at the deck. Luckily this can be toned down, or if you are a mad man and want to replace the woodpecker with a construction worker, buffed up.

After entering the login information, I was asked to perform a 2FA. Further along I get presented with a short description of the Steam button, Quick access button, power button, and am welcomed to the SteamOS.

Inside the OS

When entering the system settings and wandering about, I immediately notice a prominent orange exclamation mark over the settings. Upon quick investigation, it’s another update to the Steam Client. I get informed that I received one of the very first Steam Decks, and the BIOS needs a one-of-a-kind special update. At first I contemplated taking the opportunity of lurking in the supposedly unique/archaic OS, but don’t really see a point in doing that besides general curiosity. Sorry folks, I hit the Apply update button.

The BIOS update does indeed look interesting, though.

Upon completing the update and going back to the settings, I notice that keyboard is set to default. When I try to change it, I am offered to claim my unique keyboards, which I promptly do so. Am brought to the profile screen, I click on “claim” button, but the Steam servers don’t respond and I get an error. On a second try it succeeds and I have a fancy new icon. Yet I still can’t change the keyboard, as the Deck claims there are no profiles. I can see them in the PC Steam Client inventory, though. Perhaps Steam servers pooping up again? Or the Deck Steam Client? Restart it is, then. To no surprise to anyone working in an IT, turning it off and on again once again saves the day.

Proceeding further in the lurking activity, I stumble into the storage section. 455GB free out of 465GB for my use. Sigh. Hate this whole “512GB is not really 512GB” scheme. I know, I know why it is like that, but it’s still just a cheap marketing technique, like pricing things at 999 instead of 1000 to make it look better. Not really Valve’s fault, though. Either way, an SD card is already in my shopping cart.

To the fun part

I guess now the hardest part begins. Picking what game to try first. Then have fun with it. Luckily the Deck came just in the right time, as tomorrow I need to do some errands in the city, and will have plenty of time to sit around in the public and play with it. Sorry, I meant do a “real world testing.”

Stay tuned, a lot more to come.