The day we all have been waiting for. Well, at least those who managed to get a reservation through the crashing Valve servers, when the reservations first opened up. Valve posted a new update on the Steam Deck, outling the initial schedule and organization of the shipping.
On the 25th of February, starting at 10:00 AM PST, if you are in the Q1 group, watch your email inbox. Valve will be sending out the first emails. According to their blog post, you will have up to 3 days to complete the purchase. If you fail to do so, your reservation slot will be passed to the next person in line. Upon 28th of February, the shipping itself will begin with the first batch.
(Internal Steam Deck testing)
It was widely belived we would get up to one week to pay up, though 3 days should still be plenty to make a decision and do all the necessary arrangements, should any issue arise with your payment. Still we would advise to not hesitate, make the decision beforehand, and be ready to pull the trigger if you decide that you indeed want to buy the Steam Deck. Passing a reservation window can easily mean another 6 months of waiting, or even longer.
Valve plans to do this email and shipping process on a weekly basis, so all that remains to be seen is how many people do they want to include in the first group. Considering the sheer amount of people who signed up within the first minutes after the reservations have opened, every minute counts. If you managed to get through the crashing servers after the 10th minute, you may well be waiting for your own email for quite some time.
Valve also issued a kind reminder that you can order only the model you have reserved, and that the reservation price will be deducted from your final order. To make the deal even better, the shipping is already included in the price, so no extra cost on this front, either.
We will keep ever vigilant for any Steam Deck update and hopefull when the big delivery day finally comes, get to do some testing of our own.