Steam Deck Specs: How the Nintendo Switch Compares to Valve’s Handheld Gaming PC

Following rumors and hypothesis, Valve is as soon as once more dipping its ft into the marketplace. However as an alternative of a digital truth headset or a controller, Valve is liberating Steam Deck — a hand-held gaming PC beginning at $399. 

In the beginning look, the design bears some resemblance to the Nintendo Transfer, a hand-held house gaming console that recently has a 3rd type refresh at the approach. But in spite of sharing a an identical thought – a hand-held tool that still permits you to hook up with a TV or observe – the 2 units have drastic variations on each the outside and inside. 

To get a greater figuring out of what you’ll be expecting from either one of those devices, and perhaps determine for some which tool is the easier funding for you, let’s check out the specifications and move over some standout variations between the present flagship Transfer type and the Steam Deck: 

Display and Solution

Let’s get the most obvious out of the way in which: when in hand-held mode, each the Steam Deck and Transfer have touchscreens that don’t produce a 1080p answer. The Steam Deck options an 800p touchscreen, whilst the Nintendo Transfer features a 720p show. The resolutions for each consoles building up when hooked up to their particular person docks the usage of a USB-C. Each docks additionally come with a LAN port that lets you determine a stressed out web connection (despite the fact that that is simplest provide on the latest model of the Transfer dock). 

The Steam Deck can have an professional docking station, however it’s going to now not be integrated with the hand held and it’s going to now not be to be had at release. Then again, there’s some flexibility, as you’ll use any usual USB-C hub to glue the Steam Deck to a TV or observe to imitate extra of a standard gaming PC or computer. 

The Nintendo Transfer has an professional docking station integrated with each and every new unit bought, however you’ll additionally acquire the docking station one by one, and there are many third-party docking stations which might be extra moveable and extra reasonably priced than Nintendo’s providing – even though with the caveat that a few of these docks can brick Transfer consoles. There’s additionally been a topic with the unique Transfer docking station, which is able to purpose the console to obtain scratches at the nook of the display screen

But if each are docked to a appropriate docking station, the answer does building up. Valve’s hand-held can theoretically produce as much as 8K resolutions at 60Hz or 4K at as much as 120Hz. When put next, the Nintendo Transfer produces as much as 1080p at 60Hz.

Let’s examine the monitors at the flagship fashions for each the Steam Deck and the Nintendo Transfer: all of the Steam Deck fashions come with an LCD display screen, however the flagship $649 type features a “top rate” anti-glare-etched glass, that means gamers can center of attention on what’s being displayed at the display screen and now not what’s reflecting off the display screen like say, a fingerprint. 

The Transfer OLED, for its phase, strays clear of the opposite two Transfer fashions, changing the LCD with an OLED show, that means it’s going to have higher distinction, deeper blacks, and greater brightness than its predecessors. 

Running Machine

The Steam Deck is modest: it’s an reasonably priced gaming PC in an age the place development or upgrading PC portions is rather pricey because of pricey trendy GPUs, an issue exacerbated via the continuing world chip scarcity. It runs a changed model of SteamOS this is constructed on Proton, a model of Linux this is in a position to working Home windows and Linux apps and video games – however as we discussed in our hands-on, you’ll do a recent set up of Home windows if that’s your choice. By contrast, the Nintendo Transfer has a customized working device used completely for the console, without a customizability introduced. 

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There are 3 configurations to be had for the Steam Deck; every gives other garage answers, however all different interior parts stay the similar. The entry-level $399 type will get you 64GB of Embedded MultiMediaCard [eMMC] garage, whilst the opposite two come with Non-Risky Reminiscence Specific [NVMe] garage: one priced at $529 with 246GB and the flagship, which contains 512GB. With that during thoughts, there’s a chance that load occasions and recreation installations will be slower at the entry-level type, however Valve claims efficiency for all 3 fashions may not be impacted, regardless of which configuration you selected to shop for.

The usual Nintendo Transfer and Transfer Lite fashions come with 32GB of eMMC interior garage and the OLED type contains 64GB of interior eMMC garage, similar to the entry-level Steam Deck. Without a different interior garage configurations past 64GB recently to be had on Nintendo’s console. 

The Steam Deck and Transfer every additionally toughen MicroSD playing cards for added garage. That is particularly welcome at the base Steam Deck type, which is differently caught supporting PC video games with simply 64GB of reminiscence. 

Dimension and Weight

Whilst we will be able to’t but do a right away dimension comparability, the size for each let us know what we want to know: The Steam Deck is noticeably larger and wider than the Transfer, with its period 2.2 inches longer than the OLED type and status zero.2 inches taller than the approaching refresh. The Steam Deck has thicker bezels than maximum electronics in 2021, together with the OLED, and the Steam Deck has a larger out of doors body in comparison to the latest Transfer type. 

At 1.47 kilos, the Steam Deck weighs greater than the Nintendo Transfer, with the Transfer OLED type weighing zero.93 kilos with Pleasure-Cons hooked up to the show. Whilst 1.47lbs isn’t extraordinarily heavy, it’s noticeably heavier than any Nintendo Transfer type, and hand fatigue is usually a larger factor for Steam Deck house owners. 

Inner Elements

Taking a more in-depth have a look at the portions discovered throughout the Steam Deck, it’s a lot more succesful than the Transfer. At the beginning, the CPU is an AMD APU with 4 cores and 8 threads; it makes use of the Zen 2 structure (which the Xbox Collection X/S and PS5 use), along with Ryzen 3000 desktop laptop processors. The Steam Deck additionally contains the similar graphical structure because the ninth-generation gaming consoles, powered via an AMD RDNA 2, that means it’s going to toughen hardware-based ray tracing. 

Because the Steam Deck is at first a transportable tool, it does now not use desktop reminiscence. As a substitute, it has 16GB of LPDDR, which consumes much less energy and is geared toward cell computing units, akin to laptops, capsules, and even cell phones.  

You will need to be aware that one of the most within the Steam Deck extra carefully resembles the PS4 and Xbox One than the Collection X/S and PS5 – particularly whilst you believe that the SSDs within the two costlier fashions use NVMe Gen three SSDs as an alternative of the Gen four present in new-gen gaming . 

The usage of AMD structure additionally signifies that the Steam Deck helps FidelityFX Tremendous Solution, AMD’s open-source supersampling era. This permits it to supply 4 other settings that prioritize both efficiency or visible constancy. 

Since 2017, the Nintendo Transfer’s specifications have remained the similar, together with the approaching Transfer OLED, all of that have the Nvidia Tegra X1 cell chipset. The customized Tegra processor is ARM-based whilst the graphics use the Maxwell structure, which was once used maximum significantly in Nvidia desktop GPUs such because the GeForce 900 playing cards. Taking a look carefully on the CPU and GPU the Transfer makes use of, it’s transparent that the Transfer isn’t the most important graphical powerhouse, and that’s proven obviously in AAA video games ported to the console. 

There have additionally been cases the place Transfer ports don’t at all times release along different variations of the sport, akin to Doom Everlasting. Even one of the most greatest video games of the previous few years like Keep an eye on and Hitman three, whilst playable on Transfer, can not run natively at the console and as an alternative are streamed during the cloud to deal with the barriers. 

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Incorporated with each and every Nintendo Transfer is a couple of Pleasure-Con controllers. Those include some advantages – for something, they are able to be indifferent and used as a bonded pair or as two singular controllers. When indifferent and performed in hand-held mode you’ll additionally prop the kickstand again and play with no need the controller and the show tethered in combination. Then again,  Pleasure-Con float has been a topic since release, a well-liked downside that Nintendo has but to without delay deal with. The Nintendo Transfer does toughen different controllers, akin to its personal Professional Controller, the GameCube controller, in addition to a number of stressed out and wi-fi third-party controllers. 

Relating to integrated controller , the Steam Deck has much more happening. Whilst it doesn’t have removable controllers or a kickstand – making it a little bit extra restricted in the best way to revel in your hand-held gaming – there’s much more freedom given to house owners on the subject of the best way to make your recreation revel in really feel catered to you. Along conventional twin thumbsticks, the Steam Deck has two trackpads that promise a extra mouse-like revel in. There are even 4 rear buttons — comparable to one thing just like the SCUF or Xbox Elite controllers. Those paddles can also be remapped so as to add a extra personalized touch to hand-held keep watch over schemes. The Steam Deck additionally helps exterior controllers, together with the Xbox Collection X/S controller, the DualSense, or even the Transfer Professional controller. It additionally has Bluetooth so it might probably hook up with any Bluetooth controller wirelessly or thru a USB cable. 


Each consoles toughen on-line play: the Transfer calls for a subscription to Nintendo Transfer On-line, which is able to price anyplace between $four a month to $60 for a complete 12 months. This has further incentives akin to cloud saves and get entry to to NES and SNES video games and promotional gives. Whilst pricing is reasonably priced, the cloud save supported video games leaves so much to be desired, as simplest 130 video games within the Nintendo Transfer library toughen the function.

Although you don’t purchase a Transfer On-line subscription, there’s nonetheless native multiplayer. The Transfer can hook up with different consoles to supply a LAN party-esque revel in.  You’ll additionally pair a couple of controllers and Pleasure-Cons with a unmarried Transfer, which helps as much as 8 Pleasure-Con controllers. 

As you’d be expecting, the Steam Deck gives an identical toughen. It has integrated Wi-Fi, that means you’ll play on-line or native multiplayer and it does now not come with a web-based subscription to play video games on-line. Some video games like Ultimate Myth XIV or International of Warcraft do require on-line subscriptions to play, however normally maximum video games the Steam Deck can toughen are unfastened to play on-line. 

Battery Lifestyles

The Transfer has higher battery lifestyles than the Steam Deck, ranging anyplace between four.Five-Nine hours on a unmarried price in comparison to the Steam Deck’s 2-Eight hours. Nintendo says that the bottom Transfer and OLED fashions can closing roughly Five.Five hours on a unmarried price, whilst the Lite can closing four hours enjoying the similar recreation. Valve says that you’ll be expecting four hours of Portal 2 working at a answer of 720p at 60FPS. In fact, with Steam Deck supporting an enormous number of video games throughout all the Steam library, battery lifestyles will range wildly. It’s essential to notice that each consoles use totally other batteries — the Steam Deck makes use of a 40Whr Lithium-Ion battery whilst the Transfer makes use of a 4310mAh Lithium-Ion battery. 

The Steam Deck is slated to release someday in December. You’ll take a look at additional information at the Steam Deck, akin to Gabe Newell elaborating at the pricing for the Steam Deck, our hands-on preview with the hand held, in addition to a FAQ with the builders. If you want to grasp extra in regards to the Steam Deck, test again for the remainder of the month. 

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Taylor is the Affiliate Tech Editor at IGN. You’ll apply her on Twitter @TayNixster.

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