2023 Steam Deck: A Detailed Review of the Best Handheld PC on the Market

I genuinely empathize with anyone who recently purchased a Steam Deck before Valve revealed the new and improved OLED model. The announcement of the OLED version at a similar price point to the original LCD model came as a surprise, flooding the r/SteamDeck forum with regretful new owners. However, I want to emphasize that the Steam Deck LCD is still an outstanding handheld PC, with Valve continuing to sell the 256GB model at a reduced price of $399. In this review, I will discuss the pros and cons of the entry-level Steam Deck and address concerns that existing owners may have.

The Steam Deck LCD, priced at $399, comes pre-installed with Steam and offers multiple input methods, making it convenient for players. Its game library is also strong, allowing it to run most Steam games, including AAA titles. The handheld has impressive hardware specs, such as a custom 7nm AMD APU, 16GB of fast RAM, and a 7-inch, 800p LCD display with a peak brightness of 400 nits. Visually striking games look and play beautifully on the display, although it does have limitations such as constrained color gamut. In terms of input methods, the Steam Deck includes dual-analog inputs, a touchscreen, and haptic pads, providing a versatile gaming experience. However, the device does tend to generate a significant amount of heat, resulting in warm grips during extended gameplay.

Battery life on the Steam Deck LCD is not exceptional, with a maximum of around four and a half hours of gameplay on a single charge. Additionally, the device is notably large and heavy, making it uncomfortable for extended use. However, the optional Docking Station provides a solution for at-home gaming, allowing players to connect the device to external displays and enhancing the overall gaming experience.

While it may not be as vibrant or bright as the OLED model, the Steam Deck LCD remains a solid choice for anyone looking for a portable gaming PC. With an extensive library of Verified and Playable Steam Deck games, the handheld offers a compelling value compared to other devices in the market. Even though the announcement of the OLED version may have caused some disappointment among existing owners, the Steam Deck LCD continues to be a reliable and capable handheld PC for gaming enthusiasts.