Valve Unveils Steam Deck OLED For HDR Gaming, With Better Battery Life And WiFi 6E
One of the most common criticisms of Valve's generally-excellent Steam Deck is that the screen is a bit lack-luster.. While response times are good, it is a basic IPS LCD with characteristically-weak contrast ratio and mediocre color saturation. The Nintendo Switch's original display wasn't super-great either, so what did Nintendo do to address this complaint? Release a whole new model of Switch with an OLED display on board. Taking a page from Nintendo's playbook, then, Valve has just announced Steam Deck OLED, which is exactly what it sounds like: a Steam Deck, but now built with a punchy HDR OLED display.
However, the Nintendo Switch OLED had more changes inside than just the new panel, though, and so does the Steam Deck OLED. Like the revised Switch, the Steam Deck OLED comes with a die-shrunk SoC and a storage upgrade, too: the top model moves up from 512GB to 1TB.
There more internal changes than just that. The Steam Deck OLED comes with a 50-Whr battery instead of 40-Whr, and in combination with the die shrink for the SoC and the new power-sipping OLED, Valve says battery life is between 30 to 50% better than the original model. It also upgrades from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6E, offering up to triple the wireless network transfer rate—important when installing huge games onto that 1TB NVMe SSD.
Of course, the star of the show is the OLED. It's slightly bigger, at 7.4" compared to 7" of the original model, and it also supports refresh rates up to 90Hz if you like. There's still no support for variable refresh rates, but the Steam deck runs SteamOS, and VRR can be kind of a mess on Linux, so we can forgive this fault.
Software issues are likely to rear their head when trying to enjoy HDR content on the new Steam Deck, too, because HDR support on Linux is basically uncharted territory at this point. Still, the OLED is going to have gorgeous colors and extreme contrast compared to the relatively dim LCD in the original model, even if you aren't playing a game with HDR support. The extra refresh rate is welcome, too.
Perhaps the most exciting thing is that the new model is no more expensive than the old one. The original 512GB Steam Deck was $649, and likewise, the 1TB Steam Deck OLED is the same price. There's a version with 512GB of storage for $100 less, or if you're a real fanboy, there's going to be a Limited Edition 1TB Steam Deck OLED. That's the one seen and below with the cool grey chassis and orange accents; it'll be $679 and exclusive to the US and Canada. Valve says quantities on the Limited Edition version are "highly limited".
If you've been after a Steam Deck but couldn't justify the cost, we have good news for you there, too. The original recipe Steam Decks have seen a significant price cut. The 64GB model drops $50, making the base price of the cheapest Steam Deck just $349. The 256GB model is only $50 more, at $399, and finally the original 512GB model with the anti-glare coating is just $449, fully $200 cheaper than it was originally. The Steam Deck dock price has dropped slightly, too, to just $79.
If you're after a Steam Deck OLED, you'd better hurry up and wait. These things are going to go like hotcakes when they become available on November 16th at 10 AM PST. You can hit this link to see the launch time in your local time zone.