Valve's Steam Deck Teardown Warns You Could Mess Things Up If You Try This At Home
Do you value your life? Then don't open up the Steam Deck. Do you care about the structural integrity of your shiny new handheld console? Then don't open up the Steam Deck. Do you want to keep your handheld's warranty intact? Then don't open up the Steam Deck (opening it doesn't void the warranty, but if you damage it, you're on your own). These are all the warnings Valve offers up in teardown video explaining how you can get at the guts of the Steam Deck, and why you shouldn't.
Here's one more warning—watching (and more specifically, listening to) this teardown video will make you want to throw your tools in the garbage and roll yourself up in bubble wrap. Okay, not really. But how many game system teardown videos have you see where, not jokingly, the narrator says you could actually die if you do something wrong? I'll start—this is my first.
That particular warning comes at around the 42-second mark, and is related to the lithium-ion battery. Valve points out that "if you damage the battery, the whole thing could catch fire later, which would be bad." The narrator goes on to state that you should leave this sort of thing to the professionals "unless you really feel like taking big risks with your property, and with your life."
The comment was not followed by a ba-dum-tish! Just in case anything thought the remark was in jest, there's a caption that appears saying, "Not a joke. Li-ion batteries can ignite if damaged."
That's true, of course, and the same risk applies to just about any handheld electronic device. Just ask Samsung about exploding batteries, which prompted a recall of the Galaxy Note 7.
There are less dire reasons why Valve recommends against opening up the Steam Deck, as it proceeds to show you how to open up the Steam Deck. It's easy to strip the tiny screws that hold the handheld together (using a torque wrench is advised), and barring that, "opening the case immediately weakens it and makes the product less drop resistant."
Valve says there is no way to avoid this, so be warned that if you open it up, you somewhat lessen the structural integrity of the system.
All the warnings aside, it doesn't look all that difficult to open up the Steam Deck and access the internals. And kudos to Valve to showing exactly how it should be done, if embarking down that road. There are some solid tips in the video, which you can check out above. As to why you might want to open it up, it falls into the right-to-repair category. Maybe the joysticks are acting up, or perhaps you want to upgrade the storage. The Steam Deck is not really design for user upgrades, but it certainly looks easier to service the handheld then your typical smartphone.
The Steam Deck releases this December, though if you were not quick to place a reservation, you could be waiting longer. All three models—64GB eMMC ($399), 256GB SSD ($529), and 512GB SSD ($649)—show an expected order availability of after Q2 2022 for any reservations placed today.