I have been intrigued by the Steam Deck since day one but there were always two things that put me off – initial waiting times for delivery (which was months-long in the UK) and the LCD display.
Delivery turnarounds were squashed a while ago, so that hasn't been a barrier for some time, but now that an upgraded Steam Deck with an OLED screen is about to be released, it looks like it's time for me to put my hand in my pocket.
The Steam Deck OLED will be released on 16 November 2023, starting at £479 for the 512GB model and I want one. From what I've seen from afar, plus my existing knowledge of OLED display technology, it's the perfect enhancement to an otherwise already groundbreaking machine.
OLED in one
I've been a fan of OLED since the late 2000s, when the tech first started to appear in consumer products (anybody remember the Sony XEL-1?). I own two OLED TVs and upgraded my Nintendo Switch to the OLED model when it arrived.
Indeed, it is the latter device that is closest to the new version of the Steam Deck and shows just how back an impact in screen type can have. OLED is more capable with black levels, thanks to its self-illuminating pixels and, therefore, no backlight. And, as any AV fan will tell you, better blacks mean more accurate and involving colours.
Viewing angle is greatly improved with the use of OLED too, along with a more punch on a bright and sunny day. Plus, as OLED requires less power to run, you can also gain benefits when it comes to battery life.
Such is the apparent case with the Steam Deck. In addition, by having more real estate inside the Deck to play with, Valve has managed to increase the battery size – so, where the original lasted for 2 - 8 hours of play, the new model is quoted at 3 - 12 hours.
Other tweaks include Wi-Fi 6E connectivity (over Wi-Fi 5) so you should get a more stable wireless hook-up. And, you now get HDR support on the display.
Oh, and did we say that the screen size is a touch bigger, at 7.4-inch instead of 7-inch thanks to a thinner bezel? We have now.
In short, the Steam Deck OLED is everything I've been waiting for and I shall wait no longer. As long as there's enough stock available by the time I get to order, that is.
Orders for the Steam Deck OLED will start on 16 November at 10am PT (6pm GMT). It will be available exclusively from the Valve website.
Original LCD models are being discounted in the meantime.