The promise of handheld PC gaming has always been something manufacturers call for. From the now-defunct Nvidia Shield Portable to Dell’s Alienware Concept UFO prototype and the variety of slightly Kickstarted software products, many have tried for years and many have failed.
Valve is a more prominent name in the game in some ways, with Steam being unique The largest PC gaming platform in the world despite Epic’s wishes. It’s only logical that the company would try to launch the Steam Deck, a Switch-like portable console that will reach gamers in December. But Valve has barely had the best track record on hardware, like anyone. purchased one of the Steam Engines, Steam Boxes or Steam controller can attest.
But there is reason to be optimistic. These came out before the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite took the gaming world by storm and spawned countless copies. Given the objections of the Switch OLED model failing to live up to gamers’ hardware expectations, if there’s ever been any time when a powerful PC gaming handheld has succeeded, it’s right now.
Or is it? With cloud gaming subscriptions getting better and better in terms of selection and smoothness and compatibility with Android and iOS devices, this raises the question of whether there’s really a value in a handheld PC game console versus playing cloud gaming on your phone or tablet.
Let’s break it down with numbers. The Steam Deck starts at $399 for its base 64GB eMMC model. That’s just enough to match many PC games like Jedi’s Fall Command (55GB), and it won’t fit Death Stranding 80GB) or Call of Duty: Cold War (82GB). If you want better, faster storage, you’ll need to shell out $529 for a Deck with 256GB NVMe SSD or $649 for a 512GB NVMe SSD. If you need or want more storage, it supports microSD cards, but at the time, you were paying twice the price of most current-generation consoles (when you can find them). and you’re not too far from what a cheap gaming PC will run for you.
There is another possibility that could give you better returns – get a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7/S7 Plus ($600-650) or any other Android tablet or phone of your choice – and Xbox GamePass Ultimate ($15). The combination of the two should get you around the same price as the Steam Deck with maximum storage, but there are some key advantages that you simply won’t get with a dedicated handheld console.
First, both the Tab S7 and S7+ feature high-resolution 12.4-inch/11-inch Quad HD 120Hz displays, while the S7+ features a high-refresh Super AMOLED panel that gives you rich blacks and sharp colors. You don’t have to have it in hand to know that it will place a 7-inch h 1280×800 LCD on the Steam Deck. Not to mention it only supports a 60Hz refresh rate, half what you get with the Tab S7 or most flagship phones these days.
Both Tab S7 models are fully compatible with Bluetooth 5.0 accessories, which means you can connect your Xbox Core or any other wireless controller to work with your games. It also has an optional keyboard case with trackpad and mouse connectivity, which means it’s better suited to FPS and strategy buffs than the Steam Deck. It will also be better for productivity and multimedia than the Steam Deck – which, remember, doesn’t include a dock if you want to use it with a monitor.
If portability is more of a concern, the combination of a flagship Android phone and the Razer Kishi ($100) plus Xbox Game Pass Ultimate gives you a pocket-sized, handheld game console. handbag. The average iPhone and Android also have better, sharper screens and don’t require you to carry around additional devices on a daily basis.
Most PC gamers have better gaming gear at home or gaming laptops that give you plenty of power and portability. When cloud gaming comes into the equation, it allows you to play a wide range of PC and console games on Android and, soon, iOS. It’s true that there are times when you want games stored on your device, but with most airports and planes having Wi-Fi and the continued rollout of 5G, there are cases where you absolutely don’t. connections are few and far between. In the end, the Steam Deck seems like a problem-seeking solution with better alternatives to handheld gaming already on the market.