Saturday, July 24

This $399 handheld gaming system lets you play PC games on the go — here’s how to preorder it now

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  • Valve’s Steam Deck is a portable gaming PC scheduled to launch in December.
  • Steam Deck reservations became available July 16, with prices starting at $399.
  • Valve is making a Steam Deck dock for connecting a TV or monitor, but it will be sold separately.

Valve’s Steam Deck is a handheld gaming computer that will give PC gamers portable access to thousands of titles, including games they already own on Steam, the world’s most popular PC gaming platform.

Preorder reservations for the Steam Deck became available on July 16. Prices start at $399 for a Steam Deck with 64GB of internal storage and go up to $649 for a 512GB model with an NVMe solid state drive and anti-glare glass screen.

How to preorder the Steam Deck

Steam Deck is scheduled to start shipping in December and preorders are now available. Buyers will have to make a $5 reservation in the Steam store to secure their preorder. That $5 will go towards the purchase price, and if you cancel your Steam Deck reservation within 30 days , you’ll get your $5 fee refunded.

Currently, reservations are limited to the US, Canada, UK, and European Union, but Valve says availability will be expanded over time. Though the first units are set to start shipping in December, current reservations are now listed with expected availability in Q1 and Q2 2022.

How does the Steam Deck compare to the Nintendo Switch?

Valve’s handheld gaming PC takes clear design influences from the Nintendo Switch, offering a touch screen, dual analog control scheme, and a gyroscope for motion controls. Steam Deck also has two track pads to simulate mouse controls, and six additional trigger buttons when compared to the Switch.

Like the Switch, Steam Deck allows you to add storage space using a MicroSD card. Steam Deck will also allow players to connect

headphones, which is a feature not currently supported on the Switch. Valve says it’s creating a dock to connect the Steam Deck to a TV or monitor the same way Nintendo’s Switch does, but the Steam Deck dock will be sold separately.

What games can I play on the Steam Deck?

Steam Deck utilizes a custom-designed APU from AMD to play the latest PC games; in terms of overall visual performance, you can expect it to land somewhere between the Nintendo Switch and Xbox Series S.

Steam Deck will be able to play thousands of games that are already in Steam’s massive PC library; gamers who have built up a collection on Steam will appreciate not needing to re-purchase titles for the new handheld.

While the device will come with a version of the Linux-based SteamOS, Valve says gamers can choose to install Windows and other non-Steam applications at their own convenience. Steam’s Proton technology will allow most games designed for Windows to run on SteamOS with few issues, though some popular titles with frequent updates, like “Destiny 2” and “Apex Legends,” have ongoing problems.

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