Gaming on handheld PC has always been a hot cake for manufacturers. Starting from the discontinued Nvidia Shield Portable to Dell’s prototype Alienware Concept UFO, and the plenty of vaporware products that have been trying over the years, but ultimately failed.
Interestingly, Valve is a more prominent name in the gaming industry in some ways, with Steam being the single biggest PC gaming platform in the world despite the tries of Epic. So now the question is why Steam Deck doesn’t stand up to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Android? Or does it? Let’s find out
Why Steam Deck Doesn’t Stand Up to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate on Android
Literally, the company would have tried to launch the Steam Deck, i.e., a switch-like portable console that could be in the hands of gamers by December. However, Valve hardly has a backtrack record regarding hardware, as anyone purchasing one of its Steam devices, such as the Steam Box or Controller could attest to.
But you need to be optimistic. These came out even before the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite and took the gaming world by storm. Unfortunately, spawned an infinite number of copycats.
Given the excitement over the Switch OLED model that didn’t live up to the gamer’s satisfaction, if there’s any time when a powerful PC gaming handheld console can succeed, it is right now.
Or is It?
Valve’s Steam Deck is built on the same architectural blocks as the new consoles from Sony and Microsoft. Contrarily downscaled and refactored for a handheld. With up to 1.6TF of GPU compute power aimed at delivering CIRCA 720p gaming, the idea is to break PC gaming free from the traditional limitations of the PC itself. Sadly 720p is even lower than typical mid-range smartphones. Likewise, you will be paying 3 times to buy a Steam Deck.
With Cloud Gaming subscriptions steadily getting better and better in their selection and smoothness. Added their improved compatibility with iOS and Android, it again raises the eyebrows of whether there really a value to be found in handheld gaming consoles compared to cloud gaming on your smartphone or tablet.
Breaking it down with numbers, the Steam Deck has a starting price point of $399 for its base 64GB eMMC variant. Unfortunately, that is barely enough to store many PC games such as Jedi Fallen Order [55GB], and worse, it won’t even fit Death Stranding [whopping 80GB] or our darling Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War [82GB].
Further, if you want a better version or more storage, you may need to shell out $529 for a deck with 256GB NVMe or $649 for a 512GB NVMe SSD. Now, in case you want any more storage, it does support a MicroSD card, however, at this price, you are already paying twice what most current-gen consoles cost and you are close to a budget gaming PC.
[learn_more caption=”Learn More”] Meanwhile, the Steam Deck will run on a new version of SteamOS, which is Valve’s Linux-based operating system. However, you will be able to play Windows games that don’t have official support from Linux using Valve’s compatibility software: Proton. You can also uninstall SteamOS and just install Windows, however, if you do that, your warranty stands canceled from Valve. [/learn_more]
Interestingly, there’s another possibility that can give you a better bang-for-the-buck, i.e., getting a Samsung Galaxy Tab S7 or S7 Plus [$600-$650], or any other Android smartphone or tablet of your choice along with the Xbox GamePass Ultimate for $15. The combination of these two will cost you the same as the maximum storage version of Steam Deck, but you find get far more advantages over owning a hectic handheld console.
Needless to say, the Steam Deck supports a 60Hz refresh rate that is half of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7/S7 Plus. Moreover, both the versions of S7 are compatible with Bluetooth 5.0 accessories. This means you can connect an Xbox Core or any other wireless controller to work with other games as well. Besides, it has Samsung’s best in class Dex which will give you the feel of using a traditional gaming PC. Nevertheless, it will be best for other productivity work and taking pictures as well.
However, if portability is a concern, the combination of a top-tier Android phone and Razer Kishi together along with Xbox GamePass Ultimate will give you a pocket-sized gaming console. Best of all, any average iPhone or a mid-range Andoird has better and sharp displays that won’t ask you to carry around any extra device for everyday needs.