Valve has just surprised the world with the sudden announcement of a mid-generation refresh of their handheld gaming PC.
So, to get you up to speed, we’ve got the Steam Deck OLED release date, specs, features and pre-order news.
Quietly working in secret behind closed doors in their typical fashion, Valve must’ve taken note of every complaint about the original Deck - because just about anything you could have taken issue with has been fixed.
There’s better battery life, a new HDR OLED screen and even better speakers (which were already great to begin with).
Hopefully, soon enough, we'll get to see how it stacks up next to Nintendo's next-gen Switch 2 in a huge battle of the handhelds.
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The only thing that lets it down is the lack of a variable-refresh-rate (VRR) display, but Linus Sebastion of Linus Tech Tips reckons this is due to the Steam Deck OLED using the same display as the Switch OLED, which is incapable of receiving a VRR display signal.
Alas, perhaps that is something for the eventual Steam Deck 2 - but for the here and now, let’s get busy dissecting the new Steam Deck OLED.
When is the Steam Deck OLED release date?
The Steam Deck OLED release date is 16th November 2023.
This is almost two years on from the original, which launched on 25th February 2022.
When the original Deck did launch, it’s fair to say it wasn’t in the best of shape on the software side of things.
The Arch Linux-derived SteamOS 3 presented a number of issues, and there was only a handful of Steam Deck-verified games compared to the many thousands we have now.
These are all but gone, fixed by the over 300 updates to SteamOS 3 in the ensuing months, so rest assured if you pick one up, you are in for a slick console-like experience with a fully-fledged Linux operating system lurking beneath.
Since then, we’ve also seen a slew of Windows-based handheld gaming PCs come out, spurred on by the Deck’s success, the most recent of which being the Switch-like Lenovo Legion Go.
When does the Steam Deck OLED launch in the UK?
The Steam Deck OLED UK launch time is 6pm on Thursday 16th November 2023.
This is perfect for making back in time from school or work to try and get an order in.
It will no doubt be a tough affair, requiring lots of page refreshes, as we can imagine people who held off from buying the original Deck - as well as those wanting to upgrade - will be lying in wait to do exactly the same.
If you do miss it, hopefully it won’t be too long before more stock becomes available.
Can I pre-order the Steam Deck OLED?
No, you cannot pre-order the Steam Deck OLED - it will only become available to buy on 16th November.
If you are bubbling with anticipation, the Steam Deck OLED has the same dimensions as the original, meaning you can go ahead and buy accessories such as skins, screen protectors and cases.
The original Steam Deck had a reservation system in place, but these sold extremely quickly, and the chip shortage due to Covid-19 meant that deliveries could take months.
With the pandemic behind us and Valve having refined its manufacturing process, getting a Steam Deck OLED should be a much smoother affair.
You can check it all out on the official Steam Deck website.
How much is the Steam Deck OLED price?
The Steam Deck OLED has multiple price points, and the LCD SKUs that are being discontinued have seen a handsome discount while stocks last.
- Steam Deck OLED 1TB – £569
- Steam Deck OLED 512GB – £479
The 256GB LCD model has replaced the original 64GB Steam Deck as the lowest-tier model. The LCD prices are as follows:
- Steam Deck LCD 256GB – £349
- Steam Deck LCD 512GB (while stocks last) – £389
- Steam Deck LCD 64GB (while stocks last) – £309
There’s also a super snazzy translucent limited edition Steam Deck OLED that is only available in the US and Canada, so us limey Brits are out of luck here.
You may have noticed that the new OLED models don’t cost more than the original Steam Deck back in 2022, which is a welcome surprise considering the spec bump - which we’ll cover just below.
Steam Deck OLED specs and features: What changed?
There’s been a whole host of new changes that all add up to make the Steam Deck OLED a seriously refined bit of kit, and are sure to make owners of the original green with envy.
- HDR OLED screen with 90Hz refresh rate
- 30-50 per cent better battery life
- Upgraded RAM from LPDDR5 5500 MT/s to 6400 MT/S
- 50Whr battery (upgraded from 40Whr)
- Top-spec now has 1TB
- Wi-Fi 6E module for faster downloads
- Die-shrink from TSMC 7NM to 6NM
- 30g weight reduction (5 per cent lighter overall)
- Improved thermals
- Improved touchscreen (180Hz polling rate)
- Refined acoustics that are louder with better bass
- Enhanced haptic feedback
- Better trackpads
- Improved analogue stick geometry
- Bluetooth 5.3 module with antenna
- New fan
The real showstopper here is the 90HZ OLED panel. The faster refresh rate (the OG Deck has a 60Hz LCD display) and response times afforded by OLED will make gameplay feel much snappier and smoother.
If you had an OG Switch and upgraded to the Switch OLED, then you will know exactly what we mean.
HDR (high dynamic range) allows for a greater contrast between the darkest and brightest parts of the screen that is much more akin to real life.
OLEDs illuminate on a per-pixel basis, meaning that if you're looking at something black, the pixels will remain tuned off to enable the high contrast required by HDR.
There's also a fancy little orange power button now, adding a little pop of colour to the decidedly greyscale machine.
Though Valve stated that it should be the same performance as the original, Digital Foundry found in testing that due to the faster RAM, APU die shrink and better thermals, the new OLED Steam Deck is actually a little faster.
This is most noticeable in titles that struggled to maintain 30FPS, as the extra few per cent of performance has made the experience far more consistent.
The die-shrink coupled with the new fan and thermal system have resulted in an overall much quieter handheld gaming PC.
Is there a Steam Deck OLED trailer?
There is indeed! Valve arranged around 100 Steam Deck OLEDs in an array to show off the new displays with loads of different games.
It’s best watched on an OLED display itself, but if you can’t, if you order one you will be blown away by the screens' capabilities. Check the trailer out below!
If you want a more in-depth look at the Deck, Richard Leadbitter of the aforementioned Digital Foundry took a comprehensive look at it and gave a thoroughly positive review.
After watching that, we’re going to look at our original Deck with pity as we plot its demise on eBay.
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