A star rating of 5 out of 5.

If you're plugged into the world of gaming, you will have heard of the Steam Deck by now, even if you didn't know there was also an amped-up OLED version available to buy.


The original Steam Deck was first launched by Valve in February 2022, quickly taking the PC world by storm, with the fancier-screened OLED edition dropping much more recently, in November 2023.

If you've somehow landed on this page without knowing what the Steam Deck is, it's basically a portable PC. It's a handheld gaming device, with a similar-ish form factor to the Nintendo Switch, that plays PC games.

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Owners of 'the Deck' can bring their vast libraries of Steam games on the go, which is something of a game-changer for long-term users of Steam. (Steam, if you've really been living under a rock, is the largest online store for PC games.)

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But is the Steam Deck OLED worth buying? With a starting price of £479 — a fair bit more than the LCD version's current cheapest price of £349 — is it worth the cost of admission? We've been testing it out for weeks, so keep on reading for our verdict! We'll start by getting right to the point...

Is the Steam Deck OLED worth it? Our verdict

Yes, we'd say that the Steam Deck OLED is worth it, especially if you've been looking for a way to unlock your Steam library and access all those great games without having to be tethered to a traditional personal computer.

If you're wondering where to buy the Steam Deck OLED, it looks like Valve's online store is currently your best bet. Other versions of the Steam Deck are available at a wider range of retailers, but the OLED version still seems to be exclusive to Valve.

Honestly, it's hard to think of anything negative to say about the Steam Deck OLED. Whether you're playing with it on the sofa, in bed, on public transport or even in an office or hotel, it's a really enjoyable device that makes PC gaming so much more accessible.

In terms of the specific upgrades that come with the OLED version, the improved screen is really nice, capable of rendering even complex games with beautifully bright colours and precise movement to boot.

The battery life on the OLED version is also better than that of the original LCD edition, with the new 50WHr battery claiming to allow three to 12 hours of gameplay (dependent on what you're playing). And if you can plug into a power source, you can keep playing indefinitely!

Steam Deck OLED review: Why do we recommend it?

Playing Dead Cells on the Steam Deck OLED with a dog nearby — a total normal use-case from Valve's official press pack.
Dead Cells on the Steam Deck OLED. Valve

There are two sides to this review, really — first, we'll be reviewing the very concept of the Steam Deck itself, and secondly we'll be rating the specific upgrades that the OLED model has to offer.

If you've been wondering whether it's worth buying a Steam Deck in general, that's a purchase that we'd wholeheartedly encourage on every level, no matter what your pre-existing relationship with Steam is.

If you're already a big PC player, the Deck is a great way to bring all your favourites with you. And if you're not yet a PC-centric player, the Deck is a fabulous place to get started, allowing you to access all those epic Steam sales in a form factor that won't feel alien to console users.

You might be worrying that the Steam Deck, containing as it does the power of an entire PC, would be quite a heavy item to carry around. We were pleasantly surprised in this regard, finding it easily manageable to hold for long play sessions (and it won't weigh down your rucksack too much, either).

Holding the Deck is really comfortable, not that different to gripping a Switch, and it's cool that the developers at Valve have evolved the handheld form factor a little, with two small touch pads allowing you a wider range of options when it comes to navigating games and menus.

There aren't that many games yet that were solely designed for the Deck, but Valve's own Aperture Desk Job — a fun little demo set in the same universe as Portal — provides a really enjoyable example of what a Deck-first game could look and feel like. It's a gag-filled flash in the pan experience that we'd recommend trying first, when you boot up the Deck.

The real gift of the Steam Deck, however, is not Deck-first games built especially for this platform - rather, it's all about that vast library of PC games that have existed on Steam for years, many of which have already been optimised for the Deck.

Setting up the Deck is easy, and the gaming world will be your oyster as soon as you're online!

Playing Hollow Knight on the Steam Deck OLED near a big road — more helpful pictures from Valve's press pack.
Hollow Knight on the Steam Deck OLED. Valve

There's a whole ranking system that will tell you which games will and won't run well on the Deck, which is very welcome indeed (and will save you from wasting time or money on a game that isn't right for this style of play).

Even in cases like that, where the controls on the Deck don't match up to the pre-existing PC game in question, the Steam Deck does have a solution for you — using any USB-C dock (like this cheap option from Amazon), you can connect a keyboard, mouse and/or monitor to use the Deck as an actual PC in the old-fashioned way.

We've loved our time with the Deck so far, with the device making us much more likely to dip into Steam for a quick play session when we have a spare few minutes. Removing the the pomp of sitting down at the PC and booting it up, Valve has made PC gaming seem that little bit more like casual fun.

We've played all sorts of games on the Deck, from the superhero tactics of Marvel's Midnight Suns to the demonic hordes of Diablo 4 — not to mention the retro fun of Half-Life and the AAA action of Marvel's Spider-Man — and everything has run really well and looked pretty great.

It's also possible to get Xbox Cloud Gaming running on the Deck, which will allow you to access loads of other games.

Big hitters like Fortnite, and loads of stuff on Xbox Game Pass (including LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga), can be accessed this way. And, depending on your internet strength, those cloud games should run pretty well.

There are corners of the internet that will tell you it's possible to get all sorts of other non-Valve apps and services running on the Deck. We spent one evening trying to get PlayStation Remote Play running on there, but we reached the limits of our patience and technical knowledge before giving up on that mission.

In terms of the specific upgrades that come with the OLED, we will say that the screen is brilliantly crisp and the battery life is just about what we were expecting. Of course, infinite untethered playtime would be amazing, but that's not how electricity works!

We were getting a good few hours out of each game, and we didn't mind having to plug in after a certain point. The main thing we'd like to stress is that the Steam Deck OLED is a great way to play PC games on the move. It's rekindled our love of PC gaming, and we can't wait to spend more time with it!

What about the Steam Deck LCD?

There's no denying that the OLED model is the best version of the Steam Deck, but does that mean that the older LCD version is not worth buying?

Actually, if you're on a tight budget, we'd say that the Steam Deck LCD is still an amazing product. It's a fair bit cheaper, so the screen isn't as good and the battery won't last as long (not to mention the superior Wi-Fi connections on the OLED and its improved refresh rate).

Despite all that, though, we'd argue that the magic of the Steam Deck is in the form factor. The core concept of taking your PC games and putting them into a Switch-like shape that you can take on adventures with you (or just to the sofa) is the genius of this product, and you'll get that with whichever version you can afford.

Go for the OLED if you can justify it, but don't shy away from the LCD if that's more your price range! Either way, once you make a purchase on Valve's Steam Deck store, you're about to take your first steps into a wider world...

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