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Which Steam Deck Model Should You Buy? – Detailed Comparison

Which Steam Deck Should I Buy?

Steam Deck is a portable PC designed to run games like a PC would but in a small handheld size. As of 2022, there are three models of Steam Deck handhelds that people can choose from.

If you are in the market for a steam deck model, there are many factors to consider. The most important factor is probably your budget. Other important factors include the features that are important to you, the size of the unit, and the usability.

In this article, we’ll take a detailed look at three of the most popular steam deck models, comparing their features side-by-side.  This article will help you make that decision by breaking down the different models and their features. By the end, you’ll have a better idea of which model is the best fit for your needs. Of course, no matter which you decide to buy, you will always need to look into the best accessories for your Steam Deck.

Table of Contents

What Are The Steam Deck Models?

Which Steam Deck is Best
Source: Steam Deck
  • 64GB Steam Deck
  • 256GB Steam Deck
  • 512GB Steam Deck

The Steam Deck is a handheld gaming console that allows gamers to play their favorite Steam games on the go. The console features a 5 to 7-inch display, two control pads, and a built-in Steam controller. The console is powered by different powerful processors and comes with 8/16GB of RAM depending on the model you go for.

Steam provides a variety of models when it comes to their handheld gaming console, the varieties are designed to fit different aspects of the gaming market. No matter your model, there is always an option to overclock your Steam Deck, which could sway your decision, if the price is a factor.

Steam Deck Models Spec Comparison

Model 1Model 2Model 3
Price:$399$529$649
Storage type:eMMCNVMe SSDNVMe SSD
Storage size:64GB256GB512GB
Extras:Includes a carrying case.Includes everything in the first model and a Steam Community Profile bundle (exclusive).Includes everything in the second model and a virtual keyboard theme.

What Are The Differences Between The Steam Deck Models?

Storage

The storage is the main distinction between the models. Prior to comparing, it’s important to note that while all Steam Deck versions offer external storage through microSD or USB 3.0 storage, the inbuilt storage will always provide the best performance for your titles.

The three variants all come in different sizes: 64/256/512GB. Your choice in this matter will rely on the kinds of titles you enjoy playing or how many games you wish to have loaded at once.

If you mostly enjoy platformers, board games, and graphic comics, you won’t often need a lot of space. But, AAA games sometimes require a lot of storage. For instance, Elden Ring requires 60GB, therefore the onboard memory of the Steam Deck’s standard model is enough for the game because only 59GB of it is truly available.

Think according to how many titles you need to have available on the Steam Deck at a given moment. You could, obviously, install and remove as needed, but what if you don’t have access to the web? 64GB won’t be enough if you like to have a ton of choices at your disposal.

Storage Type

Embedded MultiMediaCard, or eMMC technology, is frequently utilized in less expensive gadgets to cut corners and to be able to sell the device for cheap. Although it is slower than NVMe SSD storage, eMMC memory often is less energy hungry. That is particularly crucial for a handheld portable device.

When it comes to performance, eMMC and NVMe have a big difference. You should choose an NVMe SSD storage if you really want the titles to load quickly. SSDs have greater and faster read/write speed which makes them preferable to a wide range of audiences but it is also an expensive alternative.

The 256GB and 512GB variants employ NVMe SSD, whereas the 64GB model is an eMMC storage. The more advanced technology is the first option. The 64GB eMMC launches titles 12.5 percent slower than the 512GB NVMe SSD, claims Valve. The latter is 25.1% slower compared to the former for boot times. The 512GB variant is also faster than the 256GB version due to the way NVMe grows.

It appears that, at least without extensive dismantling, you will not be able to access the Steam Deck to replace the NVMe disk. We currently know it’s not feasible with eMMC. The name’s “embedded” component is rather descriptive. A UHS-I microSD card adapter for expandable memory is included with the Steam Deck, enabling users to add extra (but slower) capacity.

The eMMC memory could work well if you’re a general user seeking to play portable, indie games and other games that are less power demanding.

Additionally, you will save a sizable sum of cash. However, the NVMe storage choices will make so much more sense simply tied to performance for people hoping to experience the complete PC feel in portable form.

Display

The display in the Steam Deck’s $649 variant comes with anti-glare carved glass, which is how it differs from other models. This implies that bright settings like using Steam Deck outdoors on a brilliant day—should make it much easier to view.

Most customers claim that even with the Steam Deck’s full nits of brightness with the sun directly overhead, you can easily read the values displayed. The display does suffer outside when you’re viewing a gloomy game, it was reported.

However, several detractors argued that although the anti-glare layer undoubtedly cuts down on glare, the improvement isn’t sufficient to warrant the extra cost.

In the end, it all comes down to where you’d like to use your Steam Deck. Even though the $649 version has a better display, if your routine includes primarily playing inside you won’t often notice the advantage. But, if you reside in a warm location and intend to play outside, you should think about the update.

Inclusive Cases

All Valve models include a carrying case, while Valve refers to the $649 model’s carry bag as being “unique.” All covers are equal in terms of functionality, however, the exclusive bag features cosmetic changes and two extra small accessories.

The usual traveling case for the $399 as well as $529 versions seems to have cushioned interiors, and it zips up and includes a holding strap. A storing compartment and flexible holding band are included on the rear of the cover.

The special traveling case for the $649 version seems to have different internal materials, zipper handles, and front logos. Along with a microfiber cleaning towel, it also comes with a special drawstring bag for the charging cable.

Although a bag for the power cable is useful, you can readily get inexpensive microfiber cleaning wipes, therefore it is not necessary. Additionally, the modifications to the aesthetics are minimal; you might even like the all-black appearance of the original casing. In general, you shouldn’t concentrate your Steam Deck acquisition on the travel case.

Virtual Gifts

You may add a wallpaper and icon accent to your Steam profile, among other customizations, via the Steam Points Shop. According to Steam themselves, the $529 & $649 versions of the Steam Deck include a special Steam Community profile package that is only accessible by purchasing a Deck.

The profile package and a unique theme for the keyboard are included in the $649 Deck. It gives Valve’s on-screen keypad the appearance of an authentic keyboard.

Benefits of The Steam Deck Models

64GB Steam Deck

This Steam Deck model is perfect for casual gamers, it does not have impressive specifications which makes it a cheaper option for those who do not want to go overboard and spend more. If you are not going to play any heavy games like GTA V, Red Dead Redemption, etc. then this is the perfect choice to go for. No two people are the same and while one may enjoy visually stunning or high graphics demanding games, the other may simply enjoy playing chess or other puzzle games. It’s all up to the individual.

256GB Steam Deck

This Steam Deck model has an SSD (Solid State Drive) which is the best storage you can buy in 2022. SSD means that the games will launch rather quickly and the overall functioning of your Steam Deck will be smoother. In addition to that, bigger storage also means that you will have the ability to store more games in your Steam Deck. The more choice the merrier.

512GB Steam Deck

This is the most high-end model of the Steam Deck. It features 512 Gigs of SSD storage which should be enough for a few AAA games. Loading multiple heavy games on this device should not be a problem. This option also includes attractive incentives for buying the product, such as a carrying case, Steam Community profile package, and a theme for the virtual keyboard looks good.

Which Steam Deck Should You Get?

Undoubtedly the 512GB Steam Deck is the best option available with faster storage, specialty non-reflective screen, and more, but the model you should get is highly dependent on the degree of usage you are planning and the type of games you are into. If you are into highly graphic demanding AAA games, the 256/512 GB Steam Deck model is the one for you. On the other hand, the 64 GB Steam Deck model is the best option for Indie and lighter games that don’t take up much storage, and of course, it all comes down to price, and the best future-proof options will be tagged with a higher price tag.