Hot off the heels of releasing its successful Steam Deck portable console, Valve has already unveiled a powerful new member in its family of portable PCs: Steam Deck+.
Besides boasting a considerable power bump, the device’s most striking feature is the clamshell-style design that allows Steam Deck+ to be closed, similar to Nintendo’s line of DS handhelds. The top half boasts a 14-inch 4K touchscreen. A full keypad and trackpad occupy the bottom half. This innovation will be a godsend to mouse and keyboard players looking to line up precision headshots in CS: GO on the, well, go. Don’t worry, console fans: Steam Deck+ features two USB ports for plugging in your gamepad of choice.
It may be bigger, but the Steam Deck+ remains a portable-first console. We spent a day transporting the device inside several backpacks and satchels and found it comfortably fits inside the average-sized luggage. It also feels nice to place the hardware on our laps while sitting or lying in bed, but we are concerned with how hot the bottom becomes while playing high-spec games at max settings. One of our editors suffered first-degree crotch burns while testing Cyberpunk 2077 on the bus.
Like the original Steam Deck, this upgrade is a fully functional PC at heart. In addition to flawlessly running Steam, you can install Windows and other operating systems. The Epic Games Store also runs fine for those who need to feel like they’re getting away with something. I installed Microsoft Word on our prototype and used it to write this article while at a nearby Starbucks. Battery life is still woefully limited, lasting roughly 2.5 hours while playing triple-A titles and simultaneously running external apps like Discord, Slack, and MS Paint. Plugging in an HDMI cable (sold separately) allows players to plug and play on their TV, making Steam Deck+ a hybrid console of sorts.
Steam Deck+ is poised to take portable PC gaming to new heights. It’s safe to assume Nintendo is nervously biting its nails now that another challenger has entered the handheld gaming arena. Valve intends to launch Steam Deck+ this fall for a yet-to-be-revealed price. The package includes an Artifact-themed satchel and a stand in the form of an orange folding tray table on wheels. To sweeten the deal, each Steam Deck+ comes pre-installed with a copy of the much-anticipated Half-Life 3-D.