Valve Unveils Steam Deck Gaming Handheld Powered by Arch Linux and KDE Plasma

Steam Deck

Valve unveiled today Steam Deck, their latest gadget that dubs as a 7-inch handheld gaming PC powered by Arch Linux-based SteamOS and the KDE Plasma desktop environment.

Steam Deck promises to put your entire Steam library in your pocket so you can play your favorite games wherever you go. The device is powerful enough to run the latest AAA games, and the best part is that it can also act as a controller if you connect it to a big screen TV for an immersive gaming experience.

With Steam Deck, your entire Steam gaming library is there, so you won’t have to worry that some games are designed only for a certain platform like macOS or Windows, thanks to Valve’s Proton compatibility layer.

Of course, Steam Deck is powered by Linux and it runs the latest version of the infamous SteamOS gaming operating system, now based on Arch Linux. It’s been a few good years since I last saw a new release of SteamOS, which was previously based on Debian GNU/Linux, but it looks like Valve didn’t abandon the project after all and it kept improving it, ultimately rebasing it on the lightweight and highly customizable Arch Linux.

The interface looks pretty cool and you get access to your entire Steam Library, as well as to Steam Chat, Steam Store, Steam Community, Steam Cloud, and Steam Remote Play.

On top of that, when you connect the device to a monitor, you’re also getting a full Linux PC experience powered by the modern KDE Plasma desktop environment, so you can hack on your things or browse the Web, install software, and use it like you would use your personal computer.

“On Steam Deck, your games run on a different operating system than the one on your desktop PC. It’s a new version of SteamOS, built with Steam Deck in mind and optimized for a handheld gaming experience,” says Valve.

Under the hood, Steam Deck uses a custom APU from AMD (Zen 2 + RDNA 2) optimized for handheld gaming. It also features a generous 7-inch display with a 1280×800 pixels resolution and 16:10 aspect ratio, 16GB RAM, up to 512GB NVMe SSD storage, Bluetooth 5.0, Dual-Band Wi-Fi AC, and microSD support.

Since it’s a gaming handheld device, it comes with a built-in controller that features real gamepad controls like thumbsticks, trackpads, triggers, and grip buttons. It also features HD haptics and a 6-axis gyro sensor.

As far as the battery goes, Steam Deck comes with a 40Whr battery that promises between 2 to 8 hours of gameplay, depending on the games you’re playing, of course. For more details on the technical specs and other resources, check out the official website.

Steam Deck is available for pre-order starting today, July 16th, 2021, at 10 AM PDT, but it will start shipping only in December 2021 to the US, Canada, EU, and UK. There are three variants you can buy, with 64GB storage for $399 (419€), with 256GB storage for $529 (549€), or with 512GB storage for $649 (679€).

Personally, I think the price is a bit steep for a device that cannot be upgraded and will probably not be able to run future games (unless Valve “magically” optimizes them), so if I am to buy Steam Deck I would go for the cheapest version because you can always expand the storage using a microSD card.

Image credits: Valve

Last updated 3 years ago

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