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Valve officially announces the Steam Deck handheld

Recently rumours and leaks began to spring up regarding a potential Steam handheld device in the vein of the Nintendo Switch. In a surprise announcement, Valve has now officially announced the device, detailed its specs, and has even given a price and release date.

Described as “The most gaming power you have ever held,” the Steam Deck looks not dissimilar to a Nintendo Switch, but comes with a notable amount of changes. On the front of the device sits a 7-inch 1280×800 touch screen LCD alongside a set of “best in class” capacitive thumbsticks, a d-pad and ABXY buttons. In a similar twist to that which could be observed on the Steam controller, the Steam Deck includes two trackpads – one on either side of the display.

The back of the device offers familiar L1 L2 R1 R2 buttons (but analogue, unlike the Switch), while also coming equipped with four additional buttons, similar to a SCUF gaming controller – giving more button options than a regular console gamepad.

Other notable hardware details include a gyroscope sensor, stereo speakers, two microphones, quick access buttons, an LED indicator and a MicroSD slot.

Running the whole machine is a “custom APU, optimized for handheld gaming”. More specifically, a Zen 2 + RDNA 2 “powerhouse, delivering more than enough performance to run the latest AAA games in a very efficient power envelope.”

The Steam Deck comes with a 40 watt-hour battery, which is said to allow for a game such as Portal 2 to run for 4 hours before needing to recharge.

The Steam Deck isn't a handheld-only device however. The device can be plugged into an external monitor, either through a custom-made dock, or through a HDMI-enabled USB-C cable. This puts the Steam Deck directly in competition with Nintendo’s Switch – though with a lot more freedom, as owners can “install and use PC software, of course. Browse the web, watch streaming video, do your normal productivity stuff, install some other game stores, whatever.”

On the software front, the Steam Deck runs on a new version of SteamOS. This means that your Steam account, library, friends list and more will transition between devices smoothly. Additionally, the Steam Deck comes with “Proton, a compatibility layer that makes it possible to run your games without any porting work needed from developers” – pushing the price-to-performance ratio to the limit.

Speaking of price, the Steam Deck will start at just £349 for a 64GB model. This then goes up to £459 for a 256GB model with faster storage. Finally, the 512GB model costs £569, but comes with even faster storage and a “Premium anti-glare etched glass.”

The Steam Deck can be reserved from tomorrow, and will begin shipping in December of this year. The full specs list for the Steam Deck can be found HERE.

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KitGuru says: What do you think of the Steam Deck. Will you buy it? What do you think of the price? Let us know down below.

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