The Steam Deck OLED is Not Just an Upgraded Display

The new Steam Deck OLED from Valve nearly rendered the original model, launched only a year and a half ago, obsolete.

The Steam Deck OLED is Not Just an Upgraded Display
The Steam Deck OLED is Not Just an Upgraded Display

The Steam Deck OLED is Not Just an Upgraded Display

The name Steam Deck OLED might be misleading; it’s not just the original device with a new display added. Valve’s new portable PC boasts slightly improved performance, a better battery, and a quieter fan in addition to the already excellent OLED display.

Though the also-great Lenovo Legion Go has its philosophical merits, as a lifelong console gamer, I prefer the Steam Deck OLED for leveraging those improvements as my gateway into PC gaming.

The Price of the Steam Deck OLED

The Steam Deck OLED is priced at $549 and features the following specifications:.

  • AMD Sephiroth chip
  • 16GB of memory
  • 512GB of SSD storage
  • 1280 x 800-pixel HDR OLED display
  • 4-inch display

Upgrading to 1TB storage will cost you $649. To provide context, the original Steam Deck, equipped with 256GB of storage, is priced at $399.

I Appreciate the Steam Deck OLED For…

The new screen on the Steam Deck OLED isn’t the only improvement, but it’s the one highlighted in the name, so let’s begin with that. Simply put, it’s impressive.

Valve didn’t just transfer the display specs from last year’s LCD model to an OLED form. Instead, the screen is better in almost every aspect. With a 7.4-inch size, it mildly improves upon the 7-inch dimensions of the original (while maintaining the same 800p resolution). Importantly, the top refresh rate has increased from the original model’s 60Hz to 90Hz, allowing gameplay of up to 90 frames per second for games that support it.

Although I didn’t have an LCD Steam Deck for a direct comparison, the benefits of OLED over LCD are widely known. OLED displays allow each pixel to illuminate individually, unlike LCD displays that have a single backlight behind everything. This results in deeper black levels and better contrast, creating a more attractive image on OLED screens, particularly in titles that support HDR. While not a revolutionary enhancement, it’s still an improvement.

It would have been nice to have a resolution bump to match the upgraded screen size, but even at 800p, I never observed games appearing blurry or jagged—unless I intentionally lowered the settings for improved performance. Overall, Valve did an excellent job with the display on the Steam Deck OLED.

For seasoned PC gamers, these complaints might seem a bit trivial. However, having been a console gamer all my life, it all adds up to more hassle than I prefer to deal with. The excellent thing about the Steam Deck (whether LCD or OLED) is that it more or less eliminates all of that.

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