New Steam Deck OLED Unveiled, Arriving this November

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Valve has announced a new OLED version of the Steam Deck that hits the shelves on 16th November starting at $549. The Steam Deck OLED promises to be the best version of the original Steam Deck to date. It features an OLED screen with HDR, better battery life, and better WiFi – but the same performance.

Steam Deck OLED

What’s New?

The Steam Deck OLED has a bigger 7.4-inch HDR OLED with a 90 Hz refresh rate compared to the previous iteration’s 7-inch 60 Hz optically bonded LCD. The screen resolution stays the same at 1280 x 800 but Valve claims the new HDR OLED screen will provide a higher contrast, more clarity, and a larger picture. The new screen displays a 110% DCI-P3 color gamut which is up from the 67% sRGB of the original. The screen offers a maximum HDR peak brightness of 1000 nits (for comparison the Nintendo Switch OLED measures around 343 nits) and a SDR peak brightness of up to 600 nits. Even without HDR, the new Steam Deck will be 200 nits brighter. The touchscreen polling rate has been increased to 180 Hz which promises to improve latency and accuracy. The new screen should provide more colours, purer blacks, and smaller bezels that promise to improve the visuals of your games.

Valve has overhauled the internals of the Steam Deck OLED by replacing the old 7 nm Aerith chip with a more efficient 6 nm AMD “Sephiroth” APU. The new 50-Whr battery promises to increase the Steam Deck OLED’s battery life by 30-50% and claims to provide between 3-12 hours of gameplay depending on the game. This is presumably due to the OLED display requiring less power combined with the new AMD APU. The battery charging speed has also been increased and the Steam Deck OLED will charge from 20% to 80% in about 45 minutes. The charging LED has also been changed to WRGB. The power supply cable provided with the handheld is 1m longer now and a logo has been added to the power supply. The steam deck can now be woken up after the initial unboxing by holding the power button instead of requiring an AC power connection. The memory speed of the RAM has been increased to 6400 MT/s to improve latency and power management. However, it should be noted that various social media users reported that the previous Steam Deck’s RAM speeds were underclocked to around 5500 MT/s.  The new internals of the Steam Deck OLED, including a bigger, quieter fan and a bigger heat sink, make it run cooler and weigh about 640g which is about 5% lighter than the old LCD model.

More Changes Under The Hood

The Steam Deck OLED also comes with Wifi 6E offering higher bandwidth and lower latency. Valve claims this will allow up to 3x faster downloads and a more stable online play experience. The handheld console also added support for Bluetooth 5.3, which supports new codecs such as aptX HD and aptX low latency. A third antenna has also been added near the top of the device to increase Bluetooth performance, particularly when docked. Support was also included to wake the Steam Deck from Bluetooth controllers directly. Some minor adjustments were also made to the audio of the steam deck. The bass response has been improved for an overall flatter sound profile and support has been added for using an onboard microphone array alongside the 3.5 mm headphones connector.

The controls of the Steam Deck OLED have also seen some improvements. The top material and shape of the analogue stick have been changed to increase grip and resist dust build-up. The post material of the analog stick has also been changed to reduce potential wear by improving its interaction feel with the front cover. The touch detection of the analog stick is more reliable now as well. The responsiveness and tactility of the shoulder button switch mechanism have also been improved. The trackpad has been redesigned for greater edge detection and fidelity. Lastly, the trackpad haptics ‘feel’ and its precision have also been greatly improved.

Some minor improvements to the steam deck have been made to improve repairability including lowering the number of screw types throughout the system and reducing the step count required for common repairs. The bumper switch has also been moved to the joystick board for even further easy repair.

Steam Deck OLED: Top View

Steam Deck OLED versions

The new Steam Deck OLED comes in two versions and a limited edition version. The base version of the OLED starts at $549 and includes a 512 GB NVMe SSD and, similar to the old LCD version, comes with a carrying case.

The 1 TB OLED version costs $649 but also includes a removable liner in the carrying case. This will be useful for carrying your Steam Deck OLED if you don’t need the bulky and hard protection of the case. The 1 TB variant also includes premium anti-glare etched glass for a premium screen protection experience. This version also includes an exclusive startup movie and an exclusive virtual keyboard theme.

The Steam Deck OLED limited edition version is the ultimate iteration of the handheld PC with a price of $679. It comes with 1 TB of NVMe SSD storage and includes all the additional features of the regular 1 TB version of the OLED model, except for a different colour way. It also included a limited edition carrying case with a removable printed liner. Valve advises that the Limited Edtion Steam Deck OLED has very limited quantities and, unfortunately for the rest of the world, will be exclusive to the United States and Canada.

Steam Deck OLED: Limited Edition

The Older Steam Deck: How It Stacks

The Steam Deck OLED is not a sequel to the original LCD Steam Deck but more of an overhaul that should have been the original version to start with. It has the same processor specifications and the same basic performance with no turbo mode. It has the same 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, the same potentiometer joysticks, and the same screen resolution and aspect ratio. It also has essentially the same dimensions except for the slightly taller (1 mm) joysticks. It will have the same game compatibility, the same software updates, and even the same case compatibility. It has the same starting price for the original Steam Deck but the prices for the old LCD model have been slashed. The 256 GB LCD model will now cost $399 and the other versions of the LCD model will be phased out. Until they become out of stock, the 64 GB LCD model will cost $349 and the 512 GB model will cost $449 with an estimated delivery date of 1-2 weeks. Valve has previously stated that a potential Steam Deck 2 would not be released until at least 2025.

Steam Deck OLED: Comparison with LCD version

The Steam Deck OLED will be available to order on November 16 at 10 am Pacific. For further information, you can visit the Steam Deck website. For all things Steam Deck stay tuned to esportsnext!

Sheharyar Ahmad
Sheharyar Ahmad
An energy engineer by trade but an enthusiastic gamer by passion. Starting his gaming adventure with a GameCube, Sheharyar's love for narrative and action-based storytelling made him a PlayStation fan since the PS2 era. He has a love for a wide range of gaming genres ranging from Pokémon to inFamous to God of War.

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