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I know Steam Deck is awesome because it enables me to do something otherwise I would never have had the time: I beat the Alden Ring. After 155 hours – 150 of which were on the steam deck – I became Alden Lord. And I mean when I say that Valve’s handheld computer has really empowered me to get one of the best games of the year.
As much as I like sports, I don’t like to hang out in bed or on a computer chair. Even inside my home, I like to move around so I can get involved in what’s going on. Usually it means being close to my kids or sitting with my wife while she is watching the show. This is the reason why the switch is so nice for me. But when it comes to its library, the switch is limited to both support and power. The steam deck, meanwhile, is improving in both respects.
I’ve covered a lot of this in my review and previous Steam Deck coverage. But I now feel more certain that the system succeeds in what Valve decides to accomplish with it. The device frees up PC gaming to exist in every corner of your life instead of forcing you to make your life right. And it does so with its powerful-yet-efficient hardware, but also with its smart user-experience features.
Always be ready whenever and wherever you are
Powerful AMD system-on-a-chip and powerful proton translation level are the main reasons why Steam Deck is so successful. But the valve also got the little things right.
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Those little things include a clever suspended mode that enables you to stop playing to the tune. When you’re ready to continue, the system starts right where you left off. And all the while, this suspended feature hardly uses any batteries.
The translation of this in real-world use is that it took me only seconds to get back to the Alden ring whenever I put it down. And it didn’t seem so important, but it helped me totally keep up the pace with such a huge and challenging game.
Valve can get away with it because when the steam deck is a computer, it is the first handheld gaming device. So while you can alt-tab on other apps, it’s most important that it focuses the active game on everything else.
Minor annoyances that are worth dealing with
So far my problems using the steam deck are small and rarely interfere with my enjoyment. Alden Ring, in particular, is very power hungry. It’s funny to see the system’s built-in energy meter regularly pinning more than 25 watts during gameplay – especially when you can play something like a GameCube emulator that sucks just 6 watts. And it is with brightness and volume.
But battery life is not a concern for many. However, what is the problem in charging the device. Since I take it with me throughout my home, I often try to get some juice from a nearby USB-C charger. But even most common smartphone and laptop chargers fail to provide enough power to meet the needs of the steam deck.
Now, if you use an authentic charger and some others (like the latest Qualcomm Quick Charge 5.0 Brick), you can get a full battery in about 1.5 hours. This is true even if you continue to run the system. But my steam deck will continue to drain during gameplay even if some other charger is plugged in.
The steam deck also has an awkward shape, making it unsteady to set down. Its large size means that if you run into the kitchen to make popcorn for the kids you will need a considerable amount of counter space. But even if you have space, double check that it is safe. I had a close call where I set it to catch in mid-air just a second later as a grip slipped over the edge.
Still my favorite gaming PC
I mean when I said that Steam Deck is my favorite gaming PC so far in my review. It’s not how you pay your taxes, but it’s the ideal way to play sports. But Alden Ring provided the real test of that claim. But after 150 hours, I have no plans to change my habits. That way I would play my games whenever I could.
I have already booted the tunic. It runs and looks great on the deck. Maybe I’ll find a stranger in the next paradise. To me, this gaming seems like an effort to make sure I don’t fall behind. I can’t tell you how cool it looks.
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