Valve finally did it. They finally announced
the Nintendo Switch Pro their portable gaming device, and it’s looking quite promising so far. So let’s get into some of my thoughts:
The whole operating system, called SteamOS, looks fantastic, and I love the home screen. It also comes with all Steam features like cloud saves. I hope they roll out the new interface for Steam’s Big Picture mode because it could use a fresh coat of paint.
The price is on point, and Valve is probably selling these at a loss. It’s especially good compared to the currently available alternative, like the Aya Neo or the GPD Win 3. And it’s a good move that the only difference between the models is the included storage.
The device is a beast (I’m exaggerating a little) for emulation and will offer an even greater variety of games which is already quite impressive regarding the Steam library.
It has various control options with gyro, two trackpads and four back buttons, two for each side. While I don’t know how good the trackpads will be, compared to a mouse, it’s convenient for things like inventory management. And back buttons are always welcome. The latest 8BitDo controller has them as well, and it seems to be a trend going forward.
You can also dock the Steam Deck and use it as a regular PC. It’s probably not that useful for people with a decent desktop PC, but it’s nice to have that option. Plus, you can hook it up to a TV and use it as a regular console. I wonder if the docking station will be reasonably priced, though.
It’s nice that every version will come with a carrying case. Not much else to say.
I don’t want to fiddle with the graphics options on a portable device. I just want to pick it up and play. I hope developers, or the community, will be able to share different presets depending on whether you prefer quality (30 FPS) or performance (60 FPS).
This thing is quite heavy. It’s about 247 grams more than a regular Nintendo Switch with the Joy-Con controllers attached. I don’t think it will be comfortable to hold for an extended period of time without letting it rest on your lap.
Those bezels are huge. I would’ve preferred a bigger screen or, even better, fewer bezels with an overall sleeker design. Maybe with the next iteration in case, this thing will do well.
While the Steam Deck looks quite bulky, it appears to lay better in one’s hands than it might suggest at a first impression. But I wonder if the control layout could be improved by switching the position of the trackpads with the ones from the D-pad and buttons.
I don’t know why some people think that this would be some kind of Nintendo Switch competitor? Both devices target mostly different audiences. Also, the main factor why the Switch is so successful is because of its exclusive software. But hey, maybe it will push Nintendo to release a more powerful Switch successor sooner. I definitely wouldn’t mind that.
Will I end up buying one? Maybe. I currently don’t have any plans to preorder it. I’ll wait for more impressions close to release and treat myself next year. You know how it is; new tech is always lovely.