Valve’s Steam Deck is a handheld gaming computer with a 7 inch display, an AMD processor with RDNA 2 graphics, and built-in game controllers. First announced last summer, the Steam Deck is priced at $399 and up and Valve began taking reservations for in July 2021.

Now Valve has revealed it will begin shipping the Steam Deck to customers on February 28, 2022.

Valve had originally hoped to begin shipping the Steam Deck by the end of 2021, but global supply chain issues had something to say about that. So the company pushed back the release date by a few months and now Valve says it will begin notifying customers that their orders are ready on Friday, February 25, and folks who paid $5 to reserve one will have 72 hours to pay the rest of the purchase price for the model they reserved in order to have one shipped the following Monday, otherwise Valve will go down the reservation list and offer another person that chance to buy one.

Folks who haven’t already reserved a Steam Deck can still do that, but new reservations aren’t expected to be filled until the later this year (Valve says “after Q2, 2022, which probably means sometime in July or later).

The Steam Deck is basically a full-fledged computer, but it’s designed for gaming on the go. It’s a combination of hardware and software that sets it apart from other gaming PC including other handhelds from companies like GPD, One Netbook, and AYA.

The little computer will have the most powerful graphics of any device in this category to date – even if you opt for the entry-level model which costs much less than the competition at just $399. All models have 16GB of LPDDR5 5500 MHz memory, but the entry-level version has just 64GB of eMMC storage, while higher-priced models have up to 512GB of PCIe NVMe Gen 3 solid state storage.

Valve’s game controllers include dual analog sticks with capacitive touch, the usual action buttons, D-Pad, and analog sticks and shoulder bumpers, but there are also four assignable grip buttons, two square trackpads with haptic feedback and a 6-axis gyroscope, all of which should help when playing a variety of games – even games that were designed for keyboard and mouse input rather than game controllers.

The Steam Deck also ships with a custom Linux distribution called Steam OS that puts gaming front and center thanks to a user interface optimized for small screens and controller input. And while there are still some PC games that may be Windows-only, Valve has put a lot of work into bringing support for Windows games to Linux in recent years and the company says many of the most popular games will run on Steam OS.

Since the Steam Deck has the guts of a general-purpose computer though, there’s nothing stopping users from installing Windows if they want to.

One advantage to sticking with Steam OS though? Valve knows that people use mobile gaming devices differently from gaming PCs and living room consoles. You might want to pick up a Steam Deck, play for a bit, and then put it away quickly without first taking time to save and exit a game and shut down. So the company has added a Dynamic Cloud Sync feature that will automatically upload your gaming data to the cloud when you suspend the Steam Deck without exiting a game.

That means you’ll be able to not only pick up where you left off the next time you turn on the Steam Deck, but your data should be synchronized to your Steam account which means you can also continue playing on another PC.

At least that’s the idea. In practice it might not work perfectly all the time – developers will need to enable support for Dynamic Cloud Sync in their games, so it’s possible that certain titles will support the feature while others will not. And I also wouldn’t expect cloud saves to work if you shut down your Steam Deck when it’s in airplane mode or someplace where you don’t have a signal.

Still, at a time when rival handheld gaming PCs are debuting with $1000+ price tags, it’s exciting to see if Valve’s Steam Deck can shake up the market.

Valve Steam Deck Specs
Display
  • 7 inches
  • 1280 x 800 pixels
  • LCD
  • 400 nits
  • Touchscreen
CPUAMD Zen 2

  • 4-cores / 8-threads
  • 2.4 GHz to 3.5 GHz
  • Up to 448 GFlops FP32
  • 4-15 watts
GPUAMD RDNA 2

  • 8 compute units
  • 1 GHz to 1.66 GHz
  • Up to 1.6 TFlops FP32
RAM16GB LPDDR5-5500
Storage
  • 64GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1)
  • 256GB NVMe SSD (M.2 2230 PCIe Gen 3 x4)
  • 512GB NVMe SSD (M.2 2230 PCie Gen 3 x4)
  • microSDXC card reader
Ports
  • 1 x USB-C (with DisplayPort 1.4 Alt Mode for 8K/60 Hz or 4K/120 Hz video out)
  • 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A
Game controllers
  • 2 x analog sticks with capacitive touch
  • A, B,  X,  Y buttons
  • D-pad
  • L & R analog triggers
  • L & R bumpers
  • 4 x assignable grip buttons
  • 2 x 32.5mm square trackpads with haptic feedback
  • 6-Axis gyroscope
Other buttons & switches
  • Volume Up
  • Volume Down
  • View
  • Menu
KeyboardVirtual
Battery & charging
  • 40Wh battery
  • 45W USB Type-C PD 3.0 charger
Wireless
  • WiFi 5
  • Bluetooth 5.0
Audio
  • Stereo front-facing speakers
  • 3.5mm audio jack
Webcam & micMic only
OSSteam OS (Arch Linux with KDE Plasma)
Dimensions298mm x 117mm x 49mm
11.7″ x 4.6″ x 1.9″
Weight669 grams
1.5 pounds
Docking Station
  • 1 x HDMI 2.0
  • 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 x USB Type-C power input
  • 1 x USB-C out to Steam Deck
  • 1 x USB 3.1 Type-A
  • 2 x USB 2.0
Price
  • $399 (64GB eMMC)
  • $529 (256GB NVMe)
  • $649 (512GB NVMe)

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  1. “Still, at a time when rival handheld gaming PCs are debuting with $1000+ price tags, it’s exciting to see if Valve’s Steam Deck can shake up the market.”

    With the current OEMs going into the wrong direction, glad to see Valve turning it around into the correct one. Understandable given their size and resources but their troubles don’t really matter to the consumer in the end.

    With the Deck and, I hope, larger OEMs entering the market, these small companies may have to carve out another niche within this niche to survive.

    1. I don’t think I could say that valve is going fully in the correct direction with any certainty.
      It seems like anything interesting is starting to turn into a “order now, get it in six months to a year or more” or “forget about ever ordering it, pay the more than the entire MSRP in scalper fees because you had the GALL to not have a bot trolling store pages for it for weeks” type deal. I’d be really surprised to see the Steam Decks keep the shipping schedule and not end up largely in the hands of scalpers.
      That and, I’ve yet to see a business which wasn’t, in some way, knowingly vile and irredeemable, making anyone who supported it look bad by extension.

      1. I think you’re over analyzing the “direction” comment. By direction, it sounds more referring to
        1. Existing PC handheld OEMs are increasing their prices on each successive device.
        2. Valve sells the Deck for half or less than the current handhelds because they’re able to.

        Seems like a good direction to me.

  2. Hoping a lot of people ahead of me miss that 3 day grace period, haha.

    Once this thing is actually starting to be in people’s hands, the smaller PC gaming handheld OEMs will need to significantly step up their game. Just higher specs than the Deck won’t be even enough to sway a lot of people (or just me).

      1. You can add another…for three.

        I will not be purchasing any other handhelds beside the Steam Deck. Frankly, because of the OS it’s running on. The whole system is open/free. I also am looking forward to seeing what the dock looks like.

        I hope a lot of people decide they can’t afford the deck right now and don’t follow through with their purchases. I initially was at the front of the line with a $399 base model, but in the first few days that these were announced…it wasn’t clear if the base model’s storage would be upgradable. Therefore…I changed my pre-order to a 256GB model and that small change, even though we were only 24 hours in…put me in the “after the Q2 2022″ category”.

        So…please…if you no longer are interested in getting your Steam Deck. Then by all means step aside and let those of us who seriously want one step up to the plate.

        Best,
        Steven B.