Valve’s brand-new Steam Deck
console promises PC-quality gaming experiences on the go. So, can the Steam Deck replace a laptop? On paper, quite possibly. However, the reality is somewhat different. It’s also more complicated than simply being a case of Steam Decks versus gaming laptops. That’s especially true when pitting the all-new Valve console against the most gaming-focused models from brands like Alienware and Asus
Ultimately, it comes down to three main things: price, performance, and usability.
Steam Deck versus Gaming Laptop: Price
The Steam Deck from Valve starts at less than $400. Compare that to Razer’s gaming laptops
, for example, where prices kick off at $1,000 and quickly rise to over $2,000. This is similar to Lenovo’s Legion laptops
and the Republic of Gamers
lineup from Asus. On that basis, and if nothing else, the Steam Deck certainly has its comparatively low price going for it.
At the same time, it’s possible to spend significantly more on a Steam Deck. For example, $399 gets buyers the 64GB version, while the upgraded 256GB option costs $529. If you purchase the range-topping 512GB model, buyers will need to pay $649.
Still, even at closer to $700, with the handheld console from Valve marketed as a true, fully functioning PC, it feels refreshingly affordable. On that basis, it’s a win for the Steam Deck when it comes to price. However, price isn't the only thing to consider.
Steam Deck versus Gaming Laptop: Performance
There’s absolutely no arguing with the Steam Deck’s performance as handheld gaming devices go. It’s streets ahead of what outwardly, at least, is its closest competitor in this regard — the Nintendo Switch
. Yet, it’ll come as no surprise to anyone that it can’t compete with costlier dedicated gaming laptops as far as outright performance goes.
The Steam Deck has a powerful AMD Zen 2 chip, similarly impressive graphics, 16GB of RAM, and more. It’s truly a triumph in such a small package and at under $400. It’s also plenty powerful enough to run Windows
, should Steam Deck owners wish, rather than the console’s standard Linux-based OS.
Still, in terms of outright performance, those seeking the best will want to stick to traditional gaming laptops for the time being. So, if you're looking for a device with the best performance, choose a gaming laptop.
Steam Deck versus Gaming Laptop: Usability
Although gaming laptops have grown lighter and more portable in recent years, there’s no beating the Steam Deck's portability. Few would want to open up a $2,000 gaming laptop on a crowded commuter train. But with Valve’s roughly $400 to $650 Steam Deck, that’s the whole point.
As a portable means of gaming on the go, it’s a huge bonus for the Steam Deck. But, be that as it may, it’s limited by its compact 7-inch screen. Those wanting a more traditional PC-gaming experience are always likely to prefer the more substantial screens afforded by larger laptops.
Gaming laptops are also more universally usable. However, it’s something that’s reflected in their higher prices. With that, there are arguments in favor of both the Steam Deck and more traditional gaming laptops as far as usability goes.
Steam Deck versus Gaming Laptop: Availability
And finally, availability. The Steam Deck from Valve isn’t just undoubtedly impressive; it’s also massively and immediately popular. After the device's release, it was sold out until at least October 2022. Luckily, the shortage is over, and you can purchase the Steam Deck online.
Similarly, dedicated gaming laptops from most major brands are in stock and ready to ship immediately.
The main difference is that you must purchase the Steam Deck directly from Steam's website. In contrast, you can visit your local store and pick up a gaming laptop on the same day.
For the money, the Valve Steam Deck is hugely impressive. Where gamers want a straightforward means of enjoying a PC-quality experience on the go, it’s tough to beat. Yet, where outright performance and broader usability are crucial, there’s no arguing with more powerful gaming laptops.
There is another potential option, too, with Steam support for Chromebooks
. The lightweight $649 Google Pixelbook Go
represents a third, slightly left-of-field choice. Its Intel Core i5 processor, 128GB SSD, 8GB of RAM, and 13.3-inch 1080p display could be the perfect way to run many of today’s top-rated titles from gamers’ Steam libraries.
Protect Your Purchase With Upsie
Whatever buyers decide, pairing your device with an extended warranty is essential. Upsie offers various extended laptop warranty packages
and comprehensive video gaming protection plans
. Customers get unparalleled protection for dedicated gaming laptops and Chromebooks, as well as high-end consoles like Valve’s Steam Deck. In addition, Upsie’s policies provide total coverage while also being straightforward and affordable.
That means protection against manufacturing defects, mechanical faults, and accidental mishaps. Upsie’s warranties also cost up to 70% less than warranties sold elsewhere. As a result, customers get the best protection at the best price. Find out more at Upsie.com
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