Saturday, October 1

Valve Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch OLED: Which Should You Buy?

Now that our Nintendo Switch OLED review is out and the Valve Steam Deck release date is looming, it’s a good time to assess which one may be worth your money.

While both machines are quite different at their core, with the Switch OLED being a closed Nintendo system and the Steam Deck being effectively a portable PC, both are still gaming handhelds that have and are set up to pique gamers’ interest. who want more range for their portable gaming.

  • Play the best PC games
  • Also try the best Nintendo Switch games

So deciding whether you want a Steam Deck or an OLED Switch is more about evaluating your own gaming habits than comparing the minutiae of each device. If you’re curious about which device might best suit your preferences, read on for our preliminary observations of the Valve Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch OLED.

Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch OLED: Specs Comparison

valve vapor cover Interruptor OLED de Nintendo
Price $399 / $529 / $649 $350
Release date december 2021 October 2021
Screen 7″ LCD touch screen, 1280 x 800 7″ OLED touchscreen, 1280×720
UPC AMD Zen 2, 3,5 GHz Nvidia Tegra X1
GPU AMD 8 RDNA Custom Nvidia Maxwell
Memory 16 GB 4 GB
Storage eMMC de 64 GB / SSD de 256 GB / SSD de 512 GB eMMC de 64 GB
TV connectivity Dock (Included) USB-C, dock (not included)

Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch OLED: price and release date

valve vapor cover (Image credit: Valve)

The Steam Deck, like the Nintendo Switch, comes in multiple configurations. In its default configuration (64 GB eMMC storage), the Steam Deck costs $399. With a 256 GB SSD it costs $529 and with a 512 GB SSD it costs $649. The $529 version comes with a carrying case; the $649 version comes with a case and a more scratch-resistant screen. All models will launch on February 25.

The Nintendo Switch OLED comes in two versions, but the differences are purely cosmetic. One comes with white Joy-Con controllers, while the other comes with neon red and blue Joy-Cons. The system costs $350 and was released on October 8. Also remember that the Switch OLED will not replace the current basic Switch ($300) or Switch Lite ($200).

From the get-go, it’s clear that Valve is courting a more discerning audience. At $399, the cheaper Steam Deck costs more than the more expensive Switch variant; At $649, the most expensive Steam Deck costs more than three times as much as the Switch Lite.

Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch OLED: Design and Display

Interruptor OLED de Nintendo (Image credit: Nintendo)

For one thing, the Steam Deck and Switch OLED look alike, as they’re both handheld consoles, optimized for running modern games. On the other hand, Steam Deck has more adaptations for PC gaming, while Switch OLED keeps things simple.

Both devices are rectangular consoles with 7-inch touchscreens in the center. The Switch’s OLED screen is capped at 720p, while the Steam Deck’s LCD screen supports a slightly higher resolution of 1280 x 800. Both have directional buttons and an analog stick on the left, as well as another analog stick and face buttons on the left. the right.

What’s different is that the Steam Deck also features a touchpad on each side, presumably for PC games and applications that require mouse input. The Steam Deck also features a built-in microphone, although interestingly, there doesn’t appear to be a camera. In-game chat should be easy, but video chats can be a bit more difficult.

The OLED Switch uses the same Joy-Cons as the current Switch model, meaning you’ll have to deal with separate directional buttons and the somewhat superfluous capture button. There is always the possibility of Joy-Con Drift, too, but we’ll have to wait and see if Nintendo has fixed this issue once and for all.

From a size and weight perspective, the Switch OLED has a clear advantage, measuring 9.5 x 4.0 x 0.6 inches and weighing 14.9 ounces. Compare and contrast to the Steam Deck, which measures 11.7 x 4.6 x 1.9 inches and weighs 23.6 ounces. While we won’t know for sure until we get our hands on both devices, it looks like the Switch OLED will be much more comfortable to hold for long periods of time.

Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch OLED: specifications and power

steam cover (Image credit: Valve)

One area where the Steam Deck has a clear advantage is in terms of hardware. The Switch wasn’t the most powerful system when it debuted in 2017, and the Switch OLED hasn’t changed much of the hardware. Nintendo’s latest variant features an Nvidia Tegra X1 processor, an Nvidia Maxwell-based GPU, and 4GB of RAM, just like the base model. However, instead of the base models’ 32GB eMMC flash memory, the OLED will feature 64GB. You can also store games on a microSD card, but your save data is tied to your console, unless you pay for Nintendo Switch Online ($20 per year) and its cloud save features.

As mentioned above, the Steam Deck has varying storage options, depending on how much you’re willing to pay. But all models have the same CPU and GPU: an AMD Zen 2 at 3.5 GHz and an AMD 8 RDNA, respectively. The system has 16 GB of RAM and, conveniently, full support for Bluetooth 5.0. While the Switch OLED will employ limited Bluetooth capabilities, you probably won’t be able to connect your own headphones or controllers, as you can’t on the current Switch.

While it’s hard to compare specialized CPUs and GPUs for consoles, there’s no denying that the Steam Deck sounds much more powerful. We don’t know exactly what kind of output we can expect when connected to a TV, but the Switch OLED is targeting 1080p resolutions at 30 frames per second. Steam Deck should be able to top that.

It’s also worth noting that battery life on both consoles will vary greatly, depending on what you’re playing. Steam Deck promises between 7 and 8 hours, while Switch OLED points between 5 and 9 hours. However, this category will be difficult to assess until we can do some apples-to-apples testing.

Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch OLED: Game Selection

Interruptor OLED de Nintendo (Image credit: Nintendo)

The Steam Deck has the potential to run hundreds, if not thousands, more games than the Switch OLED. That’s because, at its core, the Steam Deck is just a small PC, and PCs have access to all the best pc games and the largest game library in existence. You’ll be able to install just about anything on Steam, of course, but Valve also promises that you’ll be able to “install and use PC software” normally. In theory, this means that if you can find a way to download their software, you can play it. (It’s especially interesting to think about how the Steam Deck might cooperate with Xbox Game Pass, but there are no concrete details on that potential crossover just yet.)

Compare and contrast to the Nintendo Switch OLED, which has access to the best nintendo switch games and the complete Switch library. While the Steam Deck’s potential selection of games will be much, much larger, the Switch isn’t without its charms. Nintendo still has a huge selection of exclusive titles, from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild to Splatoon 2 and the excellent Metroid Dread. You simply won’t be able to play these games on a PC, at least not without some complicated and shady workarounds.

From a library perspective, the choice between the Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch OLED is a lot like the choice between a PC and a Nintendo Switch. Want the widest selection of games, running on the best settings? Or do you want high-quality Nintendo franchises that you can’t get anywhere else?

Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch OLED: Acoplamiento

steam cover (Image credit: Valve)

When it comes to docking, the Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch OLED have their pros and cons. Just like the regular Nintendo Switch, the OLED Switch comes with a dock. This means you can connect it to a TV right out of the box, with minimal fuss. On the other hand, it also means you can’t connect the Switch directly to a TV or monitor via USB-C, which would certainly be more convenient in many cases.

Steam Deck, on the other hand, can connect to any display just like a PC does, as long as you have the right adapters. According to Valve, the Steam Deck’s USB-C port “can carry video, audio, input, etc.” and it can work on anything from an OLED monitor to a CRT TV. The tradeoff is that the Steam Deck won’t come with a dock, though one will be available separately.

We’re still not sure how much the dock will cost, though we do know that it will hold the Steam Deck upright and come with ports for USB-C, USB-A, DisplayPort, HDMI, and Ethernet. Just note that the official port’s HDMI output will be HDMI 2.0 instead of HDMI 2.1, which may limit resolution and frame rate.

Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch OLED: Outlook

Nintendo Switch OLED Controller (Image credit: Nintendo)

While we don’t know exactly how the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch OLED will compare in practice, we can tell they have very different demographics in mind. The Nintendo Switch OLED, like other Switch models, caters to a console-focused audience, with a streamlined interface and a focus on Nintendo franchises.

The Steam Deck, on the other hand, looks like a much more powerful and open device, letting you run more demanding games at a higher rate and expecting you to bring at least some of your own hardware to the party.

And yet, while both devices look promising, neither seems indispensable at the moment. The Nintendo Switch OLED, at its core, is simply a slightly larger Switch, with a slightly prettier display and considerably more storage space. It’s arguably worth an extra $50 over the core Switch model, but it’s probably not worth another $350 if you already own one of Nintendo’s handheld hybrids.

Similarly, the Steam Deck looks promising, but Valve has had issues with the hardware in the past. The company seemed to lose interest in the nifty Steam Controller and convenient Steam Link long before they reached their full potential; the company’s ambitious line of Steam Machines never materialized at all. And even if the Steam Deck works wonderfully, there’s the question of how long it will last, as PC technology tends to advance much faster than console generations.

At the moment, we can say that PC gamers will want to keep an eye on the Steam Deck, while console gamers will want to consider the Nintendo Switch OLED.

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