While rumored in may, Valve has officially unveiled the Steam Deck, a handheld device similar to the Nintendo Switch that will offer PC quality gameplay on the go. It will run a modified version of the SteamOS, complete with a new console-like interface to streamline the process of navigating both the Steam Store as well as your library. With an unrestricted desktop, you will also be able to install third-party applications to it as well.
In terms of tech, the Steam Deck has a 7-inch, 1280×800 resolution, 60hz LCD screen, with a custom AMD APU featuring a 4-core, 8-thread CPU paired with 8 RDNA 2 compute units for the GPU, and 16 GBs of LPDDR5 RAM. This will make the device far more powerful than the Nintendo Switch, allowing it to run even modern PC games without issue.
The Steam Deck will also feature all the controls one might expect from a handheld. It has two joysticks on each side. These are also capacitive, which means they can tell when your thumb is at rest on them. There is also a button layout, as well as two trackpads to help with mouse commands. There will also be four back buttons on the system, that can be mapped however the player sees hit.
You can also expect full Bluetooth support on the device for anything you might hook up to your computer. This allows for headsets to be hooked up to it, as well as mouse and keyboards. Additionally, a dock will be offered separately for the system to hook it up to an external display, exactly like the Switch. Wired peripherals such as a mouse and keyboards can be plugged into it like this, allowing for a more PC-like experience. However, to simply charge the device, any USB-C will do.
Now, onto the price. There will be three versions of the system available when the system launches. These versions differ in memory size and speed, with all having the same basic hardware packed into them. The base version of the handheld will run $399 and will feature 64 gigs of storage. A $529 version will off 256GB of memory space. Finally, a $649 version will feature 516GB of storage as well as an anti-glare etched screen treatment. All the systems will be able to use external micro SDs to increase storage, while the higher-priced two offer faster NVMe SSDs.
During his interview with IGN, Valve President Gabe Newell stated that hitting these price points was painful but critical. There is currently no release date for the Steam Deck, with Holiday 2021 being the target.