Where to Invest Your Gaming Passion – Comparing Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch
Handheld gaming has taken a big leap with two top contenders: the Valve Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch. Let’s dive deep and see which one’s the right pick for you by exploring the price, games, and specs of each.
Price Matters: Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch
Starting with the Nintendo Switch, it provides a pocket-friendly experience. You can grab the Switch Lite for $200, which is a purely on-the-go version. Want to level up? The classic Switch is $300, and the fancy OLED Switch costs $349, boasting a bigger OLED display and a cool kickstand. Remember, both Switch and Switch OLED come with a dock included in their prices.
On the flip side, Valve’s Steam Deck has a steeper price. They offer three models based on storage: 64GB for $399, 256GB for $529, and 512GB for $649. As you climb the price ladder, you get more storage speed, and the top model even sports an anti-glare coat. Sure, it’s pricier, but it’s a doorway to a wide range of PC games and emulation adventures.
What’s the Game Plan? Game Choices for Each
Nintendo has some iconic exclusives like Smash Bros. Ultimate, Zelda: Breath of the Wild, and Super Mario Odyssey. These games offer a blast but come at a typical $60 price tag. Sales? Quite rare for them.
Enter the Steam Deck, your portable access to the vast universe of Steam games. While not all PC games from Steam run buttery smooth, many are being optimized for the Deck. And here’s a fun fact: if a game is on both platforms, chances are it’s cheaper on Steam. Plus, the performance on the Steam Deck often outshines its counterpart.
Let’s geek out a bit and compare the guts of these devices:
- Processor: Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz (max of 448 GFlops FP32)
- RAM: 16 GB LPDDR5 (5500 MT/s quad 32-bit channels)
- GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz (max of 1.6 TFlops FP32)
- Storage Options: 64GB eMMC, 256GB NVMe SSD, 512GB high-speed NVMe SSD
- Expand Storage? Yep, with microSD and upgradable SSD
- Screen: 7-inch IPS, 60Hz, 1280x800px
- Size: 29.8cm x 11.7cm x 4.9cm
- Weight: 669 grams
- Want it on TV? It needs a USB-C dongle or dock
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0 and WiFi AC
- Processor: ARM Cortex-A57 @ 1.02 GHz
- RAM: 4 GB LPDDR4
- GPU: 256 Maxwell-based CUDA cores
- Storage: Either 32 GB or 64 GB eMMC
- Expand Storage? Sure, with microSD
- Screen: 7-inch OLED, 60Hz, 1280 x 720px
- Size: 17.6cm x 10.2cm x 1.4cm
- Weight: 319 grams
- Want it on TV? Use the included dock with HDMI 2.0
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.1 and WiFi 5
So, Which One Should You Grab?
Alright, let’s break it down. If you’re into iconic Nintendo games, a friendly price tag, and love to play on your TV, the Nintendo Switch might just be your jam. But if you crave the vastness of PC games, better prices, and top-notch performance, the Steam Deck is calling your name.
No matter which side you lean on, consider your preferences and what you expect from your gaming buddy. Both these handhelds promise a world of fun.
Battery: The Switch lasts longer, but the Steam Deck flexes with better performance.
Power Play: Steam Deck’s Raw Power
The Steam Deck is a little beast. It’s powered by an AMD Zen 2 CPU and an 8 CU RDNA 2 GPU. This means it packs a punch, rivaling the base PS4’s prowess. Most games run smoothly at 40 FPS or even a locked 60 FPS. Meanwhile, games on the Switch, especially those available on multiple platforms, might feel a tad slower, running typically at 30 FPS.
Display Duel: Switch OLED Stands Tall
In the screen game, the Nintendo Switch OLED shines the brightest. It boasts a 7-inch screen with stunning contrast, angles, and motion, running crisply at 720P. The Steam Deck, though impressive with its 800P resolution, doesn’t quite capture the same magic as the Switch OLED’s visuals. And just so you know, the Switch Lite has a 5.5-inch IPS screen, and the classic Switch features a 6.2-inch IPS screen.
How’s the feeling? Steam Deck’s Ergonomics & Controls Shine!
The Steam Deck? It’s awesome for comfort. Thanks to its bigger size, it’s got proper grips. And guess what? It also has a full d-pad, taller thumbsticks, two trackpads for when you want mouse controls, and even four back buttons you can set how you like. It feels smooth, right? Meanwhile, the Nintendo Switch, with its joy-cons, is cool because you can take them off. But, they’ve got short sticks and their d-pad? It’s separate buttons. So that you know.
Traveling with it? Nintendo Switch is More Portable
When we talk about taking your console on the go, the Nintendo Switch is the champ. It’s lighter and isn’t as big. We’re looking at 9.4 inches wide and just 0.55 inches thick. Plus, it has this kickstand that’s great for tabletop gaming. But the Steam Deck? It’s a bit of a giant. It’s 11 inches wide, 1.92 inches thick, and heavier. It’s 669 grams against the Switch’s 399 grams.
How’s the Docking & Connecting? Switch Comes with a Dock
Good news for the Nintendo Switch fans! It comes with a dock. So, HDMI, power, USB-A ports? You got ’em. Connect it to a big screen and enjoy up to 1080p/60Hz. The Steam Deck, however, doesn’t have a dock with it. So, you might miss out on the plug-and-play fun.
What’s the Best Pick for You? Breaking it Down.
Are you thinking about connecting things? The Steam Deck can do it, but you might need a dongle or its official dock (which costs $89) to show it on a big screen. The official dock is impressive, but remember, not all games will look their best. Now, the Nintendo Switch? It’s just easier with its dock and kickstand for gaming with friends.
Playing with Friends? The Switch’s Multiplayer Game is Strong
If you’re all about playing with pals, the Nintendo Switch is where it’s at. Games like Mario Kart, Smash Bros, and Mario Party? You won’t find them on the Steam Deck. But hey, Steam lets you play multiplayer games for free, while Nintendo asks for a $20 annual fee. Just watch out: some PC games might not work on the Steam Deck due to issues with anti-cheat software on Steam OS.
What’s Out There? Ecosystem & Accessories
Both devices? They’re loved. That means lots of controllers, cases, skins, and more. The Nintendo Switch? It’s been around longer, so there’s more stuff for it. But don’t count the Steam Deck out. Lots of companies are making cool things for it, too!
Who Gets the Crown? Our Recommendation
Deciding between the Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch is all about what you like. The Nintendo Switch? It’s for everyone. It’s got great games only it offers and doesn’t cost as much. Plus, the OLED model looks better and lasts longer. But remember, games can cost more on the Switch.
And the Steam Deck? If you dream of playing PC games anywhere, this is your pick. Games like The Witcher, Skyrim, and others are all yours. If you’re not into Nintendo’s special games and love the idea of PC gaming on the move, the Steam Deck is the way to go.