The handheld game console gamers have wanted for years is now available. I’m talking about Valve’s Steam Deck, a portable handheld that plays PC games. It’s kind of like the Nintendo Switch. Even though Steam Deck’s operating system is based on Linux, it can play Windows games thanks to a cool compatibility layer called Proton.
The Steam Deck is also a full-fledged PC that can load into a desktop mode where you can surf the web, downloadable, and stream music. You can even put Windows 10 here on the device if you don’t like how limited Steam OS is.
At first, it can be hard to keep track of everything on the Steam Deck. Valve gave you some cool shortcuts and features to help you get used to the game. And now, here are some tips and tricks that every person who owns a Steam Deck should remember.
Use a microSD card to add more storage space.
Even if you bought the 512GB Steam Deck, you probably wouldn’t have enough storage space forever. After all, triple-A Steam Deck-verified games like God of War (70GB) and NBA 2K22 (120GB) need a lot of space. People who bought the base 64GB Steam Deck might have trouble downloading just one game.
Every version of Steam Deck has a handy microSD card slot on the bottom that lets you add up to 2TB of storage. The key is to find a microSD card that fits your budget and has the fastest writing speed and the most storage space. Examine the following brands: Lexar, SanDisk, and Samsung.
Turn off adjustable brightness.
Adaptive brightness is among those characteristics that sound great in theory but don’t usually work the way it’s supposed to. I wouldn’t say I liked how the brightness changed all the time, and the extra battery life didn’t make up for it.
I turned off the feature quickly, and once I did, it stayed off the whole time I tested the Steam Deck. If you need to change the brightness, you can use the quick settings or the button combination shown on the next slide.
Change how bright the screen is while you play.
You’re about halfway through the game and enjoying your Steam Deck in the recent summer air when the sun peeks out from the rear of the clouds. Suddenly, seeing the 7-inch screen in such bright light is hard. You could open the fast settings and move the slider to the right to make the screen brighter. But you’re in the middle of a high-speed shootout, and there’s no time for settings menus!
Lucky for us, Valve agrees. It added a smart brightness adjustment shortcut that you can use quickly to make the screen brighter or darker in the middle of a game. It’s an awkward button combination, but it works: hold down the Steam button while moving the left toggle up (brighter) or down (dimmer).
Change your graphics settings.
Some games won’t work with the graphics turned up to the max. Even games Steam Deck says are “great” have trouble when the video settings are turned up. For example, control was jerky when the console’s native resolution of 1280×800 pixels was used, and the screen was full of enemies controlled by Hiss.
By lowering the resolution to 720p, the frame rate drops were fixed without affecting the look of the video. An essential thing to remind us is that the Steam Deck runs on a custom AMD chip with RDNA 2 graphics, not a high-powered GPU and a separate graphics card. Maintain your expectations, and don’t get upset if a game doesn’t run perfectly on the default settings.
Look for software updates.
I can’t remember how several software updates. Valve put out were between when I got the Steam Deck and when the review had to be done. Dozens. Since then, things have slowed down, but you can look forward to many more software updates in the coming months and years. Watch for a yellow exclamation mark so over the settings gear icon. This means that a new software version is ready to be downloaded.
Adjust the buttons.
There are a lot of buttons on the Steam Deck. You should use them to your advantage! Especially those rear paddle buttons aren’t always programmed in games because they aren’t usually on a standard controller..
Some games, like the first shooters or competitive games like Fortnite, give you an advantage if you change how the back buttons work. When you race in Forza Horizon 5, they can also be used as paddle shifters. To change how the trigger buttons work, press the Steam button and move right twice. This will carry up a map of the controller’s buttons. Here, you can choose what the back buttons do.
Access the keyboard shortcuts
If you’re not keeping up, holding the Steam and A keys together take up a shortcut overlay with all the hotkeys you require to use Steam OS well. It gives you the most important button combinations. It would help if you used a cursor and left- and right-click buttons directly from your controller, without a mouse.
Connect a game controller or mouse/keyboard
The Steam Deck’s controller is all you need to use Steam OS or your preferred OS, but that’s no way to live. The console has a Bluetooth radio that lets you connect wireless accessories like a gaming mouse and keyboard. Connecting my Lenovo ThinkPad TrackPoint keyboard and Logitech Bluetooth mouse to the Steam Deck made it much easier to use the desktop mode when I wanted to look at websites.
And since I prefer using a console controller to the Steam Deck’s controls or even a mouse and keyboard, I linked my PS5’s DualSense to the Steam Deck via Bluetooth (you can also use a wire) and used that instead.
Use the FPS limit.
The quick settings menu has an FPS limiter with 15, 30, and 60 frames per second options. This setting slows down the console when you reach those set frame rates. Mostly to keep the battery from dying and quiet down the fan. A game that runs at 15 frames per second doesn’t use as much power as one that needs full power to run at 60 frames per second.