Steam Deck

August 27, 2023

I bought a steam deck a week ago. I haven’t played any games on it yet since I just started Balder’s Gate 3 on my PC. The game is pretty graphically intensive so I’m not sure if I could play it well on a hand-held. The purchase was more of a way to support Valve’s efforts with regards to gaming on Linux and towards making a device that is fairly user-servicable. I bought the cheapest 64GB eMMC option, and then replaced the internal hard-drive with a 1TB SSD. The upgrade process itself was easy. There are about 8 screws on the back needed to remove the back cover, then around two screws inside to reveal the hard drive under the heatsink. Overall my impression is that the steam deck feels about middle-tier in terms of the “plastic-ness” of the build. Something like the pinebook pro laptop would be lower tier and something with metal construction and a better display would be needed for higher tiers.

After replacing the hard-drive, I booted from a USB recovery drive and re-imaged the device. That was pretty straightforward, but the out of the box experience (OOBE) that came afterwards was pretty poor. It seemed that only the touchscreen was working on the image I booted, which was enough to set up wifi, choose my language, and log in, but then there was an upgrade process to get the latest software. It looked like the recovery image was years old. The progress bar showed an ETA of 3 minutes, but every time the time got low it would go back to approximately 3 minutes. It seemed like a fairly widesrpead issue according to online forums. I had a USB wired networking converter that I attached but I don’t know if it was making a difference. It felt like the 3 minute resetting progress bar repeated for a couple of hours before finally working. When the system rebooted from there, all the buttons and touchpads were working again, but it was a bit unnerving to have such a poor OOBE.