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Valve announces a new Steam Deck: OLED screen and improved battery life on the menu
A "plus" version, but not yet a Steam Deck 2.
Released in mid-2022, the Steam Deck has seen the arrival of a number of competing consoles in recent months. Competitors who are generally more powerful and better equipped, but who can't compete on price. The Steam Deck's excellent price/performance ratio has regularly prompted Valve to confirm that there was no question of launching a console to replace this first version... and yet this is exactly what Valve has just done, by announcing the imminent release (on November 16) of the Steam Deck OLED. That said, things are a little more complicated than that.
First and foremost, the Steam Deck OLED is indeed a new version of the Steam Deck, distinguished of course by the presence of an OLED panel in place of the original LCD panel. The image definition is unchanged (1280 x 800), but the size of the panel has increased to 7.4 inches (from 7 inches) and the refresh rate to 90 Hz (from 60 Hz). What's more, Valve has announced a maximum brightness of 1000 nits, whereas the original Steam Deck doesn't exceed 400 nits. This isn't the only change Valve has made, however, as storage has improved significantly: the 64GB Steam Deck eMMC has disappeared from the catalog, and Steam Deck OLEDs will appear in two versions, with a 512GB SSD or a 1TB SSD.
Inside the Steam Deck 2, the chip is also evolving. There's no question of revising the number of cores or their architecture, but Valve is now relying on a Sephiroth chip (as opposed to an Aerith), which has the good taste of being etched more finely at 6 nm (as opposed to 7 nm). The idea is to end up with a chip that's just as powerful, but also more efficient in its energy management, for better autonomy and less heat. Speaking of autonomy, Valve has boosted the battery to 50 Wh (up from 40 Wh) for greater endurance: we're talking about 3 to 12 hours of autonomy, up from 2 to 8 hours. What's more, charging is accelerated from 20% to 80% in 45 minutes. Finally, even the power cable has been improved: in particular, it is longer, from 1.5 m to 2.5 m, for greater comfort.
Valve has upgraded its product's connectivity with WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3, and supports aptX HD and aptX low-latency audio codecs. And, still on the subject of Bluetooth, there's talk of a third antenna for improved connectivity. Valve doesn't stop there, however, and points out that the controls have also been improved: the sticks are said to be more robust and grippier, while the high triggers are more sensitive and the precision of the touch pads has been improved. Finally, Valve emphasizes a weight reduction of around 5%, to 640 grams.
Although Valve refuses to talk about Steam Deck 2, there are nonetheless a number of new features and improvements, while the price remains unchanged. Let's just say that the mid-range version will cost 569 euros (OLED, 512 GB SSD), while the most muscular model benefits from a 1 TB SSD for 679 euros. Valve has retained an LCD version, however, with a 256GB SSD, priced at 419 euros.