Steam Deck Vs Nintendo Switch

a Nintendo switch and a steam deck

Best Handheld Gaming System

The Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck by Valve are the best handheld gaming devices you can find on the market. Both are great but there are areas where they outshine one another. I'll answer the age-old question, which is better Nintendo switch or Steam Deck ?

Better Performance and Storage: Steam Deck

The Steam Deck is a mini computer with some monstrous stats for a handheld device. The configuration I have comes with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. In addition, you can add more storage by way of the SD card slot.

It can handle AAA titles with ease and even the most demanding games have no noticeable lag. Honestly this is't really a fair comparison given that the Steam Deck is literally a computer in a small form factor.

The Switch is pretty beastly on in its own right as a tablet. It comes with 32 GB of storage and the ability to expand that storage up to 2TB. The Switch OLED is equipped with 64GB of storage out of the box with the same expansion capacity.

Better Game Selection: Nintendo Switch

Although the Steam Deck has a plethora of games to choose from, not all run well on its platform. Unfortunately, not every game in the Steam library performs well or at all on the device.

Valve has a little green check mark next to the games in its library indicating a game runs "great on deck". The Nintendo Switch on the other hand has Mario, Pokemon, Kirby, and a number of other extremely successful franchises that are exclusive to its platform. At the time of writing, there is no equivalent on Steam.

The Steam Deck's limited library is somewhat augmented by its ability to run emulators. This gives you the ability to play Gamecube games like Custom Robo and other popular titles.

But even with emulation the offerings on Switch far eclipse those on the Steam Deck. Plus you can play some Nintendo 64 games with Switch online, no complicated emulation is required.

The Steam Deck's limited library is somewhat augmented by its ability to run emulators. This gives you the ability to play Gamecube games like Custom Robo and other popular titles.

If you do decide to run some emulators on your Steam Deck, here are some games I highly recommend.

  • Super Smash Brothers Melee - Gamecube
  • Soul Calibur II - XBox
  • Pokemon Silver - Gameboy Color
  • Custom Robo - Gamecube
  • Super Smash Brothers - Nintendo 64
  • Goldeneye 007 - Nintendo 64

But even with emulation the offerings on Switch far eclipse those on the Steam Deck.

Better Peripheral Support: Steam Deck

There are some games that are better played with a keyboard and mouse. If you have a Steam Deck and games that support playing with peripherals other than a controller, you are in luck.

Switch players have no such luxury. While you can connect a keyboard to the Switch, you can game with it. It does come in handy if you have to enter long passwords or email addresses.

Better Price: Nintendo Switch

Both the Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck have three different offerings outlined below.

Nintendo Switch

Name Price
Switch Light $200 USD
Switch $300 USD
Switch $300 USD

Steam Deck

Name Price
64GB $399 USD
256GB $529 USD
512GB $649 USD

The base offering for the Steam Deck costs more than the most powerful Switch you can buy. You get more storage but if you are looking for a more affordable handheld option, the Switch is your best bet.

Better Battery Life: Nintendo Switch

The battery life on the Steam Desk is terrible compared to the play time you get on the Switch. Its disappointing but somewhat expected if you have ever used a gaming laptop.

Gaming devices in general have poor battery life, tend to run hot, and have loud fans. It's just a consequence of running powerful GPUs and other components.

Here are a few things you can do to increase battery life on Steam Deck. A word of warning: adjusting these settings can have a negative impact on the performance of some games and your personal comfort when using the device.

Reduce the Screen Brightness

If you are playing outside this will make it harder to see the screen and you'll probably strain your eyes. So if you can, go inside and just dim the ambient light to help reduce eye strain.

I found the ideal brightness for ideal and visibility to be 70%.

Adjust your screen resolution

Screen resolution impacts your battery life and your Steam Deck has a pixel resolution of 1280 x 800. Should your device be running higher than this, you may be expounding for wattage than necessary.

Cut the Wifi and Bluetooth Off

If your Steam Deck is constantly trying to maintain a connection to devices or an access point , it will burn through battery life. For those that play MMOs, this may not be possible but if the game you are playing does not need Wifi, turn it off.

Final Verdict

Although the Switch has better battery life and is much more economical, the Steam Deck is the superior console. Of course, you can't run the latest Pokemon or Zelda title on a Steam Deck but you will get a much better piece of tech for your money.

The Steam Deck has the specs of a high-end gaming laptop for nearly a third of the cost of one. It comes equipped with Steam OS that allows you to download emulators, browse the web, and do nearly everything you would do on Windows or Mac OS.

Matt Irving is the CEO of Super Easy Tech, LLC.
Matt is the founder of Make It Super Easy and and Super Easy CRM. He is a passionate software engineer, tech blogger, and gamer. Feel free to connect on any of the platforms listed below.

Posted by: Matt Irving on 11/22/2022


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