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The switch is still better than Steam Deck as a portable gaming device

Onironauta

Member
Nintendo did an excellent job with the Switch, it was a great piece of tech for 2017.
People calling it underpowered and comparing it to home consoles in terms of power are just unreasonable, they are ignoring the laws of physics.
My opinion may be controversial but I think the Switch biggest issue is its library, it's certainly not on par with Wii+DS or WiiU+3DS, despite Nintendo focusing all the resources on it.
Of course it's been 6 years now so it's starting to show it's age. A Switch 2 could potentially push around x10 the power (in the same ballpark as the Steam Deck, since ARM is currently more energy efficient than X86), but people would still be unhappy, comparing it to PS5 and Series X.
 
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BadBurger

Is 'That Pure Potato'
Sorry to hear you got one of the noisy fans. My Deck is whisper quiet. You can order a new fan or even ask Valve if they will service it.

As for battery life, since the Deck is just a PC with some built-in configuration tools there's things people can do to prolong the battery life. I'd suggest checking out the official subreddit if you want a FAQ on that kind of stuff.

Personally, I still enjoy my Switch OLED but I think it's too long in the tooth at this point. I'm not even sure if it's worth making an earnest comparison between the two given the gulf between them in terms of power, configurability and customization, and the staggeringly larger library the Deck has. I guess if one really wants to play Nintendo games, no muss no fuss, the Switch is the way to go. For everything else, Deck.
 

Rival

Gold Member
One thing that really intrigues me regarding the deck is that I already have a massive library of games. I’ll definitely pick up the next version of the deck. But the switch is still a great portable device. Especially the oled which I really want but am too cheap to buy when my original still works perfectly.
 

ljubomir

Member
I love my Deck and I play handhelds at my home 95% of my time. But that other 5% when traveling I'm gonna take one of my Switches instead. Lite is incredibly portable, but even the OLED is small and light when compared to Deck.

On the other hand there's no denying games both run and look better on Deck than on Switch. And I believe that's one of the reasons why Switch has better battery life - none of us would like to play on those extremely low presets, given a choice.
 
I want to get The Deck, but once it matures into a hardware revision or successor. Even without owning it, I have been impressed, with reservations.
 

Kupfer

Member
Wrote this not too long ago here

TL;DR
Deck & Switch are different systems for different user groups. A comparison, just because the form factor is similar, is difficult to impossible.

The big difference is that the Deck is for enthusiasts. Even though it seems to be a success for Valve (it's permanently sold out, you end up on waiting lists for over a year), the general buyer is a niche but very interested in hardware, computers and also has a Steam account in advance, without which a purchase would not be possible. Accordingly, Valve gives its customers complete freedom to do whatever they want with the Deck. If the customer wants to use a very elaborate application, but the battery only lasts <90 minutes, it's the customer's decision to do so. If the customer doesn't like it, he or she can turn down the settings and enjoy the game longer. But basically, everyone can enjoy his or her games the way he or she wants to. Even I, I would call myself an enthusiast, or at least someone who knows more about this hardware/gaming stuff than the people around me, felt a bit overwhelmed by all the setting options and data at the beginning. However, after some trial and error and reading, you find your way around and there is really the right setting for everyone.

Nintendo would and could never allow this freedom, because the Switch was designed for a customer who doesn't need to have any prior knowledge of hardware and computers. You pick the thing up, play around, and put it down. It simply has to work for everyone, whether they're 5 years old or 80years old, core gamer, casual gamer or no gamer at all.

Even if they seem very similar at first glance, due to the form factor and the selling point "portable gaming" the Deck and the Switch are two completely different concepts.

For me, the Deck works better than the Switch, but millions of Switch owners probably wouldn't be able to do much with the Deck, let alone realize its full potential. There are obstacles and you have to be willing to do a lot yourself if you want to use the Deck to its full potential. The Switch works out of the box and for everyone.

So my guess is no, Nintendo won't follow the Deck in the future.

EDIT #1:
I read again and again that people claim that the Deck only lasts an hour and that is simply wrong and can only come from people who do not have a Deck or haven't played a few days with it. It depends 100% on the user, how long the battery lasts and you can get out as good as always some playtime.
Anyone who has seriously bought a Deck in the belief that they can play todays AAA games with max details for a whole day in the park has unfortunately lost sight of reality. If you took a look at the Deck's data and did the math at the very beginning when Valve announced the Deck, you could already assume that the Deck would be exactly the product which it is now. These bad "surprises" from customers or bad talk from non-buyers can only come from not taking a close look at the APU, the battery, the possible power consumption.

As I said before, the Deck gives you the freedom to do anything with it. If you don't understand that or aren't willing to adjust settings, optimize the experience, and give Valve a hard time for offering too much computing power for too small a battery, then maybe the Deck just isn't for you.

EDIT #2:
I mean, look at Halo Infinite, a 2021 game, running at barely 16watts in medium settings, 40 fps/hz locked. A 100% battery would give me like two and a half hours of playtime.
 
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No, but it’s a fantastic curiosity in my opinion. A handheld PC, the stuff of dreams from our childhoods. I just fail to see how it can beat the Switch for what I want; slim form factor, great battery life, amazing screen (Oled) and simplicity - turn on, click Splatoon 3, play for 4 hours. I’m not dissing the Deck.

This comparison is valid if you don't have a PC/xbox.

Then only Steam Deck will show it's true worth.
 
How long does it take to launch a game from turning on the Deck?
From sleep it's 1 to 2 seconds. Game boot depends, like all consoles.

How long is the battery life?
It can last anything between 1.5hours and 8 hours. It depends on how taxing the game is on the hardware. Better graphics = lower battery life, generally.


Is the screen LCD or Oled?
LCD 400nits.
It's the one thing I would change immediately on the console, to be honest.

Is it compact enough to toss it in a bag?
Depends on the bag. The included carrying case is pretty bulky but OTOH it's very sturdy.
 

baphomet

Member
How long does it take to launch a game from turning on the Deck? How long is the battery life? Is the screen LCD or Oled? Is it compact enough to toss it in a bag?

NVME storage is significantly faster than anything the switch can boot from.

Playing those games? 4+ hours. Lower TDP, brightness, set to 30/45 fps you can add at least a few more hours to that.

Higher resolution LCD than the switch

Yes
 

Filben

Member
Everything released on PC in the last 20+ years and more if you're into emulators?
Was going to say this.

I've seen many people playing modern AAA on it, but me, however, wants to play all the cool indie and/or old games on it I don't play on modern consoles or PC, connected to my TV where I play games like Cyberpunk with ray tracing, on an OLED screen with HDR.

Playing Stardew Valley or Dead Cells or Into the Breach or Fallout New Vegas or Blasphemous on the Deck is perfect and the battery lasts for four hours with those games. And since I usually don't play in the outback with no electricity, I don't mind charging it frequently (personally, I also don't take it along when I commute because I prefer to read on the train).

but then what's the point of holding this beast
The point is you have a PC and can do with it whatever you want, within the frames of a PC of course. If you want power, the Deck has plenty of it for its price and size. If you want to mod your games, you can do that. If you want to play old games not available on any modern platform, you can do that. You want to play games from other systems you can emulate that.

I don't know why the Deck's getting reduced to its performance all the time by some people; like that's even not the full argument for PCs as well and not the only reason people play on PC rather than on console.

PC gaming is about options. Having incredible performance and/or visuals is part of that but not the only thing.
 
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odhiex

Member
I have neither, but Steam Deck intrigues me more because I like the open platform nature of it (it's a PC anyway)
 
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PhaseJump

Member
How long does it take to launch a game from turning on the Deck? How long is the battery life? Is the screen LCD or Oled? Is it compact enough to toss it in a bag?

The Deck is not much bigger than a Switch with aftermarket grips. The battery life is 5 or so hours unless you are running PS4 tier AAA games and it charges fast on it's power supply. The screen isn't OLED, but everybody knows this. Games boot fairly quickly from the SSD. There is an instant on feature to the Game Mode UI which is 100% "game console" territory now.

The Deck is the hypothetical Switch Pro in all but name. The Switch is obsolete by comparison, specifically when you roll out a list of PC games.
 

onesvenus

Member
The mobile konsole wars have begun between Steam Deck, Switch, and Sony Xperia 1 IV Gaming Edition with Xperia Stream Dock.

But only one has a 4K display with 120fps. Also i jsut fund out you can play Steam games on Android.

So other than price I'm not seeing an advantage of the Switch or the Steam Deck now that I think about it. the dock isn't 4K like the phone but outputs at 1080p 120fps.

Maybe Sony wasn't as crazy as we thought.
Good luck with thinking that will compete somehow. Does Android have worthwhile games now that Sony has released a phone to play them? There have been a lot of Android-based gaming phones and none of them has worked
 

GametimeUK

Member
Now let's talk about the battery, with the kind of games the steam deck plays, you will get 1.5 hours at most so you will have to buy a battery bank or just play connected to the charger to not deal with low percentage of battery for longer gaming times.

Don't get me wrong I can definitely see the argument for Switch being a better handheld than Steam Deck (especially the oled). However when you say "the kind of games the Steam Deck plays" you're reducing the library down to games and settings where it kills your battery in little over an hour. You're excluding a whole bunch of games that aren't available on Switch that you can also get many hours of battery life out of. It all boils down to what you want from the device in my opinion.

I would agree with you if that's all the steam Deck could play, but the truth is you can get many more hours our of the device depending on the game / settings.
 

NeoIkaruGAF

Gold Member
They fit different needs, so any comparison boils down to what games you play.
I’m satisfied with my Switch, but it could be better, and let’s face it, the Deck’s library can have everything the Switch has after a few tweaks.
 

Ezquimacore

Banned
They fit different needs, so any comparison boils down to what games you play.
I’m satisfied with my Switch, but it could be better, and let’s face it, the Deck’s library can have everything the Switch has after a few tweaks.
Definitely can't play Xenoblade Chronicles 3, I tried.
 

Kupfer

Member
Definitely can't play Xenoblade Chronicles 3, I tried.
I've read and seen otherwise. When did you try it? Emulators like yuzu got updates.

However when you say "the kind of games the Steam Deck plays" you're reducing the library down to games and settings where it kills your battery in little over an hour. You're excluding a whole bunch of games that aren't available on Switch that you can also get many hours of battery life out of. It all boils down to what you want from the device in my opinion.

I would agree with you if that's all the steam Deck could play, but the truth is you can get many more hours our of the device depending on the game / settings.

This. Playing older titles like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. or F.E.A.R., which I replayed from start to finish on the Deck at 7watts 10watts, gives you more playtime per battery-life than I can comfortably play games with a handheld/controller.

It is clear that the Deck will be drained if you try to use AAA games on high details or current emulators. Yuzu draws around 22watts on my Deck, so it's not as efficient as the Switch, but again, we have a way to do things on the Deck that are impossible on other handhelds, which I think is a positive.
 
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Chukhopops

Member
The direct comparison doesn’t make any sense because of the different size and portability. It’s like comparing a 4kg 17’’ gaming laptop with a 1kg 13’’ laptop.

Both are portable but not to the same extent. I use the Switch in my daily commute and while I wish it was more powerful sometimes (Ys IX being a good example), I wouldn’t trade it for something 70% heavier and five times larger (six times larger if you use a Lite).

Different use cases, price points and of course performance make it pointless to compare.
 

Ezquimacore

Banned
I've read and seen otherwise. When did you try it? Emulators like yuzu got updates.



This. Playing older titles like S.T.A.L.K.E.R. or F.E.A.R., which I replayed from start to finish on the Deck at 7watts 10watts, gives you more playtime per battery-life than I can comfortably play games with a handheld/controller.

It is clear that the Deck will be drained if you try to use AAA games on high details or current emulators. Yuzu draws around 22watts on my Deck, so it's not as efficient as the Switch, but again, we have a way to do things on the Deck that are impossible on other handhelds, which I think is a positive.
Runs at 4k on Yuzu, but not on the steam deck. I've been playing it on my PC.
 
Actually an interesting point, downloading stuff your HW just can't do, so it wastes space. Uncharted 3 had its 3D video files separate in that short 3D era. For the steam deck some optimised downloads would also make much sense. All those 4k monster textures are just unnecessary. But also valid for a lot of low end, iGPU, or just old cards PCs, and since high end got maybe farther away from the average gamer than ever, a gap which DLSS, FSR and XeSS can't close, probably even increase it, it might make sense that PC games genereally adapt to provide one top tier and one reduced tier, for Steamdeck, many laptops and SFF-PCs. Otherwise it is just waste of space and also bandwith.

Kind of agree that in regards to proper mobile device the lower specs of the Switch are more fit for that goal. Steamdeck is probably better suited for gaming at home with plugged in power supply.
I don't see people, neither grown ups nor kids running around with neither though, as was the case with GB and DS, so lightweight longer lasting mobile is not much of a big deal it seems anymore.
 

Lasha

Member
Switch's battery life would be just as short as Steamdeck's had it used the same level of power.
It's a bit silly to claim switch is better when the best it can muster is baked potato mode. (docked)

Kind of a vapid point. Balancing power and battery life is a factor in determining the portability of a device. Who cares how much power you get if you can't go more than an hour or two without charging?
 

STARSBarry

Gold Member
The limited battery life is why I'm waiting for the generation 2 Steam Deck and why I opted to upgrade my launch switch to the OLED model instead (honestly the launch versions battery sucks). While the circumstande has improved with things like USB ports on the train, an actual full mains level plug are still a rarity even on main UK lines and I would need a table seat which is not guaranteed with the way UK public transport works currently.
 
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Thaedolus

Gold Member
Kind of a vapid point. Balancing power and battery life is a factor in determining the portability of a device. Who cares how much power you get if you can't go more than an hour or two without charging?
It absolutely does go more than an hour or two, and because it’s a completely wide open “jail broken” device, you can adjust things to suit your preferences: extend the battery life by lowering rendering targets or keep them high knowing it’ll drain faster. Valve lets you do anything you want with it.

The Deck’s controls are also way better than the Switch’s and it’s more comfortable to play. It’s bulkier, but I much prefer holding its grips over those tiny joycons.

I honestly have used my Switch docked like 95% of the time I’ve had it since launch day, but have found myself playing my Steam Deck all over the place with my 18 years of acquired Steam content. I’ve taken it into the office for when I have downtime where I never considered that with my Switch

Battery life is its only weakness IMO, but it’s also rather overstated. I don’t ever find myself gaming for 3+ hour sessions away from a power source, and if I’m traveling/camping/whatever, I always have two USB battery bricks with me. It’s something easily mitigated.

In conclusion: Switch be good, especially for being almost 5 years old, but Steam Deck mo betta. When Tears of the Kingdom comes out I’ll probably be figuring out how to dump the physical copy I buy to emulate it in much better fidelity than on a Switch
 

Imtjnotu

Member
The switch has terrible ergonomics unless you have small hands, for me the thing feels like its going to give me carpal tunnel if I play more than an hour.

The switch is underpowered and underclocked, its tablet hardware from 2017, nothing wrong with that. But the performance is lacking nowadays.

The steam deck has a bigger battery, it would probably outlast the switch playing the same game at the same settings and resolution.

GTA V example is not great because the switch can't run the game and rockstar is not porting it. But let's talk about games that are on both, say the witcher 3, blurry fest at 30fps vs higher settings at 30/40/60fps on deck. Game optimization is up to you with the deck. All with its pros and cons, but you can tweak it however you feel like.


Or the games that the switch flat out can't run and needs to stream like the newly announced RE cloud versions.

Furthermore the deck is better at playing nintendo games than the switch itself, with the ability to emulate pretty much every console up to the ps3/360. Hell it might be better than the switch at playing switch games lol.

The one thing I do wish the deck had is an OLED screen, that thing is beautiful.

I havent played my switch in months lol
It's actually hardware from 2014
 

Lasha

Member
It absolutely does go more than an hour or two, and because it’s a completely wide open “jail broken” device, you can adjust things to suit your preferences: extend the battery life by lowering rendering targets or keep them high knowing it’ll drain faster. Valve lets you do anything you want with it.

The Deck’s controls are also way better than the Switch’s and it’s more comfortable to play. It’s bulkier, but I much prefer holding its grips over those tiny joycons.

I honestly have used my Switch docked like 95% of the time I’ve had it since launch day, but have found myself playing my Steam Deck all over the place with my 18 years of acquired Steam content. I’ve taken it into the office for when I have downtime where I never considered that with my Switch

Battery life is its only weakness IMO, but it’s also rather overstated. I don’t ever find myself gaming for 3+ hour sessions away from a power source, and if I’m traveling/camping/whatever, I always have two USB battery bricks with me. It’s something easily mitigated.

In conclusion: Switch be good, especially for being almost 5 years old, but Steam Deck mo betta. When Tears of the Kingdom comes out I’ll probably be figuring out how to dump the physical copy I buy to emulate it in much better fidelity than on a Switch

So you agree with me? Customizing the settings to reduce graphical fidelity is lowering power consumption. Saying "the switch would use as much power as the deck if it were as powerful as the deck" is meaningless.

The added size and bulk of the deck is why I sold mine. I live in an urban area and take transit for the most part. The switch was already pushing what it means to be portable and the deck was over the top. Who takes a console camping though wtf.

Dumping is easy. You can do it from a hacked Switch (preferably a launch switch). You can ping me if you have trouble.
 

Certinty

Member
Having both I think long-term I’ll definitely use the Steam Deck more as there’s just more games to play with far better performance/visuals.

The only issue is the size of the thing and the battery life. Doesn’t exactly feel portable at times.
 
steam deck is a joke with 2 hours battery life lmfao. that shit is only good if you're sitting around the house.

the argument that Switch would last just as long if not less if it used the same power. well...it doesn't. they are two different devices but if you're looking at portability then yes the smaller device with better battery life is better in that regard.
 

rodrigolfp

Member
Deck being a PC with its giant library of games (including even Switch games, lol) and freedom of options and performance/IQ vs a Switch = Switch is better???
 
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scydrex

Member
steam deck is a joke with 2 hours battery life lmfao. that shit is only good if you're sitting around the house.

the argument that Switch would last just as long if not less if it used the same power. well...it doesn't. they are two different devices but if you're looking at portability then yes the smaller device with better battery life is better in that regard.

If you play at 30fps or switch settings it last longer. Who thinks that a hardware capable of PS4 power level will have a battery life of +4 hour or more? The switch is around 360/ps3 power level.
 
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Kupfer

Member
If you play at 30fps or switch settings it last longer. Who thinks is that a hardware capable of PS4 power level will have a battery life of +4 hour or more? The switch is arouns 360/ps3 power level.

Just to put raw power in perspective :

Deck 1.6 teraflops
Switch 0.39 teraflops (docked)
Switch 0.24 terflops (handheld)
Xbox 360 0.24 teraflops
PS3 0.23 teraflops
 
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Cyberpunkd

Gold Member
Now let's talk about the battery, with the kind of games the steam deck plays, you will get 1.5 hours at most so you will have to buy a battery bank or just play connected to the charger to not deal with low percentage of battery for longer gaming times.

Now let's talk about game optimization, if I want to play GTA V I gotta download the whole 107 gb, even if I play at the native resolution since this is a PC I gotta download the whole thing. An hypothetical GTA V on the switch wouldn't not need that because it would be optimized for the console and they wouldn't not need to add all the 4K textures, bells and whistles. So yeah the deck has more storage and you're a going to use it. There are a few more things but I think my point is clear.
1. Regarding the battery - didn't numerous polls show that vast majority of people play on their handhelds at home? There are people e.g. me before I sold my Switch that never dock it. So already this is not a problem. If you are traveling - almost everyone has a powerbank, most planes and trains allow you to plug your electronic device somewhere to charge it.

2. Regarding optimization - the great thing about it is you are optimizing the game by changing settings, setting max FPS and refresh rate. You seem to forget how terribly games optimized for New 3DS were running on a regular 3DS - where was Nintendo's optimization then?

In the end, no - Steam Deck from a pure hardware perspective is clearly a superior product. However it costs double that of OLED Switch at its most expensive version and doesn't have Nintendo IPs. Everyone needs to answer if these are things that matter to them.
 
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Hugare

Member
Never played on Deck, but Switch is the most uncomfortable portable that I've ever played with

Ergonomics is just horrible. You can't play for more than 1h without feeling some pain in your hands.

You have to buy some 3rd party accessory to make it more pleasant, but even then, it's still quite uncomfortable

Not only that, but the analog stick sucks balls. You can't play FPS on portable mode, you just cant. Even with gyro.
 

SScorpio

Member
Never played on Deck, but Switch is the most uncomfortable portable that I've ever played with

Ergonomics is just horrible. You can't play for more than 1h without feeling some pain in your hands.

You have to buy some 3rd party accessory to make it more pleasant, but even then, it's still quite uncomfortable

Not only that, but the analog stick sucks balls. You can't play FPS on portable mode, you just cant. Even with gyro.
Darn you, I was just about to hit submit on my post complaining about the Switch causing your hands to cramp up if you don't have the hands of a child.

But this has been an issue with handhelds for a long time, including phones using touch screen controls BS. Flat devices just aren't comfortable to hold. My one ergonomic complaint with Deck is I don't find having my index fingers on L1/R1 and middle fingers on the triggers comfortable like I do with an Xbox controller or Dual Shock. Thankfully with the back buttons I can make it work flawlessly for me.
 
Never played on Deck, but Switch is the most uncomfortable portable that I've ever played with

Ergonomics is just horrible. You can't play for more than 1h without feeling some pain in your hands.

You have to buy some 3rd party accessory to make it more pleasant, but even then, it's still quite uncomfortable

Not only that, but the analog stick sucks balls. You can't play FPS on portable mode, you just cant. Even with gyro.

I thought it was just me who found the Switch cumbersome to use portable and I generally disconnected the joycons for tabletop mode whenever I could or just docked it. Ended up giving it to my nephew a few weeks back and he has no issue tho playing Black Flag for a couple of hours portable funnily enough. Back to carrying the New 3DS & Vita slim in the workbag which amusingly take up less space and weight.

I guess that kind of makes the Steam Deck out of the question somewhat for me given its bulkier than a Switch :messenger_grinning_sweat:
 

Cyberpunkd

Gold Member
steam deck is a joke with 2 hours battery life lmfao. that shit is only good if you're sitting around the house.

the argument that Switch would last just as long if not less if it used the same power. well...it doesn't. they are two different devices but if you're looking at portability then yes the smaller device with better battery life is better in that regard.
You are overestimating the importance of portability for the average consumer. Yes, people play handhelds primarily at home. No, people don't have them out in mass transit unless you want to be mugged.
 

Thaedolus

Gold Member
So you agree with me? Customizing the settings to reduce graphical fidelity is lowering power consumption. Saying "the switch would use as much power as the deck if it were as powerful as the deck" is meaningless.

The added size and bulk of the deck is why I sold mine. I live in an urban area and take transit for the most part. The switch was already pushing what it means to be portable and the deck was over the top. Who takes a console camping though wtf.

Dumping is easy. You can do it from a hacked Switch (preferably a launch switch). You can ping me if you have trouble.
Yeah I don’t think your preference is wrong or anything given your use case, although the deck does go more than an hour or two.
 
The mobile konsole wars have begun between Steam Deck, Switch, and Sony Xperia 1 IV Gaming Edition with Xperia Stream Dock.

But only one has a 4K display with 120fps. Also i jsut fund out you can play Steam games on Android.

So other than price I'm not seeing an advantage of the Switch or the Steam Deck now that I think about it. the dock isn't 4K like the phone but outputs at 1080p 120fps.

Maybe Sony wasn't as crazy as we thought.

Literally not a factor at all and won't compete with the Switch or the SD lol, weird that you bring that up.
 

chixdiggit

Gold Member
Man, I much prefer the ergonomics of the Deck. I have big hands but it feels way more comfy to me.
Switch is the most uncomfortable portable that I've ever played with

Ergonomics is just horrible. You can't play for more than 1h without feeling some pain in your hands.

You have to buy some 3rd party accessory to make it more pleasant, but even then, it's still quite uncomfortable

Darn you, I was just about to hit submit on my post complaining about the Switch causing your hands to cramp up if you don't have the hands of a child.

But this has been an issue with handhelds for a long time, including phones using touch screen controls BS. Flat devices just aren't comfortable to hold. My one ergonomic complaint with Deck is I don't find having my index fingers on L1/R1 and middle fingers on the triggers comfortable like I do with an Xbox controller or Dual Shock. Thankfully with the back buttons I can make it work flawlessly for me.
Switch is terrible for me as well to hold. I get cramps in my hands after about 15 minutes. The only way I can play it is with a grip add on that makes it roughly the same size as the Steam Deck anyway.
 
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