Better screen, bigger battery - Steam Deck OLED is here

Picture of the Steam Deck OLED at the game select screen.

Valve has just announced the new iteration of the Steam Deck that touts but targeted improvements on basically the whole device. More of a refresh than a next-gen model, the Steam Deck OLED is available starting November 16, 2023 at 10am Pacific time.

As the name suggests, the newest Steam Deck will feature a slightly larger 7.4" (vs 7" on the original model) OLED screen. Resolution does stay the same at 1280x800, but the image quality should be greatly improved compared to the LCD model. The OLED panel also features HDR and a higher 90Hz refresh rate. Certainly, this will be a welcome change as the image quality on the original LCD screen is nothing better than acceptable.

Due to the nature of OLED panels, the new screen will use less power than LCDs and increase battery life on the Deck. Valve advertises up to 50% longer battery life on the OLED Steam Deck. This increase is mainly due to the new Deck having a 50Whr battery, compared to the 40Whr battery in the first-gen model, but also because of the more efficient screen and the APU going from a 7nm to 6nm manufacturing method.

In terms of performance, there are some improvements but this was clearly not Valve's focus for this iteration of the Steam Deck. According to Digital Foundry, the Steam Deck OLED should see around 3-8% more FPS depending on the game and power settings. Higher memory transfer speeds on the OLED model, and a more efficient APU, contribute to the slight performance gains.

There are also a slew of other improvements including:

  • 1TB storage on the top model
  • Larger fan that is quieter and offers better cooling
  • Improved Bluetooth compatibility
  • Wi-Fi 6E for better transfer speeds
  • Improved trackpads
  • Improved speakers
  • Longer charging cable
  • 5% lighter
  • No price increases

For those located in USA and Canada, Valve also announced a Limited Edition Steam Deck OLED. Specs are the same as the regular 1TB OLED but comes in a clear black shell with orange-red highlights.

LCD Steam Decks also got a significant price drop. I still feel the LCD Steam Deck is great value at its original price. So, this price drop just makes it even better.