When the first Steam Deck was released in 2022, many were unsure of how it would fare in the current video game landscape, mainly the fact that it’s a Linux-based system and many PC games are made for Windows. Thankfully, Proton which is a compatibility layer does an amazing job getting Windows-based games to run on Steam Deck / SteamOS.
Since its launch, the Steam Deck has been my go-to gaming device over all others. As you’ve seen on the site, when I perform PC game reviews I also provide benchmarks and overall performance on the Steam Deck. So once it was announced a new re-fresh Steam Deck OLED model was set to release, I was interested and when I saw the limited-edition model I was instantly sold.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, out of all the protective cases I’ve owned, the hands-down best one is the Dbrand Project Killswitch (which also fits perfectly on Steam Deck OLED). They also provide a wide variety of skins to really make your device look unique. I’m mentioning this because, for my original Steam Deck, I picked up the Kill Switch with a transparent design skin. It looks fantastic and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was their top seller.
The Steam Deck LE is exactly what this beautiful skin was displaying. It’s a beautifully smokey transparent shell, showing you all the inner workings of the device, front and back. They also included a stylish orange accent on the shell which produces this glow that really makes the unit look spectacular. There is also an orange power button, thumb stick base, and back vent. The contrast of orange with smoky gray is simply eye-catching.
The Steam Deck OLED LE also comes with the new case which is like the standard OLED model. However, the noticeable difference is the inner lining of the case which has this very cool-looking teardown design. This inner lining can also be removed via Velcro snap to be used as a smaller case. This feature is also in the standard OLED case excluding the art design.
In regards to system performance, the Steam Deck OLED LE is identical to the standard OLED model. However, if you are not aware of the differences from the previous LCD model other than the screen have no fear. Below is a list of what’s new along with what has been changed.
Steam Deck OLED specs –
- 6nm APU AMD – (this is a smaller more efficient APU compared to 7nm APU AMD in the LCD model
- 16GB LPDDR5-6400 RAM – (LCD model Has 16GB LPDDR5-5500, so a bit slower RAM)
- 7.4-inch OLED display with HDR – (LCD has a 7-inch display, no HDR, but support for HDR to external monitors or TVs)
- 90hz refresh rate – (LCD model has 60hz refresh rate)
- Network Wi-Fi 6E – (LCD model has Wi-Fi 5)
- 50Wh battery – (LCD has 45Wh)
- Weight 640g – (LCD model weights in at 669g, this is very noticeable and the reason for the weight loss is due to the removal of the LCD screen)
- 512 or 1TB storage – (LCD model has a 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB models with the 64GB model now discontinued.
- The orange power button now has an RGB light to let you know when charging and fully charged – (the LCD model does not have an RGB light in the power button)
As you can see, quite a bit has changed in the new OLED model besides the screen. The key standouts (besides the screen) are the battery life, weight loss, and 90hz refresh rate. Valve has said this new battery can provide an additional 1hr and a half of gameplay time with graphically depending games such as Cyberpunk 2077 and an additional 3hr+ with lesser demanding games.
Of course, these times will vary from game to game whether you have high, medium, or low settings but the bottom line is that more is better, and especially when talking about battery life. The 90hz refresh rate is possible thanks to the new OLED display. You can crank this up and be amazed like I was when playing Forza Horizon 5. As for the weight, I have to admit once I held it in my hands it reminded me how much heavier that the LCD model is.
There are 2 more unique features to the Steam Deck OLED LE that need to be redeemed. Once you sign in, click your profile and you should see an option appear saying “redeem rewards.” Once you redeemed the rewards, head over to your settings. The first is an orange theme for your on-screen keyboard. Go to the keyboard section, click the drop-down arrow and you should see “OLED.” Not sure why they didn’t call it “OLED LE,” or “Orange OLED”. Regardless, once you select OLED you can preview and see your new orange RGB style-looking keyboard. The 2nd is a startup video. While still in settings, scroll down to customization, and in the startup section you can select a new video. The new video is named…OLED. It’s very colorful and definitely shows off the new bright OLED display. It’s also a bit longer than some of the others that I’ve used.
So now I’m sure you are wondering, am I happy with my purchase of the LE version instead of the standard? The answer is YES! I love the design and as I mentioned in the opening of this review, the Dbrand skin design I was using is now officially a Steam Deck model. I really like the new inner lining art. The keyboard theme and startup videos just add to the overall design. Do you need this LE version? Of course not, but if you are a heavy Steam Deck user or someone who is on the fence about picking one up, especially if you have a rather deep Steam game library then the OLED model is the way to go.
This review was based on the Steam Deck OLED Limited Edition purchased by Senior Editor Adam Vale.