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Is Valve's Steam Deck the real Nintendo Switch Pro?

If you were disappointed by Nintendo's Switch OLED model announcement earlier this month, you might want to take a look at the latest offering from Valve. Named after the company's video game platform, the Steam Deck is a mighty powerful looking handheld games console – it it might be the closest thing we get to a Switch Pro in 2021.

Featuring a 7-inch, 720p touchscreen,  console-like controls and, most importantly, access to Steam's enormous digital library, the surprise SteamOS-powered console is sounding like a pretty tempting proposition for gamers on the go. But is it enough to turn you away from the best Nintendo Switch deals? Make sure you stay up to date with the latest Switch deals with our Nintendo Switch Black Friday live blog. 

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The most obvious direct competitor here is that other portable gaming device, the Nintendo Switch. While the Steam Deck doesn't feature removable controls, the similarity to Nintendo's handheld mode is unmistakable. And Valve's offering comes with some control perks of its own, including two trackpads and eight (eight!) triggers on the rear. 

Steam Deck

The Steam Deck in all its glory (Image credit: Valve)

But where the Steam Deck really outshines the Switch is internals. The former packs an AMD Zen 2 CPU and next-gen RDNA 2 GPU (architectures that, incidentally, can also be found in the PS5 and Xbox Series X). The Switch, meanwhile, features Nvidia’s four year-old Tegra X1 chipset. 

In short, the Steam Deck is much more powerful. Indeed, with the 'new' Switch OLED model delivering none of the heavily-rumoured internal upgrades to Nintendo's console, the Steam Deck is looking a lot more like the Switch Pro we were hoping for. Now there's a plot twist. You can currently preorder the Steam Deck, which ships in December, from the Steam website (opens in new tab).

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Steam Deck

The device sure looks Switch-like (Image credit: Valve)

Still, there are areas where the Switch Pro wins the fight. One is price – at a starting price of $399, the Steam Deck is definitely pitching itself as a 'pro' device. The Switch Lite starts at just $199, and even the top-end OLED model is $349. And you can also expect better battery from the Switch, offering 4.5-9 hours as opposed to the Steam Deck's 2-8 hours.

Time will tell whether the Steam Deck will take the Switch's crown when it comes to portable gaming, but one thing's for sure – if the fabled Nintendo Switch Pro ever does arrive, it'll have some pretty serious competition. At least there's plenty for gamers to choose from – check out today's best video game deals below.

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Daniel Piper
Senior News Editor

Daniel Piper is Creative Bloq’s Senior News Editor. As the brand’s Apple authority, he covers all things Mac, iPhone, iPad and the rest. He also reports on the worlds of design, branding and tech. Daniel joined Future in 2020 (an eventful year, to say the least) after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more. Outside of Future, Daniel is a global poetry slam champion and has performed at festivals including Latitude, Bestival and more. He is the author of Arbitrary and Unnecessary: The Selected Works of Daniel Piper (Selected by Daniel Piper).