The Nintendo Switch (OLED model) wasn't the "Pro" upgrade many expected it to be with 4K support and new internals but before its announcement, other handhelds aimed to take the role of the "Switch Pro". The AYA NEO and GPD Win 3 are among those devices shooting for that nickname since they are able to run recent AAA PC games on the go, given that they are handheld gaming PCs. Their efforts and popularity, although niche, enticed companies like Lenovo and Tencent to make similar concepts or patents; indicating that these indie companies might have more serious competition in the future.
It seems like this will indeed be the case and these handheld gaming PC manufacturers will need to brace themselves as Valve is itself entering this market with a Valve-branded handheld gaming PC. This news was actually reported back in May and today we have the official confirmation. In a Steam post today, Valve revealed the Steam Deck, an AMD-based handheld gaming PC that is expected to begin shipping in December 2021 in select regions.
The software giant partnered with AMD to create a custom APU for the handheld that is said to be "optimized for handheld gaming". "It is a Zen 2 + RDNA 2 powerhouse, delivering more than enough performance to run the latest AAA games in a very efficient power envelope," reads the announcement.
It will run on SteamOS 3.0 (Arch-based) and there will be several models of the Steam Deck, which differ on the storage capacity, with the base model starting at $399. However, every model will include a microSD slot for additional storage capacity. For more details about the models available and their price, refer to the image below:
You can find additional specs details in the images below (click/tap to enlarge):
And just like the AYA NEO and GPD Win 3, the Steam Deck will also have a dock which will be sold separately. This accessory will provide ports for external displays, wired networking, USB peripherals, and power. More details about the dock's pricing will be announced at a later date but you can find some specs details in the thumbnail below:
Valve says that the Steam Deck will start shipping this December to the United States, Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom, with more regions coming in 2022. However, to be able to purchase one, you will need to book a paid reservation which will let you pre-order when the time comes. This reservation fee will also count towards the Steam Deck purchase price.
"The main reason for reservations is to ensure an orderly and fair ordering process for customers when Steam Deck inventory becomes available," writes Valve in the announcement FAQ. "The additional fee gives us a clearer signal of intent to purchase, which gives us better data to balance supply chain, inventory, and regional distribution leading up to launch."
Reservations for the Steam Deck will open Friday July 16th, 10am PDT. For more details about the new handheld gaming PC, head to the source link and official Steam Deck website linked below.
Are you interested in getting one?
Steam Deck Official Website