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Gaming has become one of the most popular forms of entertainment worldwide. With this have come rapid technological advancements aiming to make the experience more enjoyable. Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch are some of the most notable of these advancements.

While the two technologies might be confusing and appear slightly similar, various apparent differences set them apart. Both consoles have their own unique features and target different types of gamers. For starters, Steam Deck is only available for sale at Steam, considered the most renowned store for PC gaming. On the other hand, Nintendo Switch is typical and widely available from various gaming retailers and shopping centers.

In this article, we will explore the hardware, software, and gaming experiences of both devices to help you decide which one is best for you. Let’s get started.

Steam Deck Nintendo Switch
Price $399 for 64GB, $529 for 256GB, and $650 for 512 GB.$200 for (Lite), $300 for (Switch), and $350 for (Switch OLED)
Tech SpecsAMD APU Zen 2 processor with 2.4 to 3.5 GHz, 16 GB LPDDR5 RAM, 7-inch screen, and moreArm 4 Cortex-A57 core processor with 1.02 GHz, 4 GB LPDDR4 RAM, 5.5 to 7 inches screen, and more
Size298 x 117 x 49mm or (11.7 x 4.6 x 1.8 inches) 242 x 102 x 13.9mm or (9.5 x 4 x 0.55 inches)
Weight1.47lbs (669g)0.93lbs (420g)
Design and Multiplayer CapabilitiesHas multiplayer capabilities It has a versatile design and multiplayer capabilities
GamesHas over 5000 verified games Has thousands of games but fewer than Steam Deck
Device ConnectivityDoes not include docks or a standComes with inclusive docks and a stand
AvailabilityNot easily availableEasily available
Which is Better?Better performance, better tech specs, more controls, and more verified games.Lighter, more versatile, easy multiplayer capabilities, better connectivity, and specifically designed games.
Best Console
Nintendo Switch
  • 3 Play Styles: TV Mode, Tabletop Mode, Handheld Mode
  • 6.2-inch, multi-touch capacitive touchscreen
  • 4.5-9 plus hours of battery life
  • Up to 8 consoles can be connected for local wireless multiplayer
  • Model number: HAC-001(-01)
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05/08/2023 09:51 pm GMT

Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch: Overview

Both Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch are portable PCs designed to play video games on the move. The two designs might look similar, but they have several clear distinctions.

Firstly, Valve designed Steam Deck to be significantly more potent than its counterpart. However, this is not to say that Steam Deck is the better console. Especially with its complex operating system, which makes it more challenging to use than a Nintendo Switch. 

On the other hand, a Nintendo Switch console comes with a vast library of exclusive video games specifically designed for the platform. This aspect makes the Switch easier to use and more versatile. 

Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch: What’s the Difference?

Price Difference

A Nintendo Switch comes with three price options based on model. These options include $200 for the Lite version, $300 for Switch, and $350 for Switch OLED. Each Nintendo Switch model (Switch, Switch OLED, and Switch Lite) offers distinct design features, from connectivity to screen quality.

Alternatively, Steam Deck has its price options based predominantly on storage space. These options include $399 for a 64GB console, $529 for 256GB, and $650 for 512 GB. Steam’s more expensive versions offer faster and bigger NVMe drives.

Overall, the Nintendo Switch is the more affordable gaming solution. However, both consoles’ CPU performance and the General graphic remain the same despite their price and model lineup.

Tech Specs

Besides the price, the Nintendo Switch, and Steam Deck gaming consoles differ vastly in technological aspects. These are some of the most critical differences since they directly affect the functionality and the gaming experience. Look at the table below.

Steam DeckNintendo Switch
ProcessorUses an AMD APU Zen 2 with 2.4 to 3.5 GHzUses an Arm 4 Cortex-A57 core with 1.02 GHz
Storage64GB (eMMC), 256GB, and 512GB (NVMe)32GB and 64GB (eMMC)
Screen SizeHas a 7-inch screenIts screen size ranges between 5.5 to 7 inches
Resolution1280 x 8001280 x 720
Screen TypeLCDLCD or OLED
Battery Life2 to 8 hours without recharging4.2 to 9 hours without recharging
Touch ScreenYesYes
MicroSD CardYesYes
Refresh Rate60Hz60Hz
AudioComes with stereo speakers, a 3.5mm jack, and dual mics.Comes with stereo speakers and a 3.5mm jack.

Across the board, the Steam Deck gaming console has significantly superior technology. However, this is unsurprising, considering it was designed to cater to the latest video gaming technology. Steam Deck’s processor is precisely what sets it apart from its competition. It spots an x86 processor with 3.5GHz and the latest AMD GPU architecture. On the other hand, a Nintendo Switch possesses an Arm 4 Cortex-A57 core with 1.02 GHz, which falls a little behind.

Steam Deck also supersedes the Nintendo Switch in terms of storage space. While its storage capacity ranges from 64GB to 512GB, Switch’s capacity only ranges from 32GB to 64 GB.  Steam Deck also has 16 GB LPDDR5 RAM, much higher than Nintendo’s 4 GB LPDDR4. A higher RAM often means the PC has a faster response time and better frame rates. All Steam Deck gaming PCs come with a 7-inch screen, which is ample for a handheld PC. Alternately, Nintendo Switch has a range of screen sizes starting at 5.5 inches to 7 inches. Despite the difference in screen sizes, the gaming experience is not vastly impacted.

The Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck both use LCD screens, which have an LED backlight and produce brighter pictures. However, although rare, some Nintendo Switch models might occasionally use OLED screens, which are self-illuminating and less bright. Moreover, a Steam Deck provides a 1280 x 800 screen resolution, while a Nintendo Switch only has a 1280 x 720 resolution. Another crucial difference between the two handheld gaming PCs is their battery life. Depending on usage, a Switch Deck’s battery can last anywhere from 2 to 8 hours without recharging. On the other hand, a Nintendo Switch’s battery lasts between 4.2 to 9 hours, much longer than its competition. 

Both PCs come with touchscreen technology and a microSD slot that allows users to boost their storage capacities. Their refresh rate is also similar at 60Hz. However, their audio technology differs a bit. A Steam Deck includes stereo speakers, a 3.5mm jack, and dual mics, while a Nintendo Switch only has stereo speakers and a 3.5mm jack. The dual mics mean that a Steam Deck allows audio input while a Switch does not.

Size and Weight Difference

Although both are portable consoles with often similar screen sizes, their overall size differs. The Steam Deck’s build is significantly bigger than the standard Switch. Measuring 11.7 inches wide, it is almost two inches wider than the Nintendo Switch OLED, which measures 9.5 inches wide.

The Steam Deck also measures 1.8 inches thick from its rear to the front of the screen. Compared to 0.55 Switch OLED, this is significantly larger. Furthermore, the Switch OLED and a standard Switch have detachable Joy-Con controllers, which shrink their size further when removed.

Although the Steam Deck is much bigger, it is not all for nothing. The PC uses the extra space in front of the console to accommodate a pair of trackpad controls. It also accommodates multiple internal cooling fans and four additional buttons on its rear side.

Besides size, the two gaming Pcs also differ in weight, with the Steam Deck weighing 1.47 lbs. In contrast, a Switch OLED weighs a little under 1lbs, which feels much lighter when operating.

Design and Multiplayer Options 

The Nintendo Switch is quite versatile, with its design allowing for a multiplayer option. As shown above, the OLED and a standard Switch come with detachable controllers. This spec is essential since it changes it from a single-player device multiplayer option.

The Switch’s in-built stand is also ideal for supporting a portable split-screen play. Place the screen on a stand, whip out Switch pads, and have fun with a friend.

Although Steam Deck’s design is not versatile, it allows multiple controllers through Bluetooth and USB-C. However, some games require extensive setup to configure the second controller correctly. It also requires a separate stand and dock for mobile setup.

The Nintendo Switch also permits local area connections. This allocation means that multiple Switch owners can each use their PC to play a multiplayer game, such as Mario Kart 8.


Steam has the most extensive collection of PC games compared to other modern platforms. However, not all are playable on a Steam Deck, including popular ones such as PUBG: Tekken 7 and Battlegrounds. Games like Cyberpunk 2077 may also experience glitches that do not typically appear when playing on regular PCs. Despite this, Steam Deck has a vast selection of over 5000 verified games. With such an extensive library of PC games, gamers with Steam titles never have to start a new collection. You can even set up a Steam Deck to run other PC stores, such as the Epic Game Store. 

In contrast, Nintendo Switch provides thousands of PC games, all specifically designed to play on the device. In fact, for crucial titles, like Breath of the Wild, the device itself is part and parcel of how the games play. Furthermore, third-party games, like the witcher 3, have been specifically tailored to work within Switch’s hardware limitations.

Switch’s games include exclusive Nintendo franchises such as Pokémon, The Legend of Zelda, and Super Mario. Such exclusive games add a lot of value to their catalog. However, the Nintendo Switch has begun showing its age by experiencing performance issues with recent Nintendo titles, such as Pokémon Scarlet and Violet.

Lastly, games like Monster Hunter Rise that are available on both consoles will typically play and appear much better on the Steam Deck. However, when developers make a game with a Switch-specific port, you are guaranteed exemplary performance on the console. Such specifications are unavailable for Steam Decks, which makes them fall a little behind on such games.

Device Connectivity 

The standard Nintendo and OLED Switch can connect to a TV easily using their inclusive docks. On the other hand, you must purchase a separate USB-C dork and use it to connect your Steam Deck to a screen. This difference is vital since you will have to incur extra costs for display connectivity.

An official USB-C dock from Valve can cost you around $89. However, you can also buy third-party options, which are cheaper but have similar features. 

A docked Nintendo Switch outputs a maximum resolution of 1080p, meaning a 4K TV has to upscale the image. In contrast, you can set a Steam Deck to 1080p, 4K, or even 8K output, depending on what you want. Its visual output is comparable to the PS4.

However, most games will run poorly on 4K and 8K settings. Therefore, it is best to run your Stream Deck at 1080p since it will still beat the performance of a Switch.


The Nintendo Switch is by far more easily accessible than the Stream Deck. Buying a Nintendo Switch is as easy as walking into a brick-and-mortar store and walking out with one. Alternatively, you can order online and wait for someone to deliver it in a few days.

In contrast, the Stream Deck is only available at Valve. Furthermore, despite Valve ramping up production and cutting down the wait time from a year, you still have to wait a long time before you get your device. 

AYA NEO vs. Steam Deck
The Steam Deck from Valve has over 5,000 verified games.


Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch: 9 Must-Know Facts

  • The Nintendo Switch is cheaper with its $200, $300, and $350 price range, while the Steam Deck is expensive, costing $399, $529, or $650.
  • The Steam Deck has a more powerful processor, bigger RAM, and more storage than the Switch.
  • The Steam Deck is larger and heavier than the Nintendo Switch.
  • The Switch has detachable controllers and an in-built stand.
  • The Switch supports multiplayer more comprehensively than the Steam Deck.
  • The Steam Deck has a more extensive library of games, while the Nintendo Switch has games specifically tailored to its hardware.
  • The Nintendo Switch comes with connective docks.
  • The Steam Deck supports 1080p, 4K, and 8K output resolution, while the Switch only supports 1080p.
  • The Nintendo Switch is readily available compared to the Steam Deck.

Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch: Which One Is Better?

For Multiplayer Games

Both Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck support multiplayer. However, the Switch makes it much easier with its detachable controllers and in-built stand. It also allows for local area connections, which allow players to connect their consoles and play multiplayer games.

On the other hand, a Steam Deck will require you to have a separate dock and external display. Furthermore, even with the dock and external display, some games will still need extensive setup to configure a second controller. Therefore, the Nintendo Switch is more suitable for multiplayer games.

For Playing Recent Titles with Heavy Graphics

While both consoles perform well, you might encounter challenges playing some games with the Nintendo Switch. These challenges might be due to old technology that needs help to support recently developed games. For example, recent Nintendo titles like Violet and Pokémon Scarlet may have glitches when played on a Switch.

On the other hand, a Steam Deck can comfortably play all verified games without any challenges. With its superior processor, RAM, and resolution, it will optimally play most games (recent or otherwise).

For Connecting To Your TV

The Nintendo Switch comes inclusive of connecting docks. This factor makes connecting your console to an external display more effortless and cost-effective. In contrast, the Stream Deck does not have an inclusive dock, meaning you must buy one, incurring extra costs. However, it has 4K and 8K output resolution capabilities. Moreover, Its 1080p output resolution is far much better than its competition.

  1. Nintendo Switch
  2. Nintendo Switch
    • 3 Play Styles: TV Mode, Tabletop Mode, Handheld Mode
    • 6.2-inch, multi-touch capacitive touchscreen
    • 4.5-9 plus hours of battery life
    • Up to 8 consoles can be connected for local wireless multiplayer
    • Model number: HAC-001(-01)
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    05/08/2023 09:51 pm GMT

Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch: How Do They Compare? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What are the main advantages of the Nintendo Switch?

The Nintendo Switch offers a unique and versatile gaming experience, thanks to its accessibility, portability, reliability, consistency and budget-friendly options.

What are the main advantages of the Steam Deck?

The Steam Deck offers several key advantages for gamers, including the ability to play PC games on the go, high-quality graphics and performance, and customizable options for performance and appearance.

Can the Steam Deck run games at a lower frame rate to save battery life?

Yes. The Steam Deck has a built-in frame limiter that allows users to adjust the frame rate to save battery life.

Does the Nintendo Switch have a built-in web browser?

Yes. The Nintendo Switch has a built-in web browser that allows users to access the internet and surf the web. However, the browser is hidden but can be unlocked from the settings panel.

Is Steam Deck worth it if you have a gaming PC?

If you already have a gaming PC, then the question of whether a Steam Deck is worth it really comes down to how portable and convenient you want your gaming experience to be. A Steam Deck can provide an incredibly portable gaming experience, allowing you to take your gaming on the go without any additional setup or hardware.

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