Head-to-Head: Nintendo Switch OLED Model vs Steam Deck
Posted by Yuri Mangahas July 23, 2021

Valve shocked the internet last week when it unveiled the Steam Deck handheld PC, which enables players to take their Steam library literally anywhere. This announcement comes as a huge surprise following Nintendo’s recent reveal of the Switch OLED model.



Although both the Nintendo Switch OLED and Steam Deck will be serving two different markets in the gaming world, both devices have many similarities. For instance, both the Switch OLED and Steam Deck can allow players to take their gaming on the go, with the option to dock it and connect to a TV or monitor. The two devices are also relatively close in terms of price, $400 for the 64GB Steam Deck and $350 for the OLED Switch.



This easily begs the question: Which of these devices fare better?



The Display




As the name suggests, the OLED Switch model features a 7-inch organic light-emitting diode screen, which is a massive improvement over the original Switch’s 6.2-inch LED screen. The display can go up to 720p in handheld mode and 1080p in docked mode. Additionally, the unit has a max framerate of 60 FPS, but lacks the capacity to support 4K resolution.





The Steam Deck features a 7-inch LCD screen that can display 720p at a framerate of 60 FPS. While the display isn’t powerful enough in handheld mode, the device can produce 4K resolution graphics based on the TV or monitor the Steam Deck is connected with. The only con is that the Steam Deck does not come with a dock, meaning players have to purchase separate proprietary docks or connect the unit through a USB-C-to-HDMI cable.



The Specs




Truth be told, the Steam Deck packs a lot more juice than it lets on. The device uses a 3.5-gigahertz AMD Zen 2 processor coupled with 8GB of RAM and an AMD 8 RDNA GPU. Players have the option to purchase 64GB eMMC as well as 256GB and 512GB SSD models of the Steam Deck, allowing smooth and fast playthroughs on the go. Each variant comes with a Bluetooth 5.0 feature to help players connect peripherals such as mice, keyboards, and headphones.





The OLED Switch, on the other hand, isn’t exactly designed to run high-end games. The unit is equipped with an 8GB RAM and an NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor, which is built specifically to run games developed by Nintendo. The only advantage the OLED Switch model has is that players may install SD cards to expand the device’s memory beyond its internal storage capacity. 



Another thing to consider would be the devices’ controller schemes. Both units feature everything one can expect from handheld gaming devices: a D-pad, thumbsticks, trigger buttons, and a touchscreen. However, one thing that the Steam Deck has over the Switch OLED is the new Steam Controller-style trackpads, which Valve claims will allow players to have better precision when playing games like first-person shooters.



The Library




While the Nintendo Switch library consists of various ports such as The Witcher 3 and Skyrim, the device sports an impressive plethora of exclusives on its plate. Games such as Pokemon Sword and Shield, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, Monster Hunter Rise, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild can only be played on Nintendo’s flagship console and run seamlessly in contrast to players’ expectations. 





As Valve puts it, the Steam Deck is a handheld PC, virtually allowing players to install anything they want. Aside from Valve’s ever-expanding Steam library, users may also install games from other stores such as Epic Games. While the device primarily runs on Linux’s Proton OS, Valve will let players circumvent the operating system to add Windows or any enhancements.



The Verdict



Since these gaming systems are so different from each other, comparing them is a difficult task. Basically, if you’re new to gaming, want to share your console with others, or are looking for a system that is easy to get into, the Nintendo Switch OLED model should be your choice. However, if you are a PC gamer and looking to play games on the go seamlessly, opt for the Steam Deck. 



The Switch OLED model hits shelves in October, while gamers may expect Valve to ship the first batch of Steam Deck units in December. Both devices are now available for pre-order.



Which portable gaming device will you get? Let us know in the comments!

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