More Thoughts – Steam Deck Battery

One of the interesting bits about my Switch is that the battery generally lasts across multiple sessions without a charge. The even better part is that nearly any USB-C charger is sufficient to charge the thing while I’m playing, or at least dramatically reduce the draw. I’ll be up front about it, I play on Airplane mode 99% of the time and that alone appears to have added a massive amount of battery performance. We are light years away from the massive battery packs that kept my GameBoy going, yet still a long ways to go before we read Nintendo DS levels (seriously, that feels like black magic).

Now, the Steam Deck is a different beast and each game takes a drastically different draw from the system. The geek in my absolutely loves the performance overlay options, where you can see moment to moment how hard the device is working. There are plenty of forum posts which give tips on how to squeeze out the most of the Deck with game-specific configurations. Certainly, turning off the network portions has an impact, but also changing the display options can make a world of difference. Perhaps I haven’t see it yet, but auto-detection of docked and un-docked mode (dual profiles) would make a big difference here.

What I will say is that when I’m playing offline mode, on something like Dead Cells (it’s still stupid good) can go for many, many hours before needing a charge.


The charging of a Steam Deck is primarily done through a provided 45W charger and that is more than what many people use for their other USB-C devices, which seems to be closer to 20W-30W. This seems a minor quibble, but it’s important to point out that ineffective chargers means you’re going to wait a very long time to recharge the system.

My general rule of thumb is that charging should take half as long as the duration of the battery. The Switch is honestly at another level here, as the battery duration can be 6-8hrs and a full charge in less than 1. Wild! The Steam Deck gets 4-6hrs of play but it can take up to 2hrs to get all the way back. Which is certainly good, and way better than any gaming laptop on the market, but an adjustment all the same.

That remains my larger comment with regards to mobile gaming, in that the Switch is made to be simple stupid easy to use. The Steam Deck provides so much customization and knobs to turn that you can make it what you will. It’s missing a bit of that KISS principle, or perhaps providing the various devs out there the ability to provide a recommended Deck profile.

‘Cause honestly, this is an insane amount of progress for mobile gaming and I can only imagine what the next few years will bring as battery tech continues to evolve. Never would I have imagined this when I was a kid at LAN parties. Feels like holding magic in my hands.

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