Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch

Nintendo might have been one of the originators of portable gaming back in the 1980s, and they were without a doubt one of the first to take console games off of the couch and away from TV screens and monitors when they launched the Switch, but now they have a major rival in the Steam Deck.    

Valve’s Steam Deck has been built from the ground up to provide powerful portable PC gameplay on the move and although it looks similar to the Switch is in fact very different in a number of ways. But do these differences make the Steam Deck better than the Switch? To answer this question we have put both of them through their paces and have made a few direct comparisons which will answer the  Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch debate for good.

Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch Specs Comparison

Steam DeckNintendo Switch
ProcessorAMD APU Zen 2, 2.4 to 3.5 GHzArm 4 Cortex-A57 cores, 1.02 GHz
Storage64GB (eMMC) to 512GB (NVMe)32GB to 64GB (eMMC)
Battery2 to 8 hours4.5 to 9 hours
Screen typeLCDLCD or OLED
Screen size7 inches5.5 to 7 inches
Screen resolution1280 x 8001280 x 720
Touch screenYesYes
MicroSD cardYesYes
Connectivity5 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.05 GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1
TV or monitor supportYes, sold separatelyYes, included but not with the Switch Lite
ControlsFour face buttons, four triggers, directional pad, two analogue sticks, two trackpads, and four rear bumpersFour face buttons, four triggers, a directional pad, two analogue sticks
AvailabilityOnly sold through SteamWidely available from various retailers,
Width11.7-inches9.5-inches (OLED)
Thickness1.8-inches0.55 inches (OLED)
Weight1.47lbsUnder 1lb

Designed to be more powerful than the Switch, the Steam Deck is not necessarily better unless the player is on the tech-savvy side of things and tends to use a PC as their primary gaming platform. The Switch is much easier to use and although not as powerful as the Steam Deck it has a lot of appeal for young and casual gamers. Both platforms have a big range of exclusive games available to them, but the Switch has a lot more games, in general, available to its players. 

Size Comparison – Is Bigger Better?

It might come as a surprise to some gamers but the Switch OLED is the largest of the two platforms but because of its larger build, the OLED Switch still feels a lot more portable. The bigger build of the Steam Deck does however mean that it has extra space for additional trackpad controls and multiple trigger buttons. The standard Switch and the Switch OLED do however have removable Joy-Con controllers, which shrinks their size down even further.

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Performance – Yes There is a BIG Difference!

From a graphics perspective there is no competition and the Steam Deck wins this hands down, but at the cost of a lower battery run time. The Steam Deck has a graphics capability similar to the PS4, and can easily run games running at 60 fps, while most Switch games are limited to 30 fps at best. This is particularly apparent when playing multi-platform games.  

Games – Both Have Great Games Libraries

Although Steam has an enormous library of PC games, not all are available to play on the Steam Deck Console. But this is offset by the fact that the games which are available can be played in both the PC and Steam Deck format. Nintendo on the other hand has an absolutely massive selection of games, many of which are exclusive Nintendo franchises.   

A good point to remember is that Nintendo games are specifically designed for the platform or undergo a Switch-specific port which makes them very stable in general. The same cannot be said for the Steam Deck and some PC releases don’t run well on the platform. Furthermore, the Steam Deck has more in the way of adult games (such as those found at while the Switch caters for a more varied market.  

Connecting to a TV

Again this is a strong point for the Switch, as it comes standard with a dock and is a literal plug-and-play system. The Steam Deck on the other hand needs a USB-C dock to be purchased separately if it is to be connected to any external display such as a TV or Monitor.  

Steam Deck vs. Nintendo Switch – The Winner Is…

Both of these consoles are targeted at different types of players who not only have different gaming expectations but often also have different levels of technical understanding. The Switch is better for casual players while the Steam Deck should be owned by someone who is tech-savvy and who already has an established Steam Library to take advantage of. So in conclusion it is sort of a tie because both platforms are great for their respective player groups.