Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Going into the holiday season, you may have purchased the new refresh of the Steam Deck with the OLED screen, improved Wi-Fi capabilities, and longer battery life. Or, like me, you are sticking with the old one until the inevitable Steam Deck 2 in the next few years. Either way, there are many Steam Deck Accessories to consider during the holiday season, either for deals or to put on your wish lists. Over the last few weeks, I have been testing out a bunch of these accessories, and I have compiled my thoughts here to help you decide which Steam Deck accessories would work best for you. Remember that these accessories work for both the older and the newer OLED models.

JSAUX ModCase We will see JSAUX in this list quite a few times, as they have been the ones to consistently put out reliable products at a decent price point for the Steam Deck. The JSAUX ModCase is of two cases: the more hearty case with a hard plastic covering and back, with excellent textured grips giving us a good nonslip feel. The most significant addition most Steam Deck cases add is the kickstand that runs the gamut of flimsy to heavy-duty. The Jsaux ModCase leans into the heavy-duty with a built-in metal kickstand capable of multiple angles.

That is not to say everything is perfect with the JSAUX ModCases, as there are a few inclusions that are a bit baffling, with a rubber strap that feels incredibly flimsy but is surprisingly durable. I don’t see a use case for wanting to attach the strap to anything. The other is the rubber stand it comes with that just doesn’t look or feel good. It’s a big piece of rubber that the case doesn’t even click into; it rests on it.

The last slightly annoying issue with the JSAUX ModCase is the cover that you have to take off anytime you want to use it. It can be difficult, as I never know where to pull from, so I manage to pull it off one half and then the other. It only adds a few seconds to the process of wanting to use the Steam Deck, but it adds up over time. With an incredible amount of durability and only a few design decisions that hold it back a little bit, the JSAUX ModCase is an excellent case for those of us who need extra durability on the go. Included with the Power Bank Edition is a 65w Power Bank that, with any portable gaming device, is almost required at this point for extended play. I drained the Steam Deck battery, and the Power bank managed to charge it back up to full in roughly three hours. This is slightly slower than the charger packaged in with the Steam Deck, which takes two hours to charge the device fully. The upside here is that you can keep it plugged in while you play and keep your gaming going for almost an extra three hours before the power bank runs out.

I found myself having to charge the bank after each full charge of the Steam Deck. It does come with a clip that nicely attaches it to the back of the Steam Deck, and even though the bank itself looks big, it doesn’t add too much weight to the already hefty Steam Deck.

JSAUX Cooling fan Cooling is essential when it comes to the Steam Deck. When playing games like Baldurs Gate 3, Cyberpunk 2077, or Resident Evil 4 Remake, I noticed quite a lot of heat emanating from the Steam Deck. Naturally, I looked for a solution and came across the JSAUX Cooling fan, which is built specifically for Steam Deck. This fan works wonders. While yes, the noise output is quite a bit more. I had peace of mind while this cooling fan was running. Easily charges by plugging a USB-C charging cable into it, which is included. It’ll show a light as to how charged it is and the ability to control the strength of the fan. It’s an excellent addition to any Steam Deck user play. The only downside, and it’s a big one, is that it is built for bare Steam Decks, not even with JSAUX cases. But the trade-off of a longer life for the Steam Deck with less wear and tear on it is worth it, especially if you pair the cooling fan with a docking station.

Docking Stations are an area of Steam Deck accessories; there are a ton of them. They seem to be easily manufactured, but masterfully manufactured is something else entirely. To this end, I ended up testing a few docks and found these two to stand above the rest.

UGREEN 6-in-1 Steam Deck Dock The UGREEN 6-in-1 Steam Deck Dock is fantastic, from its minimalist design to its ease of use. It’s something that Steam Docks should aim for when releasing new ones. It comes packed with one HDMI out, two USB-A outs, one USB-C out, and an ethernet port to assist with those big Steam downloads. All wrapped in a steady metal frame, with grips on its interior to help hold the Steam Deck in place. With the UGREEN 6-in-1 Steam Deck Dock, it’s as easy as plug and play. Even with a big bulky case on the Steam Deck, it fits nicely into the dock, and the USB-C Cable to the Steam Deck length is nice and short. With the ability to plug in USB-A devices like keyboards and mice, this is the perfect device for Steam Deck users who want to get more functionality out of their Steam Decks.

Syntech 6-in-1 Steam Deck Dock The Syntech 6-in-1 Steam Deck Dock is much like the Ugreen dock. The significant difference here is the trade-off of a USB-C in for another USB-A, making this more of a dock for those interested in wired devices like plug-and-play gaming controllers, mice, and Keyboards. Otherwise, it still sports the HDMI out, Ethernet in, and three USB-A-ins. It also holds a more compact, smaller plastic frame. The only issue with the Syntech 6-in-1 dock is that the Steam Deck has to be placed off-center so the vents are not blocked. This is due to the tighter hold it has on the deck, as it seems to be harder to fit a Steam Deck that has a case on. Otherwise, these docks are very similar in output. Therefore, it comes down to a design decision. Syntech Mini Dock Compatibility with Steam Deck/ROG Ally/iPhone 15 Pro Max, 6-in-1 Docking Station with HDMI 2.0 4K@60Hz, Gigabit Ethernet, 3 x USB 3.0, PD Charging Doc, Enhanced Stability Round Stand Mini Round Base Design: Our exclusive round dock departs from the traditional square hub, specifically created for Valve Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally accessories, while providing enhanced stability support. The rounded curvature expands the port spacing, ensuring easy cable insertion and removal. With a 20% smaller footprint, it easily fits into any carrying case or bag, while being 57% shorter, allowing for unobstructed views and improved heat dissipation without blocking screens and vents.

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