It’s been revealed that under certain circumstances, the portable gaming PC offers even better battery life than its pint-sized rival, the Nintendo Switch.
There’s no doubt that the newly announced Steam Deck will face some fierce competition from the well-established Nintendo Switch when it comes to dominating the portable console market. However, the device has landed a considerable first blow in the fight, as PC Gamer reports that it can play games for up to 8 hours on a single charge.
Greg Coomer, a product designer at Valve, was quoted as saying than you can “play for something like 8 hours of Death Stranding, or a high-performance game, on this unit if you’re streaming it rather than playing it locally.”
That’s right, there is a catch to this impressive statistic: you’ll get better battery life if you stream content from your gaming PC to the console rather than just playing it directly on your Steam Deck.
When speaking to IGN, Pierre-Loup Griffais of Valve had previously clarified the wide range of endurance you can expect from the device: “It’s about 2-8 hours, depending on what you’re doing. You can play Portal 2 for four hours on this thing. If you limit it to 30 FPS, you’re going to be playing for 5-6 hours.”
Of course, all these official statistics will have to be put to the test upon the device’s December 2021 release before we can fully trust their veracity.
By contrast, the Nintendo Switch can go for as long as 9 hours, and its purely portable sibling, the Nintendo Switch Lite, lasts just slightly less at 7 hours maximum.
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While it might be a bit baffling for potential customers to have such widely diverging battery estimates, its actually a sign of something that Valve has done well, allowing a great deal of customisation and flexibility. The option to stream from your gaming PC not only saves on the battery life, but it also allows you to access your full gaming library on the lower-memory Steam Deck if you’d prefer a different format of input.