The DeckHD is a thoughtful but flawed screen upgrade versus Steam Deck OLED

February 10, 2024
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Valve’s Steam Deck garnered almost universal acclaim when it launched in 2022. It offered a powerful handheld experience, with well-designed software and plenty of hardware power. The screen, however, left something to be desired, with low contrast, poor colour reproduction and a decent amount of display lag. You could of course upgrade to Valve’s Steam Deck OLED, which comprehensively solves those issues, or opt for a full display replacement in the form of the DeckHD, which offers a higher resolution and higher-quality LCD panel. Today we’ll be evaluating each of those two options to see which upgrade path works best for original Steam Deck users.

First, let’s take a deep-dive into the DeckHD. This is a $99 USD display replacement that’s available for the original Steam Deck – aka Steam Deck LCD – and should be a higher-quality LCD panel with fewer weaknesses than the default screen. The DeckHD unit was provided to us fully assembled for the purposes of this review, but it’s worth noting that you’d need to install the screen yourself if you were buying one.

With both devices set to the same settings and set side-by-side at 50 percent brightness, the main difference you’ll notice is that screen elements appear smaller on the DeckHD due to its higher resolution of 1920×1200 versus 1280×800 on the Deck – though this can be altered if you like. Having 2.3x the pixels makes a big difference while gaming, although of course this comes at a performance penalty as we’ll see later.

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