In this article, we will talk about the best Steam Deck Tips and Tricks for every Gamer. The Steam Deck is a fantastic handheld console that is an absolute pleasure to play on. If you’re like us and have been waiting months for your pre-order email, you are probably already super excited to start playing on your new computer. However, there are a few things you should know before you get started to make the experience even more immersive. With Valve ramping up production and many more people than expected getting their Steam deck this year, as well as due to expansion into Asia, it was time to put together some basic tips and tricks for you.
We have a lot of tutorials here in various articles and on the YouTube channel, and while they are good, they are pretty widely available, so this is a nice quick reference to return to when you need information. Think of it as a beginner’s guide to getting up to speed with the deck quickly. Valve’s Steam Deck is an impressive piece of gaming technology, but there is definitely a learning curve. Even if you’re familiar with the Steam Store and the TV-friendly “Big Picture Mode,” which is similar to the Deck’s SteamOS, it takes some time to figure out how to translate the basic functions of Steam on the PC to the gamepad controls of the portable device.
However, it’s easier than you might think at first. Valve doesn’t make it clear up front, but Steam Deck users have plenty of hotkeys to rely on. All of these hotkeys involve holding down the “Steam” key along with one of the other keys to achieve various effects. Like we said, a simple thing. The most important thing you need to know is only about the steam key.
If you hold it down pretty much all the time, you will see a whole list of all the available key combinations until you release the key. So if you forget, as we often have, you can painlessly refresh your memory without having to go to an Internet search engine. Below we have mentioned the best Quick Steam Deck tips and tricks you need to know about.
Here is the list of best Steam Deck Tips and Tricks
Pull up Steam Deck shortcuts
The Steam button will quickly become your best friend with the Steam deck, but it can do more than just open your menu. Hold the button down for a few more seconds to bring up a list of Steam deck shortcuts that show you how to take a screenshot, force quit a game, and more. You can find the full list of shortcuts by pressing and holding the Steam button, but here they are for quick reference:
- Steam + B (long press): Force game shutdown
- Steam + X: Show keyboard
- Steam + L1: Toggle magnifier
- Steam + R1: Take screenshot
- Steam + L2: Right mouse click (this is correct, believe it or not)
- Steam + R2: Left mouse click
- Steam + Right joystick: Joystick mouse
- Steam + Right trackpad: Trackpad mouse
- Steam + Right trackpad (click): Left mouse click
- Steam + Left joystick up: Increase screen brightness
- Steam + Left joystick down: Decrease screen brightness
- Steam + D-pad right: Enter key
- Steam + D-pad down: Tab key
- Steam + D-pad left: Escape key
Set Up the Steam Deck’s Rear Buttons
This is a big one if you like to customize your gameplay experience. Most games don’t natively support these buttons though. So you’ll want to configure them to your personal preferences. If you don’t configure them, they may still work depending on the game. But they will likely be set to the ABXY buttons by default. However, you can set them up to control a whole bunch of different actions.
Get yourself a MicroSD Card
The Steam Deck is available in different storage format sizes. You can buy 64GB, 256GB and 512GB. While it’s theoretically possible to swap out (and upgrade) the internal storage, it won’t be an option for many. We bought a 256GB model to save money but found we managed to fill the console with just four games.
Of course, this depends on what you’re installing, but Forza Horizon 5, for example, takes up well over 100GB of storage space. We highly recommend getting a microSD card for easy access to more games. Games won’t load as fast this way as NVMe SSDs, but it’s still great to have extra storage space without a massive additional cost.
Turn off Adaptive Brightness
Adaptive brightness is one of those features that sounds great as a concept but rarely works as advertised. We found the constant fluctuations in brightness to be too annoying and even a boost in battery life couldn’t make up for it. It didn’t take long for me to disable the feature, and once we did, it stayed off throughout the weeks we tested the Steam Deck. If you need to adjust the brightness, you can do so via the quick settings or use the keyboard shortcut trick described on the next slide.
Turning off Adaptive Brightness on the Steam Deck is often the most overlooked detail setting for the device. Pretty understandable when the screen brightness automatically adjusts to the ambient light levels, since the “adaptive brightness” feature is enabled by default. However, on most electronic devices, the adaptive brightness settings are not the best, and the Steam Deck is no exception to this rule.
Change Game Graphic Settings
We are honestly surprised at how well the Steam Deck plays even the most modern games. It handles games really well and is a pleasure to play on. Of course, being a small handheld, screen size is limited. It features a 7-inch touchscreen display with a 1280 x 800 resolution for 720p gameplay. You’re probably used to playing on a much larger gaming monitor. If you try to play games on Ultra settings, you will probably find that the Steam Deck doesn’t work as well as you’d like.
Try turning the graphics down a bit. We didn’t find this to be very necessary, but dropping it down to high settings can result in a smoother experience when needed. The bonus here is that it still looks good given it’s only a small screen anyway. Alternatively, you can use the previously mentioned Remote Play streaming feature to run at high graphics settings without taxing the Steam Decks GPU.
Ignore the ‘Great on Deck’ Category
Steam Deck sorts your library automatically and offers a somewhat misleading “Great on Deck” category. These are all Deck Verified games in your library, meaning they have been tested by Valve and offer a seamless experience when playing on Deck. However, that doesn’t mean the rest of your Steam library is not available.
Go to your full library and press the X button to select Filter by Verified and Playable. Countless titles work perfectly on Steam Deck but don’t have full verification due to a pregame launcher or minor configuration issue. Although you should search your entire library, we recommend starting with the best Deck Verified games first.
Turn on Half-Rate Shading in Pixel Art Games
The Steam Deck now supports half-rate shading, which can massively improve battery life. Half rate shading basically halves the resolution of pixel shades. Although half-rate shading is available in every game, we particularly recommend using it in pixel art games. If, like me, you are a big fan of platform games and indie titles, half-rate shading will save you a ton of battery life (hours in many cases). The lower resolution doesn’t matter in pixel art games, but be careful with half-rate shading in more graphically complex games – it can really degrade image quality.
Change Screen Brightness While you Game
You are in the thick of the game, enjoying your steam deck in the nice crisp summer air as the sun creeps out from behind the clouds. Suddenly the 7 inch screen is hard to see in such bright conditions. Sure, you could open quick settings and move the brightness slider to the right. But you’re in the middle of a high-octane gunfight; no time for settings menus.
Luckily, Valve agrees. It implemented a clever brightness adjustment shortcut that allows you to quickly brighten or dim your screen mid-game. It’s a cumbersome keyboard shortcut, but it gets the job done: Hold down the Steam button while sliding the left switch up (brighter) or down (dimmer).
Using the On-Screen Keyboard
The virtual keyboard is one of the cool things that Valve has added to Steam Deck. This feature provides users with a quick way to bring up a keyboard that looks like a smartphone keyboard while in a game. This is ideal for gamers who don’t want to connect their own keyboard.
According to GameSpot, players just need to press Steam and X at the same time to see it. This will bring up the keyboard so players can type without leaving the game they are playing. However, there may be cases where the keyboard does not appear. In this case, you can switch to desktop mode, which will appear almost immediately.
Wait to install Windows
You can install Windows 10 on the Steam Deck. Should you? It’s complicated. For now, we would resist the urge. Valve released Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and GPU drivers so the Steam Deck has the basics needed to download games and play on Windows. However, to do this you need to clear the Steam Deck, and since there is no dual boot support, that means clearing the Steam OS. Worse, the Steam Deck’s speakers and headphone jack don’t work as Valve has only provided barebones Windows support so far.
Then there is the question of performance and stability. Not every Steam game runs on Linux, so you might be tempted to download Windows as a workaround to get full access to your Steam library or games you own on other stores. That sounds great and all, but these games haven’t been tested to be played on the Steam deck, so you will be the guinea pig until other players provide more data. If you’re a hobbyist who thinks the reward of downloading Windows onto the Steam Deck is greater than the risk, then go for it. However, most people should stick with Steam OS.
Command Buttons at the Back
Here’s another Steam deck trick you can use. Anyone who has used a Steam deck knows that the device has four buttons on the back, two on each side of the device. These can be mapped to whatever inputs the player desires, giving them a great deal of flexibility. Unfortunately, most games currently don’t make use of these buttons at all. However, if you’re playing a game that uses the buttons on the back, they can be used with ease.
- Press the steam button on the left side of the device and press right twice.
- Go to the controller settings
- Go to Edit Layout
- Use the back keys L4, L5, R4, R5 to type what you want
Check for Software Updates
We could not count the number of software updates Valve released between the time we received the Steam Deck and the embargo date for review. dozens. Things have slowed down since then, but you can expect many more software updates in the coming months and years. Look for the yellow exclamation point over the settings gear icon, indicating that a new software version is available for download.
We hope you like this article Best Quick Steam Deck Tips and Tricks. The Steam Deck is the latest high-profile attempt at doing the near-impossible to make a great handheld gaming PC. The device looks a lot like a Nintendo Switch, the current king of portable games, but it’s a whole different beast: more powerful, more expensive, and certainly more complicated. For the uninitiated, this is an AMD-powered handheld gaming PC with a 7-inch display with a 1,280 x 800 resolution and either 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage.
Valve’s wearable is also difficult to definitively review due to the rapidly evolving platform and list of compatible games. Operating system updates add and change important features, so some parts of the user experience may be different at the time of reading. For example, Valve just added the ability to easily install the Chrome web browser directly from the SteamOS interface. You can’t underestimate what Nintendo has achieved with the Switch. The innovative device combined the console and handheld gaming elements into one convenient package and managed to deliver a hybrid product that many of us didn’t even know we wanted.
I hope you understand this article, Steam Deck Tips and Tricks for every Gamer.