I received my Steam Deck on June 6th and have used it literally every day since then. Here are some assorted thoughts that might be of value to people either waiting on theirs or on the fence about ordering:
- I had no idea until I got it that there's an official Deck test game: Aperture Desk Job. It's essentially a cute test/tutorial for the Deck's controls, set in the Portal universe. Takes about half an hour, but it's a fun onboarding for the device.
- On the past two Saturdays, I have woken up and played Vampire Survivors with one hand while I held my morning coffee in the other. This is the way.
- The control remapping options are absolutely incredible. It is a very robust system. Even simple fixes (like putting A on a back paddle so I can play Vampire Survivors one-handed) can make a world of difference.
- I haven't run many heavy games on it, but I started up Bugsnax, and it was keeping a solid 60 FPS and looked great.
- Emulation on the device is a dream. I haven't done anything past OG PlayStation games yet, but the power of the device, the robust control customization, and the ease of installing emulators (adding Flatpaks in desktop mode) make this absolutely ideal for revisiting older consoles. I've spent probably 80% of my time on the device in PSOne games.
- Battery life is fine, but I don't really use it. I bought a long power cord and spend most of the time with it plugged in on my couch since it has passthrough. I thought the cord sticking out the top of the device would bother me, but it hasn't really been an issue.
- Game selection is increasing steadily (1700+ verified games currently). If you're buying it to play specific games you might be disappointed, as there's still a lot that doesn't work. If you're buying it for games in general though, there is plenty to keep you occupied.
- The grips are MUCH more comfortable for bigger hands than standard Switch joycons. Those would always cramp my hands, but the Deck feels natural and comfortable.
- The middle of the device gets warm to the touch during gameplay, especially on more demanding stuff, but the grips remain cool and you won't feel the heat at all unless you specifically move your hands to the back middle of the device.
- The paddles on the back are a little awkward, and I accidentally click them more than I like. In most games they're not mapped to anything so it's fine, but in emulators I use them for save states. I had to set them to respond to long presses only so my accidental clicks didn't mess things up.
- The software is... still getting there. I get navigation issues on store and profile pages frequently, along with frequent UI lag. It's a bit unpolished at the moment.
- Don't know if it's specific to my hardware or a software bug, but sometimes it won't log me in to my Friends list and the only fix is a reboot.
- I wish the control sticks had deeper indents for your thumbs. They're pretty flat, and my thumbs tend to slip off on stick-focused games (most noticeable on my right (aiming) thumb during 20 Minutes Till Dawn).
- Bluetooth headphones have to be manually reconnected in the Settings menu each time. No idea why this is, but it's a bit of an inconvenience.
- Mid-game suspending is still clunky. I don't really do it, as I don't trust that it'll save like it should. It also still counts playtime while suspended but seems to have a rollback feature? I put the device to sleep with a game open that I'd played for 20 minutes and came back to it saying I'd played it for 3 hours. The playtime ended up dropping back down to 20 minutes, but only after I restarted the device.
- There isn't any ugly. I absolutely love this device. Despite my nitpicks above, I think it's nothing short of splendid. I'm more excited about this than I've been about anything in videogaming in a long time.
If anyone has any questions, ask away! Also if any other people here have their Steam Decks and want to chime in with their experiences (@Autoxidation), go for it!