There is no doubt that the Steam Deck is an incredible piece of kit. It’s capable of playing a vast amount of PC games on the move, creating the first truly mobile PC gaming experience. All this fits within a device not much bigger than a Nintendo Switch, which is an impressive feat of engineering and product design. However, that’s not to say that the Steam deck cannot be improved with a few choice additions. Let’s have a look at the best Steam deck accessories to help you get the most out of your mobile gaming.
Steam Deck specs
Before we look at what the Steam deck needs, let’s have a look at its out-of-the-box capabilities to see where there’s room for improvement.
- Processor: Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz (up to 448 GFlops FP32)
- GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz (up to 1.6 TFlops FP32)
- RAM: 16 GB LPDDR5 on-board RAM (5500 MT/s quad 32-bit channels)
- Display: 60Hz, 1280 x 800 IPS
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Dual-band Wi-Fi radio, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, 2 x 2 MIMO, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
Storage is where the three available variants of the Steam Deck differ. The more you pay, the more storage you get. Additionally, the cheapest model’s storage is only PCIe gen2 compliant, meaning that the read/write speeds are slower than the other two options.
- 64 GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1) ($399)
- 256 GB NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4 or PCIe Gen 3 x2*) ($529)
- 512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4 or PCIe Gen 3 x2*) ($649)
So, it’s a powerful piece of kit, but how can we improve it? Let’s start with some additional storage as a memory card is definitely one of the best Steam Deck accessories.
Best Steam Deck memory card
Regardless of which model you go for, they all include a high-speed microSD card slot for additional storage expansion. the slot is SDXC compliant, meaning that it can accept up to a 2TB capacity card, in theory. However, at time of writing, the maximum capacity of a microSD card is 1TB.
It’s worth noting here that the maximum speed that the Steam Deck can read/write to a microSD card is around 100MB/s. This means that there is no reason to go for a microSD card that has higher speeds than this. For this reason, we’ve decided to recommend the SanDisk Ultra 1TB microSDXC Memory Card. It’s got the current max microSD card capacity, and upgrading to the Extreme PRO is not worthwhile due to the aforementioned read/write speed limitation.
SanDisk Ultra 1TB microSDXC Memory Card
Up to 120MB/s (Class 10)
As an aside, memory cards of all types, are regularly discounted by up to 50% on Amazon so chances are, you’ll be able to grab this card and others of differing capacities for less than you’d expect.
Best Steam Deck stand
We previously compared the Steam Deck to the Nintendo Switch, however, one of the Switch’s best features is the kickstand. This allows you to prop it up in front of you, allowing for a more console-adjacent controller experience. Valve has confirmed the upcoming release of a first-party dock that will both prop the Steam Deck up, and expand its I/O with USB Type-C and Ethernet.
However, the official Steam Deck Dock has been delayed so some third-party stands have been popping up. While they won’t increase the number of available ports like the official one from Valve, they will at least function as a stand so you can use a controller or full keyboard and mouse combo with the Steam Deck without having to prop it up against a stack of books or something.
JSAUX anti-slip stand for Steam Deck
4.41 x 2.2 x 1.1 inches
We’ve decided to go for the JSAUX anti-slip stand. Mostly for the quality metal construction and interior coating that both holds the Steam Deck in place and prevents scratches. Additionally, the supporting ridge is designed so it won’t block the exhaust port of the Steam Deck. This makes it one of the more comprehensive Steam Deck accessories that will actually change the way you play.
The metal construction is nice too, meaning that this will last until Valve finally makes the official Steam Deck Dock available. However, if their previous reputation for release dates is anything to go by, you might be waiting longer than you’d like.
Best controller for steam deck
While the Steam Deck has a pretty comprehensive control system built-in, it doesn’t hold a candle to a good old-fashioned controller. A proper controller is one of the best Steam Deck accessories you can get as it allows you to properly kick back and enjoy, especially when paired with the aforementioned stand.
SCUF Instinct Pro controller
Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PC
Standard Xbox layout +4 programmable paddles
Bluetooth, USB Type-C
USB-C, extension port, 3.5mm stereo headset jack
Up to 12m/45 feet
The Official Xbox controller is as classic as it gets and is well-suited to any given gaming task. However, if you really what to up the ante, the SCUF Instinct Pro is worth considering. Yes, it’s pricey, but the dual-mode triggers, magnetic faceplate, and stealthy design are all fantastic. If you want to maximize your performance with a controller, the Scuf Instinct Pro is the best we’ve tried. Our full SCUF Instinct Pro Wireless Performance Controller review has more details.
Best headset for Steam Deck
Despite the impressive specs of the Steam Deck, the speakers aren’t quite up to scratch. Built-in speakers always seem to be lacking, even with the best gaming laptops, a gaming headset is one of the first upgrades to be made. Luckily, the Steam Deck is equipped with a 3.5mm audio jack and Bluetooth. This widens the range of compatible headsets considerably, however, we’re going to stick with a Bluetooth headset to keep as much of the Steam Deck’s limited I/O free for other uses.
Razer Kaira Pro Haptic headset
20 Hz – 20 kHz
USB Type-C, Bluetooth
Up to 20 hours (with lighting/haptics, Up to 50 hours (without lighting/haptics)
PS5/PS4, PC, Devices with Bluetooth audio capacity
We’ve decided to go with the Razer Kaira Pro for its comfort, dual-mode connectivity, and fantastic haptic gaming experience. It’s Bluetooth so we can keep more ports free, and it’s overall a fantastic package for the mobile gamer. Additionally, the haptics really do make a difference, producing an effect akin to standing close to a subwoofer at a gig, increasing immersion tenfold. Read our Hands-on page about the Kaira Pro for more details about this fantastic Bluetooth headset.
Best Steam Deck accessories: Final word
As mentioned earlier, the Steam Deck does function remarkably well as a standalone device, but with a few extra investments, it can be made even better. If you only have limited cash, definitely get a memory card first, then consider the other stuff.