Patience is a virtue, because somehow it’s still hard to find a PlayStation 5 some two years after launch. But luckily, if you’re in the market for a Steam Deck, you no longer have to hunt for a distant pre-order: Valve now ships them right after purchase. No waiting, no queues, no $5 reservations. Plus, it now also sells an official Docking Station.
Valve has announced easier ordering and availability of new Docking Station accessory via: Twitter and Steam. In addition, Valve announced “a lot” of software updates for SteamOS, which it says will drastically improve the docking experience. The keyboard is also getting an update, as is the offline mode. (The latter should help alleviate a common pain point for Steam Deck users, as many Steam games require online connectivity for authentication.)
You can watch the news in Valve’s announcement video here:
The official Steam Deck Docking Station costs $89. And while there are a few third-party docks, some of which are cheaper, Hopefully Valve’s Docking Station will set a new standard for connectivity. For example, JSAUX’s cheaper dock comes with USB 2.0 ports, while all USB-A ports on Valve’s dock are version 3.1. It also offers gigabit Ethernet connectivity which will help immensely when downloading big games. DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 ports are provided, allowing the Steam Deck to output to multiple monitors with a choice of 4K 60Hz or 1440p 120Hz in addition to the usual FreeSync support.
Though I’ll be curious to see if the official Docking Station matches go-to peripherals like the Deckmate, the upcoming improvements to the keyboard are very welcome. I found the keyboard a bit finicky, so it’s great to see Valve making the experience of typing on the touchscreen or the touchpads a little more reliable. The keyboard is also expected to receive additional language support, with Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Korean coming soon.
read more: Yes, you can use the steam deck as a computer (here’s how)
However, Valve was light on details when it comes to improvements to the offline mode. This mode basically does what you’d expect, but it wasn’t the deck’s best feature. As many users have noted, a unreliable offline mode kinda kills the portability of something like the Deck. Such problems don’t just plague multiplayer games; many users have found problems with also single player gamesand heaven help you if the game has Denuvo. As if we needed another reason to be annoyed by the notoriously annoying DRM software.
But a finicky offline mode is just a bump in the otherwise fun road the Steam Deck experience has been so far. Good to see Valve ironing out the kinks in production.