The 15 Steam Deck Tips and Tricks You Need to Know

The 15 Steam Deck Tips and Tricks You Need to Know

(CNN) — If you’ve ever wanted to play PC games on the go, Steam Deck is an excellent way to do so. It connects to your Steam account so you can download games to your device. It’s also easy to set up and use, and works right out of the box without the need for a ton of tweaking.

To get the most out of your Steam deck, there are a few accessories you can buy, settings you can customize, and features you can explore. Since the Steam Deck is essentially a mini computer, you can do that a lot with that – here are 15 ways to start delving into the handheld’s potential.

If you already have a Steam account, all you need to do when you launch Steam Deck for the first time is sign in, which you can do by entering your information or scanning the QR code through the Steam app on your mobile device your. The easiest way to create an account on your Deck is through the app, but you can do it through your browser. Valve also made it easy to connect multiple accounts to Steam Deck. Just tap the Steam button, go to Power > Change Account, then tap the + icon. This is a good idea if multiple users plan to use the handheld. Plus, all users can share games, so it’s a great way to expand your library.

Buy and format a microSD card

Video games keep getting bigger, and even if you use more storage when you order the Steam Deck you’ll get more storage, you’ll still only get up to 512GB for the top $649 model. And the base $399 Steam Deck only has 64GB! Regardless of the size, it’s going to fill up quickly. The easiest way to expand available storage is with a microSD card – either SD, SDXC or SDHC cards. SanDisk makes excellent cards that start at $10 for 32GB and go up to $128 for 1TB. All you have to do is insert it into the microSD card slot on the bottom of the Steam Deck. Then format it by going to Settings > System > System Settings > Format SD Card.

If you get extra storage, you will then change where your games are installed by default and stored. Once you’ve inserted your microSD card, go to Settings > Storage. Here you see how much storage space is already in use and which games are installed. You can change the default storage location by selecting either the internal drive or the microSD card at the top and pressing X.

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It may be a large device, but the Steam Deck is meant to be portable. You can play it on your commute or a plane, especially if you have a portable charger (more on this later). The Steam Deck’s weak battery life is one of its biggest drawbacks, but you can counter this with a portable charger or power bank. Look for a USB-C charger with at least 10,000mAh capacity, and you’ll get about two full charges for your Steam deck. One of our favorite portable chargers is the $98 Anker PowerCore+ 26800 PD 45W, which also comes with an additional wall charger to easily juice up the brick again. But there are plenty of other options that are less expensive, like this $36 INIU portable charger.

You probably already have a pair of headphones or earbuds lying around, and both will work with Steam Deck. You can use wireless Bluetooth headphones, which are easy to set up by going to Settings > Bluetooth and selecting your device under Available for pairing. You can also use wired headphones as the Steam Deck has a headphone jack at the bottom. Just be sure to wear headphones if you’re using the Steam Deck in public. You don’t want to be that person who bothers everyone with your sound.

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Once you’re signed in, you can change the look of your profile so that friends and others on Steam can see it. There are many ways to do this through Steam as well; you can customize your theme, your avatar, your avatar frame, your profile showcase, badges and more. Tap your profile icon in the top right, select View Profile > Edit Profile and explore a bit to see what you can change. You’ll earn Steam Points by purchasing games and completing challenges, which you can then spend on more cosmetics for your profile.

Change keyboard theme, haptics and language

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You’ll be using the touch keyboard on the Steam deck a lot to search for games or if you’re playing in desktop mode (although we recommend using a separate keyboard for the latter). But you can change the look and feel by going to Settings > Keyboard. You’ll find a dropdown to change the keyboard theme at the top. You can choose from any of the pre-installed ones or search for more in the Points store. You can also adjust the haptics, keyboard language, sensitivity and more.

Change settings for brightness and night mode

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Adaptive Brightness, which adjusts the brightness of your screen based on the lighting where you are, is a handy feature you’ll find on most smart devices these days. But you can turn it off if it doesn’t work for you. Press the Steam button and scroll to Settings > Display. You’ll see a switch at the top to turn adaptive brightness on or off. There are other settings here as well that you might want to play with. The one we want to highlight is Night Mode, which is great if you play games around bedtime and want to limit the amount of blue light. You can turn it on until the morning, schedule it to activate at certain times of the day, and adjust the color. This is also where you can change your power settings.

Related: 11 essential tips and tricks for Nintendo Switch

Check out Steam sales and other events

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There are tons of games on Steam, so how do you know which ones to buy and how do you do it without breaking the bank? Steam has sales several times a year, usually around major holidays or at the start of seasons, such as summer. They will be visible on the main store homepage, or you can check out other Steam offers in the meantime. Steam also supports events like Steam Next Fest, where you can download demos for smaller games to build out your wishlist, or based on specific genres like strategy games or visual novels. If you’re looking for a way to build your library or learn about new games, this is the best way to go.

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Since many Steam games are designed with mouse and keyboard in mind, they may not work on the Steam deck. Fortunately, Valve has created a program called Great on Deck, which will check if a game will, you know, run well on Steam Deck. You can view compatible games through a browser on the Great on Deck hub, on ProtonDB, or by going to the store on Steam Deck (you’ll go to the Great on Deck tab by default). You can also see it on specific games that are already in your library. A green mark means it’s been confirmed to run well on Steam; a yellow icon says it’s playable but may have some issues; a question mark says it has not been tested; and a gray icon indicates that it is not supported. However, the Steam deck is very customizable, so don’t give up hope if a game isn’t fully verified. Vice versa, a title that has been confirmed may need some configuration. Speaking of…

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While there are default controllers for most games (unless you start messing around with emulators), there are ways to configure the controller layouts, whether you want to make a game playable on Steam Deck or just have other preferences. It’s also easy to do thanks to community-supported layouts created by other users, but you can customize them yourself. All you have to do is go to a game’s page, tap the controller icon on the right and either View Layout or Edit Layout at the top. Clicking on the template box will display all available layouts for you to try.

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Take it from someone who’s been buying games on Steam for over a decade – your library quickly becomes unmanageable. You can search for games and sort them by purchase date or alphabetically, but it’s much easier to find what you’re looking for with collections. Just select a game in your library, tap the options menu and scroll down to Add. You can add the game to an existing collection or create a new one. Now when you jump to the Collections tab in your library, you’ll see nicely sorted games.

Steam Deck runs on a Linux-based platform, which means that it is not only a handheld video game, but also a complete computer. Admittedly, you shouldn’t use it as a computer, but if you download a browser like Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome, you can expand the possibilities of Steam Deck for quick searches or if you want to install other programs like Xbox Game Pass .

To install a browser, enter desktop mode (press the Steam button, then Power > Switch to Desktop). Then tap the Discover tab at the bottom (it looks like a shopping bag) and search for and install the browser of your choice. You can use it on your desktop or add it to your Steam library by launching Steam in desktop mode, pressing the Games tab and selecting Add a non-Steam game to my library. It will now appear in your regular Steam Deck library under the Non-Steam tab.

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If you’re having trouble in a game, you don’t have to pick up your phone or go to your computer to search for guides. You can do it directly through the Steam Deck. Just go to the game’s Steam page and head over to Game Info. You’ll find buttons for the shop page, points shop, discussions and more here, including guides. Hit the guides button and you’ll see user-submitted walkthroughs, walkthroughs, and guides to help you with your game. The Community Hub, which you can also find in this menu, is a great place to see screenshots, fan art and news directly from the developers.

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Having trouble running a game on your Steam deck? You may be able to get around this by playing it through Remote Play. This feature allows you to stream games directly from the Steam application on your PC to the deck. As long as you are logged in with the same account on both devices, it will be easy to set up. Go to Settings > Remote Play and slide the switch at the top to enable it. Your computer should appear under Computers and Devices and connect automatically. Go to the uninstalled game you want to stream and tap the arrow next to the Install button. You will see This Steam Deck and the name of your PC. Select your PC and you will now see that the Install button has changed to Stream. Just tap it and you’ll stream directly from your computer, which now goes into widescreen mode.

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