Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch: A Hardware Specs Comparison

Valve announced the Steam Deck handheld console with PC-specs yesterday and it clearly reminds everyone of the Nintendo Switch. We thought it would be an interesting idea to put the hardware of both consoles side by side to see if Valve has a shot at the (by far) most popular console of the last few years.

Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch comparison

Before we dive in, it’s important to note that the Nintendo Switch turned 4 last March. You’re not going to find the most up-to-date hardware in Nintendo’s console as you would in Valve’s new gaming machine.

Another important distinction between the two is their respective prices. The Steam Deck starts at $399, while the regular (non-OLED) Nintendo Switch costs around $299. Additionally, Nintendo supplies the console with a docking station, while Valve sells it separately.

With that said, the Steam Deck packs quite a punch for a handheld device. From the looks of the specs, users will be able to play many of today’s top graphically demanding games from the mobile gaming device. If the Steam Deck is received well and hits it out of the park in terms of delivering on a powerful mobile gaming device, it could be a game changer. But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves—there’s bound to be hang ups.

But without further ado, here’s how the main specs of the two consoles compare:
Steam Deck Nintendo Switch
CPU AMD Zen 2, 3.5 GHz Nvidia Tegra X1, 1.02 GHz
GPU Architecture RDNA 2, 1.6 GHz Nvidia Maxwell, 768 MHz
Display 7″ LCD touchscreen, 1280 x 800 pixels 6.2″ LCD touchscreen, 1280 × 720 pixels
Refresh rate 60 Hz 60 Hz
Internal storage 64 GB eMMC / 256 GB NVMe SSD / 512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD 32 GB eMMC
Micro-SD slot available Yes Yes
Expected battery life Unknown battery size, 2 – 8 hours of gameplay 4310mAh, 4.5 – 9 hours of gameplay
Controls All buttons of the Joy-Con, with two trackpads extra Joy-Con
298mm x 117mm x 49mm / 11.7″ x 4.6″ x 1.8″
173mm x 102 mm x 14 mm / 6.8″ x 4″ x 0.55″
Weight 669 grams 297 grams
Price $399 (64 GB version)$ $299
Release date December 2021 March 2017

Functionality differs greatly

Of course, Valve didn’t just copy Nintendo’s idea and released it’s own version. The Steam Deck is clearly intended as a portable PC, while the Nintendo Switch is a bit more like a handheld console.

Steam Deck has more hardware to back up it’s PC aspirations, while Nintendo just goes for an all around on-the-go experience. Speaking of portability, the Nintendo Switch battery should last you at least twice as long, depending on the game you play. Then again, Valve wants to enable high-end, AAA games on the go. Those are bound to eat up more of a battery.

When it comes to docking, the Steam Deck has a DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 connector, while the Nintendo Switch only sports an HDMI port. Valve also gives it’s console-dock an ethernet port, while only the Nintendo Switch OLED-variant has that by default. As stated, Steam Deck’s docking station is sold separately.

Let us know what YOU think: