The Steam Deck comes with a beautiful 1280×800 LCD screen, and you can have an anti-glare filter slapped onto it if you buy the premium 512GB version. For those who aren’t satisfied, there’s the DeckHD screen which boasts a 1920×1200 resolution and promises to deliver more vibrant colors.
After going on sale, the aftermarket screen replacement sold out within 5 minutes. The possibilities are exciting, and the Steam Deck is designed to be easily disassembled, though owners of the handheld should proceed with caution if they intend on making such modifications.
A better screen, but at what cost?
With the DeckHD, you’ll enjoy a wider color gamut along with an anti-glare coating, allowing you to play in varied light conditions. For Deck owners who want to give the aftermarket screen a shot, a waiting list is available.
If you’re interested, you should be aware of a few things. Firstly, installing the screen will require you to dismantle your Deck. This isn’t too hard, and Valve has provided instructions on how to do so (with plenty of warnings). Nevertheless, you should be careful when handling delicate electronics.
Secondly, after installing the new screen, you will need to customize your handheld’s BIOS to be compatible. Though this isn’t too complicated of a process, it does come with the risk of permanently bricking your Deck. You’ll also need to do this multiple times because every SteamOS upgrade will revert the BIOS.
Lastly, you have to remember that the Deck was designed to power an 800p screen. As PCGamesN explains, installing a higher resolution screen without more power could “irrecoverably cripple frame rates in already demanding games.” Issues with powering a different screen are one of the reasons why Valve hasn’t released an OLED version of the Deck. According to Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais, “the idea that you could just swap in a new screen and be done – it would need more than that to be doable.”
The Deck is a highly customizable gaming device, both on the software and hardware level, but it does have its limits. If you’re interested in making changes as drastic as a screen replacement, make sure you know what you’re doing and understand the risks.