With the Steam Deck’s release coming up at the end of February, testers have their hands on the device and are revealing more about how it’ll play. One tidbit coming out from a number of YouTubers testing the Steam Deck is that the handheld device’s battery life will be heavily reliant on what settings are used to play, as reported by PC Gamer.
Officially, Valve has said that the Steam Deck will provide 2-8 hours of batttery, depending on the game and settings being used. Tests from YouTubers Gamers Nexus and The Phawx have shown this range to be generally accurate, though both managed to run the battery down in less than two hours, and neither managed to reach the 8-hour upper limit.
In a battery strain test, Gamers Nexus managed to run the battery down in 87 minutes by running Devil May Cry 5 with an uncapped framerate and Vsync disabled. With a 60fps framerate cap and Vsync enabled, DMC5 lasted around 2 hours instead, scraping the lower end of the Steam Deck’s official battery life.
Similar tests run by The Phawx showed that the Steam Deck gets considerably better batttery life when playing less demanding games like indie or older titles, with Dead Cells running for around six hours with Vsync enabled. The Phawx failed to reach the advertised eight-hour upper run time with any game, despite testing various options.
On the plus side, it looks like the Steam Deck will charge fairly quickly, with Gamers Nexus’s test showing the device charging to 80% in around 100 minutes while turned on and running idle. Like other devices using lithium-ion batteries, the Steam Deck slows its charging rate at 80% to preserve the battery, and takes about three hours to reach a full 100% charge.
While the tests showing the Steam Deck running out its battery in under 90 minutes are an extreme case with settings players don’t have much reason to use on the handheld device, it’s a reminder that the Steam Deck is fundamentally different to handheld consoles like the Nintendo Switch. With the Steam Deck functioning more like a mini-PC that players can theoretically load any of their PC games onto, players will have to be more mindful of how their game settings will impact battery life.