The steam bridge is awesome – you didn’t need me to tell you that. But with these accessories you can make it so much better.
At its core, the Deck is essentially a mini gaming PC. For many, sticking with the stock hardware is enough, but you can expand its usability dramatically by purchasing certain key products to open it up to other gaming cases. ‘use.
Given the versatility of this system, I’ve divided my recommendations into three categories: gaming on the go, gaming at home, and expanding usability. I’ll break down what each entails as we move forward!
The Steam Deck is a pretty solid system out of the box, especially if you get the 512GB model. But with some key accessories, you can really make the most of its potential with three key elements: storage expansion, a USB-C hub and peripherals to use it in desktop mode.
A 1 TB MicroSDXC card
PC games are massive. For comparison, while Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection caps out at 90GB on PS5, the PC version goes up to 126GB. That’s practically double the storage of the base Steam Deck and 20% of the half-terabyte you get in the higher spec.
Simply put, whichever version you have, a microSD card is essential. Personally, I took over the Amazon Basics 1TB Card (opens in a new tab), which is regularly discounted here in the UK. Although microSD card support is quite broad for the Steam Deck, there are two things to watch out for to ensure the best performance:
- A2: It stands for “Application Performance Class 2”, which improves performance over Class 1 with better flash storage management techniques like command queuing and caching.
- U3: This is the speed of the microSD card. For example, U1 is 10MB/s, while U3 is 30MB/s.
- C10: This C with the 10 inside represents the minimum speed in MB/s, which means that at its maximum with unrelenting sustained performance, you get 10 MB/s.
You can get larger storage capacities than that, but at much higher prices. I think this middle ground is the best balance for value, while maximizing speed. Moreover, with black friday around the corner, I guarantee you can get a bargain.
Logitech MX Mechanical + MX Master 3S
If you’ve read any of my guides on the different ways to tinker with your Steam Deck, whether it’s adding a custom startup animation on the Steam Deck or by turning the Steam Deck in the best emulator in the worldyou know it always starts with switching to linux-based desktop mode and a word of advice: use a keyboard and mouse.
Yes, you can use cheaper options than the ones I recommended. Just take a look at our List of the best keyboard and mouse combos and you can find other choices at lower prices. But I like it MX mechanics and MX Master 3S for the tactile feel of the keyboard and the responsiveness and ergonomics of the mouse.
You can pick up the Mechanical MX for $169 (opens in a new tab) and the MX Master 3S for $99 (opens in a new tab).
Anker 341 Hub
Now I know what you’re going to say. There are many other USB-C Hubs which are far superior, whether it’s adding more ports or giving you a full 4K 60Hz picture through an improved HDMI port.
However, for what I’m using for mine, which is mainly to get a larger screen image for tinkering on Linux desktop mode, I don’t need more than the 1080p 60fps image than this provides.
Also, I only need the ports that this provides – be it USB-A to plug in various accessories like the Thrustmaster T248 for racing sims, or USB-C for my SSD whenever that I want to remove games from the Steam Deck and store them for later use (rather than having to re-download them).
On top of that, if you’re using it to maybe hook up to a hotel room TV for gaming, trying to run games at 4K 60fps is next to impossible. You’re going to want to aim for 1080p or even 720p. With that in mind, the $35 price tag is more than ideal for what it does, and that’s regularly at reduced prices too (opens in a new tab).
play at home
Although I’m talking about one of my favorite benefits of the Steam Deck being the fact that I can just turn it on and play on the couch while my partner takes over the TV with her 100th Gilmore Girls watch, you can use it like a Nintendo Switch and anchor it in home console style. The user interface is nice to use on a large screen and most games run extremely well with these larger requirements.
But to do this we need a dock (powered by the plug that comes with the Steam Deck) and a controller.
JSAUX docking station
The official Steam Deck dock is quite expensive for what you get. Sure, there’s that first-party support, but Valve is committed to delivering the same TV experience through third-party options as well.
To $49 from Amazon (opens in a new tab), JSAUX provides a more durable docking station, constructed from aluminum and offering full 4K 60fps potential with HDMI 2.0. Along with that, you get three USB-A 3.0 ports and gigabit Ethernet.
And it looks unmistakably premium next to your TV or monitor. What more could you ask for?
Xbox Core Wireless Controller
For the controller, you can still use the cable and save some money, thanks to the USB ports on the back of the dock, but it can make your office or living room a little messy.
To fix this, I would always go wireless and when it comes to the best value, the Xbox Wireless Controller offers a great ergonomic shape and tactile buttons for comfortable gaming sessions on long periods.
Don’t get me wrong – the PS5’s DualSense controller is great to use, but it’s priced higher and rumble feedback in games is much more widely supported than the DualSense’s advanced haptics, which means that it’s kinda useless.
Whatever you’re using, the visual button prompts you to change the Steam UI to match the pad you’re using, and to $49 right now from Amazon (opens in a new tab)it’s a great value choice.
Play on the go
The name is a dead giveaway for what I’m talking about here. This is a handheld game console after all, but there are some things you can buy to really unleash its potential.
A quick warning: if you’re going to be away from an internet connection for a while, maybe gaming on a long train journey, make sure you have correctly configure offline mode.
1More Quad Driver In-Ear Headphones
Yes, the Steam Deck has Bluetooth and you can connect a pair of the best wireless headphones to it, but the latency ruins the experience in my opinion. Luckily, there’s a 3.5mm audio jack to combat this, which means I can unleash the best wired headphones I’ve ever used.
The 1More Quad Driver Wired Earphones (opens in a new tab) do what they say on the box – each bud contains three balanced armature drivers and one diamond-like carbon dynamic driver, all tuned by Grammy Award-winning sound engineer Luca Bignardi, for incredible detail at every level.
Not only is it great for delivering impressive definition to songs, it also delivers a fantastic gaming experience (enhanced by the buds’ THX and Hi-Res audio certification). Plus, the 45-degree angled design provides a secure fit and impressive passive noise cancellation.
As for using these on the go with your Steam Deck, the central Kevlar wiring is super durable and tangle-resistant, and the leather case with the magnetic latch fits snugly in the back compartment of the Steam Deck. case included.
Anker Nano II 713 Charger
Yes, the Steam Deck comes with its own charging brick and cable, and the ultimate cost-saving exercise would be to use that. But let’s ask the question here: is this the best option?
The brick is quite large and the fixed cable limits the use of this charger to anything with a USB-C plug. Meanwhile, the Anker Nano II 713 provides the required 45W output, and the fact that you can disable the cable means you can use it to charge any gadget with other proprietary connectors, such as Lightning or the Apple Watch puck.
It’s infinitely more practical when traveling and $39 from Amazon (opens in a new tab)This is theft !
A portable battery
This one is a bit vague in recommending a specific model, as there are quite a few to choose from. The whole of the Best Laptop Power Banks supports the 45W of power required to effectively charge the Steam Deck, but let me extract a few details from the listing.
Currently I am using the Intelli Scout Pro, which does it all – MagSafe wireless charging on top and 100W power delivery via USB-C. This makes it infinitely more useful beyond loading the Steam Deck.
I test (and I love) too Shargeek Storm 2 (opens in a new tab). Although there’s no wireless charging, the capacity is larger than the ScoutPro and it still has the variety of ports to provide versatility. The transparent design is cool for nerds like me, but without a better way to put it, if you go through customs at the airport, be prepared to ask yourself a lot of questions because it can look a bit like an explosive for some people !