Steam Deck 2: Everything You Need to Know

In Short
  • Steam Deck 2 could launch sometime in 2026. An earlier release in 2025 is possible, only if AMD unveils RDNA 4 soon enough.
  • Valve is possibly waiting for the ideal processor architecture, which meets the performance & efficiency demands of Steam Deck 2.
  • The pricing of the Steam Deck 2 should be similar to current models, but rumors suggest it will be higher.

The Steam Deck is quite the fan favorite among gamers, gaining immense popularity in the last two years. Valve also released an upgraded OLED version, bringing better refresh rate and screen quality to their handheld. However, gamers worldwide have been eagerly waiting for the Steam Deck 2, and we are here to tell you everything we know about it.

Now, the Steam Deck 2 launch should be next. There are a handful of leaks and rumors that point toward some details. And while nothing has been expressly confirmed, there’s a fair bit to discuss. To help you out, we have compiled this guide telling you everything you need to know about Steam Deck 2. So, without further ado, let’s talk about it.

Steam Deck 2: Release Date

The launch of Steam Deck 2 is going to take its sweet time, as per an official statement from Valve. Based on what we know, Steam Deck 2 could come out by the end of 2026. This statement from Valve (via Bloomberg) was said back in late 2023, hence, the speculated 2026 release.

One more recent rumor from Chiphell forums also stated Q3-Q4 2026 as the release window for Steam Deck 2. This rumor coincides with what Valve told Bloomberg regarding the Steam Deck 2 release date. Still, we suggest taking this with a grain of salt.

“[Steam Deck 2] won’t be happening for at least two-three years” – Lawrence Yang, Product Designer at Valve

steam deck

Is there any chance for a 2025 release date for Steam Deck 2? Yes, since nothing is set in stone yet. As Valve’s product designer revealed earlier in 2023, the company is “thinking about Steam Deck 2 at all times“.

I theorize that as soon as AMD releases the RDNA 4 graphics architecture, work on a new custom APU will begin soon after. It will be used on Steam Deck 2, which should come about one year after the release of AMD’s RDNA 4.

Why don’t they make it earlier? Aren’t new processors already out? All that is true, but Valve has a good reason not to rush the Steam Deck 2. There are numerous targets that the company wants to achieve with the next-gen handheld console. We shall see how the company handles it.

Steam Deck 2: Pricing (Expected)

Various upgrades are in the pipeline as Valve works on the Steam Deck 2. Speaking of the price of Deck 2, there is no concrete info, and we can only speculate for now. There are no pricing leaks as such, apart from the earlier Chiphell leak we spoke of, which mentioned that “the price should increase quite a lot.”

Before we speculate, let’s look at the launch pricing of previous Steam Deck models. The original Steam Deck launched at $399. After a few years, Valve also released another Steam Deck OLED at $549. The newer OLED model also features a better, more efficient AMD processor built on a 6nm manufacturing process as compared to 7nm on the LCD variant.

Steam Deck 1 prices
Current Steam Deck Price

If the Steam Deck 2 base model features an OLED screen, we can expect the price to be upwards of $500. Unless Valve changes the game with wildly different internal specs, the cost of upgrading the processor shouldn’t be too high.

Overall, we speculate that Steam Deck 2 will cost somewhere between $500 to $600. There is also a chance that Valve makes it much cheaper than we expect. Similar to how the first-gen Steam Deck is currently sold, after the launch of Steam Deck 2, we may see different console variants with LCD and OLED screens being sold at prices similar to what we have mentioned above.

As per rumors, it is also expected that Valve will continue to sell other lower-end configurations of Steam Deck. So, the current-gen OLED and LCD variants may not go away or become discontinued at all, even after the launch of the Steam Deck 2.

Steam Deck 2: Specifications

Steam Deck 2 will feature one of the best processor architectures that will be released around the year the next-gen handheld console launches. Here is the best speculation on the expected specs of Steam Deck 2.

The first model, back when it launched in early 2022, featured an AMD Aerith APU (accelerated processing unit) built on a 7nm manufacturing process coupled with RDNA 2 graphics. This graphics architecture was first introduced with RX 6000 series GPUs from AMD in late 2020. The CPU part of this custom-built APU on the original Steam Deck is built on the Zen 2 architecture.

The Steam Deck 2 could feature a next-generation APU from AMD built with RDNA 4 graphics architecture. This has not been unveiled yet by the chipmaker. By the time RDNA 4 is released in the future, Zen 5 could also be out, bringing massive efficiency increases on the CPU side of things.

As per leaked shared on Chiphell.com, similar things have been said previously. The AMD Ryzen Z1 series is used on several handhelds like the Lenovo Legion. These Ryzen Z1 Series CPUs with RDNA 3 are newer than what is used in Valve’s current-gen Steam Deck. But makers of the Steam Deck are eagerly waiting for something better to use for the Steam Deck 2.

AMD Ryzen Z1 and Z1 Extreme announced
Image Courtesy: AMD

Notably, rumors from Chiphell suggested a Zen 4 architecture. However, RDNA 4 is also “just a calculated speculation.” The new APU could feature either Zen 4 with RDNA 4 or even Zen 5 with RDNA 4.

Since it is quite early, the company could also consider other chipmakers apart from AMD. We have seen OEMs release Intel Core Ultra-based gaming handhelds recently, such as the MSI Claw.

There is a 1-year gap between the initial launch of AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture and the launch of the original Steam Deck. Speaking of the present, AMD’s new RDNA 3 architecture was unveiled in late 2021.

Despite this, it looks like Valve will wait for RDNA 4 to launch instead. The efficiency increases in the next-generation processor, thanks to a better manufacturing process, should finally meet Valve’s demands (Via: IGN) for the next-generation Steam Deck 2 handheld gaming console.

“We are interested in the Steam Deck 2 once we believe that there is a generational leap available to us in terms of performance. We don’t see that yet, so we are not looking at Steam Deck 2 yet,” Lawrence Yang, Product Designer at Valve

The chipmaker AMD has already released technologies such as FSR 3 AI-based frame generation to pretty much double the FPS in games. Steam Deck 2 should also feature this tech, dramatically increasing its capabilities. AMD’s FidelityFX Resolution is optimized further by Valve developers for the Steam Deck handheld gaming console.

Steam Deck OLED already brings various upgrades. So if that console featured a better processor, it would essentially be a major successor, aka Steam Deck 2. However, Valve does not find the current state of processors available to them feasible enough for a generational refresh to the Steam Deck.

steam deck oled launched

The way Valve wants to develop the next-generation handheld is to give users faster performance (of course). But at the same time, the company also wants to make the Steam Deck 2 equally good in terms of battery life.

I have reviewed the powerful ROG Ally handheld console, and while more gaming performance is a major plus, the battery life is nowhere near how long the Steam Deck can last. Moreover, Valve has engineered the Steam Deck to be extremely efficient and well-optimized in managing its battery life. It will do the same for Steam Deck 2.

When Valve finally sees the efficiency and performance they seek for Steam Deck 2 in the processors released by chipmakers, they should begin work on the Steam Deck 2.

Steam Deck 2: Display Upgrades

Steam Deck 2 display could be OLED. However, Valve currently sells both Steam Deck in LCD and OLED variants. Given this trend, Steam Deck 2 (base model) with LCD could be launched first. This could be followed by a Premium OLED model.

The company also discontinued 64GB and 512GB variants of the original Steam Deck (LCD variant) after the launch of the new OLED variant. The LCD variant, which is currently on sale, has 256GB storage, and this Steam Deck has now become the entry-level model of the lineup.

Chiphell rumours steam deck 2
Source: Chiphell (translated)

Speaking of rumors, the earlier mentioned Chiphell leak also gave us details on the display of Steam Deck 2. As mentioned in the internal specifications section, the new RDNA 4 graphics architecture that is expected to be used by Valve on Steam Deck 2 has not been released yet by the chipmaker AMD.

So, it is quite early to tell whether or not this will end up being true. Still, here are details on the Steam Deck 2 display based on speculation and the latest rumors.

  • A 900p screen resolution upgraded from 720p), which would enhance the clarity and sharpness of the gaming experience. Some handhelds like ROG Ally have a 1080p panel. Valve could also choose to upgrade Steam Deck 2 to FHD. If it is 900p, then given the 16:10 form factor, the resolution would be 1440×900.
  • An OLED panel featuring inky blacks and an immersive contrast ratio. It could be slightly upgraded from the Steam Deck OLED if the resolution on Steam Deck 2 increases.
  • A 90Hz refresh rate will enhance motion clarity in the ideal scenarios. The currently-out Steam Deck OLED already features this.
  • Freesync/VRR support could be coming, but sadly, current models do not support it. If Steam Deck 2 has VRR support, it will look super smooth even at lower frame rates. Many latest handhelds do support this.
  • High Dynamic Range (HDR) support, as the currently released OLED variant of Steam Deck features. The next-gen Steam Deck 2 handheld could feature even better HDR if the maximum brightness increases from 1000 Nits found in the current OLED one.

Overall, the next handheld from Valve should have an impressive display to become a significant upgrade from the base variant.

Steam Deck 2: Design & Controller

Steam Deck is not an old console. However, it has been almost two years since the official unveiling, and by 2026, it will be over 4 years old. The OLED variant did receive a few design upgrades, most notably to the bigger OLED screen, which has reduced bezels.

There are no rumors or leaks as such on the Steam Deck 2 design. So, we are purely speculating here. However, I don’t expect Valve to change things around too much. The overall footprint of the device is balanced and well thought-out.

Whatever processor they will put in the new Steam Deck 2 should not demand any extra cooling than what the current model features. Valve essentially demands better performance at similar power consumption, so the device shouldn’t get thicker either.

The OLED variant weighs a little less than the LCD variant. So, the new Deck could feature an improved weight in the 600-700 gram range. This is a spot-on assumption because the device ergonomics are quite important and should largely remain unchanged. The controller itself could feature better thumbsticks in the Steam Deck 2.

Hall-effect joysticks have been a headlining feature of various new handhelds. MSI Claw and ROG Ally both feature it. The feeling of hall-effect joysticks in a game is best described as ‘more precise, and less effort required.’ The current-generation Steam Deck uses potentiometer-based joysticks, but it is unclear what is Valve’s stance on a hall effect-based implementation.

The OLED version features a grippier texture on the left and right controller thumbsticks so we could see an improvement here as well. Since many have even modded their joysticks for better support, we could see enhanced support here, too.

Pierre Loup Griffais works for Valve in the Steam Deck team. In the above X (formerly Twitter) post, you can see many prototypes of the handheld console have been showcased. Some are curvier, and some are quite round. Many of these prototypes look even more aesthetically pleasing than the current Steam Deck. So, some of these prototypes show us the possibilities of the Steam Deck 2. But in the end, Valve came to this design and finalized it.

The new Steam Deck 2’s design may not be very different from the original model. But given how well the Steam Deck has sold in recent years, Valve can use the opportunity to release something way more eye-catching than the tried & true design of the handheld we know today.

Limited Edition 1 TB Steam Deck OLED
Limited Edition Steam Deck 2

In my opinion, the best formula Valve could use is to offer better design customization. The limited edition Steam Deck OLED looks gorgeous. Hopefully, Steam Deck 2 comes out in various colors.

Steam Deck 2: Battery Size and Life

The original Steam Deck features a 40 Whr battery. There are many ways to extend Steam Deck’s battery life, including power banks. The new OLED Steam Deck features a 50 Whr battery, thanks to the thinner screen. Valve wants to deliver better performance on Steam Deck 2 but without costing the user any battery life downgrades.

steam deck extend battery life

We hope (and expect) that Steam Deck 2 will feature “similar battery performance” as the latest model. Keep in mind that this doesn’t translate into the battery capacity. If the processor is much more efficient, a smaller battery can be used while providing similar longevity.

Even the new ROG Phone 8 features a smaller battery as compared to the ROG Phone 7, which is made possible because of the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset. Something similar could happen here, too.

Based on this, Steam Deck 2 could feature a battery size between 40-50 Whr but despite the final size, battery performance while gaming will either be higher or similar to the current models. This figure can also drastically change if Valve redesigns the chassis from the ground up.

And that’s everything we know about the Steam Deck 2 right now. As always, we will update this as new info keeps popping up, so stay tuned. Do you have any personal expectations from the Steam Deck 2? Let us know in the comments below!

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