Although I most often tinker with retro hardware, it’s hard to pass up an opportunity to dive into the latest and greatest handheld. Without a doubt, the Steam Deck has made big waves in the portable gaming community, with its sleek design, vast library of games, and wonderful user experience. When I got a chance to check out the new DeckHD screen mod for the Steam Deck, I simply couldn’t pass it up. If you’re a proud Steam Deck owner and you’ve been thinking about upgrading the screen with an aftermarket option, the DeckHD might just be the way to go.
The DeckHD is the Premiere IPS Mod for Steam Deck
The DeckHD is a pretty straightforward drop-in IPS mod, offering an improved video resolution, better color accuracy, and more. Luckily, if you’re thinking about installing the mod yourself, you won’t need many extra tools, as almost everything is included in the box. In addition to the screen itself, the DeckHD kit also contains a small set of tools that will help you get the job done, including a screwdriver, picks, a suction cup, a set of replacement adhesive strips, and an LCD ribbon cable. With those items in hand, you’re essentially ready to begin installation.
How to Install the DeckHD IPS Mod
Thankfully, the DeckHD installation is mostly a tear-down and reassembly that doesn’t require any soldering or advanced know-how, so most users can pull it off without a problem. Although I’ll lay out the basic steps here, I highly recommend you check out my full DeckHD installation tutorial video for complete step-by-step instructions. Also, it’s important to note that there are some small changes under the hood of the Steam Deck depending on which hardware revision you own, so it’s important to be aware of those differences and take them into account while performing the installation.
Before you open up the Steam Deck, you’ll need to place the console in battery storage mode, to prevent accidentally powering on the machine during the install. To do so, press and hold both the power and volume increase buttons to access the BIOs setting screen. Navigate to the power sidebar under the utility settings menu, where you can enable battery storage.
Once that’s complete, it’s time to start disassembly. This procedure mostly involves removing the shell and isolating the motherboard by detaching various screws and cables, so please refer to my installation video for complete steps. Once that’s done, you’ll also need to detach the existing screen by breaking through the adhesive and using the suction cup to gently remove it. This process can be somewhat finicky, so be sure to take your time and be patient. After that’s complete, simply apply the new adhesive strips, drop in your DeckHD screen, and begin reassembling the system. The final step requires a bit of software adjustment and flashing the Steam Deck BIOs, but after that, you’re good to go!
The Pros, Cons, and Features of the DeckHD
Of course, the defining feature of the DeckHD is the increased resolution that the new screen affords. When compared to the screen on a stock Steam Deck, the DeckHD ups the resolution from 800p to 1200p. Additionally, the DeckHD also boasts a higher color accuracy percentage, boasting an 87% sRGB coverage to the stock screen’s 67%.
Ultimately, this presents the age-old argument on whether performance or picture quality is more important. On the bright side, the DeckHD performs as advertised, bumping up the visual fidelity of your SteamDeck to notable improvement. However, this comes with an equally noticeable bump down in performance, leading to lower frame rates, especially in games that already push the specs of the system.
Overall, the DeckHD is an affordable and enjoyable mod, but whether or not it’s worthwhile will ultimately come down to personal preference. While some features can be adjusted, such as the size of the SteamOS text and other appearances, you simply can’t avoid the dip in frame rate. It’s also important to note that the DeckHD will suck a bit more power out of your battery than normal, so those who play for long stretches of time might find this frustrating. However, if you’re the type of gamer who wants the best and clearest visuals and doesn’t mind the expected hit to performance, the DeckHD is a solid mod that will get the job done.