The best Steam Deck accessories in 2022
The best Steam Deck accessories will level up your portable gaming experience. If you've decided to buy a Steam Deck, accessories should be the next logical step to push your on-the-go gaming. Valve's Steam Deck may be the reigning champion of handheld gaming, but picking out the best accessories for the Steam Deck will give you the edge.
It's not as easy as it sounds picking the good Steam Deck accessories from the mountains of false-economy rubbish out there. Thanks to Valve's very kind offer to release its CAD files, sites are brimming with accessories designed at home, from the exceptionally practical to the downright obscure—take the Steam Deck joint holder for example, which is kinda both.
Thankfully there are also some well established manufacturers now making Steam Deck accessories. From hard cases, to Steam Deck docks with M.2 slots, to SD cards made specifically for gaming, there's something to give your portable Linux powerhouse a little hand.
Aside from accessories made to keep your Steam Deck safe, stable, and expansive on the storage side of things, you shouldn't overlook the practicality of a great pair of earbuds, so you can game without being disturbed. A good power bank too so you don't have to panic when your battery starts flagging mid-boss fight. Oh, and don't forget to nab a Steam Deck carry case to jam all your new accessories in. I can't imagine the pain of dropping everything into a standard backpack only to find your Steam Deck screen cracked.
We've taken a look here at a few of the best Steam Deck accessories, so you can feel confident taking your Deck out in public. We won't have you pairing your newest toy with accessories that won't do it justice. While we were awaiting official Valve accessories, these are some impressive alternatives that filled the void.Best Steam Deck accessories
The best dock for the Steam Deck
Connectivity: 1Gbps ethernet, 2x USB Type-A 3.1, 1x HDMI 2.1 | Material: Aluminium | Features: M.2 slot, rubber grips and feet, tribal decoration
Aside from the weird tribal patterning Jsaux has decorated the HB0604 M.2 Docking Station with, potentially to distinguish it from the previous model (the Jsaux Steam Deck Dock), this is an absolute marvel. Where I initially thought the only option for adding extra storage space to your Steam Deck was to jam an SD card in there, Jsaux has rocked up with a dock containing an M.2 slot for $130.
There's an option to buy one with an NVMe SSD, either 1TB or 2TB for $200 or $270, respectively. The included SSDs are unbranded with apparent sequential read speeds of 3300MB/s, and sequential writes of 2600MB/s, though the thing to remember is that while the M.2 slot does support PCIe Gen3, you're still only going to get a maximum of 900MB/s each way, due to the limitations of the USB Type-C connection.
Regardless, not only does this merging of stand and hub let you expand your storage capacity by up to 2TB it also gives Valve's own dock a run for its money.
The official Steam Deck dock offers 3 x USB Type-A 3.1 Gen1 ports, DisplayPort 1.4, and HDMI 2.0. The Jsaux Dock on the other hand forgoes the DisplayPort, though it does come touting just two USB ports, though the ones that are there match the official dock's speed, and on top of that it comes with an HDMI 2.1 port that supports 4K at 60Hz, or 1440p at 120Hz.
Perhaps a little overkill for the Deck but appreciated nonetheless.
Bundled along with the Dock, you get some Deck skins and a portable stand with your purchase. Additionally, the Jsaux dev team has written a script that mounts the SSD automatically to the Deck—a nice extra. There is the tiny issue of being unable to dismount and move the Deck around while in-game, should you be running one directly from the M.2 drive. You're essentially tethered to the Dock until you close the game and unmount.
Niggles aside, this is a great piece of kit, and while it can feel a little expensive at $130 (the version linked above is far cheaper), nothing quite like this has been made available for the Steam Deck yet; Jsaux is essentially setting the standard.
The best earbuds for the Steam Deck
Drivers: 10mm | Frequency response: 20Hz - 20,000Hz | Weight: 0.4oz | 11g | Connection: Bluetooth 5.2 | 2.4GHz wireless | Battery life: 5 (ANC on) | 16 from charging case
Once you've paired your buds via Bluetooth, or plugged your dongle into your Steam Deck, just jam them into your ear holes. They swiftly power on and connect, and you're up and running in a trice.
Honestly, that's something many of the wireless buds I've tested recently will do, and I'm eternally grateful the bad old days of headset pairing has seemingly long gone. Many of the other wireless earbuds also have touch controls, too, but few as eminently usable as the Quantums.
I do have a soft spot for Creative's Outlier Pro buds—they sound great and the noise cancelling is excellent. But I found myself constantly infuriated by the controls, or rather the complete lack of control as I'm jabbing at the earbuds in order to double tap and get them to just damn well pause for a second so I can buy a bus ticket.
The JBL Quantums, on the other hand, are easy to use and have a basic single tap on the right bud to pause and play, and the same on the left bud to cycle through active noise cancelling, ambient aware, or sound control off. It's straightforward, easy to access, and doesn't frustrate the process.
That noise cancelling is decent, too, even if it does inevitably cut down the battery life from eight to five hours. Using the JBL phone app you can tune them to your ear canal, to further enhance the ANC as well. I would say, the Outlier Pro buds do have the edge when it comes to completely blocking the outside world, but the Quantum buds are still impressively effective.
But what about the audio quality? I've said they're not the best-sounding buds I've tested, but the sound quality is good. I would steer clear of the QuantumSURROUND feature if you're running them from the USB dongle on your desktop PC, though—I almost blew out my eardrums with the unreasonable bass thuds in Red Dead Redemption 2 from just a short gallop through the desert cacti.
With that off the bass tones are more subtle. And, in fact, I did bump the EQ to Bass over the Bluetooth connection in order to squeeze a little more feeling out of The War on Drugs, but in general they sound better with a flat EQ. The JBL app will also allow you to enable game mode, which helps sync game and video audio, but the fact you can jam the Type-C dongle into your laptop or Steam Deck and play without delay makes the Quantums incredibly versatile.
And they're affordable, too. Considering that the Audeze Euclids—easily the best-sounding earbuds I've ever used—are $1,200, that the JBLs are more usable on a day-to-day basis and a tenth of the price is pretty astounding.
I have options for better-sounding, longer-lasting earbuds, but I'm going to stick with the JBL Quantum TWS buds. The still sound good, last a decent amount of time, and are the most versatile and easy-to-use set around. I am most definitely sold.
Read our full JBL Quantum TWS earbuds review.
The best standing protective case for the Steam Deck
Material and finish: Textured Thermoplastic Polyurethane | Colour: Black with translucent backing plate | Features: Kickstand, improved ergonomics
The Jsaux Protective Standing Case is a simple solution to two problems you'll undoubtedly have come across when using the Steam Deck: the inability to prop it up without blocking the exhausts, and the fear of the shell being damaged. While these seem relatively insignificant, they can make all the difference to the ease of use, and bring peace of mind when moving around. Practical, durable and pretty darn stylish, Jsaux has hit the mark with this one.
The Steam Deck is a heavy little machine at 1.47lbs, and frankly you can't be expected to hold it up through every exhaustive cutscene your game throws at you, or while you're waiting for something to load. Along with the protective case being textured to prevent the deck from slipping when your hands get sweaty, there's a nifty little kickstand for when your arms get tired. It pops out easily, with enough space to get your thumb round it even if you don't have nails.
The stand is wide enough that there's no shaking and the thing snaps on easily, too. There are the necessary holes for ventilation, of course, and you've even got a little window on the back, in case you've decided to adorn the case with some kind of sticker. It even seems to improve the ergonomics ever so slightly, with the shell exaggerated just where it feels right.
The only real downside is that some cables may be the wrong shape to fit in the hole for the charging port, and that the case's seam sits on your palm and gets dirty relatively easily, making it all the more prominent. Having the case on also prevents the Deck from fitting inside Jsaux's own-brand docks, meaning you'll have to choose between the two. Otherwise I've no major complaints.
It would have been nice to have had the option to adjust the kickstand, but it's not a glaring issue, and for the low price of $22 it's well worth it if you're not planning on docking too often but still want your Deck to stand to attention.
The best Bluetooth controller for the Steam Deck
Battery: ~10hrs, 1560mAh | Connection: USB Type-C, Bluetooth 5.1, 3.1mm audio jack | Features: Six-axis motion sensor, adaptive triggers, haptic feedback | Weight: 280g
One of the greatest freedoms I've experienced with the Steam Deck is being able to set it down, either with a dock or a kickstand, and use a Bluetooth controller to play games. The PlayStation 5 DualSense controller most of all, due to its sleek look, negligible weight, and ease of pairing.
There's nothing like being free of wires, especially when the old, wired controller I was using was having major connection issues and I literally couldn't move without it disconnecting and my character walking off in a random direction—usually into danger.
The major alternatives, of course, are Valve's own Steam Controller and the Xbox Elite Series 2. The latter being the stronger contender as I simply cannot abide the lack of right joystick from the Valve controller. Although the Series 2 does line up when it comes to button labels, it lost my vote as it's a little too expensive, and the weight sort of negates the supreme portability of the Steam Deck.
With the DualSense, you still get a trackpad (one that's tucked out of the way unlike with the Valve controller) and the haptic feedback is fantastic, along with the superb adaptive triggers. It's durable and relatively affordable compared to the main alternatives at $70, too.
The DualSense connects with the Steam Deck with no issues, and will reconnect automatically as soon as you turn it on as long as the Deck's Bluetooth is also on. It doesn't have a tendency to drop connection either.
The only real problem is when it comes to battery life—ten hours is a little on the short side, especially when you compare it to around the four times that you get with the Elite Series 2. The only way to set it to turn off after a shorter period (default is 15 mins) is to go into desktop mode and use Steam Big Picture. It's a hassle but worth it to keep that battery going. You can even change the light colour there which is always fun.
The best standing protective case for the Steam Deck
Material: Reinforced tempered glass | Hardness: 9H | Coating: Oleophobic
I had no major issues applying the Jsaux screen protector. In the box you get a nifty card to smooth out the bubbles, dust removal stickers and wipes, applicator guide stickers, along with an easy to follow step-by-step installation guide.
It was even forgiving when a sneaky eyelash got under one of the corners. I was able to gently peel back the corner a little to remove the intrusion without the thing snapping in half. That says something about the durability and flexibility of the glass, even with it being quite thick. The thickness is pretty evident, too, though there's nothing special to note there—9H hardness is pretty standard across the market.
The protector matches the size of the screen down to the millimetre, which is great and means you don't get that annoying overhang. I was underwhelmed with the apparent "oleophobic coating" meant to reduce fingerprints, as it doesn't seem to make a difference for me.
The big problem with the tempered glass protector is the fact that its shininess sadly negates one of the main selling points of the top-end, 512GB Deck: the anti-glare screen that actually makes the Deck playable in bright sunlight. Still, it's certainly worth that tradeoff to keep the screen safe, especially when you get two for just $13. I guess that's in case you're one of those people whose luck dictates an imminent drop the day after putting a screen protector on.
The best hard carry case for consolidating accessories
Material: EVA shell, felt lining | Size: 14 x 8.5 x 32cm | Recess size: 17 x 11 x 3.5cm
Just an inch or so thicker than the original Steam Deck case, the Jsaux Carry Case is hands down the best carry case I've seen around. While it doesn't have a long strap or masses of space inside, it's super durable, neat looking, and great for consolidating a bunch of small accessories. It even doubles as a stand for when you want to prop the Deck up.
With the Steam Deck's official case, there's a recess on the outside covered with a strap which no one really knew the purpose of. Then with the 512GB version you even get a little baggy that seems to fit in the outside recess quite snugly. The issue being, even if you do manage to fit any accessories in there, you're risking them falling out being on the outside like that.
This case inverts that outer recess, and expands it so you get a sizable nook for storing chargers, docks, wires, and even earbuds. Sadly the official UK charger doesn't fit in there as our plugs are awkward, you can get a charger where the plug slides off if this is an issue. I'm just using a MacBook charger, myself. Alongside it, there's even space left over for wires and perhaps even a small mouse or some earbuds.
It's a stylish looking case with a grey and black flecked shell, and the covered zip makes it look all the more refined. The handle makes me feel confident enough to swing my Deck around. When I'm done being a hooligan the internal fleece flap protecting the screen not only turns into a stand, it also has a little net pocket with five individual compartments for SD cards—though I'm not sure anyone will ever need that many.
The main thing is that the case is sturdy and practical, without being too bulky and awkward. It's only $27 for something that's going to keep your deck together with all your little accessories, and safe from the ravages of that strange place we call "the outside."
The best power bank for the Steam Deck
Output: 20V/2.25A max, 45W PD | Capacity: 15000mAh, 54Wh | Weight: 295g (10.4oz) | Dimensions: 115mm x 72.5mm x 26.5mm | Ports: 1x USB Type-C, 2x USB Type-A 2.0 | Features: 5Gbps data transfer
The Zendure X5 is an exceptional offering for $99. Not only is it well built, it also looks pretty darn stylish, feels great in hand, and even has groves on the outside to prevent slippage. Most importantly, it comes with support for 45W Power Delivery. What that means is the it will allow the Steam Deck to charge quickly with higher power than your average charger.
The Zendure X5 does come with a Power Delivery cable which, although it's pretty short at around 17-inches, it comes with a USB Type-C to USB Type-A adapter. Just be aware that should you try to charge the Deck with the standard USB Type-A, you'll end up with a warning that you're using a slow charger, and the Deck may eat up charge faster than it can deliver.
The Zendure X5 holds around one and one third full charges for the Steam Deck, and even comes practically fully charged which is appreciated when you're already stuck somewhere without a charging station. It'll keep you ticking along once you hit the dreaded 10% battery mark until you get to a save point, fully charge the Deck, then offer another grace period once you hit 10% battery for a second time.
Since the Steam Deck has a 5,313mAh capacity, I did expect a little more charge from a 15,000mAh battery pack, though these things never seem to line up. I also have a sneaking suspicion it continued to drain the battery a little even after it was fully charged. Either way, it holds more than enough charge for a remote gaming session or three. It took just less than two hours to fully charge the Deck, as well.
The Zendure 5X also doubles as a data transfer USB hub, in case you need to jam some files on the Deck quickly while it's charging. It's not got the speediest read/writes, but it's a great extra especially when you're tight on ports. Sadly it doesn't also work as a dock, so you can't use those extra ports to plug in a mouse and keyboard while its charging, but it should be able to give some juice to a wireless controller or headset while you're waiting.
I would have appreciated some kind of carry case for the price, but it's just the right size for most pockets and not too heavy. Overall it's one of the most practical sized, affordable power bank options for the Deck.
The best keyboard for the Steam Deck
Switch: Razer Yellow or Green Mechanical | Keycaps: Doubleshot ABS keycaps | Memory: Hybrid On-Board Memory (up to 5 profiles) | Lighting: Razer Chroma | Connection: USB Type-C, HyperSpeed Wireless (2.4GHz), or Bluetooth
It would be a crime for us not to recommend a keyboard for the Steam Deck. It's such a diverse little machine with desktop mode, though typing with that on-screen keyboard is more than a pain. It makes sense to add some portable peripherals to your arsenal, and what better than a keyboard that lets you connect more than one peripheral to its dongle.
While there is the choice to go with all Bluetooth peripherals for the Deck, having a bunch of things connected like this can cause some interference. The best option then, especially when you're working with limited ports such as that of the JSAUX Steam..
* This article was originally published here
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