Join us on our own very special Reddit on /r/Linuxers.
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. See more here.

Surprising probably no one, most people use the Steam Deck as a handheld

By - | Views: 31,451

Recently, I ran two different polls to find out how people with a Steam Deck used their device (or if they didn't much) and the results are out now.

The key thing about the Steam Deck, is that while it is a handheld it's also a full Linux PC with a desktop mode. Many docks are available for it from different brands now and even the official Docking Station from Valve is out and has been for about a month now.

So I was keen to find out how what percentage of people actually used it mainly docked, partly also because I use now the vast majority of my time with it docked. Turns out, not a whole lot of other people do.

From over 4,000 votes on our YouTube Channel:

While on our Twitter from over 1,000 votes paints a very similar picture.

What a shock, over 70% of people using a handheld use it as a handheld. I know, it's not breaking news but I found it interesting, because of how much I use it docked myself and how I've seen a lot of comments of others doing the same. Turns out though, it's a really small amount of people overall.

I suppose it didn't help that the docked experience wasn't great at release, and it still has plenty of issues now, like I noted in my article on the official Docking Station not always displaying on my TV.

Another bit I wanted to highlight, was a really interesting comment on the GOL YouTube Channel about this from user "MechanicalMonk", which I can't link to as the original poll was removed to add an extra missed option. Anyway, they mentioned that people buying the Switch would have done so anyway because it's Nintendo and many people use it exclusively docked as it just happens to be a handheld (although, there is the newer handheld-only Lite). On the other hand, people would have been far less likely to buy the Steam Deck if it wasn't a handheld and so it favours that. Just an interesting thought.

What do you think? How do you use it?

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
16 Likes
About the author -
author picture
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
See more from me
30 comments
Page: 1/3»
  Go to:

Zer0Cool 7 Nov
I have a highend desktop for desktop gaming and pc usage. i use my steamdeck as a handheld for gaming and as a psuedo laptop for when im say in the living room and need to internet. granted im sure someone who only has the SD for a pc would be different
Hohlraum 7 Nov
One metric I'd be curious about is how many people aren't using the SD controls themselves and instead opt for an external controller. I have hundreds of hours on my SD now and I'll bet I've spent less than 3 hrs total actually holding the thing. I would be perfectly happy if a tablet FF SD was released that relied entirely on external (or detachable) controls.
Zlopez 7 Nov
  • Supporter Plus
I have a high-end desktop, but didn't play anything on it since I got Steam Deck. For me it's much better to lie down on couch or bed with Steam Deck than sitting on chair when playing on PC. It is enough that I'm sitting in chair during work hours.


Last edited by Zlopez on 7 November 2022 at 4:26 pm UTC
Klaas 7 Nov
I anticipated that I would use the dock a lot more than I'm currently doing, but that could change over time.

What's currently lacking in docked mode is a controller that really matches what is built-in.
Handheld. All the time, unless for the occasional updates/plugin installation that requires the desktop mode. I already have a much more powerful PC if I need to sit to a desk and it's the main reason why I bought the Steam Deck: "Being freed from the shackles of my desk!"

Where have I heard that?
Klaas 7 Nov
Quoting: Zlopeztill
Do you mean since? Otherwise I'm confused.
jordicoma 7 Nov
And as for me, I was expecting to play more, but I think most of the time I use it at night at the bed watching videos and navigating on internet.
You need to much concentration after a working day to play a game.
Zlopez 7 Nov
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: HohlraumOne metric I'd be curious about is how many people aren't using the SD controls themselves and instead opt for an external controller. I have hundreds of hours on my SD now and I'll bet I've spent less than 3 hrs total actually holding the thing. I would be perfectly happy if a tablet FF SD was released that relied entirely on external (or detachable) controls.

I'm the opposite of that, I don't even have any external controller to connect to it (maybe except wireless mouse, but never tried it). And without some kind of stand to put Steam Deck into I don't really see a way to play on it without holding it in hands. I can imagine putting it in docking station next to TV and use an external controller to play on it, but in this case you still need a docking station and big monitor.
Zlopez 7 Nov
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: Klaas
Quoting: Zlopeztill
Do you mean since? Otherwise I'm confused.

Yes, I just switched those two words :-D


Last edited by Zlopez on 7 November 2022 at 4:27 pm UTC
1xok 7 Nov
Beyond the Linux PC: I was positively shocked at how well it ran CSGO in docked mode. And with Soul Calibur VI, FSR showed what it is capable of. It looked better than on my PS4. The Steam Deck is quite a beast in gaming mode.
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on:

Reward Tiers: Patreon. Plain Donations: PayPal.

This ensures all of our main content remains totally free for everyone with no article paywalls. We also don't have tons of adverts, there's also no tracking and we respect your privacy. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!
Login / Register

Or login with...
Sign in with Steam Sign in with Twitter Sign in with Google
Social logins require cookies to stay logged in.