The Steam Deck's 7-inch display, with 1280 x 800 resolution and a claimed 67% sRGB color coverage, is good enough, but it doesn't necessarily compare with the quality you'd see on your PC. It's not as high-res or as vivid as the panel on the Asus ROG Ally, that's for sure. But FX Technology has come up with its own 7-inch screen designed as an aftermarket replacement for the Steam Deck's panel to improve resolution, brightness and add anti-glare coating to all models.
The new screen, which FX Technology is calling DeckHD, jumps to 1920 x 1200 resolution and claims 95% coverage of the sRGB color gamut. It will maintain the same 400 nits of claimed brightness and a 60 Hz refresh rate, which mean when it comes to comparing the Steam Deck vs. Asus ROG Ally, the latter will still be brighter and offer a faster 120 Hz refresh rate.
|Tom's Hardware||DeckHD Specs||Steam Deck Display||Asus ROG Ally Display|
|Resolution||1920 x 1200||1280 x 800||1920 x 1080|
|Size||7 inches (16:10)||7 inches (16:10)||7 inches (16:9)|
|sRGB Coverage||95% claimed||60 - 70%||100% (claimed)|
|Brightness||400 nits (claimed)||400 nits (claimed)||500 nits (claimed)|
|Refresh Rate||60 Hz||60 Hz||120 Hz|
|Screen Surface||Anti-Glare||Anti-Glare on 512GB, Glossy on 64GB and 256GB||Glossy|
For most, the better color may be the big deal here. Steam Deck reviews typically measured the display between 60 and 70% of the sRGB gamut, which isn't amazing. 1920 x 1200 will make menus and games look sharper, but most games play their best at 720p on the Deck — and it's unclear how Steam Deck's "Aerith" chip, using AMD Zen 2 cores and RDNA 2 graphics, will handle the higher resolution in some games. Even when I reviewed the ROG Ally with its 1080p screen, I tended to lean towards 720p for optimal performance.
The DeckHD will be an anti-glare display. That's what I have on my 512GB Steam Deck, but Valve went glossy with the lower-end models. This replacement screen will let anyone use a matte display, which is nice for playing outside. Valve has discussed the possibility of updating screens and batteries before performance, and it seems like third parties have taken the company up on the idea.
There's no release date for the DeckHD just yet. FX Technology predicts the final product will cost $99, and you can join a waitlist for more information on its website.
Of course, changing the display on your Steam Deck is a bit of a process. Valve has partnered with iFixit to sell replacement parts and produce repair guides, so you can find the 43-step instructions to replace the display here. If you don't want to wait, iFixit sells the 512GB screen with anti-glare display already — though that won't boost your resolution or improve colors. The DeckHD price is only $5 more than the official screen from iFixit (or the same if you get the iFixit bundles with tools).
At least one person seems to have one preinstalled already: Twitter user Balázs Triszka has posted video of the Deck HD on a Steam Deck, including one showing Stray (one of my favorite games of last year) set up to run on the new screen.
Are you ready for some truly high definition, 1200p gaming on the go? We are getting there! https://t.co/AQohJatMKl #SteamDeck pic.twitter.com/qiLLmmLJhsMay 18, 2023
The DeckHD Twitter account has retweeted others claiming a June or July release date, so we may see these new screens hit the market this summer.
Especially for gaming, where there's lots of motion, but, even with cellphones, it just seems like doing it for "bigger numbers." My old LG Optimus L9, with its 960x540 resolution, managed to be quite sharp. Yeah, the screen was only 4.7 inches, I get that. But I don't think a 7 inch screen even needs 1920x1080. I'd say the 1280 resolution (by 720 or 800) is a really high pixel density.
Nobody complains about "gigantic, blocky, Atari-2600-type resolution" on a 24 inch monitor that's 1920x1080, after all.
Right now, we only get about two to eight hours tops, and that increased resolution might worsen things a bit. Also, disassembling the Steam Deck and installing on your own is not for the faint of heart, but it might be worth for some hardcore gamers.
More resolution is not only about more details the eyes can catch. it will give you more space to work with and some games will show you more eyesight in higher resolutions.
The fact that someone is coming out with a replacement upgrade already gives me hope someone else will eventually offer an OLED replacement (even if it doesn't do 120hz or VRR just OLED and matte would totally be worth 100$ upgrade).