Popular durability tester and YouTuber JerryRigEverything recently tested Valve's new Steam Deck and took the device through a wringer of scratch, fire, and bending tests. Valve's gaming console survived Jerry's bending and fire tests with relative ease. The only component of the Deck which failed Jerry's tests was the screen, which suffered damage at several levels.
Jerry found the $649 Steam Deck model featuring an anti-glare screen to be sensitive to scratches under the lightest pressure tests from his Mohs' Hardness picks, with extensive damage occurring under heavier pressures -- but this part is normal.
Jerry notes that the standard Steam Deck displays which do not feature anti-glare protection, will not be as sensitive to scratches as the anti-glare model. So for buyers looking at Valve's Steam Deck options, you'll have to choose anti-glare capabilities over the best durability (or vice versa) apparently.
Fortunately for the Steam Deck, the screen was the most sensitive component to Jerry's durability tests. Scratching the hard plastic shell of the Deck, along with its rubberized buttons and plastic buttons, showed no loss in functionality and only left ugly scratches to look at. In fact, the rubberized buttons themselves feature lettering that is embedded all the way through the button. So it will be impossible for gamers to rub the lettering off the buttons after years of use.
Under the fire test, Jerry pressed a lighter directly against the console's IPS panel for a solid 20 seconds to see if any thermal damage would occur. The pixels surrounding the flame did turn black under the immense heat for several seconds, but the pixels returned to their default colorful state after just a few seconds. This test demonstrates that the IPS display can deal with some high temperatures without permanent damage.
The Steam Deck passed Jerry's bend test as well with flying colors. Jerry tried his best to break the handheld in two by bending the Deck as hard as he could, but it turned out to be impossible. The Deck did flex a bit under the immense pressure, but that is all that happened. There was not even a slight cracking sound to be heard from the console's plastic shell.
Jerry's plethora of durability tests show us that the Steam Deck can take quite a beating, and may be able to take on years of hardcore gaming use, with some accidental drops and the occasional rage quit thrown into the mix. The only exception to this is the screen on the anti-glare model. In this instance, it would be best to stick to the mousepads and thumbsticks for gaming as much as possible to prevent scratching. Or buy an external screen protector to add another layer (literally) of screen durability.