The Steam Deck, Side by Side with the Switch, Aya Neo and GPD Win 3

Steam Deck
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The Steam Deck is still on track to ship later this month, but some influencers are getting their hands on Valve’s first foray into handhelds early, and one, in particular, was blown away by how big it is. Cary Golomb, also known as “The Phawx” on YouTube, specializes in reviewing various mini PCs and handheld emulation devices. As a retro enthusiast, he’s got plenty of old portables on hand. So when he got a Steam Deck, it only made sense to shoot some side-by-side comparisons. The result? Let’s just say that if you’re planning on getting a Steam Deck, we hope you still have an old pair of Jinco Jeans on hand.

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Let’s start with the most mainstream point of comparison. When placed next to a Nintendo Switch OLED (which is about 0.1 inches wider than a standard Switch), the Steam Deck appears to be about two and a half Joy-Cons wider. That doesn’t sound too bad, but the Steam Deck is also noticeably thicker, and the Switch already pushes the boundaries of what counts as portable. And things don’t get much better when we look at other handheld PCs.

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The Ryzen-powered Aya Neo Next is a more flattering comparison, being about the same size as the Nintendo Switch, but the Intel-focused GPD Win 3 is only a little over half the width of the Steam Deck. The former is especially interesting, as its Zen 3 Ryzen 7 5825U CPU with Vega 8 integrated graphics stands a very good chance of giving the proprietary Zen 2 APU with RDNA2 graphics that the Steam Deck uses a run for its money. The GPD Win 3, which runs an Intel Core i7-1195G7, will also likely boast comparable performance. Of course, the Steam Deck is noticeably cheaper than either, with a starting price of $399 vs about $1000 for either of its competitors, and we still have yet to test it.

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Of course, we can’t make size comparisons without a banana for scale. But it’s also worth taking a moment to see how the Steam Deck compares to older handhelds. Usually, tech gets smaller with time, but the bar for minimum handheld size seems to have gotten more permissive since the days of the Game Boy.

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Suffice it to say, the Steam Deck is a chonker. Let’s just hope it doesn’t go the way of gaming’s last famous chonker.

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Michelle Ehrhardt is an editor at Tom's Hardware. She's been following tech since her family got a Gateway running Windows 95, and is now on her third custom-built system. Her work has been published in publications like Paste, The Atlantic, and Kill Screen, just to name a few. She also holds a master's degree in game design from NYU.