Streamers, gamers, and senior editors at hardware-enthusiast tech pubs alike can all use an extra macro key — or eight. Streamers, especially, have a number of tech devices and programs that need to work together for their stream to come together — so it’s not all that surprising that streaming-oriented custom macropads from brands such as Elgato and Loupedeck are so popular.
Not to be outdone by the upcoming Loupedeck Live S, Elgato has dropped the latest iteration of its customizable streaming macropad — and this one has dials.
Until now, Stream Decks have been all about buttons — the original Stream Deck and its update, the Stream Deck MK.2, both have 15 buttons; the diminutive Stream Deck Mini has six buttons; and the behemoth Stream Deck XL has 32 buttons. Elgato’s newest Stream Deck+ still has buttons — eight tactile LCD keys — but it deviates from its predecessors by adding not one but two new input types: an LCD touch strip and four clickable, multifunction dials.
The Stream Deck+ is available now for $200, and features native support for streaming services such as OBS, Twitch, and Streamlabs, as well as optional plugins for a variety of other apps and services.
Design of the Stream Deck+
The Stream Deck+ is housed in a sturdy, solid black plastic chassis with the Stream Deck logo printed in white across the top. Unlike previous Stream Decks, such as the Stream Deck MK.2 and the Stream Deck XL, which have rectangular face plates, the Stream Deck+ has a square-shaped face plate that measures 5.4 inches (138mm) wide by 5.25 inches (133.4mm) tall.
The Stream Deck+ has a built-in stand, which places it at a 45-degree angle — the device will need approximately 4.3 inches (110mm) of height clearance on your desk. The stand measures 5.5 inches (140mm) deep and features Elgato’s logo embossed across the top, with rubberized, non-slip material covering the bottom. The Stream Deck+ is heftier than other Stream Decks — thanks, in part, to its built-in stand — and weighs 1 pound (465g).
The Stream Deck+ has eight programmable LCD keys, arranged in two rows of four, along the top;these are the same clear plastic tactile buttons seen on other Stream Deck models. What’s new on the Stream Deck+ are its LCD touch panel and four clickable multifunction dials, which are located below the LCD keys.
The LCD touch panel is 4.2 inches (108mm) wide and 0.5 inches (14mm) tall, and acts as both a display for/extension of the corresponding dials below it, as well as a way to navigate (via swiping) through Stream Deck pages. The dials look and feel great — they’re made of black machined aluminum and are tactile (notched) and textured.
The Stream Deck+ has a USB-C port on its back and connects to your PC (Elgato warns that this needs to be a direct connection — not through a USB hub) via USB 2.0. The Stream Deck+ comes fully assembled, with a braided 5-foot USB-C to USB-A cable in the box.
|Buttons (Tactile)||8 LCD|
|Buttons (Touch)||1 LCD touch panel (4.2 x 0.5 inches / 108 x 14mm)|
|Dials||4 360° tactile with push function|
|Software||Elgato Stream Deck|
|Cable||USB-C to USB-A (5ft, detachable, braided)|
|Dimensions (W x D x H)||5.4 x 5.5 x 4.3 inches / 138 x 140 x 110mm|
|Weight||1lb / 465g|
|System Requirements||Windows 10 (64-bit) / macOS 10.15 or newer|
Buttons on the Stream Deck+
The Stream Deck+ has eight tactile buttons, each of which measures 0.75 inches (19mm) square, laid over one LCD screen (not eight separate screens). The buttons are made of clear plastic and have a glossy finish, and offer quiet tactile feedback as well as (programmable) visual feedback.
Buttons can be programmed to do a variety of things — open a program, perform a single action, perform a series of actions, toggle or adjust various settings, display information for everything from your system stats to the weather, etc. You can program buttons using basic actions included in the Stream Deck software (e.g. hotkey, open, multimedia, etc); for more functionality you can also download Elgato- and creator-made plugins in the Stream Deck store.
The Stream Deck+’s eight buttons might seem like a downgrade from the 15-button Stream Deck MK.2 or the 32-button Stream Deck XL, but there are several ways to add more buttons (virtually). You can have multiple Stream Deck pages (up to 10), which you can navigate through by swiping right and left on the touch strip. You can also program buttons as “folders,” which can be pressed to open up a subset of buttons. According to Elgato, you can create unlimited subfolders within folders — pressing and holding the return key will take you back to the top level.
Elgato’s Stream Deck software also lets you create multiple profiles for the Stream Deck+, each with its own 10-page set of buttons and dials. You can switch profiles manually — though you’ll need to program a key for profile switching. You can also assign profiles to open with specific programs, allowing you to have custom Stream Deck setups for apps such as OBS, Photoshop, or even different games.
Touch Strip and Dials on the Stream Deck+
The Stream Deck+ has an LCD touch strip and four clickable multifunction dials, which mostly work in tandem. The LCD touch strip acts as a display for the dials, and also mirrors some of the dials’ functionality for when the dials are set up in a “dial stack.”
The dials are programmable, but they’re not quite as flexible as the buttons — though this may change if Elgato opens up the dial side of its Stream Deck software to third-party plugins. Dials can be programmed with hotkeys, and can also be programmed to adjust the Stream Deck+’s brightness level, multimedia settings (volume, etc.), and webcam settings through the Camera Hub — if you’re using an Elgato webcam such as the Facecam Pro.
Dials can also be programmed with a “dial stack,” which just lets you stack multiple dial features onto one dial — and cycle through them by clicking the dial. Because you lose the click functionality of dial features in a dial stack, that functionality is mirrored in the touch strap — you can tap the section of the touch strip above the corresponding dial to activate the click function. (This is the case regardless of whether the dial has a dial stack — at the moment, the touch strip’s functionality cannot be programmed separately from the dials.)
Software of the Stream Deck+
The Stream Deck+ requires Elgato’s Stream Deck software to function. The software has two main parts — the programming screen, which is where you can program buttons and dials and set up and assign profiles; and the store, which is where you can download and install plugins, icons, music, and sound effects from Elgato and third-party creators.
Programming the Stream Deck+’s buttons and dials is largely performed through drag-and-drop, though you can also right-click buttons to create folders or multi action stacks, and right-click dials to create dial stacks. Buttons can be programmed with visual feedback — different icons and/or titles to indicate on/off/toggle status. Dials also feature visual feedback, but it’s not customizable (yet).
The LCD touch strip’s background can also be customized, using either a preset background from Elgato’s background library or your own image.
The Bottom Line
We’ve been waiting for Elgato to add more than just buttons to its Stream Deck lineup — and the Stream Deck+ adds a touch strip and dials. If you’re already part of Elgato’s streaming ecosystem, there’s no question that the Stream Deck+ will make an excellent addition to your setup — it works perfectly with Elgato’s webcams, microphones, and lights.
The Stream Deck+ is designed to work well with most streaming setups. However, if you’re looking for a macropad that can double in a creative setting, you may want to first check the Stream Deck plugin store to see what’s supported. The Stream Deck+ notably doesn’t feature native support for Photoshop (though you can do some programming to get it there), while Loupedeck does.