Since the thread developed a little, I'll throw my 1/2 cent rant about the Deck.
The Deck is great on many senses, it's on the heavy side and the screen is small for my tastes but feels solid and well built, overall is a awsome device. Note that I never had any previous "handheld", but there's a reason why many people don't even play on the "gaming" desktop anymore, you know, the RTRX9999 powered with 1500W of RGB.
Being a little more picky, I would like a more efficient CPU and a bigger display but overall is a awsome device to play games
. Even people who think is underpowered had a blast playing action games at 40fps, yes 40........
It's not a great experience on every game, like a RTStrategy game for exemple but that's expected. Lot's of little details and so many incredible setups that are possible it's almost unreal.
I mainly use Windows but also use Linux for a few years, probably started on Ubuntu 12 or 14, can't even remember, now using Bodhi Linux and MX Linux. I also hate Windows 10, the slowness, what it does and what it mean. With a passion.
You know the worst Operating System I ever used? Easy win: SteamOS 3 on the Deck.
Well you'll need to rely on Heroic launcher if you want any shred of convenience. Achievements won't work obviously.
Otherwise you'll have to manually load the setup onto the device, add the setup as a steam game, assign a compatibility layer, "play" the setup, install the game to some fake Windows Directory, then go back to your setup "game" and change the link from the setup to the game's executable, by navigating weird Linux directories, random IDs that Steam assigns (have fun figuring that one out every single time you install a game, especially since you navigate via stupid Steam UI and not Dolphin, thus you cannot sort by last modified date and have to look it up separately), then fake Windows directories till you finally reach that executable.
Of course if you're already a Linux user, you may be used to dealing with all this madness.
I personally dislike Steam OS, the inability to gain Achievements, and lack of a keyboard. We need to tinker so much and there's no keyboard! The on-screen keyboard doesn't even have a CTRL key! I got fed up and just went back to GPD, who have been in this game far longer than Valve. I have recently ordered a GPD Win 4. It should arrive in a month or so. Steam Deck's only advantage is the price IMO.
If I could only afford a Steam Deck, I would have installed Windows on it by now, rather than sacrifice achievements and deal with that madness. I mean sure, the Heroic launcher simplifies things a bit, but you have to trust a 3rd party client with your account.
Everything described here is a major annoyance.
The On Screen Keyboard only took 6+ months to be usable
on the desktop/computer mode, it's still not as precise as in game/console mode, it's a pain in the knee to use most of the times and yes, can't even manage a fucking Ctrl+C because there's no Control key, although it has emojis and skins you can get in the Steam shop...
After 1 year
, they finally managed to put up and down arrow keys on the keyboard, in a device being sold "as a pc". With a desktop/computer mode.
Forced auto-updates, even if it manages to crap the Boot process. Only once I had to recover the system though, the other times are a smooth update with nothing more than freezes and black screens for a few minutes.
Controls on Desktop Mode (typical Linux experience KDE Plasma) can be tweaked to your lliking but can only be done via Steam itself.
Feels like Beta Software, or "games as a service that over promise and need 5 years to be stable and usable". It's possible to install any other OS but without Steam running, stock controls it is (not that bad though). No Steam, no controlo.
Desktop mode it's hard to use due the way Valve setup the thing, touch interface is crap and plenty usual Linux software is not available, like the good old OnBoard (on screen keyboard, I've used for years on tablets). But some the worst parts (not really Valve fault) are the hype and copy pasta articles everywhere, finding a relevant answer for a "not entry-level" question lead to filter dozens of articles.
Oh God, the time I spent before I finally managed to install Java for a simple program I use all the time, not Minecraft Java launcher.
I could go on and on but for a "GaMeR" who only wants a console it works surprisingly well. Get used to the controls, click install, wait for the download and after the first start, done. Tweak gamepad and/or in game settings and enjoy.
The GPU isn't as powerfull as many people say but is very efficient and works very well with the 1280x800 low resolution screen. The Gamescope/Mangohud is a Godsend to tweak games, way easier than Windows.
I need to sleep. All in all, hardware is fine but the OS is what is expected from Valve, made to use with Steam and nothing else. Desktop mode is a lie.
Protip: if you left the Deck sitting on idle, like downloading a game, the "home" (Recent games) dinamic effects waste quite a bit of battery. Battery time can actually be longer playing games like Fell Seal (with tweaks) than left it idle on "Home" directory, just use any other screen without effects.