The Steam Deck’s 7-inch, 1280×800 screen is nothing special — the smartphone display you’re probably reading this on has it beat in pretty much every way. But it works for the portable machine, being both cheap and fairly low-res for PC gaming on the go. But if you absolutely must have higher resolution in this form factor…well, you should probably buy the Asus ROG Ally. But if you must have it for your Steam Deck, then you might want to check out the DeckHD.
This aftermarket replacement for the Steam Deck’s built-in LCD panel beats it in both resolution (1920×1200, preserving the 16:10 aspect ratio) and color accuracy, covering 95% of the sRGB color range, about as good as a mid-range laptop. Other specs match the stock screen, including 400 nits of brightness and 60Hz refresh rate, though it does come with the anti-glare coating that Valve reserves for the more expensive models of the Steam Deck. According to FX Technology Limited, the DeckHD screen will cost an estimated $99 when it launches in…well, whenever it launches. The site doesn’t say.
As PC Gamer notes, replacing the screen on the Steam Deck is no small task for a DIY enthusiast, though it might not be as extensive as you imagine. According to the iFixit teardown of the Steam Deck, you can get the display off the device without completely disassembling it from the rear (as you need to do to, say, replace the motherboard or battery). A heat gun, some soft pry tools, and some suction cups get it away from the body, and there’s a single phone-style connection attaching it to the rest of the device. I wouldn’t trust it to a novice, but it’s certainly doable if you’ve repaired small electronics before.
But would you want to? Both the Steam Deck’s hardware and software is tuned pretty finely for its 800p display. It’s certainly capable of higher resolution — you can output its video to a 4K monitor or TV, after all. But running high-end games at a higher resolution is going to push the Steam Deck’s efficient but low-end hardware to its limit, and maybe beyond. Those who demand a higher-res screen in the same form factor might be better served by the $699 Asus ROG Ally. Personally, I’d prefer a replacement of the Steam Deck’s IPS-LCD screen at the same resolution with a nice OLED panel, like the upgraded Nintendo Switch.
FX Technology has a waitlist for the DeckHD available now, but there’s no pre-order or estimated release date at the time of writing.
Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.