Ever since the PSP was retired, many have held the opinion that no handheld console would be able to recapture its magic and versatility. And for several years, this held true, even though Nintendo was constantly putting out handheld consoles. However, it was the release of Valve‘s Steam Deck that brought about a complete revival of handheld consoles.
The Steam Deck is a handheld console released by Valve that aims to bring AAA-tier PC/console games to the comfort of your hands, delivering stunning visuals and not compromising on performance. Starting at $400, the Deck is a popular choice for many who’re looking to game while on the go. Like any other handheld, the Deck has its own range of peripherals; the most essential being the Steam Deck Dock.
Table of Contents
- What is The Steam Deck Dock?
- Reasons Why The Steam Deck Dock Is Not Worth Buying
- The Best Alternatives To The Steam Deck Dock
- How Does The Steam Deck Dock Compare With Its Competitors?
- Docking The Deck
What is The Steam Deck Dock?
The Steam Deck Dock is a docking station for the Steam Deck, similar to the one found available for the Nintendo Switch. The Dock offers the option to connect the Steam Deck to an external display, while simultaneously charging it, along with 3 USB 3.1 ports for connecting peripherals. It also allows you to connect an Ethernet cable to the Deck, to allow a smoother experience on multiplayer games.
|USB Ports||3 USB 3.1 ports|
|Display Options||HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4|
|Built-in Power||45W internal power|
|Display Output||4K@60Hz or 1440p@120Hz, with support for multiple monitors|
|Body||Fully metallic body|
|Dimensions||117mm x 29mm x 50.5mm, the Steam Deck fits perfectly although the dock is a bit small|
|Warranty||1 year limited warranty|
Reasons Why The Steam Deck Dock Is Not Worth Buying
The Steam Deck Dock is a great product in terms of quality and features offered. Constant updates further optimize its usage, and those who own one already cannot go back to being dock-less. However, for many users, the Steam Deck Dock simply isn’t worth it. Here are some of the most popular reasons why the Steam Deck Dock is not popular:
1. It’s Expensive Compared to The Alternatives
The official Steam Deck Dock is pretty expensive for a simple docking station; around $90. For something that only exists to charges your Deck, provide an Ethernet connection to it and allows you to output the video on to an external display, many have debated whether the price tag is justified or not.
Naturally, there are cheaper third-party alternatives too. Some are better, while some are worse in terms of quality. Overall, a dock is usually used to charge your handheld and output the video to an external display; functions which even the cheapest third-party provide, even if the quality is less than desirable.
2. Incompatible With Other Devices
Similar to the Nintendo Switch Dock, the Steam Deck Dock is only compatible with its intended console. Moreover, the functionality offered by the Dock only applies to the few handheld consoles available e.g., the ASUS ROG Ally, the Logitech G Cloud, AYANEO‘s handhelds, etc. Compared to the third-party alternatives, which offer support for a wide range of devices, the Dock doesn’t seem all that good.
3. The Steam Deck’s Bluetooth Functionality is More Than Enough
Although the Dock offers 2 USB-A ports for connecting additional peripherals, its Bluetooth is more than enough. Let’s face it; you’ll rarely need to connect any device to the Deck through the USB port, except maybe your controller or a keyboard and mouse for first-person shooters.
Most controllers nowadays have built-in Bluetooth functionality, and you can snag a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse set off of Amazon for cheap. While this keyboard/mouse set may not be designed for gaming, it should have a decent quality build that will last several years. With that said, it’s plain enough why the Dock is not a good buy.
The Best Alternatives To The Steam Deck Dock
If you want a docking station for your Steam Deck, here are some of the best alternatives available:
1. JSAUX HB0702
Best Third-Party Dock
- Better value for price
- Priced competitively
- A max of 100W fast charging
- The dock does not block the Deck's exhaust fans and prevents it from heating up
- Supports the ASUS ROG Ally and iOS and Android
- The Steam Deck doesn't fit perfectly in the dock
- Only outputs at 4K
Dimensions: 175.8mm x 99mm x 36.1mm | Body: Metallic outer build | Ethernet Port: Yes | Base: Rubberized corners and grips present in the docking station | Charging: 100W USB-C fast charging (The Steam Deck charges at a maximum of 45W only) | Display Options: HDMI 2.0 port and DisplayPort 1.2 port | Display Output: 4K@60Hz | USB Ports: 3 USB 3.2 ports | Compatibility: Steam Deck, ASUS ROG Ally, iPhone, Android | Warranty: 18 months limited warranty
JSAUX‘s HB0702 dock is the most highly recommended dock for the Steam Deck. Offering nearly all the features as the official Dock at nearly half the price, it’s hard to see why anyone looking for a dock for their Steam Deck shouldn’t get the JSAUX HB0702.
The HB0702 has a full metallic body with 2 display ports on the back: a HDMI 2.0 port and a DisplayPort 1.2 port, which is similar to what the official Dock offers. The HB0702 outputs at a resolution of 4K with a refresh rate of 60Hz through both outlets. It also offers 3 USB 3.2 ports and a fast USB-C charging input and cable, also on the back. The Ethernet input though, is located on the side of the dock.
Unfortunately, as the HB0702 is a third-party dock, the Steam Deck does not fit perfectly in the base. Even with the grips in the cavity, it’s still far too loose even for most thick cases. The HB0702 is compatible with the ASUS ROG Ally, iPhone and Android phones. It has a starting price of $52.99. If you think that it’s still expensive, check out the HB0603, which offers almost the same features at an even lower price.
2. NewQ Clip-On 5-in-1 Dock
Best Dock for Extra Storage Space
- MicroSD card slot
- Pretty cheap
- Small design allows it to be portable
- Allows you to connect to an external display in handheld mode and use the Deck as a controller
- The dock does not block the Deck's exhaust fans and prevents it from heating up
- Compatible with Android devices
- Extra SD card requires some setup
- Less USB ports
- No Ethernet port
- The plastic stand is not as sturdy
- Only HDMI display port
- Only capable of 4K output
- Not compatible with other handheld consoles
Dimensions: 119.9mm x 80mm x 20.1mm | Body: Plastic | Ethernet Port: No | Base: Plastic stand | MicroSD Card Slot: Present | Charging: Standard 45W charging | Display Options: HDMI 2.0 port | Display Output: 4K@60Hz | USB Ports: 2 USB 3.0 ports | Compatibility: Steam Deck, Android | Warranty: 18 months warranty
NewQ‘s relatively inexpensive 5-in-1 Clip-On Dock is reminiscent of the old docks that allowed your phone to recline at desired angles. The clip-on dock for the Steam Deck is similar in design, but with a bit more utility; 2 USB 3.0 slots, a HDMI port, a USB-C charging port and a MicroSD card slot, which is the most defining feature of this dock.
While the SD card inserted in the dock is a bit of a pain to set up, it is a pretty great feature, especially for those on a low storage variant of the Deck. The HDMI outputs at a resolution of 4K with the refresh rate 60Hz. Its small portable design is something to consider too.
Another great feature is that the Deck does not enter docking mode when the clip-on dock is attached to it. It remains in handheld mode, allowing you to output your game on to an external display and continue using your Deck as a controller.
With that said, the plastic clip-on dock is not the sturdiest of support structures. Also, only 2 USB ports is a significant letdown, along with the fact that there is no Ethernet port. The limited range of compatible devices is also disappointing. However, for a price tag of $39.99, it is still a great option.
3. SABRENT 6-Port Docking Station
Best Budget Dock
- Very cheap
- The Deck fits perfectly in the dock
- Allows you to connect to an external display through USB-C
- Sturdy base
- A max charging output of 90W when charging
- Compatible with a wide range of devices
- The dock blocks the Deck's exhaust fans a bit
- No Ethernet port
- Only HDMI display port
- Only able to output at 4K
Dimensions: 122.9mm x 78.2mm x 29.7mm | Body: Plastic | Ethernet Port: No | Base: Rubberized base footings | Charging: 90W USB-C fast charging (The Steam Deck charges at a maximum of 45W only) | Display Options: HDMI 2.0 port | Display Output: 4K@60Hz | USB Ports: 3 USB 3.0 ports | USB-C Ports: 2 | Compatibility: Steam Deck, ASUS ROG Ally, macOS, Linux, iPhone, Android | Warranty: 1 year without registration, 2 years with registration
The SABRENT 6-Port Docking Station is one of the cheapest docks for the Steam Deck you’re likely to find. Priced at $29.99, it is one of the cheapest options in the market. The plastic build of the dock is pretty decent and the Steam Deck snuggles in perfectly. The rubberized base footings further add to the the stability of the dock.
Setting it apart from the other docks is the availability of 2 USB-C ports. One is used for charging, while the other can be used to connect to other peripherals, storage devices and even secondary displays, which support USB-C. This is a great feature that allows for more utilities for the Steam Deck. With 3 USB 3.0 ports; 2 on one side and one on the other, we recommend using the USB-C port for storage devices.
Through the HDMI port, you can output at a resolution of 4K with a refresh rate of 60Hz. And with a wide range of devices supported, the SABRENT dock more than justifies its price tag. Unfortunately, the absence of the Ethernet port cannot be ignored. Additionally, a minor part of the Deck’s exhaust may be blocked and although, it can be fixed by realigning the Dock, it’s still something to be considered.
How Does The Steam Deck Dock Compare With Its Competitors?
Here’s how the official Dock compares to its competitors:
|Features||Steam Deck Dock||JSAUX HB0702||NewQ Clip-On 5-in-1 Dock||SABRENT 6-Port Docking Station|
|Dimensions||117mm x 29mm x 50.5mm||175.8mm x 99mm x 36.1mm||119.9mm x 80mm x 20.1mm||122.9mm x 78.2mm x 29.7mm,|
|Deck Comfort||Deck fits in perfectly||Deck is somewhat loose, rubber grips in the dock||Can be attached to the Deck easily||Deck fits in perfectly|
|Body||Fully metallic||Metallic outer build||Somewhat shoddy plastic||Durable plastic|
|Base||Smooth||Rubberized corners to ensure sturdy grip||Somewhat unstable plastic stand||Rubberized footings|
|Charging||Standard 45W charging||Capable of charging up to 100W||Standard 45W charging||Capable of charging up to 90W|
|Built-In Power||45W built-in power||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Display Options||HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.4||HDMI 2.0 and DisplayPort 1.2||HDMI 2.0||HDMI 2.0|
|Display Output||4K@60Hz and 1440p@120Hz||4K@60Hz||4K@60Hz||4K@60Hz|
|USB Ports||3 USB 3.1 ports||3 USB 3.2 ports||2 USB 3.0 ports||3 USB 3.0 ports|
|MicroSD Card Slot||N/A||N/A||Present||N/A|
|USB-C Ports||1 for charging||1 for charging||1 for charging||1 for charging|
1 for connecting peripherals/storage device/external displays
|Compatibility||Steam Deck only||Steam Deck, ASUS ROG Ally, iOS and Android||Steam Deck and Android devices||Steam Deck, ASUS ROG Ally, macOS, Linux, iOS, Android|
|Warranty||1 year limited warranty||1.5 years limited warranty||1.5 years warranty||1 year warranty if product is unregistered|
2 year warranty if product is registered
Docking The Deck
Overall, there’s no disputing the fact that an official accessory will always have the edge over third-party ones when it comes to support, features and updates offered. And if you still want to buy the Steam Deck Dock, you’re free to do so, as it is an exceptional product which was obviously built for the Steam Deck. However, if you don’t believe it to be worth the price tag, these alternatives are more than enough.
If you want to enjoy games on your large TV, or any other display you might have, with superior visual quality, then yes, you need to buy a dock for your Deck. Otherwise, the choice is up to you.
Yes. There is a large variety of docks available for the Steam Deck. You can check them out on Amazon. It should be noted that some may be even more expensive than the official Dock.
While there’s no beating the official Dock in terms of support, the HB0702 does offer similar features at nearly half the price. Meanwhile, the NewQ’s clip-on dock and SABRENT’s dock are great budget options with their own unique offerings. At any rate, the choice rests with you.