The resolution of your Steam Deck is important since it directly affects the quality of the game that you are playing. In some games, using a higher resolution can have no adverse effects, however, when you are playing games that require more power, you will most likely want to lower the resolution of the game for the sake of performance.
Steam Deck, by default, uses the 1280×800 resolution. This is almost the same as the 720P resolution, just a little higher. The mentioned resolution belongs to the 16:10 aspect ratio, which is not really common in the 16:9 world of gaming. Therefore, any game that does not support the 16:10 aspect ratio will be left with black bars on the side when you play it on your Steam Deck.
Luckily, the handheld device comes with a number of resolution options that you can use to bring out performance and even change your experience while playing games. In docked mode, the device is able to support up to 4K resolution at 60 Hz. In addition, you are also able to play in 2K resolution at 120 Hz if your external monitor supports it. Native 1080P resolution supports up to 240 Hz.
Update Steam Deck
It is important to note that you will need to install all of the latest updates for the Steam Deck in order to force the resolution. This is because older versions of the operating system do not support this functionality. If you do not know how to update your Steam Deck, follow the instructions below:
- First, press the Steam button on your Steam Deck.
- From the menu, choose Settings.
- On the Settings screen, switch to the System tab on the left-hand side.
- There, tap the Check For Updates option to update your Steam Deck.
Force Resolution on Steam Deck
In handheld mode, you can force Steam Deck to use a specific resolution. With that said, you cannot do this at a system level for all games. Rather, you will need to do this individually for each game via the Settings menu.
To force a resolution on Steam Deck for a particular game, follow the instructions down below:
- First, select the game that you wish to change the Steam Deck resolution for.
- Click on the Settings icon on the game page.
- From the Settings menu, choose Properties.
- On the General tab, tick the Set resolution for internal and external display checkbox.
- After that, use the drop-down menu under Game Resolution to select your preferred resolution. This will force the selected resolution on the game.
- Once you do that, close the Properties screen and you are good to go.