Technology

This deluxe Steam Deck Stand makes a huge difference

This deluxe Steam Deck Stand makes a huge difference
Written by boustamohamed31

The Steam Deck, viewed from behind, leans back on its attached Deckmate stand.

photo: Kotaku

While Steam Deck, Valve’s advanced mini PC, offers a wealth of gaming experiences in a portable format, the lack of a stand is a sore spot. come in Deck Officer: A simple, plastic bracket that allows you to attach not only a very convenient stand, but also several other specialized mounting solutions to the back of the deck.

Deckmate is the brainchild of product design engineer Siri Ramos. Ramos described how The Steam Deck Community Their enthusiasm and support helped turn what was once a fun personal project into a fully functional product. Of course, the community’s love for small maker-style projects is evident just by scrolling through r/SteamDeck. Deckmate evolved from a series of prototypes and early 3D printed parts to a final product with a professional feel. Now that I’ve used it for a few weeks, it feels like a very natural extension of my deck, with a few surprises of its own.

At the heart of the Deckmate “system,” as the creator calls it, is the “grip,” a simple plastic claw that, well, grips the back of the mini-PC like a poor zombie’s headrack. And like that headcrab, it’s a pretty seamless attachment that doesn’t interfere with the system’s standard protective case. The grip can also hold two spare SD cards, and as a headrack, it’ll probably want to stay where you put it. I’ve only transferred it to another Steam Deck once, and bending the plastic back to get it off feels like something I want to do a few times at most.

The clips are visible on the top and bottom of the device when viewed from the front, but the color and texture of the plastic blend well with the deck. I hardly notice it anymore and can’t feel it with my hands when I play.

Steam Deck with Deckmate handle attached lies face down in box.

The grip clamp grips tightly and provides the attachment point for everything else.
photo: Kotaku

The gripper itself doesn’t do much. Instead, it allows for a variety of “stands” to be placed on the back of the device. They lock in place with a pair of springs. Mounts available include this remarkably convenient stand, adhesive ‘pucks’ for attaching a battery or USB-C hub, wall mounts and even a 75mm VESA mount like you see on the back of computer monitors.

While I used one of my pucks for a handy USB-C hub that allowed me to plug in various USB devices along with an Ethernet cable to speed up downloads, the stand seemed most important to me.

You may not think much about posture; it’s a very basic device and concept. But given the size and weight of the Steam Deck, being able to attach one to the back is kind of like having a third hand, especially when playing on a couch or bed.

This dawned on me when I decided to light up Spider-Man: Remastered one night Lying in bed, with the stand in place, I could just put the device in front of me to watch the opening scene, then pick it up when I was ready to start swinging around Manhattan Island. This might not seem all that revealing if you haven’t spent too many hours on a deck, so let me give some context.

Steam Deck stands upright with a stand from Deckmate.

Deckmate is compatible with the sun, although I am not.
photo: Kotaku

The Steam Deck is as heavy as it looks. This is a big device! And playing for extended periods of time, at least for me, makes my hands go goosebumps and then go numb. Being able to leave it with the screen still facing me and give my hands a rest during non-interactive scenes allowed me to spend more time gaming. The stand also has a lot of adjustment options. It can move a full 120 degrees and never feels like that notoriously flimsy piece of junk attached to the Nintendo Switch that always seemed to threaten to snap right away. The Deckmate stand is also ideal for placing the device on a desk and connecting a keyboard.

Read more: Yes, You Can Use Steam Deck as a PC (Here’s How)

One unexpected advantage includes the deck’s high heat output. Being able to prop it up with the exhaust fan pointing in a more vertical direction feels like a better way to put the device down while downloading something or playing a graphically intensive cutscene. If Reddit is to be believed, there might be too aromatherapy Benefits to Enjoy.

Another surprising use of the stand was that while lying in bed or on the couch, I could use it as a monopole, letting it support more of the device’s weight. As a result, my hands weren’t up to the task of both playing the device and holding it. Overall, the Deckmate with the stand accessory just made the Deck a cozier machine for me.

While I found the stand to be the star of the show, others may find more utility in mounting additional accessories on the adhesive washers. As the Deckmate site warns, the glue used on these washers is practically permanent. So if you want to attach a large battery pack or a USB hub or whatever, be aware that you’re creating a fairly permanent connection between the puck attachment and the accessory. They will be friends for life.

The back of the Steam Deck shows a USB-C hub held in place with the Deckmate puck mount.

Now I have a lot of things.
photo: Kotaku

There are a few other caveats. If you have some kind of smartphone-style case wrapped around your Deck, thereby increasing its thickness, the base gthe tear clamp probably won’t fit around it. Fortunately, a Deckmate Adapter which uses the same 3M adhesive as the washers, offers an alternative means of attaching the gtearing the back of a third party box. However, it may be impossible to resolve conflicts with certain docks. Although the Deckmate FAQ seems very optimistic about it fitting into something like a JSAUX Doci found that the grip clip was too big and made it unstable when sitting in my dock.

You can also only use one stand at a time, so if you want to simultaneously use the stand and charge the device with an external battery, you’ll need to choose which one to attach to the device. Of course, if you’re using the stand, you probably have a flat surface to place the battery on.

Steam Deck resides next to various Deckmate plugins.  The cable on the side shows signs of questionable Photoshop.

Steam Deck with attached handle sits next to various Deckmate attachments (rightmost puck is connected to a common USB-C hub).
photo: Kotaku

Importantly, if you are using a USB-C hub, you should pay close attention to the length of the cable, especially when making the final decision to stick a puck to the hub. In my case, I suspect I stuck the washer a little too low on my hub, and as a result the USB-C cable has a little too much tension when it reaches the single USB-C port on my device. I’ll probably try to reposition this, but given that the glue is disposable, I’ll probably have to get creative. Moral of the story: Measure your cable lengths and use right angle adapters where it makes sense.

Once separated, the stand and all pulley-equipped devices will easily fit into the storage box that comes with the deck. You can just slide it into that compartment on the underside which many Steam Deck users have found creatively used for. However, if your accessory needs a gamepad, keyboard, and other peripherals, you’ll need a bigger bag. For those times when you want to travel light, you can simply detach the Deckmate’s uprights and leave the barely noticeable “grip” bracket.

The Deckmate parts fit snugly into the bottom compartment of the Steam Deck case.

The Deckmate parts fit snugly into the bottom compartment of the Steam Deck case.
photo: Kotaku

If you just want to get the stand, you’ll need the mounting bracket, which costs $20, and then the stand itself for an additional $15. Individual pucks are $7 each. You can also choose to purchase the “Entire System” which includes a handle, two washers, a VESA mount, a wall mount, and a case-agnostic adapter for $49. While you can certainly find cheaper rack options on Amazon and elsewhere, the Deckmate system feels sturdy and reliable. Placing the deck with the Deckmate stand, it never feels like it’s going to tip over (as long as the angle is set correctly). Its size and build quality seem like a good match for the deck itself.

You can also go the DIY route from download the Deckmate digital files and print them yourself. I imagine it will take some trial and error, but the files are free and distributed, as all things should be, under a Creative Commons license.

Overall, the Deckmate, especially with its stand, is a great Steam Deck accessory that expands where (and how) I can play games on it. It’s high quality, looks good, and fits well with the DIY spirit. With any luck, we’ll see more unique, quality projects like this as the Deck settles into the wider gaming hardware landscape.

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