Valve has heard those concerns involving the battery life of the Steam Deck. 

According to Engadget, the new handheld gaming console features a rather simplistic (but effective) battery-saving feature: a frame rate limiter. This means that even if the Steam Deck is capable of a smooth 60 FPS in a lot of games, you can cap its performance to at least half. Fewer frames needing to be rendered extra battery life. It's that simple. 

In response to allegations of choppiness, however, Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais claims that the 30 FPS limit is more a floor than a target. Speaking to The Verge, Griffais said that most of the games they tested have been capable of exceeding the 30 FPS "floor" most of the time, which is again demonstrating the performance capabilities of the console. 

The folks at Valve gave one example of a game played on the Steam Deck: "Portal 2," which they say can be played for as much as 6 hours straight on a 30 FPS lock compared to only four with no FPS restrictions. But of course, "Portal 2" is an old game from 2011 and not that demanding on modern hardware. Results can vary greatly, more so if you're playing something newer and more cutting-edge like Remedy's "Control." 

Read also: Steam Deck Is Poised To Take Over the Nintendo Switch's Top Spot, According to Analysts

Steam Deck: Power Vs. Battery Life Balancing

The Steam Deck itself is quite powerful for a handheld console, assuming Valve's claims about its capabilities are accurate. As such, its battery life was one of the major concerns when it was first announced. 

Valve claimed that the handheld's GPU is capable of playing anything on the Steam store literally. Considering how the storehouses a few demanding modern games, the console's projected 2 to 8-hour battery life could vary wildly depending on usage. 

If you're going to be a typical Steam Deck user, then it will be up to you to balance your games' performance with battery life. Reserve the unlocked frame rates for fast-paced games like shooters, and limit the FPS to 30 when playing more demanding titles. 

Great Compromises 

Valve is designing the Steam Deck to be the most powerful handheld gaming console yet likely. But while its battery life may tank, maybe it helps to know that they're not neglecting anything else on it. Case in point: controller drift. 

According to Valve, they're doing everything they can to make sure that the Steam Deck doesn't suffer from stick drift, which has been the biggest problem of its soon-to-be close competitor in the Nintendo Switch. They say that their design team in charge of the console has been picking parts with "well-known performance records" to ensure that drift will never be an issue. 

Should they succeed, then the console will have an excellent ace up its sleeve. Handheld gaming should be about convenience, and the elimination of controller drift should be a top priority. 

RelatedSteam Deck Could Play Games from SD Cards Like Old-School Cartridges

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Written by RJ Pierce 

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