Quick review time!!
I've had my Steam Deck for about a month but have not had much time to play with it due to moving to a new place which took up nearly all of my free time. But I think I can talk about it now with more hands on.
First, I personally love this device. It's what I've been hoping someone would create once I got my hands on a Switch. Having my entire 1200+ PC game library available to play* is just downright amazing. With that said there is a major caveat (hence, the asterisk) with this. Not all games are playable on this. Which is a bummer but it's usually an older game that requires certain emulation software to run (eg. DosBOX) but most newer games do not have this problem. Over time, the amount of games playable will keep going up. Valve is constantly working on fixing the compatibility for all games. Every week there are new games that have been verified by Valve to work with the Deck.
However, (lol) some of the newer games are already too heavy for this machine to run at a locked 60FPS. This is where the magic of SteamOS comes in. There's already a frame limiter that allows you to set a lower FPS so that you have a smooth experience, but Valve recently made this feature even better that I feel is a total game changer. SteamOS now allows you to actually lower the screen refresh rate between 40FPS-60FPS. Which means that you don't have to lock a game to 30FPS like most would do on a typical desktop. If you have a game that doesn't stay at 60FPS but regularly stays above 40FPS, then you can lock both the game and the screen to that framerate. If you want to lock it to 46FPS for some reason, you can. Want 51FPS? That's possible too.
40FPS may not be 60FPS, but it's so much smoother than 30, especially when the screen is also set to refresh at that framerate. I wish this could be done on a desktop but I could see this being difficult for Valve to implement considering there are a gajillion monitors out there to try to work with.
A lot of people have complained about the screen and the inaccurate colors. If you've never cared or asked whether a monitor you have is accurate, then this probably won't bother you either. It will look washed out because you're probably used to looking at your smart phone (which tend to be oversaturated sometimes depending on the make and model) but it shouldn't affect your fun. The black levels are what I wish were better.
The other complaint people have is the fan. It has been confirmed that Valve is shipping two different fans between units. One of the fans apparently has a high-pitched whine when going full tilt. I'm fortunate to not have this fan. Valve has been kind of enough to allow customers to RMA for this reason. I'll post a video of tests done by Gamers Nexus so you can hear the difference. Valve has recently updated the fan curve on the Deck in order to make the fan not go full tilt at lower temperatures. When it is at 100% it is audible.
With all that said, you can change the fan out yourself if you feel like it. Valve has teamed up with iFixit to supply replacement parts for your Deck. This is awesome and I wish more companies did this. I don't have to wait for an RMA if a part goes bad. The joysticks are completely replaceable if you experience any issues with them.
This device is definitely for someone who doesn't mind tinkering. Although you can install games from other store fronts, it's going to take some massaging to get them running. I'm personally just sticking to my Steam library. I don't plan on installing from those other store fronts. I'm also not sure if I'm going to run emulators on this yet. Just keeping the experience 100% stock right now and running games at 30FPS to maximize battery life. I prefer to have more battery versus more frames, but it's completely up to you to tailor the experience for yourself.
I also don't plan on installing Windows. I have a gaming PC already with Win11, so seems unnecessary for me.
Feel free to ask any questions. I'll try to answer them as best as I can.