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Nintendo Switch has a new rival! Valve announces Steam Deck, an AMD-powered handheld gaming PC

Steam Deck
(Image credit: Valve)

Valve dabbled in the VR space with its ultra-pricey HTC Vive Pro and Valve Index headsets, but now the gaming giant is ready to dip its toes in a new pond: the handheld-gaming market.

Valve, the developers behind Steam, just announced Steam Deck, an AMD-powered, portable gaming PC that can run the latest triple-A games. The handheld console is a Nintendo Switch competitor and costs less than $400.

Valve announces a new $399 Nintendo Switch competitor

There were rumblings and rumors about Valve's plans to launch a Nintendo Switch competitor since May. Early reports stated that Valve was poised to release a handheld console dubbed "SteamPal," but now we know the official name: Steam Deck.

Steam deck

Steam Deck (Image credit: Valve)

The Switch-like portable runs SteamOS 3.0 and gives players easy access to their Steam library for launching their favorite games. Steam Deck is packed with a quad-core, eight-thread custom AMD CPU alongside eight RDNA 2 compute units. The portable PC also sports 16GB of LPDDR5 memory.

Its display features a 7-inch, 1280 x 800-pixel touchscreen display with a 60Hz refresh rate. Valve boasts that the screen offers up to 400 nits of brightness. As for connectivity, the Steam Deck has 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0. The handheld console comes with a 40 watt hour battery, which can provide up to an eight-hour runtime between charges.

There will be three configurations: one variant with 64GB of eMMC storage ($399), another with 256GB of NVMe SSD storage ($529), and the most jam-packed model will have 512GB of NVMe SSD storage ($649). If that's not enough for you, don't worry: all models will feature a microSD card slot for additional storage.

Valve's handheld gaming PC is poised to ship this December for US and UK consumers. If you're interested in this portable console, you can reserve the Steam Deck for yourself here.

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!