The Steam Deck; it's the game-changing consolized PC created by Valve. And the handheld form-factor makes for a tempting comparison between the Deck and other handheld PCs and even the Nintendo Switch. And while you can definitely play Switch games on your Steam Deck (at higher resolutions and better framerates than the Switch, even), it's not a fair comparison.
First, the Switch is meant to dock with your PC so you can play your games remotely. And we all know that the Steam Deck's dock got delayed... right?
Well, enter JSAUX and their premium Steam Deck Dock. They sent me this device along with a screen protector and two--count 'em--two cases. And we'll review them all in this video.
First up is the tempered glass. Now, I'm not a huge fan of the idea of adding a screen protector to my Deck as I spent the extra money to get the 512 Gig model with the anti-glare screen. Adding a screen protector to my Deck will undermine the anti-glare etching. With that being said, I can definitively say that I like their screen protector.
Now, it comes in a two pack--as any good screen protector should. Furthermore, it also came with tools to help you install the glass properly. I like this and applying it to the Deck was a cinch. Just make sure you properly clean your screen first.
JSAUX Screen Protector
Easy to Install - Comes with a guiding frame that allows you to easily install the screen protector to your Steam Deck without having to repeatedly align the edges.
Now, I want to touch on the fact that there are multiple Amazon listings and one of them has some really bad reviews saying that it doesn't actually fit the screen. But the protector kit I was sent fits the Deck's screen perfectly and it came with a tool that actually makes installation go perfectly. Very pleased with this.
Next up, let's talk about cases. They sent us two. We put one on my Deck and the other on Emily's. I am using the "Protective Standing Case" ($21.99) and Emily is using "Silicon Protective Case" ($16.99).
I really like how mine feels. It adds an ever-so-slight increase of grippable surface and--with my big hands--it is definitely a welcome change. I feel it's slightly more comfortable to reach the thumbsticks and buttons. However, if you've got small hands, I can imagine this being a bad thing.
Applying it to my Deck was straight forward. Just pop the grips into each cavity and snap the top and bottom over the front of the Deck. And voila. It's easy. The kick stand works as advertised. And the whole thing comes off almost as easily. But that's where we run into what I think is the biggest issue with this device.
My Deck no longer fits into the included carrying case with my Standing Case applied to it. That's a big deal for a few reasons; first, because I'm not going to chuck my Steam Deck into a bag without its carrying case--which means I'd need to first remove the protective case. And I'm not going to carry them separately. And second, if I actually need to use my carrying case then taking off the protective case defeats the purpose of the protective case to begin with. Being out and about with my Deck means I probably need my Deck MORE protected, not less.
Now JSAUX does offer their own carrying case that's large enough to fit a few accessories in--and the website says that it's big enough to store your Deck without removing the protective case.
HOWEVER, the Steam Deck's original case is big enough as is that carrying it in a backpack is already a cumbersome ordeal. So getting an even bigger case--at least for me--is categorically out of the question. At least until I'm ready to get a new, larger backpack.
Now, I said they sent us two cases. And while I like mine, Emily's silicone case is another story. She says she'd give the case a 7/10 overall. While it mostly feels nice in the hand, she said that it changed the ergonomics to such an extent that her hands were falling asleep playing Dragon Age. And I can say that I'm not a fan of how these... I don't know what to call them... grip bristles(?) feel in my hand. And similarly, the tolerances of the silicone seem... ever-so-slightly off. Though this case does at least fit in the original carrying case while it's applied to the Deck.
And, just as a kind of... humorous note... I noticed while I was writing this review that the JSAUX website uses "Silicon" and "Silicone" interchangeably when they're decidedly not the same thing. It's a Silicone case.
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Finally, the main event: the dock. This thing is a beast. I've been using it the last week or so and it's incredibly cool. So let's put it through its paces together.
At first blush, the unboxing process is lackluster. For a product of this price class, though, ($50) that's to be expected. It's just a simple cardboard box with a plastic bag containing the dock and minimal documentation. The USB C connector has a little plastic cover, and that's nice, I guess. First time I've seen one of those for a USB C cable.
Now, the Steam Deck here is no stranger to the concept of "Docking." There are many USB C hubs that come with a full suite of ports. Things like USB, HDMI, DisplayPort, SD Card readers, audio jacks, and even Ethernet.
I have a few of them here.
But these all have some kind of drawback. Whether they are missing features, have ports that are not supported by the Deck (because why should the "Universal" in Universal Serial Bus be anything other than straightforward), or are simply cumbersome to use.
And that's where the JSAUX dock makes all the difference. See, it has the USB expansion, it has the HDMI port, and the Ethernet--and all it's designed for the Steam Deck. But it also has the slot that let's you seat the Steam Deck in an upright position.
My biggest gripe about the USB hubs that I've got on hand is needing to prop the Deck up to allow heat to vent properly while docked. I made a video about 3D printing accessories for the Steam Deck and I went through at least 3 different Steam Deck stands before I found one I liked. You should watch that video as it's pretty interesting. You can find a link here. However, with the JSAUX Dock, that feature is built right in.
So let's actually dive into the specs. According to the documentation that came with the device and JSAUX's website... err... well, it looks like they share their domain which I've never seen before... but anyway, the Steam Deck dock is has:
- x3 type A USB 3.0 at up to 5GBPS and 5V/1A of power--all pretty standard.
- HDMI 2.0 with up to 4K 60
- Gigabit Ethernet
- And 100W power delivery via the USB C port which is more than the Steam Deck needs
So, how does this thing perform? Great. In all my tests I didn't have any issues. I tried monitors and TV and they all worked. And the USB devices I tried performed as expected. Except for one thing. If you have one of the protective cases from JSAUX on your Deck, the Deck won't actually sit firmly in the dock. Thus kinda defeating the purpose. So you have to take the case off to seat your Deck and it's kind of a glaringly obvious oversight here.
And that sucks. That really sucks.
In my testing of the Dock, though, I've found that the USB ports live up to the spec, and so does the Gigabit Ethernet.
So should you buy any of these products? Well, I'd recommend the screen protector if you don't have the 512 Gig model. I would say the Silicone Case is a pass for me, the Standing Case is a "it depends" (really, you need to have big hands as it does change how you grip the device and keep in mind that it no longer fits in the stock carrying case once it's applied to your Deck), and finally the Docking Station is a solid "yes".
I really like the dock and it fulfills the need that Valve's leaving open by delaying the official dock. It's good, solid construction. My one complaint is the Ethernet coming out the side. I'd rather have it come out the back like the rest of the cables.
I'd love to know what you think. Have you tried any of these products? Let me know in the comments below. I'd love to hear from you.
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That's gonna do it for now though. Thank you so much for watching. I hope you all have a blessed day. And I'll see you next time.