Got yourself a Steam Deck? Aren’t you lucky? One thing you might want to do, though, is improve its battery life. And we’ve got some tips to help you out.
Like any handheld device, the Steam Deck‘s battery life is limited. And it can fluctuate heavily depending on what you’re playing. Throw a graphics-heavy title like Elden Ring at it, and it’s not going to last anywhere near as long as it will when you’re playing something like Unpacking.
Thankfully, there are ways to optimise and improve how long the battery of your Steam Deck will last. Follow even just a couple of our tips below and you’ll be able to go much longer before having to reach for your charger.
Reduce your Steam Deck’s screen brightness
The brighter your screen, the more power is needed to illuminate. You’ll want to minimise the brightness of your Steam Deck where possible to preserve battery life. To do this, press the “…” button on the right-hand side of your console. Navigate to the ‘Quick Settings’ menu, illustrated with a cog. At the top, you’ll find a brightness slider. We find just over half way is comfortable in most indoor environments. At night time you’ll be able to go lower.
Lower graphical settings in a game
Most games on Steam have their own graphical settings. While we want our games to look as nice as possible, reducing the settings means your Steam Deck doesn’t have to work as hard, in turn making the battery last longer. Even going from ‘High’ to ‘Medium’ will add time to your battery life – and will likely make your game perform better, too.
Limit screen refresh rate
By default, your Steam Deck’s screen refresh rate is set to 60, meaning it will display a maximum of 60 frames per second. Undoubtedly the optimal way to play, but again, it’s making your Steam Deck work harder. We’ve found that limiting the refresh rate to 40 still makes our games feel smooth and enjoyable, but it also drains the battery slower. It’s a trade-off we think is worthwhile.
To limit your screen refresh rate on Steam Deck, press the “…” button on your console, then navigate to the ‘Performance’ menu. It’s the battery icon. There, you’ll find a slider. Pull it down to 40, which is the lowest it can go.
Limit frame rate to 30
While setting the refresh rate to 40 will also limit the frame rate to 40, you can push it a little lower if you want. If you’re happy to play games at 30 FPS, you’ll eke a lot more power out of your Steam Deck. And depending on the type of game you’re playing, you’ll hardly notice the difference. Some games have their own settings for this, but you can set the limit in the ‘Performance’ menu on the console – just press the “…” button.
Only download when it’s charging
Downloading games and updates in the background will eat up your Steam Deck’s battery pretty quickly. We’d recommend only downloading new games or sizable updates when your Steam Deck is on charge.
Keep Bluetooth turned off
There’s an option to turn on Bluetooth on Steam Deck – you’ll find it in Quick Settings by pressing the “…” button. It’s off by default, and leave it that way. You’ll need to turn it on if you want to use an external controller, for example, but make sure it’s off whenever you don’t need it.
Turn off rumble and haptics
Steam Deck features rumble and haptics, designed to provide enjoyable feedback when playing certain games. You can choose to turn these off if you want. You’ll lose out on a bit of player experience, but it’ll make your Steam Deck battery last longer. To toggle them on and off, press the “…” button and go to ‘Quick Settings’. Scroll down until you see the ‘Controller’ options. Simply slide the toggles next to Game Rumble and Steam Haptics.
Limit Processor Power
If you’re feeling brave, there are advanced settings to mess with in the Steam Deck’s ‘Performance’ menu. You can turn on Half Rate Shading, limit Thermal Power, and set the GPU to a fixed clock. Enabling them will save you battery power, but they’ll also impact how well your Steam Deck can play your games. By all means, tinker with them – they may be worth enabling if the game you’re playing isn’t very demanding.