The Valve Steam Deck is all about being as open and flexible as possible, so it's no surprise that users will be able to repair it themselves, courtesy of tech teardown specialist iFixit.
Valve announced (opens in new tab) that iFixit has been officially authorized to sell replacement parts for the Steam Deck so that users can repair the console themselves. Valve said iFixit will be the first authorized seller but not the only one.
Neither parties have specified which parts are going to be sold in particular. According to The Verge (opens in new tab), Steam Deck designer Lawrence Yang told the publication that the company is still working with iFixit to figure out the details.
We've already seen multiple teardowns of the Steam Deck, coming from popular YouTube accounts such as Linus Tech Tips (opens in new tab) and GamerNexus (opens in new tab). But yesterday, iFixit published its own video (opens in new tab) that focused on examining the extent of how complicated would the repairing process be.
The teardown revealed that certain elements such as the thumbsticks can easily be replaced in just three screws. And the process of replacing the SSD is even simpler as it only takes one screw and a slip-on EMI shield.
On the other hand, replacing key components such as the screen and the battery can prove challenging. According to iFixit, the device's display has a bit of an adhesive applied to it, meaning that if you were to replace it, you'd have to take careful measures, which could include the use of heat and suction cups.
And the battery could be among the hardest elements to replace, especially if the user isn't experienced in DIY repairs. In fact, the narrator of the iFixit teardown video said that "battery replacements definitely seem to be the Steam Deck’s Achilles heel."
Still, similar to any other device, those two elements are the first ones that users look to replace, especially after long-term use and accidental damage.
"Steam Deck can chew through a full charge in less than 90 minutes in some cases, and that means heavy users will see a lot of charge cycles and inevitably, battery replacement," Jeff Suovanen from iFixit explained.
So if iFixit does sell spare Steam Deck screens and the batteries, let's hope that they will come with a very detailed set of instructions.
Valve also recently released CAD files for the Steam Deck, allowing users to 3D print the shell of the device and create accessories. You can also use the files to feel the device before ordering (provided you own a 3D printer). Again this highlights to open and flexible nature of the Steam Deck.
The first Steam Deck pre-orders are set to release on February 25. When they arrive, those lucky enough to secure a console will actually be getting a form of portable gaming PC powered by Valve’s own Steam OS operating system and custom processor and graphics tech provided by AMD.