Turn the Steam Deck into…a Laptop?
This is ross from metro gamecore, so ive had this steam deck for several months now, and one of the things that first interested me about this is that it has a desktop mode. When i first got it, i thought to myself man: it would be really cool to use this as a linux pc as well, but i got ta be honest. I almost never use the desktop mode. Part of that has to do with the fact that i dont really like using these mouse pads for mouse functions. I just never really got used to them, and so this idea of being able to use this as like a portable linux, desktop that i can use on travel and things like that. It just never really came to fruition. I guess at the end of the day, if i really wanted to, i could bring a bluetooth keyboard and mouse with me, but then id just be squinting at that small screen anyway, and so in todays video im going to present a different solution, and this thing Is called the nex dock and its kind of hard to describe, but this is a laptop that is not actually a laptop. This is literally just a screen and a battery and a keyboard, but what that means is that it can transform anything you plug into it into a working laptop, and so, if were going to stick to the example of a steam deck, you can literally just plug This thing right up and start using it immediately as a laptop computer and the ability to be able to use this on travel is just kind of a game.
Changer to me i dont have to bring a mouse or a keyboard or an extra screen. Not only that the monitor has its own battery, which can last up to 12 hours, which is pretty impressive, and so in todays video. What i want to do is take a look at this nex docs in the context of using it with a steam deck and were going to test it with a bunch of other devices to see how it looks with some other use cases as well, and so Without any further delay lets jump into it, Music. Okay, first thing: you know the nex dock has been around for a while. I actually saw it on a youtube video about a year ago, and initially it was meant to be plugged in with certain smartphones, but the whole idea of being able to use it with a steam. Deck is a new one. Now, just to briefly go over the specs, this is a 13.3 inch lcd display with a 1080p resolution, 16×9 aspect ratio. It also has a hefty 44 watt hour battery and, like i mentioned before, it can last up to 12 hours, which is really impressive. It has a variety of ports, including a micro sd card slot. Well go over that here in a second, but i do want to make note of the four speakers it has inside and it weighs about two and a half pounds altogether. So now lets talk about price.
This is 350 dollars and it ships out of california. Now the first thought i had was man for 350 dollars. I could just buy a chromebook and use that as a laptop, and you totally could do that. But the idea here is a little bit different. For example, if you have a smartphone youve already spent like say a thousand dollars on it, wouldnt it be nice to be able to use that as well. So if youre on travel or whatever you can then answer emails and things like that from your phone, but with the convenience of a big screen and a keyboard and of course, the steam deck concept will be the exact same thing. Youll have a full fledged desktop mode that you can use with a laptop and then, of course, unlike a real laptop, you can just plug in other devices to take advantage of that big screen. So if you brought a nintendo switch or a retro device that has hdmi out, you could then use it on this screen as well. So i think when it comes down to price, yes, 350 dollars is a lot and it is comparable to a cheap laptop. But if i had to summarize that with one sentence, i would say that the next doc gives you less, but also more. It gives you less than the fact that it is not a standalone laptop, but it opens up a whole world of possibilities when it comes to productivity with the devices you already have now, as far as whether or not thats justified with a 350 price ill.
Let you be the judge either way lets move on to the unboxing. Now, like i mentioned the company ships these out of california inside the box, youre going to get an instruction guide, it has just kind of a breakdown of each of the components. Further inside youll get your usb cable for video connection, as well as a usb c to usb a adapter, because the next dock does not have a usb a port. Also inside youll find a usbc cable for the charging, brick, which is this one here now this brick will charge the nex dock itself directly. It is a 20 watt, brick and then in turn it will charge the device that you have plugged in and then finally, we have a mini hdmi to regular hdmi. Cable now lets take a look at the device itself and honestly, it just looks like a laptop. It has a space gray color to it. It reminds me a lot of a traditional macbook and of note it does pick up. Fingerprints pretty easily now lets take a look at each of the sides on the back. Here you can see it has a dual hinge system and then on the left. We have our mini hdmi port as well as your device usbc input port. So this is where youll plug in the steam deck or a smartphone or whatever. Now, on the opposite side near the front of the device, we have a usbc port.
This is going to be for data only, and then we also have a power button. A microsd card slot, which is super handy and then also the usbc charging for the brick itself, and finally, it has a headphone jack here at the back on the bottom of the device, not a lot to see here, just some screws as well some rubber feet To keep it nice and planted okay, so thats the outside lets take a look at what it is like on the inside and much like with the macbook exterior. It feels a lot like a macbook on the inside as well. First things. First, those keys remind me. A lot of the butterfly switch keys or whatever theyre called on the max nowadays and well test those out here in a second, but first lets look at the other stuff up top. We have a power indicator light as well as the four speakers and then combined with the function keys. You have a bunch of hotkeys as well things like a battery indicator volume up and down screen, brightness pause and play, and so on. To me, this looks like a traditional laptop keyboard setup. We have that 75 size right here and some of those other function buttons here on the right now, just given the angles of what i do when i record im not really able to show you the screen while im typing, but i did do some type testing And it seemed fine im pretty familiar with mac keyboards, and so in that sense it felt a little bit loose in the keys themselves, but otherwise no big complaints.
Now the travel on these are pretty low. You know just as expected with a laptop, but overall i didnt find any glaring issues its definitely not the best keyboard ive ever used, but nothing that i would specifically complain about, but speaking of which now lets talk about the trackpad here. As far as glide, i think its okay theres a little bit of grippiness there, but no complaints. However, the clicking on the trackpad is pretty terrible, especially near the center of the button. Now, luckily, you can just tap on the trackpad lightly with your finger and it will register as a mouse click and thats. What i ended up doing here when i was using it, but the actual clicking itself feels very rough and cheap here lets. Do a close up, so you can get a better idea and ill stop talking for a second, so yeah it has a weird double click to it. The sides of it have a different, sound and also a different amount of pressure required and clicking the trackpad from the top of the trackpad is almost impossible. So in the end i just adapted to using light taps with the trackpad no problems there. But overall, if i had to judge this, i would say its like a 3 or a 4 out of 10.. Okay now lets fire. It up take a look at the screen and then also the menu options as well. Now this is a touch screen and so in order to access the menu you just swipe down with two fingers, and here you can adjust things like the volume and the backlit brightness right here on the left at full brightness.
It is pretty good, but it does make the display a little bit washed out as well see here later in the footage. But i do like the fact that the backlit display does go down quite a lot when you get it down to zero lets. Also, take a second to look at some of the other menu options. The third one from the left is sharpness and the fourth one is brightness of the display. These two can only be adjusted when something is plugged in, and i found that keeping them at the middle setting seems to be the best. Next on the right. You have the option of choosing between usb type c or hdmi for the video input and then also to the right of that. You can choose whether or not to charge the device when its hooked up and finally below that you can mute the volume or you can toggle on the screen rotation. And finally, there is a sub menu where you can toggle on hdr and then also you can manually adjust the color balance as well, and so i found that its pretty handy that its there, but i didnt really find a need to actually make a manual adjustment. So yeah overall, i think the screen is pretty good. The amount of bezels here on the sides are nice, but obviously it does have that chin at the bottom. You can definitely find laptops that are thinner than this or have a better resolution, or maybe even better colors and brightness too, but i think overall, it gets the job done now for those of you who are expecting to potentially use this with travel lets.
Do some measurements so its a little bit over 14 inches, maybe 14 and a half diagonally, and it is 12 inches by 8 inches if you go by width and height and yeah just to verify here. The usable screen here is a little bit over 13 inches in a more practical comparison. It is about the same width as a steam deck now, obviously, the steam deck is going to be a lot thicker and also not quite as tall, but if you are planning on traveling with this its good to know that they are about the same width altogether. Now, to switch over to desktop mode in case you dont know how to do that. You would press the steam button here then go into power and then select switch to desktop its surprisingly fast, how quickly itll switch over to the desktop mode, and just like that. Youre in so now lets take a quick trip over to the studio so that we can get a little bit more of a 3d dimension going here and actually test this thing out im going to take the power brick and im going to plug it directly into The device and, of course, were going to start with the steam deck now before we get into the desktop mode side of things. I do want to see how it is when we actually just use it as a gaming device as well. First thing i noticed when i plugged it in is that it did give me a warning that this was a slow charging input.
So i would not expect this thing to fully charge up your steam deck as youre using it, but at the very least, it should maintain your battery level or at least give it a trickle charge. Now, when it comes to actually gaming on this thing, youve got a couple options. For example, you could just use the steam deck and the controls right there on the device, or you could connect a bluetooth controller like i am here and just kind of have an impromptu gaming console either way. This worked out great, it scaled up to 1080p and played just fine and, like we kind of saw earlier, you know using desktop mode like this. It is just fine im, just browsing through the app store right now, because i really dont know how to use this thing yet, but for those of you who do already use linux, you probably know exactly what youre going to do with this anyway, either way its A nice confirmation here that, yes, it works, just fine, in fact, as i was using it, i had a really hard time, remembering that i had this steam duct plugged into this something about it, just kind of convinced, my brain, that no, this is a real laptop Youre not using a steam deck its just on this thing and so yeah. I think in that regard it just works now. I havent done a lot of traveling over the past few years, but before that i used to be on the road about half the time and funny enough.
I never had a laptop during any of that time, but i had a lot of travel based solutions. For example, i would bring a bluetooth keyboard and mouse to use with my ipad or in a pinch i would connect them to my phone and, to be honest, none of those solutions ever worked really. Well, generally, i could answer a couple. Emails. Maybe do some light text editing, but that was about it. This device, on the other hand, was a completely different experience. It just felt like using a regular computer, but the nice thing is: i didnt have to buy a computer to do that. After all, the steam deck itself is a pc. Now, one quick interlude that i forgot to do, while in the studio, is to verify that. Yes, it does have a touch screen function and it does work when you plug in a usbc device like this steam deck. But a couple thoughts on that. First, it makes the panel wobble a lot. So it kind of made me a little bit nauseated and number two im, not sure if youd use the touch screen at all, because you have the track pad, which is kind of the primary reason for using a laptop setup like this. So yes, touchscreen will work but im not sure youre going to want it. Okay, moving on lets try a couple. Other devices well start with the ayn oden. This is an android based device, so it should just function like an android tablet and yeah sure enough.
After plugging it in, i did have to reboot the device, but after that everything worked great, it even went into a proper mouse mode and everything so again, just like with the steam deck. You could use this as a portable gaming rig, or you could also use it as a productivity tool. If you wanted as well one other function, i thought would be pretty handy if you were using an iphone or an android or an android based tablet like the ay on odin is that you could use it for game streaming and so, as an example here lets Boot up the xbox game pass and im just going to jump right into a game again. This is streaming from the cloud here and so yeah in general. You wouldnt need to have a device that is capable of playing doom eternal, even though the steam deck is. Instead, you just need to plug in something thats capable of using the xbox game pass app. All right lets try a couple other devices. Well, do a retro handheld that has an hdmi out. This is the ambernik rg552. Now this has a mini hdmi input, so im going to have to use an adapter here, going mini hdmi to regular hdmi than regular hdmi to the mini hdmi of the dock. Thats. Definitely a mouthful, but it is pretty easy to set up now im using the jealous firmware here and for some reason it rotated everything as i plugged it into hdmi, and after filming this section, i did go home and test it with other devices like the rg353p.
Still using jealous – and it worked just fine, so it might just be a bug specifically for the firmware on the rg552. Okay. Next lets: try out the nintendo switch im going to use the oled edition here, and this one connected right up. No problems whatsoever and nice thing about this setup is that it does charge the switch as its going im, not sure if this is a quick charge or anything, but at least it works, and when it came to gameplay and everything else, all that was great. Its kind of a blast to be able to see a nintendo switch game playing on a laptop like this, outside of emulation either way yeah. This totally worked fine anyway. Those are just a few of the use cases that you could use with this device. Im not sure, if im supposed to call it the nex dock or the next dock lets just go with neck stock from here on out either way. I think its time to do the pros and cons well start with what i like number one. This feels like a legit laptop. It doesnt have that luxury quality of something like an apple product, but it is pretty close. Probably my favorite thing about it is the battery life. This thing will give you upwards of 12 hours of battery itll just last all day, which is pretty awesome. Additionally, itll power devices. I think itll do great with a phone, but when you get something bigger like a steam deck, its only going to give a trickle charge – and probably most importantly, about this whole thing altogether – is that it unlocks a bunch of new use cases.
I finally now have a reason to use steam deck in desktop mode, and you could plug in your favorite gaming console on the go to be able to play this on a larger screen. Another use case that would be kind of neat is that you could just take a fire stick with you, while on travel and just plug it directly into the laptop and be able to stream stuff right then, and there either way, theres just a ton of possibilities With having an hdmi input like this, it honestly just makes me wish that laptops in general had an hdmi input. Overall. Okay, now lets talk about the things i dont like about the neck stock number one: are those trackpad clicks its just really annoying to have to push down so hard and the fact that its super loud in some areas, and not in others, and very hard to Push down on near the top, this is all mitigated by lightly tapping on the track pad, but i wish i didnt have to do that in the first place. Next, the screen panel itself is touch screen, but its also very wobbly and thats, not a great combination in general. I just found i didnt want to touch the touchscreen at all and finally, the screen quality on this is not the best i kind of wish there was a saturation option within the menu and honestly, the hdr just looked the same as with it off or on So i think if you were going to use this to like watch movies or something like that, its not going to look that great.
But, of course, when it comes down to it, this is going to be ideal in a travel situation and when you are traveling there are compromises to be made. The real question here is whether or not the amount of functionality you get here is going to be worth the asking price of 350 dollars. I think for me personally, when it came to purely using this for gaming, something like the nintendo switch or just the steam deck gaming site as well. Then i would probably just opt for a larger portable monitor, which is going to be a lot cheaper. But if you want to use something like a smartphone or a tablet for more productivity minded things or you want to transform this steam deck into a full on pc, then i think those are great use cases, and so let me know what you think in the Comments below is this something you would consider when going on travel or not and im very interested in hearing your take as well as always thank you for watching and be sure to like and subscribe.