The Steam Deck is a sturdy piece of kit, but it’s always nice to have peace of mind that should something stop functioning — be it the screen, joysticks, or buttons — it can be easily replaced. Early adopters of this handheld console now have that reassurance, as iFixit has officially started to sell official replacement parts for Valve’s Linux-based system.
Nearly every part of the Steam Deck will be available for purchase on iFixit, including all the tools you need to service the console yourself. For now, you can purchase buttons, fans, joysticks, power supplies, screens, and speakers. Some notable omissions include replacement batteries, buttons, and motherboards.
Pricing seems fairly reasonable across the board, with the cheapest part, the membranes that go under the buttons, costing just $US5 ($7) while the bumpers and triggers are only $US7 ($10) and $US8 ($11), respectively. The A, B, X, and Y buttons aren’t yet available, but the joysticks, which are notoriously unreliable on other console controllers (including a certain Steam Deck rival), can be purchased as a kit with all the tools for $US20 ($28).
You can even buy new displays, including the anti-glare etched glass option ($US99 ($137)) available only on the 512GB Steam Deck. On the product page, iFixit says the anti-glare is compatible only with the high-end Steam Deck, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see DIYers attempt to mix and match these panels. Some might even “downgrade” to the standard reflective screen ($US65 ($90)) as early impressions claim the etched glass is a bit dim.
How to replace Steam Deck parts?
I wouldn’t recommend making any replacements or upgrades without checking out iFixit’s detailed replacement guides. There are some two dozen guides that give you step-by-step instructions on how to remove a part and install a new one. Each includes a difficulty rating, the number of steps required, and an estimate of how long it should take. When iFixit took apart the Steam Deck, it gave the console a 7 out of 10 repairability score and praised the ease with which you can access components using a few basic tools.
Getting to the battery, however, isn’t so simple, and as it stands, iFixit doesn’t sell replacement batteries. That’s a shame, considering the Steam Deck gets poor battery life and, therefore, requires frequent recharging, which could more rapidly wear out the battery. A replacement battery and motherboard should be coming soon.
Last week, iFixit CEO Kyle Wien told The Verge:
“Our initial release includes the parts and tools to complete most repairs. We don’t have a solution for battery repairs on day one, but we are committed to working with Valve to maintain these devices as they age. Battery replacements are going to be essential to making the Steam Deck stand the test of time.”
In my Steam Deck review, I noted how the console felt solid and sturdy despite being made almost entirely of hard plastic. Treat it with care by keeping it in the case when not in use and you shouldn’t run into any problems. If you’re less careful with your gadgets, you can see how the Steam Deck held up to a brutal torture test that involved fire and a boxcutter. Without giving too much away: those who are skittish might want to look away.
Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.