Whether or not the Steam Deck will support 4K is a question that many have been asking since its announcement. The huge demand for the console suggests that many people have pre-ordered a Steam Deck, regardless of the resolution it will support. But wouldn't it be lovely if the Steam Deck was able to provide 4K support?
In this article, we'll let you know whether or not the Steam Deck supports 4K, and what resolution it offers when docked. So does Steam Deck support 4K? Let's find out.
Does Steam Deck Support 4K?
The 7" Steam Deck screen is capable of a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, with a 16:10 aspect ratio. This is a non-standard resolution but is considered equivalent to 720p HD, rather than 4K.
In other words, when playing the Steam Deck and using the built-in screen, you will not be able to enjoy 4K resolution, as the screen simply isn't built to display at such a high resolution. In an interview with Rock Paper Shotgun, Greg Coomer of Steam stated that:
achieving 4K and having a display that runs at that resolution wasn't really a design target for us.
His colleague Lawrence Yang reiterated that:
it wouldn't have been worth the trade-off. Technically, it probably is possible to create a device of this size that can output at 4K...but what would that device actually look like? How long could it run those games? How hot would it get? It's a lot of balancing and we're actually really happy with where this is right now.
But what are the implications when you dock the Steam Deck? What resolution will it support in that situation?
What Resolution Is The Steam Deck When Docked?
While in handheld mode, the resolution is limited by the screen that Steam decided to use, docking your Steam Deck means you can connect it to a screen with a much higher native resolution. In the same interview mentioned above, the duo confirm the following:
It's not the dock specifically that lets it output at a higher resolution. You can plug any HDMI to USB-C adapter into this and it can output at 4K.
The Steam Deck supports both HDMI and DisplayPort, meaning you can more or less plug your Deck into almost any television or monitor you wish. And as Greg and Lawrence confirmed, the docked Deck will be able to output at 4K. So if you have a 4K display that you connect to your Steam Deck, you will be able to enjoy compatible games at that resolution.