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Best Gaming Projectors for Steam Deck

playing steam deck with projector

The recent announcement of Steam Deck by Valve has shaken things up for gamers. While not the first portable/handheld form factor PC, Steam Deck is arguably the first that really feels right and looks promising out of the box, so to speak. Backed by the Steam platform, this upcoming mobile PC gaming console also offers easy connectivity with gaming monitors, something we looked at before

But Steam Deck brings a golden opportunity for fans of big screen gaming. And we mean really big. Unlike bulky desktop gaming PCs or even slightly heavy and hot-running gaming laptops, Steam Deck is very light and compact, so there’s no problem taking it everywhere. That includes a large game and entertainment room or any other place you feel like putting up a big screen. Since Steam Deck is a fully-fledged PC running Steam OS, when coupled with a good gaming projector that means all of your favorite Steam games can effortlessly make the move to a massive wall-sized screen.

Simple Connections

To get Steam Deck hooked up with a gaming projector, you’ll need a USB-C dock/hub with HDMI. Valve plans to sell an official hub, but any USB-C dock will do just fine as long as it’s adequately powered. In other words, any dock that works with Steam Deck competitor Nintendo Switch is good to go. Once you have the dock, just connect it using HDMI to your gaming projector. And since Steam Deck is compact and portable, you can place it right next to the projector, negating the need for long and messy HDMI cables. As for controllers, Steam Deck supports Bluetooth connections to those so you can sit quite far away from the portable PC in your comfy seat of choice. 

Resolution and Frame Rate

Steam Deck has a screen with 1280 x 800 resolution, but we don’t know what that means for the internal resolution of games running on the device. Since it’s a full PC, games will presumably have all the usual resolution and refresh rate settings you've come to expect. Games will not be cut-down or scaled back versions of PC releases. They’ll be the same game you’d get on the most powerful desktop.

Looking at the AMD-based hardware within Steam Deck, we estimate it has the power of a base PS4 or Xbox One. With recent hardware refinements and use of technologies like DLSS and FSR, 1080p 120Hz and 1440p 60Hz should be very attainable in most titles. Thus, Steam Deck would be best paired with a new gaming projector rather than a projector aimed primarily at movies and TV content. 

What to Look For

Following on the previous paragraph, you want a projector with low latency so that input lag is kept at a minimum. You also want a projector with good audio to make certain your gaming sessions sound good, but please use headphones if bothering anyone nearby is an issue (Steam Deck has audio out, as do good gaming projectors).

The projector we have in mind as a perfect companion to Steam Deck is our own X3100i, which does 1080p 120Hz with just 8.3ms of total lag. That’s perfect for Steam Deck’s specs. Remember, Steam Deck has a 720p 60Hz screen. Once more, we don’t know how games will run once Steam Deck outputs them to an external display. Scaling and resolution/framerate changes haven’t been discussed much by Valve. We reiterate that in our opinion, most Steam Deck games will run just fine in 1080p with up to 120Hz, so the X3100i has you covered.

If you feel like kicking things up a notch or have an Xbox Series X/S or PS5 already, then you may want to consider a 4K gaming projector like the BenQ TK700STi. This wonder of technology throws beautiful 4K HDR 60Hz onto a big screen, with bright 3000 lumen projection and lovely colors. It’s not known as of this writing whether Steam Deck will even support 4K, but chances are it won’t be your only device. If you want one projector for your “big console” and Steam Deck, the TK700STi takes care of all your needs and is very future proof. 

Exciting Times

Pre-orders of Steam Deck were gone within minutes and it seems like the first shipments won’t even take place until early 2022. Still, it never hurts to be prepared. If you managed to secure a pre-order or want to have the right setup when you decide to buy a Steam Deck later on, we hope this has been helpful. With Steam Deck offering a super-convenient way to bring real PC gaming into the living room, you should aim to have the best living room possible as a warm welcome! 


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