Image: iFixit photo.
The Steam Deck isn’t even out yet and we already know the basics of how to tear it down and repair it. Even better, it partnered with repair giant iFixit to offer replacement parts for the Steam Deck direct to the consumer.“Today, we’re announcing that iFixit will be one of the authorized sellers of Steam Deck replacement parts—as well as replacement parts for the Valve Index VR products,” Valve said in an announcement on its website. “We are still hammering out the details, and will be sharing more info on this soon.”
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iFixit confirmed the deal in its recently released tear down video of the Steam Deck. Valve posted its own teardown video of the Steam Deck last October, but reviewers have the device now and iFixit has released its own video. Its verdict is that the Steam Deck is, mostly, easy to work on and repair. But there is one big problem—the battery.The first thing iFixit did with its Steam Deck was send it out to get professionally x-rayed. This 3D rendering of the machine’s guts gave iFixit a road map for its dive into the machine. With a map of the Steam Decks innerworkings in hand, iFixit said it was easy to open up the device and begin the teardown. “If you’re used to working on PCs, you’ll be comfortable here,” iFixit said. “No messy adhesives, no exocit screws. This thing is simplicity itself.”Most stuff inside the Steam Deck is held together with screws. There’s almost no solder work and everything is clearly labeled. It should be easy to repair, modify, and upgrade the Steam Deck and there’s a good chance we’ll see a lot of weird homebrew Steam Decks in the near future.iFixit’s one big red flag, however, is the battery. The L-shape two cell battery sits on top of some grated metal that sits just above the screen and is held in place with adhesive. “Battery replacements in the Steam Deck are rough,” iFixit said. “Early reviews indicate that the Steam Deck can chew through a full charge in less than 90 minutes in some cases. That means heavy users will see a lot of charge cycles and, inevitably, battery replacement.”Even with the adhesive issues, iFixit was still able to remove the battery and put the Steam Deck back together. Overall, iFixit rated the repairability of Valve’s new handheld at 7/10. That’s much better than a lot of other devices these days.We don’t know the details of the replacement parts, including what they’ll cost and what’s available. But Valve’s commitment to ease of access and repair is built into the very Steam Deck itself and its partnership with iFixit is a good sign that people will be able to make basic fixes to the Steam Deck for years to come.