I got one too! Like many here who would consider it I got a Steam Deck having high hopes for its emulation capabilities which I’ve been finding to be mostly fantastic! So far I’ve tried:
GBA: Flawless and looks great on the screen, especially with some of the Retroarch video shaders you can apply.
PS1: Again, flawless. This was a big one for me because the Vita was previously my go to for PS1 but it’s obviously missing a couple buttons which makes some games extremely hard to play. Steam Deck is perfect though! I’m running at 3x native with CRT-royale on top(very resource heavy) and it chews through games no issues.
PSP: I think I still prefer the Vita as a closer approximation of how PSP games actually look but the Steam Deck has no problem running them.
PS2: Inconsistent for me so far. I only ever got Outrun 2006 to run at half speed but Xenosaga Episode 1 seemed to run without any issues. PCSX2 is a bit fiddly even on Windows and on this hardware it seems every moreso. Will probably heavily depend on the game you’re trying to play.
As for the regular Steam game stuff, I’ve also been having a wonderful time with it! Just finished playing Ys VI on there and the gameplay experience was fantastic. It did have an issue playing some of the FMV cutscenes though. It’s listed as “Unknown” on there which seems to mean that it could work perfectly, they just haven’t given it whatever official checks Valve has. Have also been playing Yakuza 3 Remastered which is “Verified” and it runs perfectly with all the Steam Deck buttons present in game. Some other Verified games I have installed: killer7, Pathologic 2, and Tales of Arise.
For the device more generally, I’m not especially impressed with the build quality. The thing is all plastic and a little bit wiggly, like the volume and power buttons feel like fischer price stuff and not what you’d expect from a very costly handheld computer. It’s also absolutely massive. The controls work pretty well but I find the layout of the sticks, dpad, buttons to be just a little more weird than they need to be. The way they horizontally stretch puts stress on my hands and give me less finger leeway to easily switch between the RL1/RL2 buttons with my index fingers. It’s kind of an awkward device! And for specific older games like Mega Man Legends where you’re exclusively on the dpad and shoulder buttons for movement it caused some discomfort after a bit. Will say that it’s nice that the thing is one solid piece and has grips! It feels a bit better to just hold in your hands than the regular size or OLED Switch does. One nice thing about the controls on this thing though is the controller profiles Valve uses for games that aren’t verified. There are a few different wrappers it applies to games(and you can manually change these as well)to translate games to a gamepad that don’t offer native support. It’s neat!
Another thing to keep in mind about the device is that expectations should be realistic. Especially if you want to play newer games you shouldn’t be expecting this thing to be hitting a flawless 60fps with all settings cranked up. You’re really aiming for a PS4 level of performance(30 to sub-30fps) at 720p resolution. And speaking of the resolution! The screen is 1280×800 which makes it a 16:10 device. I think there will be a decent amount of games that don’t display at this resolution which means you’ll have to step down to 720p, leaving horizontal black bars on the top and bottom of the screen. This isn’t a huge deal but something to keep in mind.
I think it’s a cool device for sure! Fiddly in execution and very much a first draft. It’s also just a weird sell I feel. I have a really hard time feeling connected to playing games on a PC/laptop and I have really limited TV time for consoles so it was a no brainer for me to get, it just fits my lifestyle and general handheld preferences really well. For a lot of people though? It’s an interesting curiosity but I wonder how much interest there will be once the novelty runs out. I see myself getting a ton of use out of it though(and let’s get a working FFXIV on here baby!!!(there are some ways to get it on there but they didn’t work for me))