This deluxe steam tabletop rest makes a big difference

The Steam deck, seen from behind, leans backwards on the Deckmate kickstand it's attached to.

picture: Kotaku

while the steam surface, Valve’s improved mini PC, offers a plethora of gaming experiences in a portable format, and the lack of a kickstand has been a sore point. Entry decmati: A simple plastic bracket that allows you to attach not only a very handy kickstand, but also many other specialized mounting solutions to the back of the deck.

Deckmate is the brainchild of product design engineer Siri Ramos. Ramos described how Steam Deck Community Their enthusiasm and support helped them grow what was once a fun personal project into a full-featured product. The community’s love for small maker style projects is sure to be evident just by scrolling p/SteamDeck. Deckmate evolved from a series of 3D printed prototypes and early parts into a finished product with a professional feel. Now that I’ve used it for a few weeks, it seems to be a very natural extension for the desktop platform, with a few surprises of its own.

At the center of the Deckmate’s “system,” as the designer calls it, is the “fist,” a simple plastic claw that grips, well, the back of the mini-computer like a hoodie on a poor zombie. And just like the ballast, this is a very smooth attachment, which doesn’t conflict with the system’s stock protection case. The handle can also hold two spare SD cards and, like the headgear, is more likely to stay where you put it. I’ve only moved it to Steam Deck one other time, and bending the plastic back to remove it seems like something I only want to do a few times at most.

The notches are visible at the top and bottom of the device when viewed from the front, but the color and texture of the plastic blend well with the surface. I hardly notice it, nor do I feel it with my hands when playing.

Steam surface with Deckmate grip attached lays face down in canister.

The “grip” bracket is securely attached and provides the attachment point for everything else.
picture: Kotaku

The handle bracket itself doesn’t do much. Instead, it allows for a variety of “mounts” to slot into the back of the device. These are held in place by a pair of springs. Available mounts include a remarkably easy-to-use kickstand, “pucks” with adhesives for attaching a battery or USB-C hub, wall mounts, and even a 75mm VESA mount as seen on the backs of computer monitors.

While I was using one of my balls for a handy USB-C hub that allowed me to connect a variety of USB devices with an ethernet cable to speed up downloads, I felt the kickstand was more important to me.

You may not think much about standing; It’s a very basic device and concept. But given the Steam Deck’s size and weight, being able to attach one to the back is a bit like growing a third arm, especially when playing on the couch or bed.

This became clear to me when I decided to make a fire Spider-Man: Remastered one night. Lying on the bed, with the kickstand in place, I could just rest the device in front of me to watch the opening scene, then catch it when I was ready to start swinging around the island of Manhattan. This might not sound very obvious if you don’t put many hours on deck, so let me provide some context.

The Steam Deck is held upright with a kickstand from Deckmate.

Deckmate is compatible with the sun, although I am not.
picture: Kotaku

Steam Deck is as heavy as it sounds. It’s a great device! And playing for long periods of time, at least for me, makes my hands prickly and then numb. Being able to set it with the screen still facing me and giving my hand a break during non-interactive scenes allowed me to spend more time playing it. The kickstand also has a good amount of adjustment. It can move a full 120 degrees, and you never feel that flimsy piece of junk associated with a Nintendo Switch, which always seems to threaten to break up right away. The Deckmate kickstand is also ideal for placing the unit on a desk and attaching a keyboard.

Read more: Yes, You Can Use Steam Deck as a PC (Here’s How)

One unexpected benefit includes the high heat production of the surface. Being able to prop it up with the exhaust fan pointed in a more vertical direction seems like a better way to tune the machine while it’s downloading something or playing a graphically intense scene. If Reddit is to be believed, there might be too Aromatherapy Benefits to me enjoy.

Another amazing use of the kickstand is that while lying in bed or on the couch, I can kind of use it as a monopole, which allowed it to support more of the weight of the device. As a result, my hands weren’t doing the work of both operating and holding the device. Overall, the Deckmate with kickstand attachment made the Deck a much more comfortable machine for me.

Although I found the kickstand to be the star of the show, others might find it more useful to mount additional accessories on the sticky pucks. As the Deckmate website warns, the adhesive used in these pucks is nearly permanent. So if you want to install a large battery pack, USB hub, or something else, be aware that you are creating a fairly permanent link between the disc accessory and the accessory. They will remain friends for life.

The back of the Steam Deck shows the USB-C hub held in place with the Deckmate disc holder.

I have a lot going on there now.
picture: Kotaku

There are some other caveats. If you have some kind of smartphone-style holster wrapped around your deck, making it thicker, the base gIt probably doesn’t fit the rip bracket around it. Fortunately, a Deckmate Converter Containing the same 3M adhesive as the pucks provides an alternative means of attaching gRip to the back of a third party case. It may be impossible to resolve disputes with some pavements. While Deckmate’s FAQ seems pretty optimistic about its suitability for something like a file JSAUX BasinI found that the grip bracket was a little too big and made it unstable when sitting in my dock.

You can also only use one stand at a time, so if you want to use the stand and charge the device with an external battery, you will have to choose what plugs into the device. True, if you’re using the kickstand, you’ll probably have a flat surface to rest that battery on anyway.

Steam Deck is located next to the various Deckmate attachments.  The wire on the side shows signs of suspicious Photoshop.

The Steam Deck, with the fist attached, is located next to the various Deckmate attachments (far right puck sticks to a generic USB-C hub).
picture: Kotaku

Crucially, if you’re using a USB-C hub, you should pay close attention to the length of the cable, especially when making the final decision to stick with a hub. In my case, I suspect I stuck the disk too low on my hub, and as a result, the USB-C cable has a lot of tension when reaching the Deck’s single USB-C port. I’ll probably try to put this back together, but since the adhesive is a single use, I’ll probably have to get creative. Moral of the story: Measure your cable lengths and take advantage of right angle adapters where it makes sense.

Once detached, the dock and any puck-equipped devices will easily fit into the storage bag that your deck comes with. You can just enter it into it compartment on the underside Many Steam Deck users have have found creative used for. However, if your needs extend to a gamepad, keyboard, and other peripherals, you’ll need a larger bag. For those times when you want to travel light, you can just detach the Deckmate mounts and leave the “grip” arc unnoticeable.

Deckmate parts fit snugly in the bottom compartment of your Steam Deck stock container.

Deckmate parts fit snugly in the bottom compartment of your Steam Deck stock container.
picture: Kotaku

If you just want the kickstand, you’ll need the handle stand, which works for $20, and then the kickstand itself mounts for an extra $15. Individual pucks are $7 each. You can also choose to purchase the “Whole System,” which includes the handle, two pucks, a VESA mount, a wall mount mount, and the neutral adapter for the case for $49. While you can certainly find cheaper kickstand options on Amazon and elsewhere, the Deckmate system feels robust and reliable. When sitting on the deck with the Deckmate kickstand, you’ll never feel like it’s going to collapse (as long as the angle is set correctly). Its size and build quality seem like a good match with the deck itself.

You can also go the DIY way Download Deckmate Digital Files And print it yourself. I imagine it will take some trial and error, but the files are free and distributed, as all things should be, under a Creative Commons license.

Overall, Deckmate, especially with its kickstand, is a great Steam Deck addon that expands where (and how) I can play games on it. It’s high quality, looks good, and matches well with the DIY ethos. With any luck, we’ll see more unique and quality projects of this type as the deck settles into the broader gaming hardware landscape.

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