Following on from our previous Elgato product review, the Game Capture HD60 PRO PCIe capture card, today we take a look at another of their latest high-end streamer aimed products… the Elgato Stream Deck.
What Is The Elgato Steam Deck?
The Stream Deck from Elgato is a powerful addon which is designed to aid and assist streamers with an ‘easy to use’ 15 key equipped desktop interface. Here is what Elgato has to say about their new Stream Deck:
Elgato Stream Deck
You’re creating quality content backed by the best tech on the planet, but you want to do more. With Stream Deck, trigger up to 210 actions via 15 LCD keys. Take control of your content. And focus on what matters most: your audience.
Use the Stream Deck app to drag and drop actions onto keys, and personalize them with custom icons. Tap to switch scenes, launch media, tweet your feats, and more. Level-up your onscreen antics with GIFs, images, videos and audio. Traditionally this level of control was exclusive to mainstream entertainment broadcasters. Now, it’s at your fingertips.
Gone are the days of navigating myriad windows to trigger an action, and relying solely on automated plugins to expand your production value. Now, you hold the power to pioneer a new era of content creation, and lead your audience to uncharted frontiers of inspiration. Now, you’re in control.
Let’s take a look at the technical specifications and see what the Stream Deck has to offer…
Size – 118 x 84 x 21mm/4.6 x 3.3 x 0.8″
Weight – 190g
Keys – 15 x customisable LCD keys
Interface – Built-in USB 2.0 cable (1050mm/41.3″)
Elgato Stream Deck Closer Look
Starting with the packaging, Elgato have favoured their regular blue themed packaging with an embracing illustration of the Stream Deck itself in the centre of the box.
Inside the well packaged box, I was greeted with the Stream Deck panel itself which includes a separate stand for implementing onto your desktop (your physical desktop). Also included is a Stream Deck quick start guide which I recommend you use; the Stream Deck is a little complicated to use, but hopefully less so after reading the full review!
So, taking a look at the main hardware itself, the panel features 15 clear plastic buttons which features an LCD screen behind; these do illuminate when powered on and we will come more to this in a bit! Each button is around 15mm in size while the full panel measures in at 4.6×3.3×0.8” which isn’t massive, but certainly enough to be noticed on your desk. The Stream Deck is also light, weighing around 190g, which is expected as the panel is made from smooth and solid plastic.
The included stand comes separate from the main unit and can be position in a couple of differently graduated positions. The stand itself is quite simple to set up and is fairly rugged meaning it should take a moderate amount of abuse before succumbing to damage (try not to do that!).
The Elgato Stream Deck Software
With over 200 different actions, the Elgato Stream Deck is a very versatile piece of kit and although setting it up can be somewhat time consuming and daunting, the software has a very eye pleasing and easy to use interface. Each of the 15 buttons is fully programmable and the software offers many different options for customising the Stream Deck to your exact specifications.
Setting up each button is as easy as it looks; it’s simply a case of drag which type of button you want from the large selection on the right and place it onto whichever button you wish to assign it to. You can even link the Stream Deck up with your Twitch.tv account for seamless usability; quite natural really as the Stream Deck is primarily targeted at streamers, hence the name… Stream Deck!
One very nifty feature is the ability to create your own icons for each button through software such as photoshop, paint or whatever your chosen creation software may be. Each icon is 76x76px wide so bare that in mind when designing your icons, but as I found out for myself with our Play3r logo, it automatically scaled it down to fit within the button itself.
The Elgato Stream Deck software is very easy to use, it’s also very intuitive and responsive meaning that when you change a hotkey in the software, it instantaneously updates it in real time on the Stream Deck itself, which is fantastic… no lag or time waiting whatsoever! Elgato do intend to keep updating the functions and features over time so make sure you have the latest software installed. This is easy as you can check for updates within the software. All in all, the Stream Deck software is brilliant to use and for streamers looking to add some pizazz to their stream without using hotkeys on the keyboard, the Stream Deck is absolutely mustard (this means good by the way!).
To make the most of the Stream Deck, I have been using it for the last couple of weeks to try and get a feel for it… but now it’s time to give my final thoughts and sum up whether or not it’s a valuable asset to your streaming setup, or whether it’s a glorified accessory. Even though at first it can seem daunting and very time-consuming setting up a full set of custom buttons, do I feel it was worth it?
Performance & Design
The Elgato Stream Deck itself is a very well-designed device and for streamers just starting out, to popular and established Twitch streamers, I can really see this being a very popular and useful tool in ANY streamers arsenal. From its very intuitive user interface, all the way to the countless functions and features available, it really is a stunning and well thought out product! From posting social media information into your stream, to muting your microphone with the click of a button… all the way to being to uniquely interact with your viewership on the fly with emotes, GIFs and even pre-determined messages, it really is the complete package.
To position the Stream Deck on your desktop, the adjustable stand might not seem like much, but it does its task perfectly and you couldn’t really ask for any more; you can adjust it to different angles to suit your positioning. Touching more on the LCD screen itself, the colours and buttons when powered on look clear and the colours on the display look vibrant as well as bright… perfect for functionality when streaming, but without looking ugly; it looks phenomenal when powered on!
Now this is where it gets a little tricky for me to evaluate… not because I don’t believe the Stream Deck isn’t worth the current asking price, but because it’s more a product for those who want to maximise their streaming set up with a bit of ‘novelty’. At the time of writing, the Stream Deck currently retails for £140 in the UK and $150 in the US, which given what it does and how fantastic it operates, looks and feels, is a pretty reasonable price in my humble opinion. I just feel that for the current pricing, it’s not very budget friendly and those looking to spend money on the Stream Deck are likely to be really into streaming and have a bit of cash in the wallet to spend on such purchases.
Not only is the Elgato Stream Deck a special and useful addition to any streamers set up, but it’s one of the best products I have seen so far this year (2017). With a fantastic design, a well thought out and easy to use software package, it more than deserves our Gold award. Whether you’re just starting out streaming or a hardened Twitch veteran streamer and you want to maximise viewer engagement, make your stream look more professional and have a fully customisable 15 button interface at your fingertips without having to take up macro keys on your keyboard, then the Stream Deck is very highly recommended and will make a superb addition to your escapades.
+ Elegant, stylish and beautiful to look at
+ Tons of useful, relevant and intuitive features for streamers
+ Software is really easy to use
+ Highly recommended for new and existing streamers
- Not exactly budget friendly, but I believe it's worth the money!