Does The Steam Deck Have A Microphone

by Matthew David | Updated: 09/13/2023

Does The Steam Deck Have A Microphone

Have you recently gotten your hands on the hot new handheld PC called the Steam Deck? This powerful portable device lets you play your entire Steam library on the go, with its built-in controls and impressive performance.

But with any new gadget, there are always questions about what features it offers. One of the most common things people ask is:** does the Steam Deck have a microphone?**

The short answer is yes – the Steam Deck does come equipped with built-in microphones. But how good are they? And what can you do with them? Let’s take a deep dive into the audio capabilities of the Steam Deck to find out!

Steam Deck Audio Capabilities

Right off the bat, the Steam Deck provides high-quality stereo speakers that produce surprisingly great sound for a handheld device. The dual speakers are perfectly tuned to give you immersive game audio whether you’re blasting through Hades or exploring the lands between in Elden Ring.

But it’s the built-in microphone that really makes voice chat and other audio features possible on this machine. Tucked away in the bezel on both sides of the screen, Valve stealthily added two integrated omnidirectional microphones to the Steam Deck.

These dual mics utilize advanced noise cancellation technology to isolate your voice from any background noise. That means you can be playing games out loud on the speakers, but your friends will only hear your crisp, clear voice when you talk to them online. No need for a headset!

You also get a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C port that support audio output and input devices. So you can always plug in a gaming headset if needed. But for most use cases, the integrated mics get the job done remarkably well.

Using Voice Chat and the Microphone

Thanks to those built-in mics, voice chat in multiplayer games works seamlessly on the Steam Deck. I’ve squad’d up with friends in Apex Legends and coordinated attacks in Elden Ring co-op using nothing but the onboard microphones.

However, there is one major limitation – if you plug in earphones without a mic via the 3.5mm jack, it will disable the internal mics. This is a strange issue not seen on other devices. Just be aware that to use voice chat, you either need to use the onboard speakers with the built-in mics or external headphones with a microphone.

If you prefer using dedicated gaming headsets, the USB and 3.5mm ports have you covered. Major brands like SteelSeries, Razer, and HyperX work great through either connection. The benefit there is often improved sound quality and noise isolation on the flip side.

For full control over the microphone settings, you can boot into the Steam Deck’s Desktop Mode. This gives you access to PulseAudio Volume Control software to switch between the internal and external microphones as needed. So if you run into any audio issues in the standard gaming interface, you can tweak configurations in the PC background environment.

Overall, Valve really nailed it in the microphone department. Both chats and recordings come in clear as day thanks to the noise-cancelling dual mic array. It’s perfect for hopping into multiplayer matches, strategizing in co-op, or even streaming your gameplay with solid audio sources built right in.

Audio Configuration Tips

To get the best experience using voice chat and the mics on the Steam Deck, keep these audio configuration tips in mind:

Making a few quick tweaks like these can optimize your voice chat performance when gaming online or collaborating in co-op play.

Steam Deck Versus Other Handhelds

How does the Steam Deck’s microphone quality compare against other handheld gaming devices? The short answer is that it blows them out of the water.

The Nintendo Switch only has a single mediocre built-in microphone that picks up a ton of background noise. Trying to coordinate gameplay using in-game chat on the Switch can be downright painful.

The microphone array on the Steam Deck completely eliminates ambient sound and focuses only on your voice. Huge difference!

Comparable handheld PCs like the Aya Neo Next or GPD Win also lack built-in microphone options. So you’re forced to use wired headsets or external USB mics. The dual mics integrated seamlessly into the Steam Deck are way more convenient.

For a portable gaming device, Valve nailed the microphone hardware and software capabilities compared to any other option on the market today. This gives the Steam Deck a leg up for social, cooperative, and online multiplayer gaming.

Conclusion

After going hands-on with the Steam Deck, the answer is a resounding yes – this handheld gaming PC does have a built-in microphone!

In fact, the dual microphone array produces excellent voice audio that outshines any other handheld device. Thanks to noise cancellation and software integration, you can easily use the onboard mics for voice chat, co-op gaming, and even streaming.

So don’t hesitate to squad up with your friends and collaborate in online multiplayer games using the integrated microphone on the Steam Deck. Just be aware of limitations with certain earphones, and tweak audio settings as needed – then enjoy crystal clear communication in any of your favorite Steam titles.