My hands hurt when I use a controller for too long. First there’s pain, then my hands get tingly, like they’ve fallen asleep. My phone, a lightweight controller, and the Nintendo Switch all make me feel the same way, so I thought the Steam Deck would be entirely off-limits. I didn’t even have to hold one to know its size and weight would be a major issue.
The Switch at least has a kickstand which removes the problem of the console’s weight for people with hand problems. But the Steam Deck doesn’t. I’ve struggled to play it comfortably until very recently, when I found the one essential accessory all Steam Deck owners need: the Deckmate kickstand. It’s part of a robust, modular system that allows for multiple add-ons and mounting options.
The kickstand itself is sturdy, attaching to the Steam Deck with what’s called the Deckmate Grip. This plastic claw locks into the air vents (without blocking them!) and the bottom of the handheld console. It’s not going to move.
The Deckmate kickstand is super simple, but absolutely essential, given the Steam Deck’s size. Playing from the couch, I can set the Steam Deck down on an end table for breaks during cutscenes, but it’s also far more comfortable to have it rest on a table during active play. You can also place the Steam Deck on a table and use a separate controller. The only downside is that the Steam Deck doesn’t fit into its carrying case with the kickstand on. (It still fits with the plastic claw and nothing else, however.)
Deckmate is a modular system, and there are other accessories you can slot into the grip: a universal adapter, helpful for attaching a battery pack, a wall mount, and a VESA mount.
The entire system costs $49, but there are other bundles that package together specific accessories with the necessary grip. The kickstand bundle costs $35, and the others range from $30 to $40. If you have a 3D printer, you can simply download the files and print the accessories yourself. That’s free, but there are options to pay what you can.