After using the Legion Go, I’m finally thankful for my Steam…

Even since I got my Steam Deck, I’ve spent a lot of time looking for greener pastures. I wished I could abandon Linux in favor of a more familiar Windows machine. Its huge form factor made me want something more portable. Most of all, I wanted a better display that could match my Nintendo Switch OLED. With each new portable PC released, I was sure I’d leave my Steam deck behind the first chance I got.

When I got my Lenovo Legion Go I was especially ready to pack it away. On paper, it solved almost every problem I had with Valve’s handhelds and others. It was much larger, but with a vastly improved screen; Its Switch-like design and Windows integration seemed perfect for my needs. That doesn’t mean it came with a performance boost that would theoretically let me play more high-end games that the Steam deck can’t run well.

After a short fling with Legion Go (and a surprise Steam Deck upgrade), I’m back on Valve’s handheld. I didn’t realize how good I had it.

Don’t miss:

green grass

When I first got it, Lenovo’s Legion Go was a sleek handheld compared to my Steam deck. Right from the start, it had more of an attractive toy factor, thanks to its detachable controllers, which allowed for an innovative FPS mode and smart tabletop play via the kickstand. It’s instantly fun to use, as I find creative ways to play the game gears strategy From the comfort of my couch.

Its impressive features got me excited too. The Legion Go sports a stunning 8.8-inch QHD+ IPS display that can run at 1600p and 144Hz. This was a huge leap forward over the washed-out LCD screen of my Steam Deck, making every game I played look much more lifelike. The jump in performance was also significant. While I could only get 41 frames per second cyberpunk 2077 On the Steam deck, I was hitting 67 fps on Legion GO. I was in heaven and I was sure I would be closing my Steam Deck case for the last time.

Then the honeymoon period started to wane.

A Legion Go sitting on a table with its controllers separated.
Giovanni Colantonio/

While the Legion Go is one of the better portable PCs on the market, right behind the Asus ROG Allie, it came with some unexpected problems. The biggest improvement came from the feature I was most excited about: Windows. Wrestling with Linux on my Steam deck has been a nightmare since day one, so I was excited to use an OS I knew to more easily download emulators or apps like Xbox Game Pass . It turns out that trying to run Windows on a handheld console is somehow even worse.

Initially, I could barely run the game on Legion Go. Xbox Game Pass titles won’t initially load at all. The reason was some strange behavior of Windows which forced me to reset the system clock and date. Even once I got the apps running properly, I still encountered hiccups. diablo 4 Every time I came across the initial Blizzard logo I would pause. Sometimes games would appear zoomed in, while other games would not appear at the edges of the screen. For every game I play, I have to set aside extra time for troubleshooting.

And that impressive performance I was so looking forward to? It turned out that this wasn’t practical at all. If I tried to run the game at 1600p, I would notice a significant drop in performance that wasn’t worth the extra clarity. I’ll be playing most of my games at 800p, not really being able to take advantage of Legion GO’s defining feature. That’s not to say that the huge display also increased the size of the console, making it far heavier and more inconvenient than my Steam Deck. I was on the other side, but the grass was not greener.

a new appreciation

As if Valve sensed my moment of weakness, it unveiled a brand new Steam deck model the day after publishing my Legion Go review. The new version will also add a brighter OLED screen along with some other major improvements to the battery. Suddenly I was running back to the handheld I had taken for granted, hoping it would accept me back with open arms.

And this happened. Returning to the Steam deck after Legion GO highlighted how well-built Valve’s tool is despite its limitations. Coming off a comparatively huge device it suddenly felt much lighter in my hands. The new OLED model also reduces fan noise and heat, making it a more portable option than ever. Plus, its brand new display fixes my biggest problem with the Steam Deck — and even adds a 90Hz option. I can’t say I miss that 1600p flexibility, since I wasn’t using it anyway.

Steam Deck OLED on pink background.
Jacob Roach/

Yes, Linux is still a pain, but it turns out that using any kind of PC OS with a standard game controller is a fool’s errand. This is the beauty of the Steam Deck’s final selling point: the incredibly elegant SteamOS. This tool is built completely around the Steam Deck, allowing me to navigate my library and the Steam Store without any hassle. I still struggle with game compatibility issues, but I found that my experience was much more consistent than in my short-lived Legion GO era. I didn’t need to spend extra time just to run the game.

While I’m back with my Steam deck, I’m not wearing any rose-colored glasses. Valve’s device still has some bugs that could be fixed in the second generation, and as more rivals come out, its hardware will start to look even more dated. If Valve would let its competitors implement SteamOS on their devices, it’s quite possible I might jump ship again – maybe even give my Legion GO a second chance.

However, for now, I am ultimately grateful for what I have. The Steam Deck is imperfect, but it’s still the best PC gaming companion I could ask for.

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