Valve’s next major SteamOS update brings important new display settings as well as new performance improvements to Steam Deck. You can read all about the SteamOS 3.5 update in a blog post on the Steam website.
Two major new features are support for variable refresh rates (VRR) and HDR if you’re using your Steam Deck with an external display that supports them. Valve says HDR can be enabled if you have a compatible display, while VRR can be enabled if you have a compatible USB-C adapter.
The company has also changed the Steam Deck’s default color rendering to “emulate the sRGB color gamut,” which Valve says will result in “a slightly warmer, more vibrant color appearance.” If you don’t like the change or want to try one, Valve has also added settings that allow you to change the color vibrancy and color temperature of the screen.
There are also some welcome changes that aren’t related to display settings. The update includes “updated graphics drivers, with many performance and feature improvements.” Valve says the update brings “improved performance for Star Field; » Bethesda’s excellent space RPG isn’t verified for Steam Deck, but that hasn’t stopped people from playing the game on the portable gaming PC anyway.
Valve also promises that the new update adds “slightly improved speed of resuming sleep.” Every second counts!
And for Steam Deck users in Linux desktop mode, the underlying Arch Linux has been updated, with a new version of the Plasma desktop interface with an updated Discover app store, widgets and a new window mosaic system.
The BIOS also now has “voltage offset settings,” which we think means you can more easily undervolt or overclock the Steam Deck, but we’ll have to check to be sure.
If you want to try the SteamOS 3.5 preview, go to Settings > System > System Update Channel > Preview. If the preview is too unstable for you, you can always switch back to the Stable channel.
Updated, 7:51 p.m. ET: Added mention of a few more features and clarified that VRR and HDR are intended for external monitors, not the Steam Deck’s own 40-60Hz fixed refresh rate display.