A new Steam Deck update is here from Valve, and the arrival of SteamOS 3.5 on the preview channel gives you the chance to check out what the latest operating system looks like for the plucky handheld. The big news here is in visual improvements – new Steam Deck color display settings akin to those of a desktop gaming PC allow you to opt for more vibrant or warm options, which can be tweaked to your liking while playing a game, while HDR and VRR support for external displays will make the visuals pop even more. There’s also a welcome fix for an CPU issue that required SMT to be manually disabled by users to resolve.
The new ‘Adjust Display Colors’ menu can be found in your Steam Deck settings, and lets you adjust both Color Vibrancy and Color Temperature settings. The former gives you a choice between ‘Native’ (the appearance used prior to this update), ‘sRGB’ (the new default setting, using Microsoft’s sRGB color gamut for a slightly warmer and more vibrant look), and ‘Boosted’ (a wider-gamut appearance, which increases vibrance but Valve warns “may result in gradient clipping”).
The second setting lets you tweak the temperature of the Steam Deck display, enhancing reds for a warmer feel or blues for a cooler look. This is likely to come down to personal preference, although it may well be a welcome solution to those of us who suffer from eye strain while looking at screens for extended periods. You can adjust these settings on the fly using a test image, or using your currently running game.
In addition to this, HDR (high dynamic range) and VRR (variable refresh rate) can now be enabled while using an external display, providing they are supported by the display in question. Both of these can help your games look even better – HDR by enhancing the effect of bright lights and dark zones, and VRR by automatically and seamlessly adjusting to your display’s refresh rate for a smoother experience. Note that VRR requires a compatible USB-C adapter, so ensure you’re using the best Steam Deck dock for an optimal experience.
Among the other changes is a fix to touchscreen orientation while using an external display, improved Bluetooth stability, and an improved resume speed from sleep mode. There’s also a fix to a common issue where certain games and programs would encounter “severe CPU performance issues” – previously this required users to manually disable SMT (simultaneous multi threading). External storage devices will now also be auto-mounted when they’re connected to your Steam Deck. For the full patch notes, read on below.
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