Although it’s significantly more expensive, it can work with any PC gaming service right out of the box. It also features an impressive 8.8-inch display and is more potent than the Steam Deck. With a choice of either a 512GB SSD or a 1TB SSD, there’s the option for more storage than what the Steam Deck provides.
- Better performance
- Detachable controllers
- Trackpad and Mouse wheel
- Large 8.8-inch QHD touchscreen
- Super Rapid Charge
- 144Hz refresh rate
- More expensive
- Potentially awkward back button placement
- Battery life might not be good
Although it’s only suited to work with specific optimized games on Steam Deck, this handheld is significantly less expensive, and the software is less complicated. The only way to get it to work with other game services is to hack it. It might not be as flashy or versatile, but it gets Steam Deck-verified gaming right.
- Less expensive
- Simple software
- 120Hz refresh rate
- Reliable playing experience with compatible games
- Lower resolution display
- Only works well with Steam Deck optimized games out of the box
The Steam Deck became very popular after its release in early 2022. However, since then, more PC gaming handhelds have come to the market, providing additional features and capabilities. One of the most significant competitors in this space is the Lenovo Legion Go. Both are decent for gaming, but one has a more affordable approach while the other offers a more premium experience.
Legion Go vs Steam Deck: Specs
|Header Cell – Column 0||Legion Go||Steam Deck|
|Price||$699 | $749||$399 | $529 | $649|
|Release date||Nov. 1, 2023||Feb. 25, 2022|
|Processor||Up to AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme w/ RDNA Graphics||Semi-custom AMD APU code-name “Aerith” (TSMC 7nm)|
|Storage||512GB | 1TB SSD||64GB eMMC | 256GB NVMe SSD | 512GB NVME SSD|
|Memory||16GB 7500Mhz LPDDR5X on board||16 GB LPDDR5 @ 5500 MT/s over 4x 32-bit memory channels = 88GB/s total bandwidth|
|OS||Windows 11 Home||Steam OS 3.0|
|Display||8.8-inch QHD (2560 x 1600) 16:10 IPS touchscreen, 144Hz, 500nits, 97% DCI-P3||7-inch (1280 x 800) 16:10 IPS touchscreen, 120 Hz, 400nits, 67% sRGB|
|Ports||2x USB-C 4.0 ports (DisplayPort and PD), 3.5mm headphone jack, and microSD card slot||1x USB-C port, 1x headphone jack, 1x microSD card slot|
|Dimensions||8.27 x 5.15 x 0.79 inches (210mm x 131mm x 20mm)||11.73 x 4.6 x 1.93 inches (298 x 117 x 49 mm)|
|Weight||1.88 lbs (854 grams)||1.47 lbs (669 grams)|
|Battery life||Unknown||2 – 8 hours (claimed) / 83 mins – 7 hours (actual)|
There, you have the Legion Go and Steam Deck specs to compare. But now it’s time to get into the meat of the discussion by explaining what these differences mean for you as a gaming handheld owner.
Legion Go vs Steam Deck: Price
There are three tiers for the Steam Deck — a 64GB version for $399, a 256GB version for $529, and a 512GB version for $649. Meanwhile, the Legion Go has a higher starting price than any of Valve’s handhelds, with its cheaper 512GB version selling for $699, while its 1TB version costs $749.
Regarding getting your hands on either device, the Legion Go is available in more locations as it can be purchased from Best Buy and the Lenovo website. It’s also likely that it will come to Amazon. Meanwhile, Steam Decks are only sold via Valve’s website, so you’re at the mercy of this company alone for deals and sales.
PRICE WINNER: Considering that the most expensive Steam Deck is cheaper than the least expensive tier Legion Go, it’s safe to say that Valve’s handheld is more affordable. So if your wallet is more of a concern, it might be best to go with Steam Deck unless you find what it offers to be too limiting or you find a good Legion Go sale going on somewhere.
Legion Go vs Steam Deck: Performance
Regarding internal components, the Legion Go is a far superior device to the Steam Deck. The Legion Go utilizes an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor with a Zen 4 CPU, eight cores, 16 threads, and an RDNA 4 GPU. Meanwhile, the Steam Deck’s semi-custom AMD APU code name, “Aerith,” isn’t as powerful, with only a Zen 2 CPU, four cores, eight threads, and an RDNA 2 GPU.
Since the Legion Go isn’t out yet, we haven’t been able to perform tests on it yet. However, our own Zac Bowden did go hands-on with Legion Go and was very impressed with the time he spent with it. It’s worth noting that the Legion Go’s AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme is also employed within the ASUS ROG Ally gaming handheld, which has also proven to provide great handheld performance. So, despite being unable to run complete testing on Lenovo’s device, we can see how it should theoretically perform.
Still, as Miles Dompier stated in our Steam Deck review, “I tested nearly 30 games and was consistently surprised by what this handheld gaming device could deliver in terms of visual fidelity and performance.” So, as long as you are playing games that specifically have been optimized to work well with Steam Deck, you can enjoy this system.
PERFORMANCE WINNER: The Legion Go has beefier hardware, allowing it to run more smoothly while providing higher-resolution visuals. So if you want the most powerful gaming experience out there, then Legion Go is the way to, well…go.
Legion Go vs Steam Deck: Display
With its large 8.8-inch IPS display, the Legion Go offers what could be the largest screen of any PC gaming handheld released thus far. Moreover, it has a stunningly high QHD resolution of 2560 x 1600p that provides far more crisp detail than the Steam Deck’s paltry 1280 x 800p, which can sometimes display imagery in a rather muddy fashion.
But the comparison doesn’t end there. Steam Deck offers a respectable refresh rate of up to 120Hz and a brightness of up to 400 nits. However, the Legion Go once more outshines it with a refresh rate of up to 144Hz and a brightness of up to 500 nits. From all of this, it’s evident that games will look much better on the Legion Go.
DISPLAY WINNER: It’s very clear that the Legion Go’s display far surpasses the Steam Decks due to its much higher resolution and refresh rate. Additionally, it produces more vibrant imagery and contrast than the Steam Deck.
Legion Go vs Steam Deck: Buttons and joysticks
The Steam Deck’s control layout is pretty straightforward overall, but it offers a couple of useful trackpads below either joystick. This gives users more control over the cursor when in-game menus and more minute precision in certain games like first-person shooters (FPS). While the grips are better than what’s offered on a Nintendo Switch Joycon, the Steam Deck’s poor balance and heavy weight make the handheld feel bulky.
I often need a table or my stomach to support my arms while playing Steam Deck. Otherwise, my hands get uncomfortable quickly.
On the other hand, the Legion Go’s TrueStrike controllers are somewhat experimental in nature due to several features we’re not used to seeing on controllers. They have small-ish A, B, X, and Y buttons like the Steam Deck and a trackpad on the right side only. Both controllers are detachable, like the Nintendo Switch. However, the right controller also features a mouse wheel, a right and left click button and an FPS switch that theoretically should give players better control in games.
Lenovo explains that this right controller can be placed in an included base and kept there by magnets. Flipping the FPS switch turns on an optical eye on the bottom of the controller and allows the right TrueStrike to be used more like a mouse.
Regarding grip comfort, it’s hard to say exactly what the Legion Go feels like. It’s heavier than the Steam Deck, but the TrueStrike controllers also seem to have really good grips. If the system is well-balanced, it might feel better in your hands than the Steam Deck does.
CONTROLS WINNER: It’s hard to say for sure which device has the better button layout and grip comfort at this point in time. But if you’re wary of experimental innovations, you might prefer the Steam Deck. That being said, it’s possible that the new features on the Legion Go could make it the best gaming handheld layout that’s come out so far.
Legion Go vs Steam Deck: Compatible games & Operating system
The Steam Deck is a gaming handheld with a specific intended purpose — it plays Steam Deck games optimized with SteamOS. As it is, games marked as Steam Deck verified on Steam run very smoothly on Valve’s gaming handheld. But not every game on Steam will be playable. Some will say “Steam Deck compatible,” but might still have issues. For instance, last year, I played Batman: Arkham City on my Steam Deck, which is marked as compatible but frequently froze and shut down.
These limitations have led several people to hack the Steam Deck. We can show you how to install Windows 11 on Steam Deck if you are interested. However, this might be something that not everyone is comfortable doing.
Meanwhile, the Legion Go comes with Windows 11 installed out of the box so that you can access any game on Steam (not just verified games), Epic Games, Battle.net, Xbox Game Pass, and more. Since we haven’t had time with the Legion Go’s game software, I can’t say precisely how smoothly it runs. However, Lenovo’s Legion Arena gaming hub is often used on its gaming laptops and has a good reputation. I expect whatever software is on the Legion Go will be equally reliable.
SOFTWARE WINNER: While the Steam Deck features a more straightforward proprietary operating system and software that makes it easier to work with, the Legion Go provides more freedom out of the box since it uses Windows 11. This gaming handheld can be used with just about any game distribution retailer or cloud service, whereas the Steam Deck must be hacked for this to be possible.
Legion Go vs Steam Deck: Battery life
The same applies here, as I said in our Legion Go vs ROG Ally comparison. The most significant area in which the Legion Go will likely suffer is its battery life, and this is due to its highly fancy screen that I talked about earlier. Regarding mobile devices like phones and gaming handhelds, screens tend to be one of the biggest draws for power, making the battery run out faster. My guess is the Legion Go will last for an hour and a half or less on average, similar to the ROG Ally.
Lenovo seems to be trying to make up for this problem with a very cool feature: support for Super Rapid Charge. According to Lenovo, this makes it so the Legion Go can charge back up to 70% battery life in just 30 minutes. Of course, if the battery is running out super fast, it won’t matter, and we’ll just have to play the system while it’s plugged in.
But that’s where the kickstand could prove especially useful. Players can detach the controllers, pull out the kickstand, plug in the Legion Go, and play comfortably for a long time without having to worry about battery life. Of course, another option would be to connect the Legion Go to a dock to give it juice while you play on a monitor or TV.
We’ve run our own tests on the Steam Deck’s battery. On average, the device lasts between two and six hours, depending on settings and how demanding the game is. Now, this is better than the Legion Go, and it’s longer than many other gaming handhelds on the market. However, that’s still not the ideal battery life we’d like to see.
The Steam Deck does not have a kickstand, but it can also be connected to a dock and played on a monitor or TV. I usually do this when I’m playing Baldur’s Gate 3 because I know I’ll want to spend several hours in each gaming session.
BATTERY LIFE WINNER: It’s basically guaranteed that the Steam Deck will have better battery life than the Legion Go because Lenovo’s device has a much fancier screen that will pull more power. The Steam Deck can last for up to around six hours, depending on settings, which already isn’t the best, but it’s better than many other gaming handhelds out there today.
Legion Go vs Steam Deck: Accessories
Right in the box, Steam Deck comes with a hard shell carrying case so you don’t have to purchase one separately. Valve also sells an official dock for playing on TV or monitor if that’s something that you want. Outside of that, there are several third-party Steam Deck accessories available including rubber covers, thumb grips, docks, screen protectors, and much more. This plethora of peripherals is partially due to the fact that the Steam Deck has been out for a while, so companies have had more time to produce things for it.
Lenovo also includes a carrying case with your Legion Go purchase, so you don’t need to buy one separately. The base for the controller when it’s in FPS mode is also included. However, there aren’t any third-party accessories for the Legion Go yet. These may come out as time passes, primarily if the Legion Go sells well.
Even then, you might be able to use some third-party Steam Deck accessories or even the best ROG Ally accessories with the Legion Go, such as docks that provide the right amount of wattage or carrying bags that are big enough for the gaming handheld’s dimensions.
ACCESSORIES WINNER: Both the Steam Deck and Legion Go come with a carrying case, but since the Steam Deck has been out longer, there are far more third-party accessories. This makes it easier to customize the Steam Deck or purchase decently-priced gear for it.
Legion Go vs Steam Deck: Which should I buy?
Unless you want to stick with games on Steam or save money for a gaming handheld, it’s in your best interest as a PC gamer to get the Legion Go. Since Windows 11 is its operating system, you can play games on various services, including Steam, Epic Games, Xbox Games Pass, and more. It’s just a tiny gaming laptop with detachable controllers. In comparison, the Steam Deck’s proprietary OS makes it so that the device can only play games on Steam, and even then, that’s only for games that are Steam Deck compatible, so your options are far more limited.
Moreover, the Legion Go’s more powerful processor and 8.8-inch IPS 2560 x 1600 touchscreen are far superior to the Steam Deck’s processor and 7-inch IPS 1280 x 800 touchscreen. Anyone who enjoys competitive play will also appreciate the Legion Go’s ability to provide a 144Hz refresh rate, whereas the Steam Deck only does 120Hz.
With its beautiful 8.8-inch touchscreen display and powerful AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor, the Legion Go offers a better visual and performance-based playing experience. The trackpad, mouse wheel, and left and right click buttons should also make navigating games or the web more accessible.
Anyone who strictly plays Steam games and wants to save money will be happy with the Steam Deck. It doesn’t have the best processor or screen, but the software is simple to work with and works exceptionally well with Steam Deck-verified games.