Can you use Steam Deck with mouse and keyboard?

Imagine playing Civ VI with a d-pad.

Steam Deck guide

Image by Valve

After years of rumors and leaks, Valve finally announced their portable gaming PC on July 15. The Steam Deck is just that: a portable PC decked out with comprehensive controls, a large screen, impressive specs, and access to players’ personal Steam libraries.

While PC gamers may be naturally tempted to get in on the ground floor of Valve’s new handheld, it’s important to take a beat and acknowledge that the Steam Deck is just that: a handheld. While its admittedly impressive hardware supports the majority of games available through Steam, you really wouldn’t want to play many of them with handheld controls. As nice as those Steam Deck trackpads look, they are simply nowhere as ergonomic or responsive as a normal mouse and keyboard setup when it comes to PC gaming.

Thankfully, you won’t have to give up your KBM habits to enjoy the Steam Deck, as it does support mouse and keyboard. The Steam Deck has its own docking station which lets it charge and connect to ethernet cables, external displays, and USB peripherals. This means that you can hook up a keyboard and mouse to it, or you can use your favorite wired controller if you prefer to game with the Steam Deck docked. The docking station is an accessory sold separately from the Steam Deck handheld, but the device itself has Bluetooth, so it can access peripherals right out of the package.

With its compatibility with mouse and keyboard and other peripherals, Steam Deck is basically a tiny functional PC, with very few compromises made. Users can even replace the Linux-based operating system on it with Windows, if they want to use it as a regular PC with the added benefit of instant portability.