Excessive heat and electronics do not play well, especially when crammed in a small portable case with a battery. To protect its customers and ensure they have a good experience, Valve has issued a warning about using the handheld console in hot weather, which is currently scourging the UK and Europe.
According to Valve, Steam Deck performs best at temperatures between 0° C and 35° C (32-95° F). Using the handheld console in environments with higher than 35° C temperatures will most likely result in overheating, thermal throttling, worse performance, and battery issues.
For our friends in the midst of a heatwave, a quick note about Steam Deck in high temperatures. Steam Deck performs at its best in ambient temperatures between 0° and 35° C. If the temperature gets higher than this, Steam Deck may start to throttle performance to protect itself.— Steam Deck (@OnDeck) July 19, 2022
Like other modern consumer electronics, the Steam Deck has built-in mechanisms to protect itself from severe overheating. Valve says the console can operate at APU (CPU and GPU combined in a single chip) temperatures up to 100° C. Exceeding that threshold results in thermal throttling, and crossing the 105° C mark causes emergency shutdown, by design.
A bit more detail about this – Steam Deck’s APU runs well at temperatures up to 100°C. At 100°C, it will start to throttle performance, and at 105°C it will shut down. Again, this is to protect itself (and you) from damage.— Steam Deck (@OnDeck) July 19, 2022
The lesson is simple: if you live in the UK, Europe, or any other hot area, do not use your Steam Deck outside right now unless you want to damage it. It is also worth noting that the Steam Deck is not the only portable console sensitive to high ambient temperatures. Nintendo recently issued a similar warning, claiming that using the Nintendo Switch in environments with temperatures higher than 35° C is not the best idea.