Video game streaming is big business. Twitch.tv, the largest online streaming site, averages over a million unique viewers per day and continues to grow. Many new tools and applications have been made available to help people who want to produce these flows achieve professional results with little or no hassle. One of the largest suppliers of this type of equipment is Elgato. Elgato manufactures a range of products compatible with streamers, such as capture cards, green screens, and camera adapters. One of their most popular products is the Stream Deck, a desktop control unit that helps users streamline the tasks associated with live streaming. Starting today, Elgato is offering a more compact version of this device, known as the Stream Deck Mini. The Stream Deck Mini offers all the features of its big brother while taking up less space on your desk and being a bit lighter on your wallet.
Good things come in small packages
The Stream Deck Mini is a small desktop device that has a small LCD display with a set of six clear plastic buttons seated on it. When used with the included Elgato Stream Deck app, the Stream Deck Mini provides users with a fully customizable controller that can interact with apps and services such as Twitch, OBS, XSplit, Streamlabs, Mixer, Twitter, and Youtube. The functions are assigned to the buttons by dragging and dropping in the interface of the Steam Deck application. Each standard feature comes with a unique icon that will be displayed on the button. When a given function is active, the icon is fully lit and when the function is deactivated, the icon darkens.
The Stream Deck Mini helps users produce better streams by allowing them to focus on the stream rather than the boredom of production. For streamers using OBS, the process of changing scenes, sources, or audio inputs can be time consuming and, when done on a live stream, can distract from what matters. The Stream Deck Mini can handle these tasks with the push of a button. There’s no need to switch inputs, work with multiple windows, or take a break from gaming when the Stream Deck Mini is doing the heavy lifting. It can even simplify the social media outreach tasks needed to grow your channel. You can have a button assigned that will Tweet your subscribers letting them know that your feed is starting with the push of a single button. You no longer need to open a browser or Twitter client, log in and enter details. It’s one less thing to worry about and lets you stream faster.
He really whips the ass of the llamas
You are not limited to the functions included in the Stream Deck app. The software allows you to open third-party applications, load a web browser on a specific page, play audio clips, etc. The interface is versatile enough to allow you to assign keyboard shortcuts to the buttons on the Stream Deck Mini. While testing the device, I set the top left button to open Winamp and assigned the remaining five buttons to keyboard shortcuts that controlled music and enabled MilkDrop visualizations. The 2004 version of me would have thought that was insanely cool.
While the Stream Deck Mini only has six buttons compared to fifteen on its big brother, it still offers the same level of functionality thanks to its nested folder support. You can assign a group of five functions to a button that appears after you press the corresponding folder button. Like all other functions, these folders can use personalized images thanks to the LCD screen below the buttons. Every image I tried with the Stream Deck Mini worked well, even the animated gifs. Seeing a fan of party parrots moving in unison across my desk was a real hoot.
The last word
In the real world, the Stream Deck Mini really makes it easier to work with the production side of streaming. The buttons have a good feel and the changing icons take the guesswork out of whether the feature you toggled has been activated. The LCD panel has adjustable brightness so I was able to see the buttons clearly in all lighting conditions. The Stream Deck Mini is a very small and light device, but that led to one of my complaints. It’s so light that I found myself pushing the device across the desk trying to press one of the buttons while streaming. For best results, I had to put my fingers behind the Mini and use my thumb to get the buttons to hold the device in place. Maybe some rubber coating added to the bottom could make it more slip resistant. I also found six limiting buttons for my personal use case, but Elgato offers a larger, heavier unit that would fit my needs perfectly, so that’s okay. If you think you can use the features of the device, have limited desk space, and want to spend a little less than the full-size Stream Deck costs, the Stream Deck Mini may be perfect for you.
The Stream Deck Mini review material was provided by the supplier. The Stream Deck Mini goes on sale today, July 24, for $ 99.