Streaming is production, regardless of the size of your audience. From adjusting audio levels to make sure those watching can understand everything without having to strain to hear the streamer or game below, to the ability to easily transition scenes and screens, the ability to do it all easy is where the Stream Deck makes its OS. I’ve been using a Stream Deck Mini for about a year now, but the smaller face and the limited number of buttons have started to feel a bit… limited. Fortunately, Elgato recently released an updated version of their mainstay Stream Deck, dubbing it Mk. 2. How does it hold up over a few weeks of use, and is it a device that can improve your production?
Short answer: yes.
- Price: $ 149.99 MSRP on Amazon
- Dimensions: 118 x 84 x 25mm / 4.6 x 3.3 x 1.0in (without stand)
- Weight: 145g without stand / 270g with stand
- Keys: 15 customizable LCD keys
- Interface: USB 2.0
- Software support: Elgato Stream Deck
- Comes with USB-C to USB-A cable, Stream Deck, desk stand, quick start guide
As I said in my Elgato Facecam review a few weeks ago, Elgato has made its packaging a science. There is little waste here, and little to no plastics involved in the packaging, which makes the whole thing better for the environment and more sustainable – which should be applauded.
The Stream Deck Mk.2 looks almost identical to its predecessor with a few notable exceptions. The now seemingly iconic 15-button LCD layout takes up most of the front space of the display, with each button providing a satisfying tactile feel when pressed. Interestingly, the Mk.2 is a bit (like, barely noticeable) larger than its predecessor, but it still only takes a small footprint on my desktop.
The bracket is changed from the previous version, this time Elgato opting for a 45 degree fixed angle bracket for the Stream Deck, giving the perfect angle (for the most part, I’d bet) for easy access to the face buttons. Importantly, the Stream Deck Mk.2 comes with a detachable USB-C 2.0 cable, which I really appreciate. While the standard cable is long enough for my setup (I also use a standing desk, which means I usually need longer cables on my PC), I like that I can swap the cable for something a little longer if I needed it. This is one of my main complaints with the Stream Deck Mini – not being able to detach the cable actually forced me to rethink my setup to make sure I didn’t remove the Mini from my desk every time I went. had to stand during the working day.
Another major change is the detachable and exchangeable front panel. Right now, around seven of these are for sale on Elgato’s website, each costing around $ 10. I’ve also seen streamers and YouTubers talking about creating their own custom facades to give their setups a bit more personality. It’s really a cosmetic thing, but it’s a nice touch to brighten up your setup if you want – I’m looking at the front of Saturn myself.
Each LCD button is beautifully backlit, the vibrant colors of the LCD screen shine clearly. While 15 buttons may not sound like much (especially when you compare them to the layout of the Stream Deck XL), software makes perfect sense for the Deck.
Using the Stream Deck Mk.2
Stream Deck’s software is where you will get the most out of your device, as you can configure your layout and button macros to your liking. The Stream Deck comes with OBS, Twitch, OBS Streamlabs and more support built in by default when you first start it up, although the expansive store you can browse allows you to grab more products to integrate into your Stream Deck. .
For me, I was able to add support for the Wave XLR mixer, as well as my Philips Hue lights in my office, and more. I even control Nvidia’s Shadowplay thanks to a third-party mod here, which allows me to quickly take a screenshot or even enter Ansel at any time.
15 buttons can go quickly, especially if you have a lot to work on in OBS or Xsplit itself. Fortunately, you can create folders to expand it even further. I found it a bit more organized for me to have a separate folder for Wave XLR controls, Streamlabs OBS controls as well as the pre-roll music we use on our streams in a third folder. It also helped create a rather organized workflow when streaming, which helped make our streams a bit more professional in the few weeks I played around with this (although I still have to keep myself. remind to reactivate my microphone sometimes!).
In my Wave XLR review, I mentioned how controlling sound levels using simple knobs versus faders or dials was a bit imprecise – and that’s still true even with the larger Stream Deck this time around. -this. However, the support for the Elgato ecosystem means that even these less intuitive functions can be controlled so that I can get them to work, like adding a fade to the music when it leaves the flow and that we move on to the gameplay – or to make the audio of the game itself disappear at the end to start the music for us to play.
Transitioning scenes in OBS is now much easier, as it is just a click of a button away. Having the extra buttons on the larger Stream Deck compared to the Mini also allows me to do even more – I can list all the different scenes we use here at MMORPG as well as my personal streams and have everything hosted in one folder, clarifying any clutter.
I’ve also gotten into the habit of using the Stream Deck Mk.2 as a rather expensive light switch for my desk, controlling my Phillips Hue lights that bathe my desk in hues of blue and purple with every stream – or annoy my daughter when we play together in the room by constantly changing them all the time. It’s much easier to set up these keystrokes on the Elgato Stream Deck than it is to dig into the programs themselves, which essentially satisfies the reason why this exists: to make it easier to produce and control your devices.
Is the Elgato Stream Deck Mk.2 worth it?
It’s hard to say if the Mk.2 itself is worth an upgrade if you have the original Stream Deck itself. Since the only real differences are the stand, detachable cable, and the faceplate, you don’t necessarily get any extra features. However, if you’re like me and have used a Stream Deck Mini – or some other device that (rather successfully) combines the functionality of the Stream Deck with those of a GoXLR in the AVerMedia LiveStreamer Nexus, this is a great one. addition to set up.
I feel like I have more control over every aspect of our video creation here at the MMORPG, and it also allows me to increase the production value on my own personal feeds when the itch comes in making a fool of myself over them. interwebs. The folders give the Stream Deck seemingly endless screens to use, and the fact that there are so many third parties built into the device gives me more confidence that the Stream Deck will be supported in the future for a while. time. The Elgato store also has a small but interesting library of music and sound effects to transform the Deck into a soundboard for streams and podcasts, giving you even more customization and personality for your streaming production.
If you’re looking to improve the quality of your streaming production – or just want a simple way to control some of the apps on your PC, the Elgato Stream Deck Mk.2 isn’t a bad choice – although it can. be expensive – prohibitive for some. At $ 149.99, it doesn’t come cheap. However, if you really want to increase the quality of your feed, this isn’t a bad product to invest in. If you’re like me, the higher price tag of the original Stream Deck is one of the reasons I originally chose the Mini, however having used the full-size Deck I wish I had invested earlier. .
Fortunately, the Stream Deck Mk.2 is also intuitive to use – it didn’t take a long time to set up the software and learn how to use it straight away. This is where I think Elgato really brings out its value. The devices themselves are cool on their own, but their software is well worth it. With the Stream Deck software, I have so much control over every aspect of my production when we’re live – or I can easily log into the websites I frequent or launch a game quickly with the push of a button. It has taken over much of my workflow around my desk for the better. Although this is not possible if the Stream Deck software itself was not solid on its own. The fact that I can also use my two Stream Decks simultaneously helps as I was able to keep my Mini set up to control my Key Lights while my Mk.2 handled the rest of the production load.
It’s a bit easier to use if you’re already rooted in the Elgato ecosystem, but if there was one product to use that wasn’t integrated with Elgato products, the Stream Deck would be this one.
The Elgato Stream Deck Mk.2 is a subtle improvement over the original version – it doesn’t add more flexibility or functionality over the 2017 Stream Deck, but what it does add: detachable cable, faceplates custom and the perfectly angled stand (for me, anyway), made the Stream Deck Mk.2 an integral part of my now configured PC. It’s expensive, and for small streamers it might not be an easy investment, but if you really want to boost quality while still reclaiming quality form and function, you really can’t go wrong with it. the Stream Deck Mk. 2.
The product described in this review has been provided by the manufacturer for evaluation purposes.