Elgato Creek Bridge
Price £ 140 / $ 150
Streaming has essentially become widespread in recent years. From high-end GPUs to current-gen consoles, streaming your games live to strangers on the internet has never been easier. It’s no surprise that some people have taken streaming to a whole new level, turning a hobby into a full-time job. As you might expect, these streamers have much higher production values than most people, so it’s no surprise that Elgato created the Stream Deck – a customizable LCD keyboard designed to eliminate the need for keyboard shortcuts. . However, while this device can come in handy, at £ 140 / $ 150 the price will certainly deter amateur streamers from even considering buying it. Does the Elgato Stream Deck do enough to justify the cost?
Featuring fifteen customizable LCD keys that can be used to organize your shortcuts into separate folders (giving you up to 210 customizable actions), it’s easy to see how the Stream Deck could come in handy while streaming. Launching programs, changing scenes, and muting specific audio sources in OBS can all be done with the push of a button. Creating actions using the included Stream Deck software is quick and easy – the software provides you with a preview of the Stream Deck on which you can drag and drop icons. Every action you assign is updated in real time so you don’t lose track of what you’re doing.
Advanced / Partner streamers will appreciate the built-in features for OBS, Twitter, and Twitch.TV. I’ve covered some of the functionality of OBS before, but it’s also worth mentioning that the Stream Deck allows users to Tweet pre-made messages. Twitch.TV’s integration is where this device really shines, allowing streamers to enable subscriber-only chat and slow chat when things get too hectic. There is also the option to monitor the number of viewers as it updates on the Stream Deck in real time.
All of these actions are incredibly useful when streaming, because you never want to keep your audience waiting, and of course, there is the added benefit of having the buttons personalized with any image you want. Amateur streamers will know how annoying it is to forget your shortcuts halfway through, and the Stream Deck goes to great lengths to avoid this problem entirely. Having everything posted on hand should prevent any mishaps from happening. That said, pro streamers have been able to live without this product for quite some time now. What makes the Stream Deck better than the cheaper alternatives?
The advantages of the Stream Deck over a regular keyboard are immediately apparent. LCD buttons are far superior to any generic keypad because they don’t need to be labeled or remembered in advance. As someone who likes to regularly change my layout, seeing the changes on the LCD screen makes things a lot easier to follow. Keyboards require you to set up shortcuts / macros, just like the Stream Deck. The Stream Deck has the upper hand when assigning shares thanks to the features built into OBS and Twitch.TV, both essential for streaming. Of course, all of this can be done with a keyboard and mouse, but it’s nowhere near as convenient. You also have the option to set unique profiles in case you need 210 more actions to have fun.
Elgato has targeted this device at streamers, featuring features like showing memes or random audio clips, but the Stream Deck is a lot more versatile than it sounds. For most people, the fact that the device does basic tasks while live streaming will be enough to justify their purchase, but I can’t help but think that using this product for streaming purposes only. seems a bit exaggerated. Pair it with one of Adobe’s programs and you will start to see how valuable Stream Deck can be in everyday use.
The build quality of the Stream Deck is solid and seems unlikely to break. Sporting a clean black finish, it should fit into any modern office. It also comes with an adjustable stand, although it’s not as high end as we would expect considering the price. I was also surprised to find that the USB 2.0 cable is not detachable and is very short, forcing those with configurations far from their turntable to invest in a USB extender.
If you are reading this review, chances are you have a streaming PC and this is where the short cable can be a problem. If your streaming PC is not right next to you, it will be difficult for you to reach the Stream Deck when you are streaming. It would also have been nice for Elgato to have included a detachable USB cable as it would have been much easier to detach the cable from the top of the Stream Deck when switching between your normal and streaming PCs. This is not a compromise, but it would have made the whole streaming process more convenient.
It all depends on the price of the Stream Deck and whether you need it or not. As an amateur streamer myself, I can understand exactly why some people can laugh at the thought of spending so much money on something that can be done using your keyboard. It seems like such a luxury for a beginner who won’t do much more than change up a few scenes every now and then, but for advanced streamers a device like this can come in very handy. I could live without the Stream Deck, but now that I’ve tried it, I don’t want it anymore.
Revision unit supplied by the publisher. You can buy it on Amazon.
If you happen to stream a lot and think you can extend the functionality of the Stream Deck outside of streaming, you should definitely take this into account. However, don’t worry if you can’t justify spending so much money on something that you can do with a few macros, because you’re not missing out on much.
Design & Aestheticsseven
- Customizable / versatile
- Easy to use
- Good build quality
- Unnecessary luxury for amateur streamers
- Very short USB 2.0 cable