Review: Elgato Stream Deck – Streamline Everything You Do on a PC


Everyone loves a good streaming setup. You get all your microphones, headphones, fancy screens, and lots of RGB. But have you thought about a stream deck? How can you gain more control over your system? We’ve got our hands on the Elgato Stream Deck and we’ve got all the gossip!

Why have a stream deck?

The number one question when you buy anything… Why? why do you need it? Or better yet, why do you want it? Elgato Stream Decks are a great way to increase the control you have over your computer. And I say on purpose computer, rather than streaming. We’ll get to that later, but these programmable decks are useful for a whole range of industries, not just for streaming. But let’s start with streaming.

When you are streaming, there are usually a multitude of buttons, controls, and tech items: screens, keyboards, mice, headsets, etc. As you stream and play, streamers want to increase the control they have over their computers so they can interact more with their viewers. Usually, they control the flow by constantly switching from a keyboard to various screens and using a mouse to click buttons. This setup allows you to simply press a button, similar to a key mapped on a mouse or keyboard.

A fully integrated system like the Elgato Stream Deck family has many advantages over map keys and mouse buttons. With Elgato, everything is integrated. There are drag and drop functions, lots of software available and the best part: each button is a small LCD screen. You can put any image there!

Programmable LCD buttons put all the power at your fingertips (Image: Elgato Gaming)

Types of creek bridges

There are different types of flow bridges. Elgato mainly manufactures a style from the brook bridge. However, it comes in three sizes. The smaller deck only has six keys (above) is a great place to start. It has all the features of the biggest decks, just in miniature. The next is the standard size, which has 15 programmable keys. Unlike the mini, which has a fixed position, the standard stream deck has an adjustable standard which sits at two heights.

flow platform

Elgato Stream deck (standard size). Improve your streaming game with 15 programmable keys (Image: Elgato Gaming)

Fifteen Keys is fine, but a lot of people wanted more. Last year Elgato Gaming released their biggest deck yet, the Elgato Stream Deck XL. This deck has 32 programmable keys! That’s a lot of content you can put on the deck at once. Since we received the Stream Deck XL, we’ll be looking at it in more detail, but the lineup is functionally identical on all Elgato streaming decks.

Out of the box

The Stream Deck XL has some cool add-ons. Similar to the standard deck, the XL edition comes with a stand. The support of the XL version is magnetic and much more robust than the standard. You can choose to use the deck on its stand or without it. Many people prefer with it because the bridge sits at an ideal angle for control.

Stream Deck XL sitting on its magnetic stand (Image: Elgato Gaming)

The Stream Deck XL also comes with a USB C cable for increased efficiency. Another thing you will notice right out of the box is the sleek design of the bridge, beautifully crafted with great ergonomics. It’s the perfect shape to neatly fix on your work desk without taking up a lot of space or looking ugly. Even though this deck has 32 keys, it still has a minimalist imprint. The bridge is 182mm long and 112mm high. It has a depth of only 34 mm. Plus, it’s super light at just 410 grams. Even on my very small gaming desktop, it fits perfectly and without sticking out like a sore thumb!

Super programmable

The advantage of Elgato decks is that all programming is just drag and drop. This makes it super accessible to everyone, regardless of your computer skills. When you plug in your Elgato turntable for the first time, the logo will appear on the screen with a small welcome message. Just click on the logo and you go straight to Elgato’s website, where you can download everything you need.

The Elgato Stream Deck software is really easy to use. Drag and drop features and arrange them as you want. The possibilities are limitless. The software has integrations with Capture Cards, OBS, Streamlabs, StreamElements, Twitch, YouTube, Mixer, Twitter, and more. You can use system commands such as launch a program, send a tweet, talk to your cat, or change scenes with just the push of a button.

Corsair Elgato Stream Deck XL review

Elgato Stream Deck software is simple, elegant and easy to use. (Image: Elgato Gaming)

There are also hundreds of built-in actions for other hardware components. Controlling your smart lights is simple and easy with the stream deck. And if there is something that you really want and it’s not there, you can just do it yourself. Elgato has an SDK (Software Development Kit) available if you are a bit more tech-savvy. And if you’re a developer, you can write your own pieces of code and just use the “open” command to point to the script you’ve written.

Streaming platform key creator

The next fun thing about customizing flow decks is the icons themselves. You can use any icon you want. If you point to a game app to open i.e. Fortnite, the Fortnite the logo will automatically appear on your distribution platform. You can create your own icons seamlessly using Elgato’s Stream Deck Key Creator. It’s simple to use and has tons of built-in images and icons. You can also upload your own images. It’s a great way to reuse any Twitch emotes or sub-badges you’ve ordered!

You will see streamers from all over the world creating interesting content with their streaming decks. Light up RGB profiles, welcome messages, and other crazy stuff. It really depends on your own creativity and what style you want to show off. Plus, if 32 keys aren’t enough, you can expand! Simply set one of your keys as a folder and it will open a brand new screen with 32 blank keys ready to be personalized.

Not just for gamers

Since these are fully customizable, anybody can use them for anything. With a flow platform, keyboard shortcuts on a keyboard are a thing of the past. Consider launching apps, opening websites, or even streamlining your processes. With the push of a button, you can make video editing, graphic design or audio production much more efficient. Macros will only live in your memories!

So what are the negatives?

Well, no matter what you build, create or sell, there is always room for improvement. The Stream Deck comes with a matte black design that can easily get scratched. You’ll want to be careful with your deck. Clean it regularly and keep it away from rough edges such as a sharp monitor stand or the corners of keyboards, tablets, or the like.

Second, like all good technology, these don’t come cheap. The standard Stream Deck will set you back $ 149 USD (239 AUD). The XL deck will set you back $ 249 (AUD 399). If you have a super budget and really feel like it, the mini will take you $ 99 USD (159 AUD) out of your pocket. You can, however, find a few places with soft discounts. Either way, this technology will definitely improve your PC control. Will it improve enough to justify the purchase? It’s up to you!

If you have a feed platform let us know in the comments below. We would love to see how you customize your setup!


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