Tech review: Elgato Stream Deck Mini makes it easy to upgrade your Twitch stream

0

You’d have to look pretty far to find a serious streamer who isn’t using one of Elgato’s Stream Deck devices. The desktop-mounted stream enhancement device allows users to bind custom functions to its face buttons, making certain tasks such as activating overlays or switching between cameras while streaming easier. One of the things that bothered less experienced streamers was the size of the original device and the number of buttons available – 15 in total. So Elgato went back to the drawing board, not retiring the original Stream Deck, but creating a smaller, more economical model. The result is the Elgato Stream Deck Mini.

In terms of functionality, there is no difference between the Stream Deck and the Stream Deck Mini. They work exactly the same, with each button ready to be customized. You can link them to just about anything you want – Streamlabs OBS macros for effects or camera switching, chat search, commissioning it as a podcast soundboard. You can make him open your Twitter account if you want.

But here’s the thing. The original Stream Deck costs AUD $199. The Stream Deck Mini costs AUD $159. It’s a mere $40 price difference between the two, and picking the Mini means you’re taking a bit of a chance on total customization options. What’s stopping you from spending that extra $40 and getting the larger unit? For me, it boiled down to this: if you’re not a professional streamer, with limited funds, limited space, and looking to keep your setup as free as possible, then the Mini is absolutely the way to go.

The original Stream Deck device featured a weak plastic stand that was supposed to support the device. It didn’t, frequently rocking backwards or collapsing halfway with a thud that would cause the mic to explode, forcing you to stop whatever you were doing to put it back in place. It was the worst. It’s not on the Stream Deck Mini either and I’m glad it’s gone. Instead, the Stream Deck Mini solves the stand problem by simply molding the device into a wedge shape, allowing it to sit on its own. There are also rubber bands on the base that allow it to grip your desk so even sharp taps on the buttons won’t knock it over. It’s such a smart design change and I couldn’t approve of it more.

It’s fair to say that Elgato has done a lot of work behind the scenes to make Stream Deck devices snappier and more responsive than ever. The software included in the package has received many updates and improvements that make life easier right from the start. It’s easy to create profiles and folders, allowing you to populate your Stream Deck Mini with whatever apps you need at any time, whether they’re those created by Elgato themselves or just about any other on your computer. I expected there would be a certain amount of noise with a product like this, but never found it. Everything about using the Stream Deck Mini is simple, and until you can have six buttons at your beck and call, you’ll find it’s a significant upgrade from the original.

FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Strong points: Smart design; Great functionality; Easy to use
Weak points : Some users may struggle with the lack of available buttons
Maker: Elgato
Price: $159
Available: Now

Review conducted using a retail unit supplied by the manufacturer.

David Smith

David Smith is the former Games and Technology Editor at The AU Review. He has previously written for PC World Australia. You can find him on Twitter at @RhunWords.

Share.

Comments are closed.