Elgato Stream Deck: A Closer Look
A funny thing happened last week when I decided on a whim, to head down to my local Micro Center in the hopes that they might have a GPU in stock that would not only, fit my motherboard, but also boost the quality of my stream. Needless to say, this was a swing and a big miss as all the shelves looked just like the toilet paper section of your local market did about a year ago, absolutely empty. Not wanting to leave disappointed, I decided to have a walkabout, just drool at the way too expensive items I might want to get in the future. As I wandered back to the front, I saw the Streaming section, My eyes locked in on this item, and I knew I was leaving with it.
Enter, the Elgato Stream Deck. A device I had been thinking about purchasing for ages. As a small, growing streamer, my first thought about streaming is about the quality of my product, so I find myself constantly looking for things to boost production value. I always thought the constant tabbing in and out of screens was kind of, not only a hassle, but a negative to overall flow and quality, this device is billed to have fully programmable keys, and to me, at the time, it meant that I could finally transition scenes with a single button press. I had no idea just how much more I was actually getting.
This stream deck features 15 fully programmable buttons, that can even display a custom image, so it’s easier to see what you are pressing. The companion program, has a very smooth and easy to navigate U.I, and the featured connections are clearly marked for easy access, and even feature a drop down menu you can close to keep the screen nice and tidy. Let’s get into some specifics……..
At first I thought, well I have 15 buttons, choose wisely, but after a quick tutorial video, I realized that each button could become its own folder with 15 buttons of its own, and you can even make more sub-folders inside the original, so basically infinite buttons. The companion app has amazing functionality with the things a streamer uses most, OBS, Streamlabs, Twitch, but also incorporates a system feature allowing you to program links to sites and opening things from your desktop. So now you can make a folder for OBS, then inside that button, you can add all your scenes to a single press, transitions done. But you can also setup a games folder button, and inside that, you can add all the games from desktop, and with a single button, your game is loading. I have even found myself setting up a simple folder to house my most viewed webpages, and another to hold soundbites for the stream.
Advanced users can also utilize the Multi Action feature for a button, to make several things happen at 1 press. Example, let’s say you have multiple tabs on screen during a just chatting session as you browse the web, and the next site you are going to use would be covered up by 1 of those tabs, you can now program each of those tabs to move to a specific location on screen, individually, with a single Multi Action press. Also, for any of you Smart Home folks, you can connect an average fan or light to a Wi-Fi plug, connect PC to that plug, then use stream deck to make an on/off button for that fan/light. Pretty impressive.
Also available are two other models, the Stream Deck Mini, and the Stream Deck XL. The Mini features 6 buttons, where as the XL has 32. The amazing part here is that all 3 models feature the same functionality per button, so there is no gap there. The 6 button model would be perfect for a beginning streamer, or for anyone who is on PC all the time, the sheer conveince is worth it.
As for the XL, someone like me really has no need for 32 buttons, however, I can see its place. I can only imagine just how streamlined this would make audio editing, or video production. being able to make a certian things happen like adding a layer, or deleting one, is a quality of life enhancement that anyone in those fields, I’m sure, would embrace.
Here is the nitty-gritty folks, should you buy one of these? YES! In the tech world today, the Elgato Stream Deck simply has too much functionality to pass on, no matter your walk of life. We all spend way too much of our time viewing or making content, or simply surfing the web. This device can, and does, make all of that easy after a simple setup. As far as price, well…. I have placed a link to Amazon for each device below, you can buy them directly, and in this Covid era, Amazon always seems to have stock available. I assure you, they are all affordable. It isnt a GO XLR soundboard with a $500 tag, no, I feel like this device can be worked into any budget, and the use will pay for itself eventually.
I can’t imagine now, after finally grabbing one up, living without this thing. It simply makes my stream a better production. As for you, ya you, the small streamer just like me, make this a must have. Even the Mini will get you into a better place. Wouldn’t it be awesome to do what you need to do in the moment with no fumbling about? Ya, I thought so.
For anyone still not convinced, come visit my stream, link is the jester banner below, I’ll be happy to demo some of the features I’ve used, and maybe even play ya a sound clip. lol. Untill then, Happy gaming, and smooth streams to all.