Coming in at half the cost, how does the Sabrent Steam Deck dock stack up against the flood of options on the market?
We won’t lie, when we saw the Sabrent Steam Deck dock arrive in a package alongside their 1TB SSD, we were skeptical. Another dock for a device that really doesn’t need them anymore. JSAUX and Valve have it covered at both ends, and if someone really wanted one, there are plenty of alternatives out there.
However, despite going in with some skepticism, we’re actually suitably impressed with the little dock. It might be lacking some features that others brands have brought to the table, but we realized that at the end of the day, it’s overkill for what you’d actually use it for.
Sabrent Steam Deck Dock key specs
- 1x HDMI 2.0 port (4K60 or 1440p/120Hz)
- 1x USB-C data port
- 3x USB-A ports
- 1x USB-C power delivery port
What’s in the box: Sabrent Steam Deck Dock
Design and features
Yes, this looks almost exactly like an official Valve dock, and there’s a good reason. It’s a utilitarian design that attempts to keep things tidy. However, the Sabrent dock makes a nasty mistake by having all the USB ports on the side, rather than the back. Other brands have opted for the back, as it allows for the cables to slide nicely into the back of the desk or entertainment center.
Here, the Sabrent dock awkwardly sticks dongles, cables, and more in a clumsy fashion. Where it does succeed though, is the inclusion of a USB-C port. Valve’s weird omission makes it awkward to use other USB-C hubs to extend the number of connections going in.
What we loved though, was that Sabrent has rubberized everything. Valve’s dock has a non-slip bottom, but nothing to stop it from sliding once balanced in the slot. It feels secure, like nothing like an errant pet or child would knock over.
It also uses that great right-angled USB-C connector for hooking into the Steam Deck, keeping things semi-tidy, despite the side ports.
However, the biggest issue here is that it only houses a singular HDMI port. Each other Steam Deck-focused dock seems to also house a DisplayPort output. Even JSAUX’s portable dock does far more than this. There’s not even Ethernet for a true docked experience.
We guess this can all be remedied with the USB-C port, but daisy chaining dongles to a USB hub to get Ethernet or DisplayPort seems like a stretch to us.
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It frustrates us that DisplayPort isn’t included, as when gaming on a PC, it’s often the better option. With a lack of HDMI handshaking, we’ve always defaulted to DisplayPort when docking the Steam Deck just because it’s so much easier than dealing with errant HDMI issues.
Should you buy it?
Though the longer we sat and ruminated on the situation, we realized we might be in the minority. DisplayPort is an excellent choice if you’re obsessed with performance and the like. However, the Steam Deck has taught us that fidelity and minutiae aren’t key to the Deck’s ethos.
HDMI is the easiest option to go with. You can slot it into any TV, and any monitor. It’s universal and found basically anywhere on a TV from the last decade.
You also have to consider the fact that Sabrent is retailing a comparable device to Valve’s official option for half the price. It might not be fully featured, but it works and it does the job it needs to do adequately enough.
Verdict – 4/5
It’s not as fully featured as some of the others on the market, but it’s a damn sight cheaper. That’s the key thing here. It performs exactly as you’d expect, and is half the price as the official one.
Steam Deck docking has gotten far better since we reviewed the Valve version of the dock. There are barely any issues here, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find something as practical as Sabrent’s model, at this budget-friendly price.
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