Overall and Final Verdict
The idea of Twitch/Mixer/Youtube streaming has been a quickly growing market but Elgato is really the only company to every complexly focus just on what streamers might need. Most everyone else has focused on the larger gaming brand with the exception of Razer who has brought out a few streamer focused products recently. But with the Stream Deck XL, I just don’t see anyone else seeing the opening and recognizing that this could be used to help streamers. Though now that Elgato has done it, I wouldn’t be surprised to see anyone else try to piggyback off that and do something similar now.
So breaking down what makes the Stream Deck great, it is one of those rare situations where the hardware and the software share the load 50/50 in my opinion. The hardware is great, the organic LED screens inside of the keys have enough resolution to make them easy to read. For the Stream Deck XL specifically, you get an impressive number of keys and the included stand helps get things to the perfect angle to use on your desk and it has a huge rubber base to keep it from moving around when you push the buttons. The only hardware change I might consider with a future version is the inclusion of maybe a volume wheel. Beyond that it does everything you need.
But it is the software that makes all of that hardware usable at all and I am really glad to get the chance to check things out now not when it originally launched. You can see that Elgato has continued to evolve the software and now that their SDK has been public for a while there are a lot of third party software additions. Those third-party apps are a lot of what makes the Stream Deck great for me. They open up infinite possibilities and with Voice Mod, for example, add a lot of streaming fun. The software is easy to use as well, with a drag and drop functionality. To get the most out of the Stream Deck you will have to spend a lot of time getting things all set up so that simplicity is really important. Overall, I found that the Stream Deck XL, while designed for streamers, also has the potential to be really useful in some other applications like video editing or photo editing where you can create hotkeys and macros with easy to read labels.
I didn’t really have any big cons or downsides with the Stream Deck XL though I will say that I think most people will be perfectly fine with the smaller regular-sized model. The XL is amazing and I especially loved the size when it came to making soundboards, but for normal streaming functionality I could have fit everything into the smaller size. The smaller size would be a little better on the pocketbook as well because the Stream Deck XL will run you $249.99 where the regular-sized model is $149.99. Though per key that does make the 32 key XL a lot better value than the 15 key Stream Deck lol. Overall though, I loved how using the Stream Deck made me at least feel like a professional streamer, even if my low view count didn’t. It gives aspiring streamers a way to improve their production values and current professional streamers get a way to simplify how they handle things.
Live Pricing: HERE