To kick off the 'use case' section, which is arguably the most important part of the review, I'd like to firstly mention that Elgato offer three Stream Deck variants. The Elgato Stream Deck XL, the largest of three with 32 programmable LCD keys. The Elgato Stream Deck, the middle variant of the three, which has 15 programmable LCD keys and is what we will be looking at in today's review. Lastly, the Elgato Stream Deck Mini, the smallest of the three with only 6 LCD keys.
So, why would you decide to grab the standard Stream Deck over the smaller variant or, the larger one? Simple, price + being honest with how its utility is going to apply to your stream. These Stream Decks are designed to assist streamers in a variety of different ways, and their usability is vast in terms of being able to speed up processes that streamers would originally find mundane or time-consuming.
This is the utility side of the formula, and with each stream being completely different from the next, the desired/required assist from the Stream Deck varies from streamer to streamer. So, being a streamer and looking for a Stream Deck to purchase, you should first be honest with how many buttons you will actually be using while streaming.
You can find this out by grabbing a piece of paper, drawing up a rough sketch of a Stream Deck, and then writing in each of the squares what you want to link to it (or download the Stream Deck software). Before making a decision on what one ask yourself this - 'how often will I be pressing all of these linked buttons and can I get away with fewer buttons that will be more frequently used, versus having more buttons that could leave extras that will never be used?"
More isn't always better in the case, as many streamers (including myself) struggle using all 32 keys of the Stream Deck XL. Meaning, the extra buttons that aren't being used are essentially pricey aesthetic add-ons. This OK if this is what you are going for, but on a pure utility basis, leftover buttons aren't what you want.
This is where I think the middle variant Stream Deck is the perfect mix between not enough buttons (Stream Deck Mini), and too many to use (Stream Deck XL). Fifteen keys feel perfect for me. I can add all the games that I'm frequently playing to the Stream Deck while also keeping other things present on there as well, such as CPU usage, media keys, chat options, and more.
Like I previously mentioned, every streamer is different, and if you find yourself needing more or less keys, Elgato's two other variants are just as perfect. I just personally think the fifteen key variant would be the variant that fits most streamers' needs.
Last updated: Jan 2, 2020 at 03:51 am CST