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Is it safe to play the Steam Deck or Nintendo Switch in hot weather?

How hot is too hot for the handheld gaming machines?

steam deck and nintendo switch consoles
Image: KnowTechie

One of the best things about gaming on a portable machine like the Steam Deck or the Nintendo Switch is that you can take them just about anywhere. But you might need to be careful about gaming on those devices in hot temperatures.

We’re currently in the middle of a major heatwave across several areas of the world. The United States is experiencing massive heat waves. And several western European countries are experiencing record highs leading to some serious consequences.

And if you’re gaming on a Steam Deck or a Nintendo Switch in that kind of heat, you may be concerned about how hot your device is getting.

We all know electronics and extreme heat don’t really mix too well. But how hot is too hot to game on your portable consoles?

How hot is too hot for your Steam Deck or Nintendo Switch?

Short answer: about 35° Celsius or 95° Farenheit

When it comes to both the Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch, both consoles should ideally be operated in temperatures less than 35° Celsius or 95° Fahrenheit.

handheld consoles on purple background
Image: KnowTechie

Additionally, due to hot temperatures around the globe, both companies have recently taken to Twitter to warn against gamers using their devices in extreme temperatures.

Nintendo sent the first warning amidst the current heat waves. The Japanese support page for Nintendo Switch shared a Tweet warning users to only use the Switch between 5° and 35° Celsius.

“If you use the Nintendo Switch in a hot place, the temperature of the main unit may become high. Please use in the place of 5 to 35 ℃. Also, if the intake and exhaust ports are blocked, the temperature of the main unit may rise. Make the air around the intake and exhaust ports better,” reads the English translation.

Valve followed Nintendo’s lead, issuing a warning of its own. Just like the Switch, Valve suggests that you try not to play your Steam Deck in temperatures higher than 35° Celsius.

In a follow-up tweet, the company clarified that the Steam Deck’s APU hardware runs fine at temps up to 100° Celsius before throttling and ultimately shutting down at 105°. And playing in temperatures above 35° can make the device reach those limits much faster than normal.

Both devices have protections in place to throttle or even shut off the device to avoid potential damage to hardware. But repeated instances of overheating will likely have an effect on your device’s performance in the long run.

And that’s not to mention the potential to hurt yourself. Dealing with electronics at extreme temperatures always has the potential to cause some harm.

It’s best to follow these companies’ instructions. Try not to use your Steam Deck or Nintendo Switch at temperatures higher than 35° Celsius or 95° Fahrenheit.

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Contributing writer with a passion for gaming and tech. Probably getting wrecked by some kids in Rocket League.

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