Elgato Stream Deck Review
Published: 13th December 2018 | Source: Elgato | Price: |
Products like this will either inspire you or leave you cold. That's okay, they aren't going to be for everyone. However, if you're the type of person who judges by surface features rather than looking in closer detail then you could be forgiven for thinking the Elgato Stream Deck is only going to be of use to streamers, and you're not one of those so it's not for you. The name is, however, a bit of a misnomer.
Okay not entirely, but to some degree. If you are a streamer then having your regularly used functions in a format that is constantly on hand is an absolute god send. It makes the whole process of turning things on and off, or popping gifs much easier than it otherwise would be. You could set the Stream Deck up with its default options and get your moneys worth out it.
If you take a little more time though, or expand your narrow field of view, it becomes clear how many possible options there are available to you. Let's take a couple of specific examples. Elite Dangerous has just had a new patch and, despite the release of umpteen No Man's Sky patches and the recent release of Egosoft's X4 it is still the daddy of space sims. But anyone who has spent even a moment flying around the Milky Way will know how valuable 3rd party programs and websites are to keeping you abreast of galactic developments. You could bind them to the Stream Deck and have them a button press away. Or if you've run out of buttons on your HOTAS you can set ECM and Weapon Group switching to a button on the Stream Deck and have them within easy reach. See, it's not just turning your microphone on and off is it.
Maybe, however, gaming isn't for you. Maybe you are a heavy image editor with a camera glued to your hand? No worries, set up a macro to perform those adjustments you do all the time, or move images around, or duplicate them, or simply watermark them all. You could have different buttons for different lenses in Lightroom and automatically correct for pincushioning and barrel distortion in a single press. Or resize for emails, presentations, Flickr and the like with their various requirements in a press.
You get the idea. Whatever you can think of, not only does the Stream Deck enable you to do it, but thanks to the LCD display you can clearly label it too. No more Post-It notes with bits scrawled on them. No more keyboard overlays precariously balanced or, worse still, messing with your carefully created colour scheme. The world is your oyster.
How much you are inspired by the Elgato Stream Deck defines how useful it will be. It's a niche product, but one that does more than a cursory glance might lead you to believe. Yes its main design is to make Twitch streams run more smoothly, but it can be so much more. It's 15 full colour LCD buttons with animated icons, and you can get as much from it as your creativity will stimulate you to attain. If you think your current keyboard offers everything, then maybe this wont sway you. But if this even slightly piques your curiosity and you can envisage even one scenario in which you could utilise it, then the user-friendly but powerful software, robust build quality and quality display will bring a bigger smile to your face than you might have suspected. It's niche, yes, but really very good. It's everything the mythical Optimus Maximus promised us all those years ago, but here, today, right now.