Elgato Stream Deck Mini evaluation — an enchancment with fewer buttons

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Elgato Gaming has adopted up its Stream Deck USB control-panel device with a brand new, smaller model referred to as Stream Deck Mini. Whereas the primary Stream Deck sells for $150 and comes with 15 buttons, the Mini is selling for $100 and has only six buttons. However when it comes to how the buttons work, all the things is identical. Which means you possibly can program every one to carry out a particular operate in software program like Open Broadcasting Software program (OBS Studio), Twitter, and extra.

However $100 isn’t that a lot inexpensive than the unique Stream Deck, and 6 buttons is considerably fewer than 15. So is the Stream Deck Mini value it? For many informal streamers trying to simplify their setup, it in all probability is.

What you’ll like

It’s simple to make use of

Elgato has carried out plenty of work to enhance the expertise of urgent a button to make an motion occur in an ap because it launched the unique Stream Deck. The included free software program is less complicated with a number of extra built-in choices and options. Making folders is a snap, and so is constructing profiles that mechanically populate the Stream Deck relying on what packages you’ve open.

The engineers and UX designers liable for the Stream Deck and the Mini are clearly utilizing them every single day and dealing with individuals who use them every single day. The result’s a {hardware}/software program expertise that makes it simple to automate a ton of vital performance while you’re taking part in video games, livestreaming, or recording.

I’m particularly keen on the media options that may play mp3s, which I’ve used to show the Mini right into a soundboard for our podcast. However I additionally used the prefabricated choices so as to add mute toggles for my microphone and to change between scenes.

Organising the Stream Deck Mini for different duties that aren’t included within the software program is straightforward as effectively. I’ve a profile devoted to Nvidia Shadowplay, which isn’t a built-in possibility. However I simply recorded a couple of hotkeys, added my very own button artwork, and now I’ve fast entry to recording the final 5 minutes, turning on Shadowplay, and extra.

Sensible design enhancements

However all the things that makes the Mini simple to make use of additionally applies to the Stream Deck correct, so does the Mini do something higher than its older sibling? Completely. It has an general higher design as a shopper product.

The primary Stream Deck is a comparatively flat panel that comes with an annoying, flimsy plastic stand. You have to use that holster if you would like the Stream Deck to sit down up and face you in your desk. I hate that stand. It collapses in case you transfer it, after which you must use two fingers to get it to increase once more.

The Mini solves all of that. It’s a strong triangular form like a prism that sits up at a perfect angle all by itself. It doesn’t even include a stand. It additionally has a dependable rubber grip on its underside that retains it in place even in case you smash the buttons with some critical pressure.

By way of the bodily expertise of utilizing the Mini, it’s a critical improve over the Stream Deck 1.0, and I hope that Elgato brings this design ahead because it refreshes these merchandise sooner or later.

What you gained’t like

You’ll should get inventive with how you utilize it

The large downside with the Mini is the dearth of the buttons. Six buttons is close to the decrease restrict of the variety of choices you possibly can have on a tool like this whereas nonetheless getting some use out of it. Whereas the Stream Deck all the time left me with loads of clean areas to work with, the Mini requires you to solely embrace the buttons that you simply want. If you happen to want greater than 6, you’ll have to get sensible about utilizing folders.

The profile system can assist with this to a degree, however it’s tougher to change profiles in the midst of a livestream than to open a sub-folder. However even that isn’t nice. If you happen to’re like me, you’re already juggling sufficient throughout a broadcast, and ensuring you’re within the appropriate folder is a trouble you don’t have to cope with.

Conclusion

Let’s get reductive. The Stream Deck is $9.34 per button. The Stream Deck Mini is $16.67 per button. Every of these buttons are precisely the identical when it comes to their capabilities, so go on the market and purchase ’em by the majority, proper? Besides $100 continues to be inexpensive than $150, and I feel most individuals can get by with these six buttons and a sensible use of the software program. So except you’ve plenty of concepts about what you need from a Stream Deck, I feel the Mini might be the proper one for you. That’s very true when you think about the improved design.

Elgato Stream Deck Mini is accessible now for $100. Elgato Gaming offered the Mini to us for the needs of this evaluation. 

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