The latest addition to Elgato’s Stream Deck range is their most versatile yet. The Stream Deck Plus adds new ways to interact that will make it the centrepiece of any streaming setup.
the good bits
Wider range of inputs
More comfortable button layout
Touch bar brings new functionality
Dial stacks are super intuitive
the not so good bits
Needs other Elgato gear to get the most from it
Elgato Stream Deck +
It’s time to welcome yet another new member to the Elgato Stream Deck family. The most popular range of stream controllers continues to evolve, and unlike the rather unusual Stream Deck Pedal we saw last year, the new Stream Deck + looks far less out of place in family photos.
In the past it was size and shape Elgato played around with when designing new Stream Decks. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it after all. But the Stream Deck Plus mixes it up a little more, a new twist on the winning formula and arrives with a higher $199.99/£209.99 price point to match.
The Stream Deck + is a new spin on Elgato’s stream sidekick concept, and by that I mean it’s now got dials you can rotate. The iconic grid of customisable LCDs are still here, albeit with fewer but larger buttons, and now they’ve been joined by two other ways to interact, a touch bar and four clickable dials.
Even looking past the new bells and whistles, Elgato have made a few notable design changes between the original Stream Deck and the Stream Deck +. The plus moniker certainly rings true, it’s nearly twice as large in every direction which makes it a pretty imposing figure on your desk.
Like the Stream Deck MK2, the flexibility of a removal stand is gone in favour of a more robust fixed position, I found the viewing angle is exactly where I wanted it though so no dramas there. Overall the new input layout feels less hectic than a regular Stream Deck, everything is roomier with more chance to breathe between buttons and dials.
Each of the eight buttons on the Stream Deck Plus retain Elgato’s customisable LCD screen but have grown up a little, each is now about 15% larger with noticeably sharper displays than on previous Stream Deck models. While this might not sound like a huge jump, it’s remarkable how small the standard Stream Deck keys suddenly felt in comparison. The buttons felt just as tactile as before with the same rubberised keycap, bright screens and satisfying muted bump click.
Moving down to the bottom row you’ll find four metal dials, slightly set back into the face and textured with a pleasing etched grip on the sides. These are replaceable too, so while the Stream Deck + itself only comes in black and white – there’s six metallic colours of dialds to choose from.
It would have been nice to see some kind of LED incorporated into these dials, in a dark room they tend to disappear a bit. Even something as simple as ring around the base would have gone a long way I think. The dials sit below another impressively sharp screen, this time a 10.8cm touch sensitive bar that offers both information on your dials and an additional way to interact.
Overall the Stream Deck + feels almost like four individual columns bumped together neatly into one overall device. The buttons are spaced out so they become divided into pairs, each aligned with a dial below, which then has its own quarter of the touch screen bar. It’s all very organised and in tune with itself.
It’s not worth focusing too much on the buttons, not because they’re not great (they are, still) but because apart from the size change they’ve not really changed from the originals. They’re just as pleasing to use and with enough push needed to keep them safe from accidental clicks, even if you’re not fully paying attention.
The touch bar and dials are where things start to get interesting on the Stream Deck + and present a new way to play the game. Together they mark the first time Elgato have added a new way to interact with a Stream Deck and it’s an excellent new addition. Elgato say the force needed to rotate one of the stepped dials has been “finely tuned for optimal input speed” and I’d say they’ve got it bang on. Coupled with the machined surface my fingers never slipped and steps are just the right distance apart to confidently allow single step adjustments without overshooting.
I was surprised how much the new Stream Deck Plus touch bar is able to achieve and this is thanks in no small part to the number of clever ways you can interact with it. As well as offering dynamic information about the dial below it, single taps and long touches produce different results and swiping across the bar as a whole will move between pages of commands. Combined with design customisation to make it your own, the touch bar experience all comes together seamlessly and everything does what you’d expect and hope it to do.
The Stream Deck + is all controlled by the same intuitive drag and drop software as the rest of Elgato’s Stream Deck Range. The Plus brings new functionality however in the form of Dial Stacks. These are super clever and great to use, particularly if you’ve got a few other bits of Elgato gear.
Link it with the Elgato Camera Hub app for example and you’ve got full control of every Facecam setting inside a single dial. A single press of the dial moves through each setting that you’ve configured in the app. Twist, click, twist, click, twist, done. Then we add the touch bar into the mix, a tap here can toggle between auto or manual control or a long press resets everything to defaults. It all feels really clever and I found it a great way of being able to make small adjustments without even tabbing out of a game.
The Stream Deck + is a clever new addition to Elgato’s range because it’s not really competing for the same job as its own family members. The Plus is a brilliant device that in the right setup will open a lot of new doors, even if there’s already an original Stream Deck in your setup.
It might not hold gamechanging benefits for every creator though and some streamers will be better placed with the more traditional (and cheaper) button only Stream Deck. That’s not a slight on the Plus though, it’s just a case of having the right tool for the job.
If you’re deep in Elgato’s ecosystem the Stream Deck + is a perfect addition to your setup. It’s perfectly suited to making on the fly tweaks to Facecam or Keylight settings while still offering the same shortcut and macro perks of the original.