After recently getting stuck into Twitch streaming and getting all setup like a professional, I got the chance to get my grubby mitts on a Stream Deck by Elgato. Now having spent a good amount of hours using the thing, it was the best time to put my thoughts into words and bring you this hardware review.
Let’s get to it!
So the first question to answer. What Is the Stream Deck? Well thats easy, in simple terms its a bank of 15 macro buttons that you can assign different functions to so that while you are streaming, or even just using your computer, you can quickly and efficiently use.
Having only used the Stream Deck while I have been streaming I cant comment on the use in general on your computer, but if it is anything like I have experienced it would be fantastic!
So what do you get in the box? The Stream Deck, a stand and a quick start guide. Nice and straight forward, after all once you have plugged it in with the USB cable you will spend more of your time going through the setup on screen and through the software downloadable from the Elgato website.
Now before we get too ahead of ourselves, let me answer one question that you might be thinking.
Can you only use this with an Elgato Capture Card? Nope, if you are streaming from your console through your PC you can use any capture card you want.
I primarily have been streaming by connecting one of my consoles through a capture card and then into Streamlabs OBS, so the majority of this review will be based around how it has worked using that.
Having setup the software you are greeted with a ridiculously easy to use piece of software. You select the action on the right hand side, from a huge number or pre-made options including specific Streamlabs options, to Twitter commands and Twitch commands. There is everything available for you to select.
So the Stream Deck with Streamlabs OBS, works fantastically, with the ability to define a specific scene to each button you can be quickly flicking to that Be Right Back screen super fast, without the need to move a mouse, or anything. It makes the little things so much more simplistic. Recently I carried out a Charity Stream where when someone gave bits, or followed I span a wheel and ate a Jelly Bean, this became incredibly straight forward with a quick press of the relevant scene and then a press of the “SPIN” button the Stream Deck allowed to get to where I needed fast and accurately.
You have the options to mute your mic in a swift button press as well as start and stop a specific source if you have a particular visual animation that you use. I honestly can not express how easy and useful the Stream Deck is to use.
So moving away from Streamlabs for a second, what else can you do? Well quite a lot really, before you start streaming you can send out a couple of tweets to get a bit more hype. All that can be done through the Stream Deck. Well you have to set the tweet details first, but you can send them with a quick press of one of the buttons. Unfortunately the software prevents you from spamming the tweet, but having a timer on it that only allows you to send it once in a 12 hour period, but there is no limit on how many tweets you can configure.
Then when you are streaming, you can set the Stream Deck to post comments in your stream, so if you have a discord server that you like to advertise to your viewers, this can be quickly posted so that you don’t have to touch your keyboard. All of the commands can be customised to a certain degree giving you the ability to make the unit your own.
Then to my favourite part of using the Stream Deck. The sound board, a new feature recently put onto the software, this allows you to assign sound effects from an audio file to a button press. So if you want some sad trombones when you die in Fortnite, then you just assign the sound effect, give it a name and even copy an image to show off on the button.
OH Wait! Did I not mention that all the buttons are LCD buttons that you can customise with images? Drag an image in and you can fully customise your Stream Deck the way that you want it!
So without spending too much time sounding like i am going out with the thing, the Elgato Stream Deck is a fantastic piece of kit for anyone looking to get a bit more speed and efficiency to your stream. Yes you can make hot keys and use those to do all the same functions of the Stream Deck, but none of that will be all packaged up in a tiny little unit that can just sit right in front of you while you are streaming.
The Elgato Stream Deck gets a Thumb Culture Gold Hardware Award from me.
For more information about the Elgato Stream Deck, head over here
A unit was supplied in order to complete this review