First impressions are absolutely fantastic. I testet around 20 games from deck-verified titls like Horizon: Zero Dawn to weird exotic hentai games like Huniepop. Except for one single title which gave me just a black screen, everything worked like a charm. I played around an hours of Horizon: Zero Dawn so far and to me it's still amazing that it is now possible to play such a game in all of its glory on the go.
The best thing about the deck are the possibilities. I love the switch just as much as the next guy. But when the dev decides that 30 fps is good enough, I'm stuck with it. Now I'm the type of gamer who doesn't give a flying fuck about eyecandy. But I do care a lot about framerate. So i turned all the settings in Horizon to the very minimum and while the game can't get 60 fps all the time, it is pretty darn near that mark and it feels fantastic.
I get that something like that is not for everybody and for some folks all those options can even be a downside. But I can only speak for myself and as someone who plays PC games since the 90s, I absolutely fell in love with the steam deck.
And I haven't even started to talk about emulation. Is there anything that won't run on this bad boy? I don't know, but even PS2 titles work like a charm, which is absolutely stunning. I saw people even playing PS3 and Switch emulators, though I haven't tried that myself. Emudeck is a great little software that makes it easy as can be to manage (totally legal) ROMs and get them into that nice Steam-Deck-Interface. It recognized my copy of Tetris as Tetris 2, but that's about the only complaint I have right now. Excuse me for comparing the Steam Deck with the Switch again. But having all the games from NES, SNES, N64 and so on without any drawbacks is just so much bettet than paying every month to get a few selected titles. So as long as Nintendo doesn't give us Virtual Console back, my retro gaming sessions will be happening on the deck.
When it comes to hardware the Steam Deck is also quite convincing. The speakers are marvelous, the screen isn't amazing, but very nice and that anti-glare of the 512GB model really paid off in todays sunlight. Battery life can be anything from pretty good when playing retro titles to outright pathetic when playing Horizon at high frame rates. But all that was to be expected. The fan can get a little whiney, but I can live with that. So it's not perfect, but totally acceptable at worst, especially given the impressive price tag.
I'm happy and I can only recommend others to go for it and order a Steam Deck themselves. In my opinion this is the most exciting hardware of the last 20 years.