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Elgato Stream Deck XL Review – Let’s Get Shortcut Crazy!

A Closer Look

The saying “go big or go home” certainly rings true here. The last time we reviewed the Stream Deck is was the puny 6 button model. Sure, they make a slightly larger one, but it’s still nothing compared to this 32 button behemoth. With its 8 x 4 configuration, the combinations and customisation is taken to the next-next level here.

Aesthetically, it’s what you would expect from the Stream Deck, it’s just bigger. It still uses those membrane-like rubber coated switches. They have a really light actuation and non-slip coatings, making them easy and accurate to use.

Base

This model doesn’t come as a single unit though, and is actually just the front facing wedge mounted on a magnetic stand. As you can see, you can erm, see right through it.

It’s a very clean design though, and there’s a small cable pass-through hole in the stand for the USB cable.

The base has a huge layer of grippy rubber, so it doesn’t slide around your desk when you’re poking away at the buttons. It’s got a good weight to it too, so it really doesn’t move around unless you give it a good shove.

Dock

You can lift the unit up off of the dock. However, keep in mind that it is still wired, so that doesn’t really help you any.

On the underside, there are four smaller feet, so you could use it mounted flat on your desk if you didn’t want it on the dock. Again, you’ll still need that USB cable though.

Speaking of the cable, it tucks into the underside of the unit here, and there’s a huge groove to allow the cable to pass through the back of the base.

Performance

Powering on the Stream Deck, you’re greeted with their logo. It doesn’t go anything, but you can jump into the software and start your customisation journey quickly enough.

Hey look, it’s my previous configuration from the smaller Stream Deck that we used when reviewing the Elgato Key light!

Software

As you saw above, my last profile was loaded up by default. The good thing is that you can have pretty much endless profiles through the software. This is great should you have multiple uses for it, multiple streamdecks, and so on.

You simply drag icons from the right side menu and drop them on the buttons you desire. Of course, each one has their own set of customisation options too. You can’t just drop the OBS button in and expect to have OBS functionality.

You will need to setup those external software components as normal. The Stream Deck effectively acts as a comprehensive macro tool-set for each on.

Extreme Customisation

The level of default options is very impressive. It covers all the basics a content creator, streamer, or YouTuber would really need. From lighting controls using Key Light or Philips Hue, to deploying messages in your fan chat client. Or you can play on-screen overlays, trigger effects, record clips, pause you stream, mute your microphone, or trigger any custom macro or key combination you desire. The list is pretty endless thanks to the custom button options.

Going Deeper

There’s a bunch of more advanced “apps” if you will too, and it seems that library of custom made “apps” is growing. Everything from CPU usage monitors to BitCoin price tickers are here. Even a game or two can be played or the buttons!

Overall, it would be hard to test everything the Stream Deck can do. It’s more of a tool to do what YOU want it to do, rather than a gadget that only does what Elgato want it to do. It’s a powerful tool indeed. I can’t help but tinker with it constantly.

Next-Level Performance

Of course, it would be a shame not to have some fun with the customisation, wouldn’t it? I used an online tool to cut up and image… OK, I should have worked out the framing a bit better, but the end result looks close enough. I wonder what that video is that every button links to?



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Peter Donnell

As a child still in my 30's (but not for long), I spend my day combining my love of music and movies with a life-long passion for gaming, from arcade classics and retro consoles to the latest high-end PC and console games. So it's no wonder I write about tech and test the latest hardware while I enjoy my hobbies!

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