Gaming Hardware & Accessories Technology

Elgato Stream Deck: A Beginner’s Review

Being a streamer is not as easy as it sounds. You don’t simply turn on your gaming device and hit ‘Go Live’. Instead, streamers work with broadcasting software such as OBS, Streamlabs OBS and XSplit in order to organise their various scenes, attach whatever effects and tools they wish to use and then, once everything is ready, hit the ‘Go Live’ button.

However, throughout the stream, streamers often have to transition between scenes or use special effects and this can often be a time consuming and challenging process for one person to manage, all the while engaging with their viewers and playing the game. 

That’s where the Elgato Stream Deck comes in handy. The stream deck is, in essence, a customisable control panel of sorts for live-streaming purposes. It allows users to easily start, pause or stop streaming and switch scenes, as well as, launch game windows, audio effects, and much more. It can even be configured to deploy Twitter posts, for all your ‘Live Now’ promotional tweets. In a nutshell, the Stream Deck offers functionalities that allow ease of use with a simple push of a button and works with most major streaming tools and platforms, including OBS, XSplit, Twitch and even Mixer. 

Design

Elgato Stream Deck Review

 

Out of the box, the standard Stream Deck comes with the deck itself, which is as small as the size of your palm and is connected by a USB 2.0 cable. There’s also a plastic stand, on which the stream deck can sit to offer a more comfortable position for pushing buttons. On the deck itself, there are fifteen programmable buttons arranged in three rows of five LED buttons. 

Setting It Up

Elgato Stream Deck Review

 

The Stream Deck easily connects to and works with Windows 10 PCs (and Mac Os) via the attached USB 2.0 cable. The Stream Deck software, available on the Elgato website, is required to actually boot up the device and begin programming buttons. The software already comes programmed with common live streaming shortcuts and tools, like managing audio, taking screenshots, recording and the like. 

Customising each key to suit your needs can be a little time consuming initially, depending on whether you simply want functionality, or if you’re also wanting to make eye-catching custom icons for each button. If you’re like me and want to organise your buttons strategically, then you’ll likely have a lot of planning and thinking to do. However, if you’re like Tom and simply want buttons to work, then just drag and dropping each function into any button is a much quicker method. 

If fifteen buttons are not enough for everything that you want out of your Stream Deck, then fear not! The Stream Deck has sub buttons, which allows you to organise your functions into different folders. This might be useful for some but it can be easily forgotten that this device is meant to make life easier for streamers. Having buttons within folders, which are within folders, will simply defeat the purpose if you’re wanting to find and press a button quickly. 

How we used the Stream Deck for our streams

We haven’t delved too much into the full breadth of capabilities of the Stream Deck as we’re still learning what the device can do. However, we have mapped basic functions that we use fairly often on our streams onto the Stream Deck. 

This includes: 

  • Launching the OBS window
  • Starting and stopping streams
  • Switching between scenes
  • Recording clips
  • Triggering an audio clip for new subscribers
  • Triggering a ‘Going Live’ tweet
  • Launching the Battle.net client
  • Launching the Attack On Geek website

It’s simply amazing what you can do with the Stream Deck, despite how small it is. What we’ve done is just the tip of the iceberg, with a lot more that we’re hoping to utilise in the near future. 

If you’d like to see a more in depth tutorial and live usage of the Elgato Stream Deck, check out the video on our YouTube channel here or watch it below.

Is the Stream Deck for you?

If you’re looking to get into content creation, the Stream Deck is highly recommended. Not only does it work with gaming and live-streaming, it can also be used to manage workflow for artists and designers too. 

Having everything you need at the touch of your fingertips right in front of you means that you’ll never have to miss a beat again when live-streaming. Considering that it doesn’t take up too much space, is affordable and packs a punch, this is one device you certainly must have. 

Now that we’ve been using it with our streams, we can’t imagine going back to a time where we didn’t own or use the Stream Deck.

 

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