Review: Elgato StreamDeck
If you’re a broadcaster on Twitch, Mixer, Hitbox, or any other streaming website, chances are you’ve heard a bit of online chatter about the Elgato StreamDeck, one of the latest additions to Elgato’s peripheral lineup tailored towards online content creators with the intent of making their content production easier with a higher level of production quality.
The StreamDeck is a matte-black device the size of your hand, with a set of 15 programmable LED back lit buttons that act as hotkeys to perform certain streaming related tasks that would otherwise be achieved by monotonous key-press combinations on your keyboard.
Before we begin with our review, I’d like to give a quick shout out to the dudes at Double Jump Communications for hooking us up with our review unit.
Included in the Elgato StreamDeck box is the StreamDeck unit itself, Quick Start Guide, Important Safety Instructions booklet, adjustable stand/dock, and a fancy box to protect it – because y’know, fancy tech like this needs to be kept pristine! There is no included software either on physical storage mediums, or on the device itself, so you’ll need to download that manually.
Once you bust it out, be sure to read the quick start guide as it states to install the software before connecting the StreamDeck to your PC. Assuming this is just to eliminate any sort of user errors with getting this to work, as the drivers are installed along with the software and your operating system may not be intelligent enough to retroactively associate the device to those drivers. For reference, I completely ignored the instructions and connected the device then installed the software. It hasn’t exploded thus far, so that’s a good sign I guess.
It should be noted that the Elgato StreamDeck will only work on Windows 10 64bit (or Mac OS 10.1 or later) whilst installed to a certain directory path specific to 64bit operating systems, so you plebs still on an older Windows version or are still on 32Bit are shit out of luck.
Let’s be serious though: if you’re a streamer running a 32bit operating system, you’re doing it wrong.
Upon loading the software for the first time, you’ll see an interface similar to the screenshot above. It’ll come pre-setup with a heap of default configurations, but you can easily do away with these and add your own by dragging the icons from the right into the big icons on the left.
The options available are catered towards Elgato Game Capture users, XSplit users, and OBS users. There are options for TipeeeStream, Twitch, and Twitter integration, but we’ll talk about those in a bit.
For both Elgato and XSplit users, options are plenty. You can setup the StreamDeck so it can change between scenes for you, initiate the recording features in their respective software, screenshot the current scene, adjust audio and more. For OBS Studio users, options are few which is a bit disappointing to see. There are currently as of the latest software version, a total of three options for OBS: Scene Changing, Audio Source Mute/Unmute, and Source enable/disable.
When I was researching the features of the StreamDeck whilst waiting for it to be sent, I was hoping there would be an equal amount of support between XSplit and OBS, and that the Audio Source functionality would be a bit more than it currently is. It would be great to have the ability to fade audio sources rather than simply mute, for the sake of adding production quality more than anything.
As mentioned earlier, the StreamDeck also integrates some options for Twitter, Twitch, and TipeeStream.
For the Twitter aspect, it allows streamers to post a pre-written Tweet to their account within the confines of the 140 characters. This is pretty much the extent of it though, as there doesn’t appear to be any facility to add placeholder variables or embed images as you can do through the Twitter website or via their official apps. It’s nice being able to just press a button and have it tweet for you, but don’t make that your sole reason for purchasing one.
The Twitch integration is where it gets a bit juicy. You can send a pre-defined message to your chat, show your current number of viewers on one of the LED buttons which polls Twitch when pressed, plays an advertisement (if you’re partnered), set your channel chat to be in subscriber only mode, enable slow chat, followers only chat, and set the current stream name and game title.
I didn’t test the TipeeStream integration purely because it’s not a service that I use. Most streamers use StreamLabs (formerly TwitchAlerts), or some other variant like StreamJar. But from what I can see from the singular option available in the StreamDeck UI, it simply turns on/off certain scene elements.
Elgato also provides a “Key Creator” suite so you can create your own custom icons. You can upload your own PNG files, or use some of the preset icons and color changers as required. You then download the icon file, and set it in the StreamDeck app. It’s pretty simple, yet effective in what it achieves. It allows the user to really make the StreamDeck their own.
The Elgato StreamDeck will set you back between $175.00 AUD to $200.00 AUD depending on where you purchase it. Some retailers are cheaper than most, especially the online stores like PC Case Gear. Just be sure to check the shipping cost and weigh up if it’s worth buying from a local retailer, or online.
Is the StreamDeck worth the asking price, though? It really depends on which streaming client you’re using. If you’re an XSplit/Elgato user, the cost may be justified in that it has a lot of options to play with. If you’re an OBS user, probably not, although I do reserve that the StreamDeck is only but a few months old at the time of writing this review, so there is still plenty of time for Elgato to release a Software Development Kit allowing users to write their own functionality into their StreamDecks. There is also the option of updates to include additional features directly from Elgato – which I’d be very keen to see.
In conclusion, the StreamDeck is a solid accessory for any streamer looking to make a few aspects of their broadcasting easier. It is somewhat limited in what it can do, but we’re hopeful the StreamDeck featureset will expand in the near future.
|The StreamDeck is a solid accessory for any streamer looking to make a few aspects of their broadcasting easier. It is somewhat limited in what it can do, but we're hopeful the StreamDeck featureset will expand in the near future.||4.1 4.1 ( on 4 rating)|