Syntech 6-in-1 Steam Deck Docking Station review: "Proof that you should show off your curves"
If you want to go big screen with your Steam Deck there are a heck of a lot of options to choose from alongside the official Valve Steam Deck Dock. The Syntech 6-in-1 Steam Deck Docking Station is another one, but with a unique curved design and distinctly affordable price tag, it really is one to consider.
Syntech's docking station is only $39.99 / £36.99, which makes it the cheapest I've personally tested among the best Steam Deck Docks. It's not got the greatest build quality but otherwise offers a premium experience and a few sweet extras that heighten the overall appeal. Plus, it's dinky, unobtrusive, and easy to use, so there's plenty to like here.
Design and Features
The Syntech 6-in-1 Steam Deck Docking Station mimics the design of the official Steam Deck Dock in that it's effectively a shelf to hold up your Steam Deck without obstructing the display - unlike the Switch Dock for example. It's not the only unofficial model to do this, the iVoler 5-in-1 Steam Deck Dock is the same, but Syntech's does have a bit of custom flair to make it stand out from the competition - it's curved.
It has a little puck-esque body with one flat edge where there's the aforementioned shelf you rest your Steam Deck in. It's small enough to ensure neither of the vents on the back of your Steam Deck are obstructed, which anyone that's used to playing on one of the best gaming PCs will appreciate - airflow is essential after all. Syntech's dock is also lightweight enough to be chucked into a backpack without even thinking about it. However, this does result in it feeling a little cheap and hollow. At this price point though, and for what you really need it to do, this isn't a huge consideration.
The lip itself is really discrete and slimline, making sure it doesn't impact your view of the touchscreen if needed, but also keeping your desktop or TV unit as neat as it can be visually. The lip is lined on the bottom and front with a texturized rubber for holding your Steam Deck securely while holstered, although I'd have liked to see the back part treated with the same material for additional protection against any damage to your Deck. It is a wide enough lip to allow space for any case you may have on your Deck too. The bottom of the overall Docking Station also has silicone lining, which is useful for stability.
Around the back, along the curve in the body, are all your connectivity ports. As you'd probably guess from the name, the Syntech 6-in-1 Steam Deck Docking Station has six of them, starting at one edge with a single USB 3.0 port, followed by HDMI 2.0 (support for 4K 60fps with an HDMI 2.0 cable), USB-C, ethernet, and finally another two USB 3.0 ports. The fact that it is curved provides much easier access to all the ports without having to rummage around the back, which is particularly handy if you're wanting to keep everything neat while still having the option to plug in a controller or one of the best gaming keyboards. There's also the 90-degree USB-C cable for reaching over the top of your Steam Deck and connecting it to the dock itself - again mimicking the official Valve option nicely.
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It's worth noting that, as you'd expect for this price point, the Syntech 6-in-1 Steam Deck Docking Station doesn't come with its own power cable or HDMI, so you'll have to use your existing Steam Deck charger and provide your own connections. The instructions are also very fierce about using HDMI-to-DisplayPort cables, as well as some other caveats, so be sure to double-check your specific wiring needs before purchasing. It's a shame it doesn't have its own bespoke DisplayPort option, or at least play nice with adapters. I tested this dock connected to my TV via HDMI and it worked wonderfully in this scenario. The Syntech Docking Station does come with a pair of orange thumb grips though, which was a pleasant surprise addition.
Because there are so many ports, it makes it really easy to turn your Steam Deck into a portable gaming PC. I wired up an Xbox One controller and my old reliable Razer Turret wireless keyboard and mouse duo. It's easy to use and everything worked well, especially since the USB is positioned on the curved edge, letting the cable work around the front of the dock more easily. There are no awkward angles whatsoever with the Syntech dock.
When it comes to performance, I had no issues when using the Syntech 6-in-1 Steam Deck Docking Station. It's exactly the kind of plug-and-play experience you'd hope for with a dock like this.
We tested the dock with a variety of games, ranging from high-action games like God of War and Have a Nice Death, to titles like Roots of Pacha and Dorfromantik. We didn't experience any lag or connectivity issues at any point in our two-week testing period, which is a great sign. Using an HDMI 2.0 cable, getting games to run at 4K 60fps where available was a breeze, ensuring everything looked great on my 55-inch LG OLED 4K TV.
Should you buy a Syntech 6-in-1 Steam Deck Dock?
If you're happy to use your own cables, the Syntech 6-in-1 Steam Deck Docking Station is a brilliant option for taking your Steam Deck to the biggest screens in your home.
This deck is well-built and well-designed, and it's proof that you should show off your curves. It's certainly going to give Valve's own dock some competition, particularly because of the price and functionality.
How we tested the Syntech 6-in-1 Steam Deck Dock
We spent two weeks testing the Syntech 6-in-1 Steam Deck Docking Station, utilizing multiple games from our Steam library using our 512GB Steam Deck. We spent several weeks testing the iVoler Steam Deck Dock before this, comparing it to Syntech's model closely. Games were played using a wired Xbox One controller and a wireless keyboard and mouse.
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