Elgato Gaming has been the first game capture specialist to truly expand its product range to target streamers. While, yes, Elgato still makes great capture solutions, with the 4K60 Pro capable of recording extremely high quality 4K 60 FPS gameplay, the company has now gone beyond basic capture, with a new focus on livestreams. Streaming isn’t always just a case of booting up a game, hitting a “Stream” button, and expecting it all to work. For those streamers who want to take things to the next level, to truly stand out from the crowd on their platform of choice, they need to up the quality and include different scenes, overlays, and fancy effects. What’s more, these all need to be managed on the fly, in a live broadcast scenario. This can be a very difficult and frustrating process, especially while also trying to focus on playing a game well and in an entertaining fashion. In comes the Elgato Stream Deck Mini to help alleviate some of that streamer stress!
Elgato Stream Deck Mini Review – Fantastic Hardware/Software Combo
The Elgato Stream Deck Mini takes what made the original Stream Deck so great and packs it into a smaller (and cheaper, yay!) package. The Mini provides six buttons which each have their own individual screens. These buttons are fully customizable within the Stream Deck application, allowing users to have a variety of functions at their fingertips. The Stream Deck Mini’s buttons go beyond keyboard hotkeys by actually recognizing when certain apps are open, providing feedback through the screens, and allowing for practically unlimited functions through folders and nested folders. This latter point is what makes the Mini so compelling to me. Though the vanilla Stream Deck has more buttons, the ability to nest folders within folders means you can get a similar level of functionality on the bite-sized version. Users can also launch multiple actions simultaneously or sequentially, just with a single push. About to stream? Hit your “Let’s Do This!” custom button and all presets can kick in at once, with your microphone and other audio sources selected, the correct capture device enabled, a Tweet sent out to let your audience know, and more!
Compared to its bigger brother, the Stream Deck Mini is heavier and stays put on the desk more easily. The adjustable stand has been swapped out for a big block of smooth plastic, and I like it a lot. Sure, you can’t tweak the viewing angle like you can with the normal Stream Deck, but the added weight is a big deal, and the set position is already perfectly fine. Rubber on the base of the unit stops it from moving around, which is also appreciated.
I’m happy to see the Stream Deck have its own independent app, outside of Game Capture. The Stream Deck Mini’s software is simple, lightweight, and responsive, which is all I was really hoping for. Users drag and drop various functions onto the six buttons, and see those changes instantly reflected on the device. Brightness can be quickly adjusted, and different profiles can be imported and exported with ease. It all works as you’d expect, and regular updates continue to add more and more functionality.
Elgato Stream Deck Mini Review – Who Is This For?
When Elgato first started developing products focused on streaming, I was a little skeptical, as I felt the enthusiast streaming market was too niche. Clearly I was very wrong, as the company now sells an official green screen, Cam link, and now the Elgato Stream Deck and Stream Deck Mini, all dedicated to enhancing the streaming experience.
Like Elgato’s other streaming products, the Stream Deck Mini is aimed at those who are livestreaming pretty regularly, are taking it somewhat seriously, and have advanced to the point where they are incorporating additional graphics and other assets to help add a bit of flair to their broadcast. However, like the bigger Stream Deck which came before, the Mini is also incredibly useful for content creators working on video, audio, or images. I, for example, find it difficult to remember every little key combination for working within Adobe Premiere Pro, Audition, and Photoshop, and so having the Stream Deck Mini on my desk allows me to assign those shortcuts to a button and clearly label them. Whenever I’m starting an editing session, I’ll go through the “Apps” folder, then through the “Adobe” folder, before selecting the relevant application. Then all of my easily forgettable shortcuts or presets are ready for me.
Buttons can be customized with both text and images. Elgato provides a range of graphics to download and use for free on their website, but it’s also possible to assign your own. It’s a very simple process and allows for a great deal of personalization.
Of course, it’s when you’re actually streaming that the Stream Deck Mini truly shines. Without this device, streaming is a mess of keyboard shortcuts, and clicking in and out of games to make adjustments to buried windows. With the Mini, streaming becomes a breeze, with all of the distracting obstacles removed. Changing scenes, overlays, camera angles, audio sources, and most of everything else you can think of, is done with the push of a clearly labeled button. Additionally, the Stream Deck Mini’s integration with most popular streaming apps, as well as Elgato’s own capture application, opens up more advanced functionality which a normal keypad wouldn’t be capable of. The range of currently supported platforms and applications, each with their own ready-to-go functions include: Elgato’s own Game Capture, Mixer, OBS Studio, Streamlabs, Streamlabs OBS, TipeeeStream, Twitch, Twitter, XSplit, and YouTube. This built-in functionality all leads to a distraction-free streaming experience, where the streamer can focus on performing well in-game and keeping their audience happy, while also still incorporating the quality overlays, clips, and memes that viewers love.
Elgato Stream Deck Mini Review – Another Winning Product
I’ve been using the Elgato Stream Deck Mini for a lot more than just streaming. Though the device has definitely seen action during my daily GameRevolution livestreams, where I use the Twitch and Streamlabs OBS functions to make everything easy to manage, as well as my aforementioned Adobe editing sessions, the device has also come in handy for saving Windows shortcuts to various applications and folders across hard drives. Websites can also be saved, allowing me to pull up a bunch of tabs to assist with writing news, where efficiency is key. Also of note—though I’m not sure how useful this would be to the average user—is the ability to assign F keys beyond F12, as well as the number pad buttons which don’t exist on my tenkeyless keyboard. This comes in especially useful when mapping game controls to my mouse!
At $100, the Elgato Stream Deck Mini is priced $50 cheaper than the full-sized Stream Deck. While the six physical buttons are a big step down from the larger’s fifteen, similar functionality can be achieved through folders. When combined with the more robust design and smaller footprint on my desk, this Mini edition gets an easy recommendation from me. It’s another win from Elgato in the streaming game, coming in at a more affordable price point. If you couldn’t justify the $150 for the Stream Deck, then the Mini might be exactly what you need to enhance your stream without breaking the bank.
Stream Deck Mini review unit was provided by Elgato Gaming.