If you've been waiting for Valve to release its delayed Steam Deck dock instead of opting for a third-party version, there's some good news: the company has opened up pre-orders. The Steam Deck Docking Station, as the unit is officially known, costs $89.
While you can hook the Steam Deck up to an external display directly, the dock should make life a little easier if you want to play games on a bigger screen. You can simply use it as a charging station as well.
The dock has three USB-A 3.1 Gen1 ports, but you can connect peripherals to your Steam Deck wirelessly too. It has a gigabit Ethernet port, which could help you to download games faster. As for connecting your Steam Deck to external displays, the dock has DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 ports. There's a passthrough USB-C charging port too.
The unit ships with the same power supply that comes with the Steam Deck — it won't enhance the Steam Deck's performance when it's docked. Even so, you don't actually need to plug a charger into the Dock. It can run off the Steam Deck's battery, but in that case the USB ports will have reduced throughput to conserve power.
Valve will provide ongoing support and make improvements to the Docking Station through software updates. A firmware installation wizard may pop up when you slot in your Steam Deck.
In June, Valve said it had to delay the dock indefinitely due to supply chain issues. Those who are pre-ordering may be able to get their hands on the device as soon as this quarter.
Meanwhile, the Steam Deck itself no longer needs a reservation in some regions. At least in the US and Canada, you can now simply order a Steam Deck from Valve. The expected shipment date is between one and two weeks. Over the last few months, Valve has been able to significantly ramp up production capacity and said it would be able to fulfill all reservations by the end of the year. It looks like the company is well ahead of that schedule.
On another note, I received my Steam Deck just as I started writing this story and, oh, look at that. It's suddenly lunch time. What a coincidence.