Updated: Sep 25, 2021
I got a Streamdeck and Streamdeck XL to test a few weeks ago. I really loved the stylishness and minimal footprint it fit into and at the same time packed amount of info was capable of displaying. But when I started setting up my icons, I realized I need just *1* more on the main screen, and for a full week, I just couldn't decide which icon I would have to sacrifice to be okay with the 15-icon limit. These were all HWinfo icons that show realtime computer info.
I'd been wanting a kind of hardware 'HDD light' that becomes less and less rare to have built-in to drives and computers for years and years now, and just kind of ran into the Elgato as a possible option. Now it's indespensible. This thing is absolutely amazing. But back on track, the 15 icons just weren't cutting it (even though you can switch profiles and make folders to switch to more icons), and I decided to try the new XL model.
(Picture Below) This is the Streamdeck XL, fully customized after about 2 weeks of figuring out what to include on the main scren.
The 32-icon XL is not as attractive as the normal 15-icon model at first glance. It's a bit busy, oversized, just too much is going on with it. Where you can glance at the normal model and instantly get the info you're looking for, you'll have to get used to the XL. You'll likely find yourself searching for the icon you're looking for for a few days until you customize everything just right. For about 2 weeks, half my icons weren't populated, I hadn't figured out the right layout or color scheme, the interface was sluggish powering so many datafeeds from different apps to display on it. But then I started getting it more and more custom fit, and when you get to that point, it ends up looking just as, if not more, stylish on your desk than the normal model. The extra icons allow for a lot of creativity too, from making hi fidelity screensavers to having shortcut keys for all of your Blender, Unity, Photoshop, etc macros.
(Picture Below) Another screenshot of the XL, showing the RGB buttons I'm using and some cool stuff like the realtime graphs for resource load.
The XL is truly a thing of beauty. At first, I tried to convince myself that 'bigger was better', even though I couldn't even think of what to populate in at least 10 of the icons, and had a lot of pointless placeholders. But as the days went on I started thinking "oooh I need this too" and I had an key available, to where eventually even 32 buttons might have you wanting more (I haven't hit that point yet, I think folders and profiles should keep me satisfied, but still). But as I tried to convince myself, I was up against a few pros and cons.
(Picture Below) This is the normal Streamdeck with 15 keys. Great device for quick looks at what you want to see/use the most. That 'Settings' button I customized to be RGB, and it acts as a folder for stuff like brightness and other settings.
As for the cons:
- At first, it's a very busy device- and can look lobsided very easily before you get the hang of customizing it
- The color of the LCDs all seem slightly more 'yellowed', whereas the normal Streamdeck's look much more 'pop'-y, much whiter and colorful. Not to say the XL does have a great color range, but I do honestly prefer the normal one's colors it can create.
- The Streamdeck app and all the icon fonts seem to be totally unoptimized for the XL so far. Buggy, slow, laggy, delayed responses when you customize icons, and I'll get onto this as a huge pro in a second- but the LCDs in the XL are double the resolution of the normal streamdeck (although I can't find that info anywhere on their marketing, specs, or anywhere on the internet which is why this article has pictures too). The issue is though that nothing's optimized for the hi-res keys, so a lot of stuff is kind of blurry, less-sharp versions of what the normal streamdeck shows very clearly and crisply. This is mostly apparent in the text you give your icons
- Custom icons available are made for the normal streamdeck mostly since the XL is a much younger device.
Now for the pros:
- The business turns into 'awesomeness' on your desk when you get the XL customized the right way
- The biggest perk- the LCD's are twice the resolution of the normal model. The normal model is 72x72, and from my findings I'm seeing 144x144 in the XL for each icon.
- When you use this for macros and shortcuts, or for HWinfo stats, you NEED more icons. Having 15 or less keys available to run macros in your editing apps makes for a very tight and convenience lacking experience, when this is supposed to be made specifically for convenience in the first place. So the 32 key is perfect here.
- Since it's a newer model, it's bound to be supported in the future with icon layouts and hi-res features
- Nice, high quality weight and feel with a sweet magnetic stand the display connects to vs the cheapo stand the normal Streamdeck is bundled with.
Attached are images of the difference in resolution:
Normal Streamdeck 72x72
Streamdeck XL 144x144