Elgato’s new Stream Deck joins the knob mob

Elgato, the company responsible for my strange addiction to putting more buttons on my desk, has just launched its latest streaming accessory, the Elgato Stream Deck Plus, which is currently available on the Elgato store for $199.99, $70 less than the Razer Stream Controller but $50 more than the Stream Deck MK. 2. Just like its predecessors, the Stream Deck Plus has an array of buttons that can be mapped to a variety of functions and plugins available through the Elgato Stream Deck software, but this version is equipped with a set of four knobs and an LED screen.

If you’ve used a Stream Deck before, you know what to expect. The buttons feel similar to those on previous iterations of the Stream Deck but are just a little bit bigger, which makes icons appear more vivid and allows you to read button text more easily. The Plus does lack some of the improvements we saw with the Stream Deck MK. 2, namely the swappable faceplate, which is somewhat disappointing. The stand on the Stream Deck Plus isn’t designed to be easily removed and isn’t adjustable, propping the Deck up at a roughly 15-degree angle.

The big draw with the Stream Deck Plus is its four knobs, which allow for fine adjustment of volume, camera zoom, and other functions. Each knob can turn infinitely left or right and can be pushed with a satisfying click. In the Elgato Stream Deck software, the dials get their own exclusive column of plugins and aren’t cross-compatible with any plugins designed for buttons.

At launch, there are only a small handful of apps that can be used with the knobs, and most of them are tied directly to Elgato’s software, which is only compatible with Elgato products. However, third-party developers like BarRaider have had early versions of the Steam Deck Plus and the SDK so that they could work on their own plugins ahead of release, which should hopefully bring some new knob functionality soon.

One other feature of the Stream Deck Plus that isn’t as obvious but is arguably just as cool as the knobs is its LED touchscreen. Nestled between the eight buttons and the new knobs is a small LED screen that displays the current functions mapped to each knob but is also a touchscreen that allows you to swipe left and right to navigate the different pages of apps you’ve assigned to your homescreen. In some cases, you can also use the touchscreen as a button to activate certain functions. Taps and swipes on the touch bar can’t be remapped, but that could change with post-launch updates.

I’ve already spent some time with the Stream Deck Plus and was able to migrate the existing functions of my Stream Deck XL over without too much trouble. You can expect a full review in the near future, but we’re waiting until more third-party apps become available before we deliver a verdict.