Steam Deck accessories…they abound. But you’re going to need something to carry them all in, right? Introducing the complete case for Steam Deck by WaterField Designs. For once, we actually have a product that isn’t made in China. It’s made in the heart San Francisco, California, USA.
It basically looks and behaves similar to a messenger bag, but tailor-made for the Deck. With it, you can put in:
- your Deck, obviously
- a dock
- two AC adapters
- 75% keyboard
- an assortment of cables, from USB-C to HDMI, etc.
- power banks
- ear buds
- MicroSD cards
With all that can be put in it, it’s no wonder why it’s called the “Complete” case. Dimensions and weight are as follows:
- 13.25" x 4.5" x 11.5"; 1.5 lb.
- 33.65 cm x 11.43 cm x 29.21 cm; 0.68 kg
I love that “personal touch” whenever I get a review unit. The package shipped in a barebones FedEx box with a plastic bag over the case, but along with it came a note. They even included my website name:
Hi Mark, we’re excited for your detailed review of the new WaterField Complete Case for Steam Deck on Linux Gaming Central. Feel free to reach out with any questions you may have about materials, design, functionality, etc…we hope you enjoy the new case. I’m here to help however I can!
The Inside Scoop⌗
A nice feature is the bag has a dedicated pouch where the Deck goes in. You can then secure the Deck in place with the velcro strap that goes over it. Below this pouch is three more pouches. The one in the middle is the widest of the three, and this is where you could put a controller in. Can confirm I can put my DualSense in there without a hitch. If your gamepad isn’t wireless, or it doesn’t have a detachable cable, you can hide the mess of cords behind the controller; there’s room for it. Which is quite nice for my GameCube controller, which has a ten-foot cable.
To the left and right of the controller pouch are more narrow pouches. This is where you could put the official AC adapter in one pocket, and a pair of wireless earbuds in the other. Pretty much any accessory that’s less than three inches wide and four inches tall.
On the opposite side, inside the bag, are two more pouches. Though I guess I could technically say three, since the one at the top is separated with a strap. This top pouch is where you can fit an external mouse (provided that it’s wireless; you’re going to have an ugly cob of webs inside your case if it’s not since the cables won’t really have anywhere to go) and a dock. The strap in the middle segregates the pouch into two sections. Not really sure what the intention of that was; perhaps it’s there to make access to your accessories more tidy. If for some reason you didn’t want it I guess you could just cut the strap off.
Below the top pouch is another one. Here’s where you can put a keyboard. Make sure it’s 75% or less. Ideally you’d want the keyboard to be wireless, or at least have a detachable cable, but similar to the controller pouch, there’s plenty of room to hide cables. My Launch keyboard fits just fine in here. I can also technically put in the DeckTop keyboard, but it’s very annoying since I can’t detach the clamp. The clamp takes up more space inside the case than I would like, but I can get away with it and still close the case just fine, even if it might be a little…thick.
Everything inside the case is made of fleece. And just a word of advice: put the controller, keyboard, ear buds, and charger in first before inserting the Deck and mouse/dock. If you do this the other way around, you’re going to have a hard time adding the accessories in the bottom of the bag. So…don’t do what I did in the video.
On the front of the case, underneath the flap, is a zipper compartment. Plenty of space in here to put in cables, power banks, etc. There’s even a dedicated section towards the top where you can slide in four MicroSD cards. Super convenient, and you’ll never lose track of them!
The carrying handle and flap is made of leather. You can either choose chocolate-colored leather or black. I went with black, since it makes the coloring scheme more “consistent” across the rest of the bag. The product description page mentions this leather is “full-grain,” meaning it’s the “toughest part of the hide with the tightest grain.” So after ten years of use, it will evidently develop a “patina.” Not really sure why only part of the flap is made with leather. A bit of a confusing design choice if you ask me, since everything else about the bag is made of “ballistic nylon.”
This nylon is made of the same material that bullet-proof vests are made of. WaterField uses a custom-made, 1050 denier nylon “that’s abrasion- and water-resistant with colorfastness that withstands prolonged sun exposure.”
The side pouches can be tucked in to protect the bag from weather elements. A nice feature is the bag closes with a magnetic buckle. It makes closing and opening up the bag easy. Just slide the buckle sideways to open it, then get them close together to close.
Other than that, that’s pretty much it for the outside. No pouches on the back, or on the sides. I feel like WaterField could have made better use of the outside of the bag with additional pouches here.
On the back are two contact points where you can connect the strap. You can use pretty much any strap if you wanted to, if they have detachable clips, but they do provide one at the base $240 price. You can get an upgraded strap for an additional $24. When I told WaterField that I didn’t get the strap along with the bag, they were quick to address this and sent the strap out. Got it just a few days later. Matter of fact, I got two straps for some reason. I guess I’ll have an extra strap should the first one ever break.
In any event, this strap is definitely useful to have. You can clip it on and carry the bag around with you around your shoulder, freeing your hands up. Pretty convenient. Only complaint that I have is a small strip of leather could have been added somewhere on it. I’ve slugged this around my shoulder and have noticed a bit of discomfort after prolonged use. Adding a piece of leather would definitely help alleviate shoulder pain.
A Competitor: A $60 Messenger Bag⌗
A few years ago I bought a messenger bag on Amazon. At the time, it was $50. Now it’s $60. Even so, that’s a quarter of the price of the Complete Steam Deck case. Leather handle, leather strip on the strap for comfort. Pouches on the front, side, and back on the outside. A zipper to close the top. A pouch on the inside where I can hold my Deck, plus a few more pouches. Granted, not as many pouches on the inside, and no dedicated section for MicroSD cards, but the price is nothing compared to the eye-watering $240 price tag the WaterField bag carries.
So I’m really wondering what justifies the $240. Is it just because it’s made in America, versus the Amazon bag made in China? WaterField says their “full-grain” leather is the most expensive type of leather, but there’s not really much on here – just the front flap and the handle. Yeah, frankly the $240 price tag is ridiculous.
A Nice Accessory…if You Can Afford It⌗
Outside of how incredibly expensive the Complete Steam Deck case is, I have to admit I like it a lot. It holds pretty much everything you could possibly need for your Deck: a charger, a pair of ear buds, power banks, cables, docks, controllers, mice, MicroSD cards, keyboards, you name it. You’ll certainly have everything you need, all packed into one tidy form factor. Plus, I like how it doesn’t have any sort of Steam Deck branding. So you could carry this around and not look like a nerd. And you could keep this in your car – if someone were to take a look at it through the glass window, they’ll be like, “Oh, that’s just a bag for work.” Whereas if the bag looked like the vanilla Steam Deck case, or the JSAUX case, people would be more interested and be like, “Dude, I need to break into this guy’s car and get it!” Heh, I know, that’s a really weird situation. But it could happen!
I feel like WaterField could have made more use of the outside though by adding pouches to the sides and the back. Would allow even more accessories to be carried. Also the strap could have benefited with a leather strip for ease of comfort while traveling.
If you can afford it, go for it. Otherwise, there are other bags that are similar – even though they might not be tailored to the Deck specifically – for a significantly lower cost. The bag I mentioned earlier is a prime example. On the other hand, if you don’t need something as big as this, but still want something to protect your Deck, WaterField has those options, but they’re still expensive.
- not made in China
- fits just about everything you would use in conjunction with a Deck, such as a dock, charger, mouse, etc.
- plenty of room on the inside to hide cables should any of your accessories not be wireless
- “full-grain” leather for the handle and opening flap
- velcro strap keeps the Deck secure in place
- magnetic buckle for ease of opening/closing
- outrageously expensive, with alternatives that are far cheaper
- no pouches for the sides and back on the outside of the case
- can get uncomfortable to carry around after a while with the strap
The Complete Steam Deck case can be bought on sfbags.com. Price starts at $239. You can select either chocolate or black leather.
Review unit sent courtesy of WaterField Designs. Opinions are of my own.