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Elgato Streamdeck XL Review

By Christopher Coke on June 21, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

Elgato Streamdeck XL Review

If you’re a streamer, you already know about the Elgato Streamdeck. It’s been one of the most popular tools in livestreamers’ arsenals since its original release back in 2017. Last year we saw the Streamdeck Mini, which pared the button count down to 8 for streamers who didn’t need the full 15. But what about those of us who found 15 wasn’t enough? Elgato has the answer. This is our review of the Elgato Streamdeck XL.


Specifications

  • Current Price: $249.95
  • 32 customizable LCD keys, instant feedback
  • Live production with visual feedback
  • Removable stand
  • Braided USB Type-C to Type-A cable
  • Dimensions: 7.17 x 4.41 x 1.34 in (without stand)
  • Weight: 410g

If this is the first time you’re encountering the Stream Deck, think of it like a command center. The Stream Deck XL is a 32-button action pad that can be programmed to control different aspects of your stream across every major streaming service all at one time. As you might imagine with a whopping 32 buttons, it’s far more than just the basics of starting or stopping a stream. You can change scenes, control chat, run emotes, run custom actions. It’s also completely integrated with services like StreamLabs and VoiceMod, so all of the major functions come built in as presets. That’s not all - in fact, it only scratches the surface.

Whether you’re a new streamer or a pro, I would still recommend adding the Stream Deck to your arsenal. Consider each button a shortcut. Rather than need to memorize the key combination to start streaming or change scenes, you can set it once on the Elgato, tag it with a custom or premade icon, and then have a single, easy to identify button right at your fingertips. That’s the basic functionality, but once you start to dig in, you can get a lot more in-depth.

Take, for example, chat. Before, you’d need to use something like Restream.IO so send out universal chat messages. With the Stream Deck, you can simply make a multi-command. With a single button press, you can send a message to every chat channel you use. For example, you might tie a “The stream is starting now!” message with the “Start Streaming” action.

Getting everything set up is also remarkably easy. After downloading the Stream Deck software, it immediately picked up on the version I was using and synced the icons in the software with what was being displayed on each screen. These update instantly, so you can see what they’ll look like before you finish editing. There are tons of presets built in and even more you can download. I was surprised to see that I can even control my Philips HUE lights and Nanoleaf RGB panels with the the Stream Deck. In the right column of the picture above, you’ll see I was even able to add a hardware monitor!

You’re not limited to just what they’ve planned for either. The Stream Deck can be set to launch programs or send out key combinations. If there’s a set of games you always play, you can hotkey them to the pad so you don’t have to click around through Steam to launch them. This is also true for software. I have FRAPS, Afterburner, and a couple of Adobe programs tried to mine.

It’s when you start thinking about the Stream Deck as a tool for your whole PC that the possibilities really start to open up and having 32 keys begins to make sense. Because the Stream Deck XL also supports multiple profiles, I can set a profile specifically for editing videos in Adobe Premiere. Attaching all of my shortcuts to hotkeys speeds up my workflow and gets me back to gaming faster. The same is true for any app where you’re using key combinations to send commands. If you’re an MMO player, you could even look at the Stream Deck line-up as a macro pad for your spells and abilities.

The StreamDeck XL is built with this kind of expansive purpose in mind and is the best Stream Deck you can buy. In the picture above, you can see just how much bigger the XL version is over the original (in button count). Just like the original and Mini, you can also create multiple pages, essentially allowing you a limitless button count. At only 7-inches wide, it doesn’t take up much desk space either.

I was also pleased to see a couple of improvements to the build quality. The stand is vastly improved, now a solid pyramid that can detach from the back but is rock solid when attached. The cable has also been made detachable and now uses a gold-plated USB Type-C to power the unit.

Final Thoughts

I’ll say it again: if you’re a streamer, you should seriously consider investing in an Elgato Stream Deck. Pulling basic and advanced commands out of software and into a physical, customizable button makes your life easier and keeps you from having to alt+tab or memorize shortcuts. The question really is how big of a Stream Deck you need. Each performs the same functions and each also supports multiple pages, so you can add commands to your heart’s content. If you want the most versatile option, the XL is definitely the way to go. If 32-buttons is too much, or $249 too expensive, the 15- or 8-button versions might be more up your alley.

Regardless of which you choose, the Stream Deck XL is a great addition to the current line-up and a great way to take the professionalism of your stream to the next level.

Pros

  • Plentiful buttons means LOTS of versatility
  • Tons of built-in plugins
  • Can send commands to multiple streaming services at once
  • Easily programmable for custom commands or program launches
  • Useful for far more than just streaming

Cons

  • Cost prohibitive for a first Stream Deck

The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.

Christopher Coke / Chris cut his teeth on MMOs in the late 90s with text-based MUDs. He’s written about video games for many different sites but has made MMORPG his home since 2013. Today, he acts as Hardware and Technology Editor, lead tech reviewer, and continues to love and write about games every chance he gets. Follow him on Twitter: @GameByNight