Elgato Stream Deck Mini review: A no-brainer for game streamers

Have you met the Elgato Stream Deck's little brother?

Elgato is out to prove power can come in small packages, with the all-new Stream Deck Mini.

Elgato's first Stream Deck has become a staple tool for video game streamers everywhere, including us here at Windows Central. But if you thought it was either too big or too expensive, Elgato now has a smaller, cheaper $99 option just for you.

What you'll love about the Elgato Stream Deck Mini

The Elgato Stream Deck is a wonderful tool for any streamer, that even I, as a casual broadcaster, can't imagine life without. The original Stream Deck has 15 configurable buttons complete with individual mini LCD screens, and an adjustable base frame. When combined with the robust Stream Deck software, it adds a wide array of control and flair to your streams, complete with deep support for all popular platforms and broadcasting software. But what if 15 buttons are just too much? Say hi to the slimmed-down Stream Deck Mini.

The Stream Deck Mini retains many of the features of its bigger brother, including glossy, LCD buttons, USB-interfacing, while utilizing the same software platform. Set up scene swaps, post pre-written chat messages, send out broadcast tweets and even set up gifs and sound effect pop-ups on your streams — right at your fingertips. The only real difference here is that there are six buttons, rather than 15.

The Stream Deck Mini is well constructed, with solid plastics that don't creak, complete with a rubberized base to reduce drifting on your desk.

Drivers are available through Windows Update, making set-up as quick and easy as plug-and-play. The software is simple and easy to use too, detecting and integrating your broadcast software, available scenes, and beyond.

The LCD buttons can be programmed with your own icons, and even animated gifs, creating fun, attractive displays. Many of the built-in functions have visual cues too, so you know when you've muted your mic or when an attempted function has been properly received by your stream services.

What you'll dislike about the Elgato Stream Deck Mini

There's very little to complain about with the Stream Deck Mini, but there are a couple of design issues that I hope get looked at in a future version.

While it does seem like there has been some effort made to give the Stream Deck Mini some hefty weight for its size (to prevent sliding), button presses still cause it to drift around on my desk, even with the rubber feet. A little bit more weight or perhaps softer action on the buttons would help rectify this in future revisions, but it's a tiny gripe.

Additionally, I find the six buttons to be a tad restrictive for my personal stream set up. Even if you're a casual streamer, you may find that you'll outgrow six buttons quite quickly. This problem can be offset somewhat by using button folders or profile toggles, but then you're reducing the number of available buttons per screen even further, just to navigate around your folders and profiles. I think it would have been cool if the Stream Deck came with a smaller dedicated button for pagination or profile swapping, but again, that's a subjective complaint based on my personal needs. You may find six buttons is more than enough!

Should you buy Elgato's Stream Deck Mini?

The Stream Deck Mini takes the excellent Elgato Stream Deck and slims it down into a smaller, cheaper package. Not every streamer out there is going to need 15 configurable hotkeys, and if you're one of them, this Deck is for you.

Since the Stream Deck software is so easy to integrate not only with broadcasting software, but indeed any Windows software thanks to its ability to perform macros and hotkey actions, you might even want to look at the Stream Deck Mini for use with creative programs like Adobe Photoshop, or while using inking tools like Sketchable.

The Stream Deck Mini is an awesome piece of kit, and whether you're after six buttons or even more, either version is a solid purchase. The Elgato Stream Deck Mini should be available from today for $99, from various online retailers.

So should you buy it? Absolutely.

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Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!