Pretty much all video output. Essentially, plugging the Deck into the dock outputs the video well enough, but only once per boot. If you unplug it and plug it back in, it just outputs a black screen while the Deck’s screen stays frozen.
The problem is that this happens every time you put it to sleep too. It also means that swapping back and forth between handheld and docked is clunky.
This problem reared its head again when I wanted to play Spider-Man: Miles Morales. One of the reasons I bought the official dock even though I heard it had issues is that I knew Valve supports it with firmware updates, and that they had added VRR. Well, I turned VRR on for Miles Morales and boom, black screen. And now I can’t disable it. Which means I can only play that game handheld or if I connect it to another of my (significantly less good) displays. I had ticked the “use this graphics profile for just this game” selection before messing with it, and I don’t know if the problem would have occurred for everything if I hadn’t.
I had a few other issues here and there about scaling and automatically-set resolution too that I can’t remember off the top of my head. It all just really soured me on using the dock at all, which is a shame since that was intended to be my primary use case.
I wasn’t expecting smoothness on the level of the Switch, but it was really disheartening to see. Even more so because, if you look at the Steam Deck subreddit (and look past the one million useless posts about “hey guys here’s a photo of my new baby/cat/game gear next to my deck!!!”) you’ll find that updates to the deck itself have been part of what broke the dock, and it’s been months.
I’m no stranger to tinkering with computers, but Linux is a bit beyond me so all the fixes I haltingly tried I had to make while uncomfortably unaware of their effect. On the level of “open up the console and type ‘sudo some.url.github download latest fx t - - pm -xyzzy’” and hope you didn’t just fuck yourself.
Admittedly, if you only ever want to use it docked, don’t mind the interruption of fully turning it off when you’re done and on when you want to play, and are willing to overlook issues, these things aren’t a huge deal.
But it all speaks to what an excellent package the device is. Even though I mostly got it for docked play, I love it even in handheld. The breadth of the library is outrageous. When things work, they work great. Emulation is a snap. It’s surprisingly comfortable despite its weight. SteamInput is staggeringly good. Tuning games to your preference can be fun in its own right and lets you get more or less out of the more than decent battery. The screen on the OLED is phenomenal. Upgrading the onboard storage is supposedly very simple. Streaming from my Series X and PS4 is flawless and responsive (though the PlayStation streaming was a bit of a pain). If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves and mess with the desktop mode, you can get stuff like a P.T. port or a widescreen port of Link’s Awakening or a recreation of the Hawkthorne game they play on Community running. And the games can be so damn cheap if you’re willing to keep an eye out.
It really is all the positives of PC gaming in as close to a console experience as it can manage. But the dock is shit.