Elgato proves that size doesn't matter when it comes to making a killer stream on a budget. The $99 Elgato Stream Deck Mini is an affordable and useful tool for streamers just starting out and looking for a way to improve their stream and become the next big thing.
The Mini ist nearly a third the size of the standard Stream Deck. But despite its diminutive design, the sturdy build quality of the Stream Deck Mini feels like a vast improvement over last year's larger, more flimsy Stream Deck, whose stand struck me as unwieldy. Even though the Stream Deck Mini is $50 cheaper than the full-size Stream Deck, it feels better put together.
Making the Deck stand on its own is a sensible design that still retains its sleek modern look. The smaller stature makes the Mini great for streamers who need to broadcast on the road.
The sturdy build quality of the Stream Deck Mini feels like a vast improvement from last year's larger, more flimsy model.
Another design improvement is a USB cable that's longer by nearly a foot, which gives you more room to work with if you want to broadcast away from your streaming rig.
The Stream Deck continues to be a great alternative if you're looking for ways to improve your stream, or are just looking to eliminate things that can divert your attention from putting on an awesome broadcast. The latest version of the Stream Deck App supports XSplit, a widely popular alternative to OBS (Open Broadcaster Software).
I've used the Mini during a number of gaming streams at home where I just use a webcam and a microphone, and I found that it made my life easier. I can't tell you the number of times that I've accidently alt-tabbed out of a game to switch a scene only to end up breaking something on-stream. Scrambling to fix your stream during your stream is a really easy way to lose followers, which is why I'm glad the Stream Deck Mini allows me to make changes without touching my keyboard.
The six LCD keys work in the same fashion as its predecessors with 15 keys. You can still switch scenes, start a recording, or even shoot a tweet with just a touch of one these fully customizable buttons. The ability to save and share Stream Deck profiles with other users is a great tool if you're working with multiple Stream Decks, or if a popular streamer has a setup you're fond of.
MORE: How to Stream to Twitch from a Laptop
Working with six keys might be a bit a pain if your production uses a ton of scenes or needs to incorporate a ton of graphics or sound effects. You can still set an unlimited amount of folders to remedy that issue; it's just another step that could pull your attention during your stream.
The Stream Deck Mini is geared toward the casual streamer who wants to keep things simple, and its $99 price is perfect for folks on a budget. If you're working with multiple cameras, audio and video sources, you may want to spend some extra cash on the larger, $150 Stream Deck controller.
Credit: Tom's Guide
Get instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips.