With the official Steam Dock costing a not-unsubstantial amount of money, the need for a comparable next-best thing is very much something to address. Is the PGTECH Charging Dock the solution to this problem? In short, no. But it does have some features that may be of interest to some buyers.
With dimensions of around 12cm wide, 3cm high and 8cm deep, it is slightly chunkier than the official Dock. This additional space allows for some interesting quality-of-life features. The most interesting of these is the recessed area the L-shaped charging cable is slotted into when not used. Aesthetically, this is much better than the weird rat-tail of a wire that protrudes out the back of the official Dock. Sadly, this also reduces the length of the wire meant to be plugged into the top of the Stream Deck. It is technically long enough but so awkward to get in that I worry something will be damaged with prolonged use. At best case the wire, at worst the Steam Deck itself.
Plastic seems to be the main body material used here, making it sturdy enough to withstand some abuse. A lightweight metal on the bottom gives a bit of extra heft to it, with 4 grippy feet helping keep it steady. There are also 2 vents on the top of the device. I assume this is to help reduce the temperature whilst charging, but it didn’t seem to get that hot whilst in use. Proof the vents work maybe? I’ll let you decide. Talking about charging, I went from 0% to 26% within half an hour.
Safe and secure
One area that the PGTECH Charging Dock does majorly win out on is the section where the actual Steam Deck sits. Thanks to a more elevated front lip, the Steam Deck sits more securely in the resulting groove. The same grippy material as the feet also spans the entire length and breadth of the bottom, as well as curving up the inside of the front lip. I feel much more reassured having my expensive handheld in there compared to the comparatively small one on the official Dock.
The last things to talk about are the ports on the backside of the device. This is where the differences are most significant. As the name implies this is advertised as a charging dock. Which means no DisplayPort and HDMI output. There is also no Gigabit Ethernet slot either. What is included then? There is a Type-C input port, which is compatible with the official Steam Deck charger. On either side is a single USB-2 slot, for a total of 2 USB ports. As someone who uses the Official Dock to output to my TV, this would absolutely put me off the device. Add a mouse and keyboard, however, and it becomes a valid example of an all-in-one desktop, albeit with a 7-inch screen.
As a way to charge a Steam Deck, the PGTECH Charging Dock is perfectly fine. The materials are premium enough quality for the price. It is compact and sturdy for easy transportation and storage too. The inclusion of two USB ports also allows for added functionality. However, the lack of any visual output greatly hinders the use cases of the device. For a slightly higher price point, that additional feature is included on other devices. This alone makes the PGTECH Charging Dock a substantially less desirable product for me. Someone looking for a cheap and cheerful way to display and charge their Deck though? And maybe use the included USB ports to transfer some files to and from the Steam Deck? Might be worth it for the price. Outside of these specific scenarios, I can’t really recommend it.
If you want to see a video review of this product, i’ve linked it below.