The Steam Deck is a wonderful piece of tech. Playing even new games from the comfort of your sofa at a level comparable to some dedicated PCs is an impressive sell. Unfortunately, it suffers somewhat when you actually want to replace your PC.
Coming without a dock of any kind, you don't have any native ability to plug it straight into a monitor or TV. Though Steam does have an official dock, it is clearly one of the most expensive on the market. This leaves a lot of room under that price point for a nice alternative.
The Syntech Steam Deck Dock is an attractive package that offers almost everything you need out of a dock. It is not quite as flashy as the Steam version but makes up for it in price and efficiency.
The Syntech Steam Deck Dock is the smallest dock I have ever used. It is a small circle, about a third of the length of the Steam Deck that sits directly under the middle of it. The attached wire that plugs into the top holds it in place, but no other bracing does. It simply sits in the place designated for it.
Other than a small "Syntech" at the very top of it, the dock has little branding or noticeable designs. In the middle of the back of the dock is a wire to plug into your Steam Deck and to the left of this is a USB-C, USB-A3, and HDMI 2. Then, to the right is an ethernet plug and two extra USBs. These are well placed, allowing you to plug in the internet, keyboard and mouse, and charge two extra devices.
These extra slots mean you can plug in external spaces by using a USB on the side and the AUX jack on top of the Steam Deck. This connectivity makes for a great potential PC setup, and the small size of the dock means you can simply slot it in behind the monitor and use it as a proper desktop.
The Syntech Dock works perfectly, plugging in and playing within just a few minutes. It doesn't need extra drivers or some archaic piece of software to go. You just plug the Steam Deck charger into the dock itself, plug the dock into the Steam Deck, and your Steam library is instantly on screen.
Unfortunately, one of the things you notice early on is how flimsy the dock's plastic body is. Though it works well in a setup, I didn't always feel confident in my ability to travel with the dock, especially without dedicated space in the carry case.
For most people, this relative flimsiness isn't a big deal as it will be in one space, but you will notice it on the go. The extra thumb grips that come in the packaging do make up for this somewhat, stopping you from wearing down your thumbsticks too fast.
One final issue that arises with the dock is it comes with none of the wires you may want to fit into your setup. Without USBs or an HDMI cable, you will have to buy your own to get it running on your monitor. Most people will have these naturally, but it's still worth pointing out before purchasing.
This all being said, in practice, these issues feel like nitpicks and caveats, rather than huge cons. If you know about these problems and you're still interested, it's hard to think of a reason not to pick one up. A great look and an even nicer price point more than makeup for its downsides.
A review unit of the Syntech Steam Deck Dock was provided by Syntech for coverage purposes.