Give your Steam Deck some old school chic with a transparent, coloured backplate

I understand the desire to iterate and improve, but let's face it, tech aesthetic design peaked in the '90s. Visionary designers all over the world have yet to truly improve on the coloured clear plastic look. Being able to see the tech underneath is still far cooler looking than any decal or colourway yet to be invented. Plus you can get that little pop of personal flare with the colour of your choice. You only need look at a GameBoy, Digimon, iMac, or in more modern times a Dbrand teardown skin (opens in new tab) to see what I mean.

Thankfully, I'm not the only one who thinks so as Jsaux has released a series of transparent back plates for your beloved Steam Deck (opens in new tab). Right now only the brown variant is in stock, but blue, green, purple, red, and crystal clear options are on their way. The colours look especially good, hitting me right in the nostalgia. The purple reminds me of the clear atomic purple N64 controller my friend had that I was never allowed to use.

Aside from the neat see-through look, these back plates offer a few extra levels of customisation as an added bonus. The back buttons can be positioned in different height configurations, to suit different play styles and hand sizes. Jsaux also boasts that these back plates come with additional thermal grease as well as an aluminium sheet for dispersing heat. It seems the goal here is to make your Steam Deck cooler in literally every way possible.

The kit also comes with everything you'll need to replace the backplate yourself. This includes screws, different back buttons, and even some antistatic gloves. Given it's just a back plate replacement it won't be the most difficult DIY job and you won't need any extra tools, though you'll want to be super careful regardless. It really doesn't seem like a bad kit for a total of $US30.

Steam in your hands

Steam Deck with an image from Elden Ring overlayed on the screen

(Image credit: Future, FromSoftware)

Steam Deck review (opens in new tab): Our verdict on Valve's handheld PC.
Accessories for the Steam Deck (opens in new tab): Get decked out
Steam Deck availability (opens in new tab): How to get one.

That being said, it's well worth doing some research and making sure you're comfortable with this kind of work before you get started. Voiding Valve's warranty for the sake of a cool backplate might not be worth your time.

I went looking online for people with experience using Jsaux's plates, and found this great install video on Taki Udon's YouTube (opens in new tab). You can get a look at the whole process required to change out these backplates, and also see how those buttons work. 

If opening up your expensive little portable PC isn't exactly on the cards, I can't say I blame you. You could always skin it to look like a Nintendo Switch instead (opens in new tab). Or maybe check out some of the best Steam Deck accessories (opens in new tab) you can get, in lieu of cracking open that case. Hopefully we'll see some cooler options for default colours when the Steam Deck 2 (opens in new tab) comes out. 

Hope Corrigan
Hardware Writer

Hope’s been writing about games for about a decade, starting out way back when on the Australian Nintendo fan site Vooks.net. Since then, she’s talked far too much about games and tech for publications such as Techlife, Byteside, IGN, and GameSpot. Of course there’s also here at PC Gamer, where she gets to indulge her inner hardware nerd with news and reviews. You can usually find Hope fawning over some art, tech, or likely a wonderful combination of them both and where relevant she’ll share them with you here. When she’s not writing about the amazing creations of others, she’s working on what she hopes will one day be her own. You can find her fictional chill out ambient far future sci-fi radio show/album/listening experience podcast (opens in new tab) right here.

No, she’s not kidding.