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This question probably applies to most any device with a rechargeable battery, but here goes:

We all know batteries degrade over time. Some types of batteries last longer if you primarily do full discharge cycles, others are better if you keep them topped up continuously. What is best for the Steam Deck's battery? Mostly interested in what to do between playing sessions. If the battery is already fully charged, should I

  1. Turn the deck off and unplug
  2. Put to sleep and unplug
  3. Turn off and leave plugged in
  4. Put to sleep and leave plugged in

Obviously (4) is the most convenient, but that causes periodic recharging to happen, which can be observed by the charging light coming on occasionally. Does this activity measurably degrade the battery over time?

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The Deck uses a fairly sizable lithium battery, like most modern devices. Unfortunately the games it runs are often built for a full PC rig with no battery drain considerations.

Wired's already written a good article on this: https://www.wired.com/story/how-to-get-better-steam-deck-battery-life/ BUT their article doesn't really address the question you have.

However, given the type of battery it is and the kind of usage, here are some tips:

  1. protect it from temperature extremes, which will destroy battery life. That includes playing it close to your lap on a hot day -- I'd recommend putting a book on your lap to ensure its vents aren't blocked by fabric or skin.
  2. As described at Battery University https://batteryuniversity.com/article/bu-808-how-to-prolong-lithium-based-batteries, I think your best option is #1, but more importantly, avoid full discharges and full charges unless absolutely necessary. As a rough yardstick, I used the Accubattery app to figure out the best cycle for my cellphone (Galaxy S10e) and it has me charging at 40% and unplugging at 80%. I think that's a good rough guideline for the SD as well.
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    as you say the Wired article is not relevant to the question. Good info in the batteryuniversity link though! Jan 6, 2023 at 23:17

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