I have been using the Elgato Stream Deck for 6 months. Whilst I don’t want to write another review I do want to share with you my thoughts about this little magic box because, and I say this earnestly, I don’t think I loved it as much back when I reviewed it in July. I gushed over how easy it made things and I kept asking how I did things before I used it.
The Elgato Stream Deck has been the single best addition to my set up in a very long time. So much so that I wanted to tell you how I am using the Stream Deck after six months. In those short six months, the Stream Deck has had countless updates to its firmware and accompanying software. It has become as essential to my setup as my keyboard and I thought I would share with you how it is used by me every day to make my life easier.
So firstly, my workflow revolves around writing, emailing, research, editing and of course gaming (as well as streaming/recording said gaming) so I am at my desk for as much of the day as I am physically able to be here and I often am trying to do several things at once. My Stream Deck sits in front of my keyboard now so that I can use whichever hand is free to hit an icon. I have all of my most used programs on the front page. There are 15 buttons on this page but I only need to use 8. I have icons which I designed for Outlook, Photoshop, Vegas 15, Streamlabs+obs, Streamlabs Chatbot, Brave, Word, and Scrivener.
When I press a button I am taken into a set of now 14 assignable buttons for the specific application, 1 being used to return to the previous page. When I first used the Stream Deck this was it, however, now I can nest folders inside of folders. I will talk about how I use Stream Deck for streaming so you can see how useful this is.
When I press the Streamlabs+OBS key I am taken into its folder, from here I can start the program, go live, end my stream, spin a wheel mute my audio for either my mic or the game sounds but at the top of the deck I have 4 folders for scenes, images, gifs and sounds, inside of these folders I can do things in stream that would have been a real pain to do without the Stream Deck. For example, I created a gif of a fellow streamer, now when I ask him a question or he says something a bit silly I can quickly play a gif of him pulling a strange face as he falls backward in his chair. It takes two button presses and is on screen in time to be relevant.
In the sounds folder I can play silly sound effects, like Herbert the Pervert from Family Guy saying “Hey Kyle” when I meet someone I a game. I can do this so quickly that it’s still funny and relevant in the moment. I can do this without having to set up macros on my keyboard and potentially have to mess around with that for each game I play.
When I use Scrivener, which is another fantastic tool but this time for writers, I am often switching between writing and researching, within Scrivener, there are a fair few useful shortcuts and the Stream Deck has become incredibly useful here too. I can see a clear icon, I don’t need to remember which menu the things I want to do is in I can just click a button to move items or switch to a different part of the program to add details from research or even to switch to my research windows.
In Vegas, the Stream Deck is just as impressive and I have buttons to help with editing which again, I now don’t have to remember which menu or submenu of the menu an item is in, I have an icon that is very simple and easy to see.
I could go on about each program and explain the set up over and over but the long and short of it is this. The Elgato Stream Deck is far and away the most useful accessory I have. I am more impressed with it each and every day and the more I use it the more use I find for it. It is very well built, very reliable, evolving and changing with me and I hope the integration into more and more software keeps giving us new features that will aid us every day.
This review is not sponsored or asked for, I did receive the Elgato Stream Deck for free but that was to write a review about it, I did that already. I wrote this article because if you are a Streamer or YouTuber, Writer or in fact just a computer user and you don’t have a Stream Deck sat on your desk then you are missing out.