It’s fair to say that live streaming via Twitch is having something of a moment.
Although only now getting the sort of mainstream attention that it deserves, Twitch streaming has become a huge business. Last year saw 560 billion minutes of streams watched worldwide, whilst 2019 is on course for a 20% improvement on those figures, per https://twitchtracker.com/statistics.
Those minutes are generated by well over a million viewers a day, helping the top streamers earn over $5m a year from Twitch alone – before outside sponsorship money comes into play.
Coupled with the very low barrier for entry – simply a computer, webcam and some software required – and you’ve got plenty of reasons to get into streaming in 2019.
Today, there are hundreds of thousands of channels across multiple platforms streaming everything from video editing, video games and film commentary to casino games, with the likes of NickSlots and Slotspinner pulling in huge viewing numbers for online casino game streams via https://casinogrounds.com.
It’s not easy being an aspiring streamer, though, and so new tech is launching every week in an effort to smooth the process of being star, producer and director all at once.
All of which brings us to the Elgato Stream Deck Mini. It’s the little sibling of the Elgato Stream Deck – a compact deck with 15 fully customizable LCD buttons for stuff like switching cameras, changing scene, firing off an automated tweet or, well, just about anything you can imagine.
The Mini version goes from 15 buttons to just six, but it’s fully $50 cheaper at just $99. Is the compromise worth it, and what about the build quality? Let’s take a look.
If you’ve ever played with the standard Elgato Stream Deck, available from https://www.elgato.com/en/gaming/stream-deck, you might have come away with the impression that it isn’t exactly built like a tank. A little loose, a little creaky and just plain cheap feeling, it felt very much like a first-generation product.
Does the Mini version inherit these traits? Thankfully, no. Although it’s a ‘Mini’ model, Elgato has ironed out the issues which made the larger model harder to recommend. It’s the sort of deck you can use in confidence, despite its tiny 84 x 60 x 58mm size.
The buttons are bright, responsive and usable even in well-lit rooms and with a longer 150cm USB cable than its larger cousin, it’s possible to use it in more places than before too.
The Elgato Stream Deck Mini is an admirable performer and, frankly, indispensable once you’ve got it set up to your liking.
Your six buttons can be programmed to do basically anything and they function well with XSplit. I loved the ability to drag and drop custom icons/images too, so I could easily remember which button does what.
Although the Mini is limited to just six buttons, Elgato has wisely included the ability to set folders. This greatly expands the number of functions you can set on your Mini, but it does mean more button presses.
In our testing, not only did the Stream Deck vastly improve our workflow whilst streaming, enabling us to quickly cut to different camera zoom lengths, play sound effects and the like, but buttons were exceptionally responsive and didn’t fail once – something that knock-off models can be guilty of.
At just $99, the Elgato Stream Deck Mini represents terrific value for those looking to add some professional sheen to their broadcasts. Take the time to optimize your set up and you’ll likely find it well worth its low asking price.