This $20 JSAUX Back Plate Fixed My Biggest Gripe With The Steam Deck OLED 1
Image: @jsauxofficial

I've never been big on customising consoles or handhelds. I agree that some modded Game Boys look amazing, but if you were to ask me what my favourite model was, it would be the stock 1989 version – the pea-green screen, beige casing, and crimson buttons generate deeply nostalgic feelings in me.

So, as you can imagine, I've always been a little sceptical about aftermarket mods for devices like the Steam Deck. Entire replacement cases are available, including some which add LED lighting for some reason. However, I recently took the plunge on a substitute back panel for my Steam Deck OLED, and it's been a game changer – in fact, it has solved the only real complaint I've had with the device since I got it.

Now, I'll preface this story with a disclaimer – I'm fully aware that the issue I'm about to describe is very much a "First World Problem". Ever since I got my shiny Steam Deck OLED, I've been bugged by the issue of 'creakiness' – basically, the right-hand side of my device exhibits a creaking sound when gripped tightly. I assumed I was unique in having this minor hang-up, but a cursory glance online reveals that other Steam Deck owners (of both the original and OLED variants) are suffering from the same problem.

Again, I must stress that this issue has absolutely zero impact on the way the Steam Deck OLED performs. It doesn't prevent me from enjoying the device, which has become a daily driver for me thanks to its ability to handle AAA games and retro emulation. However, every time I reached for the thing, the creaking would commence – and it became quite annoying over time (I should also add that this isn't applicable to every Steam Deck out there; I also own an original LCD model, and that doesn't suffer from any creakiness).

Keen to find a solution, I ventured online and quickly found that a replacement back panel manufactured by JSAUX was getting a lot of attention. This is mainly because it comes in a range of cool transparent colours, and it also has a slab of thermal silicone inside, which is designed to reduce heat and keep your Steam Deck running cool. I'm not clever enough to say whether or not this element of the back panel works as advertised (others seem to think it does have an impact), but what I was really keen to know was if this panel would eliminate that pesky creaking sound.

This $20 JSAUX Back Plate Fixed My Biggest Gripe With The Steam Deck OLED 1
Here's what you get for your $20 — Image: @jsauxofficial

To clear up some confusion, the JSAUX transparent back panel is designed for the original LCD Steam Deck, but fits the OLED model fine, too (the reason I point this out is simple – some retailers are saying it can't be fitted to the newer variant of the handheld). The only issue is that the screwdriver you get with the panel won't play nice with the screws which are already fitted to your Steam Deck; you'll need to invest in a T6 TORX screwdriver to remove them (you've probably got one in your house already).

The JSAUX transparent back panel also comes with a set of rear paddle buttons of different heights – a handy option, even if I decided to simply use the 'standard' sized paddles that are already fitted to the rear panel.

This $20 JSAUX Back Plate Fixed My Biggest Gripe With The Steam Deck OLED 1
I went for the 'brown' colour, but, in reality, it's more like 'smoke' — Image: Damien McFerran / Time Extension

Installation is easy as pie – the hardest part is actually prising the original back panel off the Steam Deck using the rather flimsy plastic tool provided by JSAUX. Once you've done this, the new panel snaps into place perfectly – and you know what? It doesn't creak! As well as making my Steam Deck run cooler (and look cooler, too – transparent gaming hardware FTW), this product solves the most pressing problem I have with Valve's updated portable.

If you find that your Steam Deck is making odd noises when you grip it tightly – or if you simply want to make it look more appealing – then this is definitely worth a look, especially for 20 bucks.

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