We may earn a commission when you buy through links in our articles. Learn more.

This Steam Deck display comes from an unlikely source

A Reddit user discovers that, with a little work and tinkering, their barcode scanner can serve as an external display to their Steam Deck.

A Steam Deck rests on a black surface, with a barcode scanner serving as as external display positioned next to it

One of the best things about the Steam Deck community is their appetite for curiosity and tinkering, creating equally weird and wonderful setups that no one could have seen coming. Now, someone has managed to make an external display of sorts out of an an entirely unexpected device.

While the best Steam Deck games are more often than not best enjoyed on the built-in display of the Steam Deck, some experiences can be played and perhaps enhanced by a bigger screen. This, however, is not the case with this particular example, but there is something undeniably cool about it all the same.

My barcode scanner can work as an external display for the Deck. Why? Uhhhhh…
byu/nekomichi inSteamDeck

Taking to the /r/SteamDeck subreddit, Reddit user, nekomichi, shared a video of their TC55 barcode scanner functioning as a Steam Deck external display. While not entirely obvious in the video, they have reported that “both latency and frame rate are terrible, great if you want an extra challenge”.

In their explanation for how they got the TC55 to communicate with the Steam Deck, nekomichi reveals that “it runs Android so the USB video app I usually use with my Quest 3 works here.” However, the real key to getting it running was through a series of adaptors and a capture card.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little disappointed that the barcode scanner in question wasn’t more of the handheld laser variety rather than an Android device. Still, I can’t help but applaud nekomichi’s determination to get the TC55 to communicate with their Steam Deck given the amount of daisy chaining involved.

For most people, opting for or upgrading to the Steam Deck OLED will greatly improve your experience to the point you shouldn’t need an external display. Still, if you’re looking for a screen to pair with your Steam Deck dock, check out our guide on the best gaming monitors for potential picks for your setup.

Just bare in mind that the Steam Deck specifications will limit your options when it comes to gaming on a secondary monitor, with 1080p proving too much for the handheld in some cases. Hopefully, this is something that the Steam Deck 2 will be able to address, whenever it surfaces.