As best as I can tell, the hubs "bricking" the Deck was a BIOS issue that has been fixed by now.https://old.reddit.c...ick_devices/i24z4ey/
I had a little bit of a rough start with the Deck. I had read on Reddit earlier that the Deck doesn't power on when you plug it in, and the instructions said to plug it in before turning it on for the first time, so I plugged it in without turning it on and then I walked away for a few minutes for something else that needed my attention before I got engrossed with the Deck. When I came back it was on and asking me to configure my time zone and connect to WiFi. I pressed a couple of wrong buttons a few times in quick succession and suddenly the screen went black, though it was still lit. I had no idea what was going on. It seems it crashed, or something, and rebooted itself, because after about 30 seconds or so (it felt longer in my confusion) I saw the Deck splash/logo thing and then I was right back selecting my time zone and WiFi. Once I connected to WiFi I can't remember if it asked me to sign into my Steam account right away or if it downloaded some updates first. But the download took longer than it felt it should. And the estimated time remaining said 5 minutes for pretty much the whole time. Then I stopped paying attention to it and eventually it finished and booted into Steam OS. At which point I got a notification that there was a system update ready to be downloaded and installed. So I did that one, too. But that one was really quick, even though it included a reboot of the device.
The 64 GB of storage feels pretty tight. After finally getting into the OS and taking a look at storage, it showed about 42 GB free. I wasn't sure what game(s) to install that I wanted to play right away. I was wary of using up all the storage on games I just wanted to see on the Deck but didn't actually intend on playing. Or on the other hand one game I've been playing lately is the Master Chief Collection
(6 Halo games), which takes up over 64 GB and that's without any of the PvP multiplayer stuff installed, and even though you can kind of modularly install each Halo game, the collection is listed as Unsupported, so I didn't want to risk wasting time/space on something that wasn't going to work. So I was having trouble deciding what I should install. At the same time, I had a young family member asking to play a little car/racing/driving game
and it was under 500 MB so that was my first install on the Deck. We played that for about an hour and then I decided to check out the Deck's Desktop Mode.
I've never really used Arch Linux before, so there's plenty for me to figure out and explore there. I don't have a hub, and I don't have any USB-C to USB-A adapters, so I can't really connect any of my other devices to my Deck. I also don't have a bluetooth mouse, but I did remember eventually that I have a small bluetooth keyboard I got for an Android device many years ago. So that makes using desktop mode slightly less cumbersome than having to use the virtual keyboard.
One funny thing I caught myself doing: On my Windows PC I have Godot installed through Steam because I figured that would be the easiest way to keep it up to date. But for some reason I didn't even think about installing Godot through Steam on the Deck and went straight to the Discover app and installed the flatpack from there. Though maybe I was smarter than I realized because as I think about it more, I'm not going to want to be confined to Game View (or whatever it's called) while working in Godot. I'll probably want a browser open and probably a file manager and maybe other stuff to alt-tab back and forth to. And I don't see that being a good experience while in Game View. But I'll have to experiment and see how things go.
I actually didn't even run Godot because I wanted to set up some emulation while I was in Desktop mode so I inserted a 256GB microSD card I had laying around after decommissioning my Raspberry Pi earlier this year, and then I spent a couple hours copying files over and making sure the artwork looked nice and by the time I "finished" (in quotes because there's more I want to do) with that I had forgotten about Godot and was eager to get back to the Game View to test out the emulation. Then I started a game I used enjoy a lot in my youth and unintentionally played it all the way through to the final boss. Then I realized how far past my bedtime it was so I checked back here and wrote this up. So that was my first ~12 hours with the Deck.
I actually haven't done much with it yet, but so far I'm really liking it.
One really interesting thing I noticed: The trackpads feel like they physically click, like they have a mechanical button underneath them. Kind of like how you can click joysticks or a mouse scroll wheel. But I think the click feeling is actually just haptic feedback, because if you close the Steam client in Desktop mode, you lose some of the Steam Input stuff and how you interact with the OS changes slightly, and the trackpads no longer "click" when you press on them. It was a really weird feeling to not have those clicks when I pressed down on the trackpads when I thought there were buttons under them. Even thinking about it now after having been using the trackpads quite a bit to drag and drop files and type on the virtual keyboard and stuff, I'm honestly doubting myself and wondering if I actually experienced the click go away. The click just feels so clicky that I'm having a hard time believing that it's not really clicking a mechanical switch. I guess that's another thing I'll have to experiment with some more.