I’ve been vehemently against buying a case for my Steam Deck since the first time I used the handheld. If you haven’t held it, it’s huge. Every time I give my Steam Deck to someone to check out, they have the same reaction: a chuckle, followed by “that’s bigger than I expected.” Why would you want to make it bigger with a case?
That is, until I found a case that worked perfectly for my Steam Deck: Dbrand Kill Switch. Not only does it protect your Steam Deck thanks to its rugged exterior, but it also provides several other features that make the Steam Deck much more useful for traveling, docking, and handheld gaming.
But that wasn’t the case at first. Dbrand released Killswitch about a year ago, but quickly recalled the case. The included kickstand, which I’ll get to shortly, originally used magnets that interfered with the Steam Deck fan. Dbrand offered customers a refund for the original version, but came back with a new version of the Killswitch that doesn’t use any magnets.
You can’t buy the old version anymore, but I wanted to point it out for a few reasons. If you buy used, make sure you get the newer version. Additionally, I would like to clarify that I have tested the fixed version of Killswitch. This is important to note as I prepare to tell you how great Killswitch really is.
Let’s start with the case itself. If you search on Amazon, you’ll find a long list of rubber cases tailored to the shape of the Steam Deck. In short
, it’s all a thin silicone shell that wraps around your Steam Deck. That’s not what Killswitch is about.
It wraps around your Steam Deck, but the Killswitch is supported by a hardened backplate so you can’t move it. That is safe. Dbrand was also careful to only let the case touch the part of the Steam Deck you’re actually holding, wrapping around the back, slightly up, and across the notches in the bottom corners of the device.
These grips are textured, and the plastic on the Steam Deck is not. You don’t really realize how actively you’re holding the Steam Deck until you activate the Killswitch. Instead of gripping each side, the Steam Deck hangs due to the natural pressure you apply with the palm of your hand. It feels more comfortable to hold, and without adding too much weight. Dbrand says the Killswitch is nickel-thin, and based on mine very scientific testing, it’s actually a little thinner.
That wouldn’t have been enough to sell me on Killswitch, but it was more than that. Dbrand offers a plastic cover that snaps onto the top of the case, protecting your Steam Deck’s screen, joystick, and buttons. As someone who travels a lot, that’s a great thing. The case Valve includes with the Steam Deck is bulky, easy to use as your personal item on the plane, and thinner aftermarket options provide a loose fit and little to no protection.
The Killswitch is not only smaller than some Steam Deck cases I’ve tried — it’s also much more protective. I can put the plastic cover on and put the Steam Deck in my backpack without worrying about anything breaking. I’ve probably done that a dozen times, and my Steam Deck is fine. Dbrand also left a cutout for a USB-C port with the case on, so you can charge the Steam Deck even when it’s stowed away.
So, Killswitch is a solid protective skin for your Steam Deck, but it has one more trick up its sleeve: backplate mounting. By default, Dbrand includes a stand to support the Steam Deck, but you can remove the stand by rotating and attaching a universal mechanical stand.
The mount is made of plastic that clicks onto the kickstand, and features a strap that lets you connect an external battery, USB-C hub, or anything else that fits into the strap. I still think a Steam Deck with a power bank strapped to the back looks a bit silly, but there’s no denying that this is the real way many Steam Deck owners use their devices. Typically the stand replaces the stand mount, but Dbrand includes a 3M adhesive patch so you can attach the stand to the side of the stand if desired.
The Killswitch is great, and this is the first time I’ve used what feels like an essential accessory among the many options for a Steam Deck (I’ve modded my Steam Deck a lot, but that’s another matter). It’s also very expensive at $60 for the basic kit. You can get a case for half the price or less.
Dbrand definitely makes Killswitch feel worthwhile. The base kit includes a case, stand, and one of dozens of Dbrand skins for the Steam Deck. The prices themselves are $20 to $30, and Dbrand lets you choose any of the classic or premium skins for the same price. My big issue is that Killswitch doesn’t come with its own cover. That’s an additional $15 fee.
There are several accessories you can bundle with your Killswitch, including a travel cover, tempered glass, stick grip, universal stand, and dock adapter kit since the Killswitch’s USB-C port is hidden with the case attached. Completely cheated, you’re looking at $118.
My only issue with the Killswitch is how expensive it is. I would recommend the Travel Kit for most people, which is $75 and comes with a cover and rod holder over the basic kit. However, it would be easier to recommend the Killswitch to everyone if you could mix and match all the available items, allowing you to pick up the case and cover on its own at a lower price, for example.
I still think the Killswitch is an essential Steam Deck accessory. I wish Dbrand sold accessories like a cover and dock adapter kit separately, but no other Steam Deck case can match it. It protects your Steam Deck while in use and on the go, and provides several features not available on the Steam Deck alone. It’s not just a protector — the Killswitch makes your Steam Deck more useful.