Elgato Stream Deck ? Worth a try for $299NZ?

I was looking up AHK productivity and came across some extra information about Stream Decks and justification for using that rather than a 2nd keyboard.

I thought this video was good in that it covers plugins and alternatives and other methods to try things out like Touch Portal

This article seems to be useful too How to Use the Elgato Stream Deck to Hack Your Productivity.

Touch portal & Stream Deck Mobile

I downloaded the software onto my mobile phone and PC to play with the basic feature buttons for Win 10 productivity tools and there is one for calculator, which if you touch opens the calculator app on the PC. Sort of fun but very slow to sync and the button selected pretty minimal.

Good to try out but not that great. You can upscale for a premium price but I’m not sure I’d bother.

The Stream Deck mobile you have to have account and pay for to use, so I just uninstalled that on the mobile straight away.

Good to see what they do but not really for me.

You do get icons that are easier to identify, but link between mobile and PC not that great, hotkeys faster and you may need to use an older mobile phone as you may need your phone for other things.

Elgato Stream Deck

From what I can gather, it syncs to the program you have up on your PC at the time, so ity has several layers of commands based on what program you are running. That can be handy as it allows the buttons to have multiple functions.

It also has visual queues as the buttons pop up as they are backlit. So no sticking sticky labels to keys on a keypad.

This also means that they can be adapted quickly to different programs and keys altered to suit. I think it might be the way to go. Also you can do macro’s on them as well, so rather than doing just one command , they can do multi commands

The argument over hotkeys is that you don’t have to remember all the combinations of hotkeys as there are visual queues.


I tried buying via PB Tech but their online website is complicated, if you use visa, your charged extra and have to go to account and show actual amount deducted in account. If you want to do by online banking that is also through some weird 3rd party. I finally did it and then I got an email saying I’d have to pick up after I stated it needed to be delivered, it also tried adding on extra amounts as I was doing the purchase. In the end I cancelled the purchase and got it through JB Hifi, I went to shop and bought it in Wellington. A bit of a hassle, the whole process, but I have the item now

My thoughts

I’ve been buying some extra keyboards and have begun syncing them for re-mapping and have found the underlying software a bit messy. I’ve also sort of frozen on what extra keys I’d want to use. Programmatically, with AHK I’d need one file to load and map to new keys. All a bit fussy.

In fact, I think it was the lack of a port on the Surface Book that stopped me doing any of the hotkeys before, so first priority has to be a Surface Dock.

I really want something easy to program on the fly, to try, and if the keys work, then develop further.

This does seem a bit expensive but if I can try new keys on the fly then it will be worth it as I’m finding it difficult to get going with the other keyboard re-mappings.

So, something easy to map a single key in a single program, the stream deck seems to have a simpler interface to do this. Limited fiddle factor at the beginning and then when on a roll to extend.

Ports on PC

Another issue I have is ports on the PC, the Book only has 2 USB ports and the Surface laptop only one, so a Surface Dock may be required to get the Ethernet connection, mouse and other peripherals all being plugged into the PC. So this may be another investment I need to make.

You can get Microsoft Docks 2nd hand on TradeMe for about 150-200$ and new they are about 350+ (this is for Dock 2) and I want dock 1 as it will work on all my current PC’s. (Bought on tradeMe for 147$ inc P&P)

I have the Stream Deck now and it can’t go through the dock but has to be direct to PC, so I’ll have to put my mouse through the Dock when I get it (bought one on trade me on Sunday & awaiting delivery)

End comment

The price has added up with the Dock and the Stream Deck, so a total of about $450 all in all. I’ve been having a tinker today and trying to set up some stuff and it is easy to use and visually handy. Also the different layers available for the buttons are useful.

A good toy to play with, and an extra place to put other little things to make your day go more smoothly. The backlit buttons are easy to read, I just need to make icons clear for what I’m doing.

I will write other articles on my learning, setup and use and challenges I face with it.

Just a follow up after playing with it for about 4 days. Its easy to use and setup and change. So for what I wanted it for, to test out different key options for different programs its been great.

I haven’t , to date, done any multistep commands yet. I think these will be useful when I get to a more program specific level.

Just for general productivity and accessibility of quick keys and across a lot of different areas on the computer, from :

  • Web pages, Movie sites, YOUTUBE VIDEO music videos etc it makes them easy to get to
  • Music playlists, although I had to do some rootling to get that working
  • Speaker sound & microphone levels and mute buttons
  • Accessing programs such as Emails and other specific programs with a one button action
  • CPU usage and Time on home panel
  • AHK scripts for triggering
  • Calculator and number-pad- sort of , handy for a lefty & a laptop.
  • Specific programs functionality such as BIM & CAD and GIMP- I’ve still to try and set these up.

Overall, I think this is a great tool for productivity as you can tailor it to your needs. It does have limitations and I have found that AHK has come to the rescue to enhance its features.

Because I only got the standard Stream Deck there are only 15 buttons per screen so you have to do a lot of drilling to hop between all the program power buttons that you want.

So far, I’m really enjoying playing with setting it up and exploring its versatility as a non live streamer or gamer. I will need to investigate its use with OBS to see if it can improve my videos.