Elgato’s Stream Decks have made waves since their introduction in 2017, and the second generation carries on the tradition.
The entire line makes it easier to control various aspects of your stream, allowing you to interact with your audience, launch media, and even make adjustments to smart devices in your home.
Both generations, known as MK.1 and MK.2, are on the market today, making it more difficult to determine which Stream Deck is best for you.
In this article, we explore the differences between the two generations and what remains the same. We also explain which version works better depending on your situation.
What’s the Difference Between the Stream Deck and the Stream Deck MK.2?
- The appearance of each stream deck
- 2 faceplates
- Stand function and features
- The included power cord and how it affects your setup
While these seem like simple changes, they play a major part in your decision to purchase a Stream Deck or upgrade to the MK.2.
At first glance, you might not notice the physical differences between the Stream Deck MK.1 and the Stream Deck MK.2, but any longer and it’s obvious.
The original Stream Deck has a more rudimentary design and appearance. This isn’t necessarily “bad”, but it leaves the original Stream Deck with sharp angles and corners that diminish a sleek design.
The MK.2, which also comes in white, is slightly slimmer and offers a sleeker, more cohesive appearance. Everything fits together nicely, and you can swap out the faceplates of the second generation to better suit your tastes.
While these faceplates are still fairly new and have a limited range, we expect to see more customizable options from Elgato and even third-party sellers in the future.
The current faceplates for the Stream Deck MK.2 make the tool more personal. They’re perfect for those with a more colorful setup or those looking to add a splash of color.
The faceplates available through Elgato have matching screensavers that result in a more put-together final product.
Check out these free stream deck icons.
The MK.1 comes with an adjustable stand that switches between 4 different angles. This may be useful for some, but many find themselves replacing the stand with a sturdier option or not needing the additional angles.
The second generation Stream Deck stand sits fixed at 45-degrees, but it fits more cleanly with the Stream Deck body.
While you lose out on those adjustments, the new stand is noticeably stronger and more stylish.
The Stream Deck MK.1 uses a non-detachable shorter cable than its successor, making it more difficult to find a suitable spot for it in your setup. It also relies on more rudimentary USB-A technology.
The MK.2 has a longer cable with a removable right angle attachment that is much easier to manage and offers you greater range. Its USB-C technology future-proofs your setup, providing greater power and data transfer speeds.
Stream Deck MK1 and MK2 Similarities
While it may look different, the MK.2 is the same Stream Deck we all know and love on the inside.
Both the MK.1 and the MK.2 include:
- 15 programmable LCD keys
- Unlimited actions and folders
- Native integration with several streaming tools
- Access to the Stream Deck Store
Choosing either Stream Deck will not affect the tools available to you. They both work well with useful plugins such as Spotify, Twitch, and Discord.
Because the heart of the machines is the same, it comes down to which design works best for you.
Is it Worth Upgrading from the Stream Deck MK1?
It’s worth upgrading from the Steam Deck MK.1 if:
- You find the original stand too flimsy
- Cord management is a nightmare
- You want more customization options for your Stream Deck
The MK.2 took the original design, left all the useful functions alone, and set to improve the most common complaints. It doesn’t make for a drastically new product, but the changes are substantial enough to merit an upgrade if your current Stream Deck inconveniences you.
If you’re content with your current setup, there’s no significant reason to make the upgrade except for want alone. The two run the same software, so it’s not like your original device is about to become a fancy paperweight.
If you find that either Elgato Stream Deck isn’t for you, consider these alternatives.
Stream Deck MK1 vs MK2: Which One Should You Get?
Overall, we recommend the MK.2 when feasible. The second generation Stream Deck improves on the original design without touching fan-favorite features. Details like a detachable cord make your life easier, while interchangeable faceplates bring more color to your world.
If you’re on a tight budget, the original Stream Deck may be a more accessible option. It’s slightly less expensive, and you’re more likely to find it available as a resale. Make sure you’re content with the cord and stand options that it comes with.
Either choice is a great one, but go with the option that best suits your preferences and needs.