The EU wants your Steam Deck to have a removable battery

The EU wants your Steam Deck to have a removable battery

The European Union (EU) wants your next portable console, smartphone, and other electronic devices to have easily removed and replaced batteries, running contrary to the popular trend of recent years to seal batteries into a device’s casing.

This is only a proposed law at the moment, but if successfully made into law, it would require that all batteries for portable devices (including everything from smartphones to electric bicycles) would need to be easily replaced by the end user. The goal is to reduce the number of devices which end up discarded as a result of faltering batteries. Batteries tend to wear out disproportionately fast compared to other parts of most consumer electronics, and while some third-party stores are capable of replacing those batteries, many will simply replace an entire device instead of finding a store to replace their battery.

"A portable battery shall be considered readily removable by the end-user where it can be removed from a product with the use of commercially available tools, without requiring the use of specialized tools, unless provided free of charge with the product" states the regulation document.

This would include portable PCs like the Asus ROG Ally and the Steam Deck, and would mean new versions of these devices would need to have these changes in place by 2027. The likelihood is that companies would make these changes well before the law would force them to do so, to ensure a smoother transition. While the law would only apply within EU states, most companies aren’t going to create sealed versions of their same devices for other markets, so we can expect to see this law affect the U.S. as well.

Easily removed and replaceable batteries were the norm in electronic devices for years, before slowly getting phased out in favor of sealed in batteries. The revolution came for smartphones when water-resistance started making waves in the scene, while non-removable batteries for gaming consoles only disappeared in more recent years. In a lot of ways, removable batteries were probably a holdover from when portable consoles were powered by AA batteries and similar, and the move to sealed batteries was a likely one when you consider how it makes third-party repair much more difficult.