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When it was released back in 2017, the Elgato stream deck made a huge splash in the streaming world. In fact, the ripples of this splash were so intense, that even other people outside of the streamer bubble took notice of this product. This device is a sort of keypad designed to essentially be a macro pad, but with a bit of a twist.
See, each button is actually part of a small video screen. You are able to assign an image, or gif as the key icon, allowing the user to do away with the taped-on labels of old. It is such a simple idea, but it was executed in a field that would see benefit from such an interface.
Now, there are four different flavors of the Stream Deck Available, and you can mix and match them if you’d like:
With either of these tools, a streamer is able to quickly swap scenes in OBS Studio, or mute their microphones on the fly without mic handling noise. They may also play sound clips like a laugh track, and much more. This is all possible within seconds, as the drag-and-drop interface makes it easy to set up and get going.
In a hurry?
Skip to The Answer.
The origin of the Mobile app
Each variation of the stream deck is able to accomplish the same task, with different budgets in mind.
However, not everybody has the money to shell out on one of the physical devices. Elgato, owned by Corsair now, noticed that there was a growing interest in a mobile application-based stream deck alternatives. A huge number of individuals turned to things like the Macro Deck App (myself included), the now-defunct Roccat app that did something similar to it, or some other macro app on the store. However, utilizing those programs on your smartphone came at a user experience cost. Those that wished to take advantage of the functionality offered by those apps needed to know a bit on how to create actual macros, and how to set them up for use in OBS Studio.
Additionally, these applications lacked the many streaming tool integrations that Stream Deck had at its fingertips. To do some of the more advanced functions, you even needed to create an Autohotkey script and figure out how to trigger that script with the app on your phone (That might not even support AHK scripts, to begin with.).
It was a mess at best. Seeing an opportunity to reign in the chaos, and to streamline their offerings, Elgato began work on the Stream deck mobile app.
The Elgato Stream Deck Mobile App breakdown
Unlike its hardware predecessor, The application is significantly more convenient. You are able to utilize any Android or IOS device you’d like, including tablets! Additionally, there are many tripods and desk mounts available on the market that you can use to mount the phone in a convenient location, unlike the full stream deck.
While the Stream Deck Mobile App isn’t free forever, it does come with a 30-day free trial. After that, it will run you $2.99/mo or $25 for 12 months. The best part is that the app uses the same software that its cousin does. This means that over time, you can simply upgrade to a standard, mini, or XL stream deck when it becomes financially feasible if you wish.
While the Stream Deck Mobile App isn’t free forever, it does come with a 30-day free trial. After that, it will run you $2.99/mo or $25 for 12 months.
There are of course some pros and cons to the app, which you should consider carefully before buying into the subscription.
- Functionally identical to a standard Stream Deck
- A ton of integrations built into the app, like Streamlabs and Stream Elements, Sirri, and more
- Subscription-based service, even if you own a physical Stream Deck
- A lack of tactile buttons
- No video buttons
- Users have reported transferring the app to another phone to be problematic
- Additional reports have stated tablet support to be tenuous.
- Ties up your phone (unless you use an old phone)
“Most Helpful” Reviews of the android version of Stream Deck Mobile
Here are some of the top “Most helpful” reviews as determined by the upvote system in place on the Android Store. These reviews will help you formulate your own decision on the app. Just remember, even with the negative reviews in place, it is available for free for 30 days. After all, the best review you will ever get is your own formulated from your personal experience with something.
Some reviews are shortened using the … at the end or beginning. You can read the full review by clicking on their names.
Top Two Positive Reviews
If you’re a streamer and don’t have money to buy the physical Elgato Stream Deck; this is the next best thing. It’s pretty much fully customizable, you can add up to 12 buttons, maybe more, I only use 8. To the devs: I do love the app, it saves me a lot of time. However, there are a few things I would like to point out that would make the app better for me, and probably others too. 1- Stream Markers: Only for Twitch?!?! Why not Youtube too?! 2- Please add more platforms. As of right now you only have Twitch and Youtube…
Kristi Ambrose – August 23, 2020 – 33 Upvotes
Game changer! I’ve been wanting something like this for years! I used this app first, but convinced my employer to buy me a hardware unit. My search for macro devices is over! My setup is amazing now with 1 physical streamdeck and a tablet and phone running this. I can’t understand people thinking a company would just give this away…Harold McLaughlin – June 8, 2020 – 21 Upvotes
Top two Negative Reviews
I would really love it, if it would work… At first I downloaded the app on a phone I kept in case my main needs repairs and when it didn’t work (wouldn’t connect to my computer) I decided to try it out on my main cellphone, without success here as well for the same issuestheHailSt0rm – September 29, 2020 – 7 Upvotes
Don’t switch it to a different Device. I purchased the app on my Note 9. When I got a new phone ( Note 20 ultra 5g) and went to restore purchase the screen just flickers and nothing happens. Tried contacting elgato nothing. Try contacting Corsair Nothing been over a week. The app works good when I did have it.Sn4p On – September 30, 2020 – 7 Upvotes
“Most helpful” Reviews on the IOS Version of Stream Deck Mobile
For all of the IOS users out there. Unfortunately, the App store for IOS does not allow linking directly to the review. Instead, links will lead to the “All reviews” page. From there, simply Ctrl-F The names here, and you will be able to find them.
Top Two Positive Reviews
This app is an amazing alternative to a physical stream deck. My girlfriend and I just moved into our own place for the first time, and money is tight. Instead of dropping $100+ on a physical deck, this came out at exactly the right time for us to get our start in streaming. The only drawback, and the only thing keeping this from a perfect 5 stars, is that I would love there to be a native iPad version…Ragnarok34 – 05/31/2019 – 4 Stars
Love the “hey Siri” options as well as when I’m wearing my watch I can just flick my wrist and say the command without having to say “hey Siri” on stream.Street Surfer – 03/28/2020 – 5 Stars
Top Two Negative Reviews
I think if you own the product the app should be free paid $200 when it first came out an I see this app thinking I can have 2 running but nope horrible setup dislike 100%Jager6722 – 01/07/2020 – 1 Star
I already shelled out $150 for the 15-key and $250 for the 32-key. Very disappointing that I have to pay again to add the app now. Wish existing customers would get credit.Dirchwitch – 12/18/2019 – 1 Star
How many buttons fit on the screen?
For a modern phone, the Elgato Stream Deck Mobile app splits the screen into a grid of three by five, for a grand total of fifteen buttons to control your stream with. With that said, each button can be assigned a folder, to slot in an additional fourteen buttons per folder. One button is reserved for the “Back” button to return to the main array. As far as I am aware, there is no limit to the number of folders you can have, so you can add a ton of different buttons.
Some reviews have stated that if you were to use it with YouTube, rather than Twitch, this number is reduced to 12, with 4 buttons per row. I’m not entirely sure what the case is here, as I have not had a chance to test it in depth, but that isn’t really the purpose of this article.
The grid can be displayed in both portrait mode and landscape, to your preference.
Ready to give it a go?
If the pros of having a cheap stream deck device at your disposal without the hassles of Autohotkey and other programs, such as Voice attack, outweigh the monthly subscription to you, you can get the app here. Just make use of the 30 day trial to ensure it works on your device before you drop any money on it.
Free alternatives to the Streamdeck mobile app
If you aren’t keen on paying that subscription fee, then you have a few options available to you. The Two that I have personally tested are Macro Deck and Voice Attack. You can read all about Voice Attack here.
As for Macro Deck, for simple functionality, the process is as easy as assigning a macro to a function in OBS Studio. From there, you simply make a macro on the Macro Deck app that executes whatever you decide to input. For example, I have a macro to swap to my AFK scene, and I assigned ctrl+Alt+3 to do it. I can either press those keys on the keyboard to do that, or I can press the one button on my phone running the app which will do the same thing.
This trick also applies to DIY Macro pads as well, such as this one:
Credit to Paco1342 for the picture of Elgato Stream Deck used in the featured image. He is the Community Manager of Glimesh, a new free and open-source Streaming platform in the works. He asked to link the Glimesh platform for his contribution.