It’s been a few weeks now since Asus teased their own take on a gaming handheld, the ROG Ally, and after all the leaks and rumours it’s finally here. The Taiwanese giant’s rival to the Steam Deck is now official and promises to be a huge game changer in the portable gaming handheld scene.
Perhaps the biggest different between the ROG Ally and Valve’s Steam Deck is that it runs Windows 11 right out of the box. This means it has full compatibility with pretty much anything that can already run on a Windows PC, rather than just games that are certified okay to run on the Steam Deck’s SteamOS. There’s also Armoury Crate SE installed, allowing you to customise the key mapping for the ROG Ally and tweak the performance profile of the device.
Speaking of performance, under the hood of the ROG Ally is AMD’s new Ryzen Z1 series of processors, with your choice of either the Ryzen Z1 or the Ryzen Z1 Extreme. They pack everything we love about the Zen 4 CPU architecture along with AMD’s latest RDNA 3 graphics architecture for one of the best high efficiency, high performance APUs from AMD.
The base model ROG Ally will have the Ryzen Z1 with six CPU cores and twelve threads, 22MB of cache and four RDNA 3 compute units in the integrated GPU while the Z1 Extreme ramps things up with an eight core, sixteen thread CPU with 24MB of cache and twelve RDNA 3 compute units. You’ll also find up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 512GB of SSD storage to store your games on. Keeping the lights on meanwhile is a 40Wh battery with 65W fast charging that Asus says will last for up to eight hours of gaming.
As for its display, you’re getting a 7-inch, 1080p IPS touchscreen display capable of a 120Hz refresh rate, a peak brightness of 500nits, a 7ms response time and full coverage of the sRGB colur gamut. There’s also a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass Victus over it for scratch resistance. The whole chassis weighs just 608g light for easy gaming on the go, and comes with an Xbox-style ABXY layout, additional macro keys on the back along with curved sides for easy grip that also has a slip-resistant texture over it.
Other features of note include support for Bluetooth 5.2 and WiFi 6E connectivity so no matter where you are as long as there’s fast WiFi your downloads and gameplay will be fast and lag free too. There’s RGB lighting too throughout the ROG Ally of course, ensuring your gaming credentials remain intact. You’ll also find stereo speakers, a fingerprint reader for Windows Hello, a micro SD card slot, a USB-C port, a 3.5mm audio jack as well as their own ROG XG Mobile port for hooking up Asus’ XG Mobile external graphics cards.
And there’s good reason to consider it too, as despite the capabilities of the Ryzen Z1 Extreme, Asus themselves acknowledges that when it comes to the latest triple A titles such as Cyberpunk 2077, you’ll be limited to low and medium settings most of the time, with your time on the ROG Ally much better on casual and eSports titles such as Rocket League, FIFA, Counter Strike: Global Offensive and more.
But by hooking up the ROG XG Mobile eGPU, you’re unlocking much more performance, giving you the ability to play any game you want at high settings, with up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 mobile GPU available. There’s also a charging brick that doubles as a dock for when you want to charge the ROG Ally while simultaneously outputting to a display. Asus is making an ROG Ally travel case available too.
Unfortunately for Malaysian gamers, there’s no word just yet on local pricing and availability but keep your eyes peeled for news on that from Asus. In the meantime, we do know that the ROG Ally with the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor, 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage is priced at USD699 (~RM3,116.49) and is due to launch in North America on 13 June. The lower end ROG Ally with a Ryzen Z1 meanwhile will go for USD599 (~RM2,670.64); these prices don’t include the ROG XG Mobile of course.