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The ASUS ROG Ally is sounding like a Steam Deck on steroids
- Hands-on time with the ASUS ROG Ally has revealed more about the experience.
- The Ally appears to be less of a Steam Deck competitor and more of a premium alternative.
- It’s still unknown what the price of this handheld PC will be.
ASUS has started to let people get some hands-on time with the highly anticipated ROG Ally. Based on reports, the handheld gaming PC is sounding like a pretty impressive device. It also seems like ASUS is aiming to make its console a premium alternative to the Steam Deck rather than a direct competitor.
The Verge‘s Monica Chin got some time to demo ASUS’s upcoming gaming product. Although ASUS didn’t allow for specifics like battery life, GPU power, and more to be mentioned, Chin paints a picture of an incredibly capable device.
Just as YouTuber Dave2D said in his hands-on video, Chin describes the Ally as flatter, lighter, and quieter than the Steam Deck. It has an Xbox controller-like configuration for the controls. And the handheld has LEDs — like the ROG Phone 7 — surrounding the joystick, which can be changed.
One of the device’s main differentiators is the fact that it runs on Windows 11 instead of Steam OS. Chin mentions the Ally acts almost like a mini PC, having a taskbar, startup menu, desktop icons, and so on. This makes it compatible with platforms like GeForce Now, Battle.net, and Steam right out of the gate.
Another differentiating factor is the display performance. The screen has a resolution of 1080p, offers 500 nits of brightness, and has a variable refresh rate between 30Hz and 120Hz. Comparatively, the Steam Deck has a resolution of 1,280 x 800, delivers 400 nits of brightness, and runs at 60Hz.
Chin points out that she was able to play Moving Out and Ghostrunner during her playtime. Both experiences were reportedly very smooth. That may be attributed to the GPU, which is said to be an AMD RYZEN Z1 series chip.
According to benchmarks published by AMD, the RYZEN Z1 Extreme is capable of hitting 8.6 teraflops of GPU performance. This puts the chip at nearly two teraflops under the PS5 (10.28 teraflops). The Steam Deck, on the other hand, only gets up to 1.6 teraflops.
Moving on to the UI, it appears that Armoury Crate will be the main way users interact with their game library. However, it will use a joystick-friendly version of the UI called Armoury Crate SE.
A few other specs were revealed as well. This includes up to 16GB LPDDR5 dual-channel RAM, up to 512GB PCIe Gen 4 upgradable storage, front-facing dual speakers with Dolby Atmos, Wi-Fi 6E, and a UHS-II microSD slot.
All in all, the device is shaping up to be a beast of a handheld. The biggest concern is the fact that ASUS has been very cagey about the Ally’s price. We also don’t know much about the battery life, but ASUS claims it’s comparable to the Steam Deck. If true, the battery life may be the only thing comparable to the Steam Deck.
Given what we know about the ROG Ally now, it sounds like it’s going to be a rather expensive gadget. As said earlier, ASUS may be looking to make the Ally a premium alternative rather than a direct competitor to the Steam Deck. But the question is, how much can it be before it is no longer worth the purchase?