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You might want to avoid the cheaper ASUS ROG Ally

The cheaper ROG Ally's performance could be the difference between a playable and unplayable game.

Published onSeptember 18, 2023

ASUS ROG Ally Hollow Knight
Nick Fernandez / Android Authority
  • The cheaper ASUS ROG Ally reportedly has inferior performance to the Steam Deck.
  • A review noted that the ROG Ally Z1 lagged behind the Deck in a variety of games.
  • It looks like battery life isn’t much better than the ROG Ally Z1 Extreme model, either.

ASUS launched the ROG Ally earlier this year, coming as the first Windows handheld from a major PC brand. This model shipped with an AMD Z1 Extreme chip, with the Taiwanese brand saying a cheaper model powered by a standard Z1 chip will launch later this year.

Now, Digital Trends has reviewed this cheaper ROG Ally model, and there’s bad news for performance.

The outlet reported that the ROG Ally Z1 lags behind the Steam Deck, citing benchmarks for games like Cyberpunk 2077, Horizon Zero Dawn, Strange Brigade, and Dying Light 2. The test was run at 15W using 720p or 800p resolution.  Check out the publication’s graph below.

While the ROG Ally Z1 chip features a newer, more powerful CPU and a more modern GPU, the Steam Deck’s semi-custom Aerith processor brings eight RDNA 2 graphics cores versus the Z1’s four RDNA 3 cores. So we’re guessing this GPU disparity is at least partly to blame for the Steam Deck’s superior performance.

Either way, the graph shows that while there isn’t a massive performance disparity at 15W, it can be the difference between a playable and unplayable experience. This is particularly notable in light of games like Starfield and Baldur’s Gate 3 pushing the Steam Deck hard. In saying so, the ASUS handheld can deliver higher wattages (30W) for improved performance, but this obviously comes at the expense of battery life.

Unfortunately, Digital Trends reports that they didn’t see “any major differences in battery life” compared to the ROG Ally Z1 Extreme model. That means roughly four hours of juice for lightweight indie games, two hours of endurance for a triple-A title at 30fps, and just an hour in Turbo Mode.

So you might want to get the ROG Ally Z1 Extreme model or Steam Deck instead. The top-end ASUS device brings superior performance while the Steam Deck brings respectable battery life without compromising performance.

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