Not An April Fool’s Joke, Asus ROG Ally Handheld Gaming PC

Asus ROG (Republic of Gamers) recently announced a surprise handheld gaming machine that had many questioning whether it was an April Fools’ Day prank. However, the announcement video provided a link to Best Buy and included real games like High on Life, Moving Out, and WRC Generations, which seemed unusual for a prank. After waiting a few days, Asus confirmed that the device is real, though it has yet to announce a launch date, detailed specs, or price. Gamers can sign up with Best Buy for details on when preorders will begin.

According to Asus, the Windows 11-powered ROG Ally has a customized Ryzen APU from AMD inside, like the Aerith SOC inside Valve’s Steam Deck, and Asus claims it is the fastest one from AMD yet. While Valve’s Steam Deck has been the most successful attempt to make PC gaming a truly portable experience, there are plenty of competitors, like the Ayaneo 2 or other Switch-like machines from GPD and OneXPlayer. However, in our experience, they’ve relied on an AMD 6800U chipset instead of a custom design and generally lack the right combination of horsepower and efficiency that we want to see from handheld gaming machines.


Asus has confirmed global launch plans for the ROG Ally, and a few more specs have been revealed by hands-on videos from Dave2D and Linus Tech Tips. The Ally is smaller, lighter, and flatter than Valve’s gaming machine, weighing in at 608g / 280mm x 113mm x 39mm compared to the Steam Deck’s 669g / 298mm x 117mm x 50.5mm. The ROG Ally has a seven-inch 16:9 display with 1920 x 1080 resolution, 500 nits of brightness, and a 120HZ refresh rate, compared to the Steam Deck’s seven-inch 16:10 display at 1280 x 800 resolution, 400 nits of brightness, and a 60Hz refresh rate. The chip inside uses AMD’s Zen 4 architecture with powerful RDNA 3 graphics tech seen in recent GPUs.

The ROG Ally has the standard setup of dual analog sticks, a left-mounted D-pad, and four face buttons, plus a few smaller buttons around the screen to access menus and settings. It even advertises the opportunity to “experience Ally’s full potential” by plugging in the ROG XG Mobile eGPU offered for use with Asus’s gaming laptops while streaming games to a TV.


However, having a few more pixels, a higher refresh rate, and a more powerful processor may tax the battery while gaming on the go, and Windows 11 is a question mark in comparison to SteamOS for efficiency. So far, details on the battery are unavailable, as is any information on pricing other than that it will be competitive.

Dave2D noted a fingerprint sensor along the top, and Linus mentioned it could be used for switching between multiple accounts. The prototype was much quieter than the sometimes noisy Steam Deck, measuring at about 20dB compared to the Deck’s 37dB on load, with a dual-fan system that sucks in air from the back and vents it out at the top. The SSD and joysticks also appeared to be easily replaceable.

As a gamer and tech enthusiast, I’m super excited for the Asus ROG Ally, promising a portable PC gaming to rival the steam deck. The hands-on videos by Dave2D and Linus Tech Tips reveal the device’s sleek design, with a fingerprint sensor and easily replaceable SSD and joysticks. While there are still some questions about battery life and pricing, I’m excited to see Asus enter the portable gaming market with such a strong contender. Hopefully we could go back to the days of having portable gaming devices again.


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