ASUS ROG Ally portable gaming console with full Windows 11 and AMD Ryzen Z1 processor with RDNA 3 graphics will go on sale on May 11. After announcing the release date, ASUS did not reveal the price of the device, so the intrigue will continue for another two weeks. ASUS representatives confirmed that the console will cost less than $1,000 and claimed a two-fold advantage in performance over the Steam Deck.
Introducing ROG’s first gaming handheld console!
These are your PC games from your gaming room is no longer a fantasy!
Play wherever you are, whenever you want. With #ROGALLY, you don’t know to launch a player!
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— ROG Global (@ASUS_ROG) April 1, 2023
Valve’s console competitor received a 7″ touchscreen display with a resolution of 1080p, a frequency of 120 Hz, a response time of 7 ms, a peak brightness of 500 nits, Corning Gorilla Glass protection and DX anti-glare coating. ASUS has equipped ROG Ally with Armory Crate software with quick switching of performance modes, monitoring of game parameters and other tools. The company promises console buyers three months of PC Game Pass Ultimate.
The weight of ROG Ally will be 608 g, which is significantly less than the 680 g of the pre-production model due to the change in the cooling system. The console received quiet fans – it makes 17 dB less noise than the Steam Deck (which some users wrapped with insulating tape to overcome the noise and rattle). For running games and storing data, there is 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and a removable 512 GB PCIe 4.0 SSD, UHS II MicroSD memory cards are supported.
AMD Ryzen Z1 and Z1 Extreme processors
ASUS ROG Ally will receive the recently introduced AMD Ryzen Z1 chip and a more productive variant with the Ryzen Z1 Extreme. These are 4nm Zen 4 generation processors with integrated RDNA 3 video. Ryzen Z1 consists of 6 cores providing 12 data streams. Preliminary benchmarks place it between the AMD Ryzen 7 7840U and Ryzen 5 7640U laptop APUs and talk about Radeon 780M graphics.
AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme received 8 cores and 16 threads. Even more remarkable is its feature – 12 blocks of RDNA 3 instead of 4, which promises a serious increase in FPS in games. The GPU’s performance is rated at 8.6 TFLOPS, which is roughly equivalent to a desktop Radeon RX 6600. The regular Z1 chip is capable of a maximum of 2.8 TFLOPS, but that’s significantly higher than the Steam Deck’s 1.6 TFLOPS.
Great performance can be “squeezed” out of the console by connecting an external ASUS ROG XG video card to it. Currently, there are models up to the mobile version of the NVIDIA RTX 4090.
Impressions from ASUS ROG Ally journalists from The Verge and CNET
Monica Chin of The Verge was impressed that the console is a full-fledged and quite powerful laptop with Windows 11. With the help of a wireless keyboard and mouse and the use of an external monitor, you can get a good workstation with its own battery. A full desktop OS means no compatibility issues with games and apps.
Subjectively, ROG Ally seemed more convenient to the journalist than Steam Deck – lighter, flatter and more ergonomic. She also noted the good quality of assembly. The buttons will be convenient for those who are used to Xbox joysticks – but they are only potentiometers, not Hall sensors (however, as in the Valve console). Also missing are the trackpads that are in the Steam Deck.
A pleasant impression was made by the clarity and brightness of the screen combined with a high refresh rate – “one of the best visual experiences.” The speed and smoothness of the games compared to the Steam Deck is also on top (the frame rate of the games was not mentioned due to the review embargo). The sound of the two front speakers is called excellent, and the noise is radically lower, barely audible.
CNET’s Dan Ackerman praised the relatively easy navigation in Windows mode when using a joystick instead of a mouse. But he also complained about the lack of Steam Deck trackpads and the smaller number of buttons on the back panel. In addition to the lower weight, he also noted its better distribution.
Both publications note that the main and still unknown questions regarding the ASUS ROG Ally are the price and battery life. Obviously, it will be more expensive than Steam Deck due to the better hardware and the versatility of the platform. More precise characteristics and full reviews of the console are not long in coming.
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Sources: IGN, PCGamer, The Verge, CNET