Asus has its sights set on the portable gaming market. The ROG Ally is a high-end portable device that comes kitted with a custom AMD chipset that’s rumoured to support the latest Zen 4 CPU and an RDNA 3-based iGPU. Woah.
When it comes to gaming, a rig with balls-to-the-wall performance is king, however, a gaming handheld with a gorgeous screen, ergonomic controls, and decent battery life comes close second. It’s the reason why Valve’s Steam Deck sold out before they even hit the shelves. Gaming on the go is just that awesome.
Gauging public interest, Asus decided to drop the trailer on April Fool’s day. A poor choice in retrospect, as everyone had a bit of a laugh and then continued on with their regular scheduled programming, unconvinced that the darn thing was even real. Until a day later, at least, when ROG Global posted an update via Twitter confirming that the device is indeed a thing. So much effort, for so little reward.
David Lee of Dave2D on YouTube took a look at the device in the form of an engineering sample. Asus claims the custom 4nm AMD chipset delivers a 2x performance increase over the Steam Deck.
What’s more, it comes fitted with a 7in full-HD 1080P screen with a peak brightness of 500 nits and up to 120Hz refresh rate. Compare that with the 800p, 60Hz Steam Deck panel, and you wonder if Asus might be onto something. Dave says the fans are whisper quiet, too, measuring only 20dB on full load. Impressive.
Steam Deck wins on ergonomics and overall design, however, thanks to its innovative touch pads that add extra functionality, raised bump handles, and intuitively placed controls. In comparison, Asus opted for a more traditional, asymmetric thumb stick design. Still, Ally appears an impressive package, with the engineers over at ROG managing to pack all that juicy hardware in a trim 280mm x 113mm x 39mm form factor that at 669g is a sultry 61 grams lighter than Valve’s flagship device.
Last but not least, I/O is fair, with a headphone jack, Micro SD expansion slot, a volume rocker, fingerprint sensor, and a little ace up its sleeve in the form of a USB Type-C that enables external GPU support via ROG’s XG mobile graphics card dock. Now that’s a game changer.
Portable gaming is undoubtedly a popular and ultra-competitive space to be in, and the market is growing quite rapidly, from cloud-focused prospects from Logitech and Razer’s Edge, to Ryzen 7 6800U-powered beastly machines from lesser known entities including Aokzoe’s A1, GPD’s Win Max 2, and the spec-smashing Aya Neo sequel. It will be interesting to see how ROG Ally matches up to its already impressive pre-production specs, and its rivals.
No word on pricing or release just yet, though there’s a waiting list available for American users at Best Buy that’ll notify users when the ROG Ally is available for pre-order.