Asus Unveils ROG Ally: A Compact Gaming Handheld

Asus surprised the gaming community by announcing the ROG Ally handheld device, debunking the initial belief that it was an April Fools' prank. Following Valve's success with the Steam Deck, other major manufacturers are now eager to enter the market. Asus has equipped the ROG Ally with the latest AMD Ryzen processors, namely the Z1 and Z1 Extreme. In our review, the Z1 Extreme variant proved to be comparable to the new Ryzen 7 7840U, offering significant performance advantages over the Steam Deck. With 16 GB RAM, 512 GB NVMe-SSD storage, and a 7-inch 1080p IPS screen boasting 120 Hz refresh rate and 500 nits brightness, the ROG Ally is a powerful contender. The device is priced at 799 Euros for the Ally Z1 Extreme and 699 Euros for the less powerful Ally Z1.



Moreover, the ROG Ally supports the attachment of the XG Mobile external graphics card, allowing users to combine it with the GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop for enhanced gaming experiences. Although we were unable to test this configuration with our XG Mobile sample, we will soon provide gaming benchmarks with the GeForce RTX 4090. The device's functional plastic design features a white chassis with textured grip surfaces for added comfort. While slightly more compact than the Steam Deck, the Ally maintains a comparable weight. However, the Steam Deck's thicker grips offer better ergonomics. The build quality of the ROG Ally is exceptional, ensuring a durable and reliable device.

Connectivity options on the ROG Ally are limited, with only a single USB-C port and the connector for the XG Mobile eGPU. This means that users have to disconnect the power adapter when attaching external peripherals. Although lacking USB 4.0, the absence of an additional port at the bottom, such as a simple docking station, proves to be a more significant practical drawback. The device does not include a built-in webcam, but it compensates with a fingerprint scanner integrated into the power button. The ROG Ally supports video output via DisplayPort through the USB-C port, and during testing, we successfully connected it to external displays. The microSD card reader on the ROG Ally outperforms its competitors, achieving transfer rates exceeding 260 MB/s, making it suitable for storing games on fast microSD cards.

Asus equips the ROG Ally with the MT9722 Wi-Fi module from RealTek, enabling Bluetooth 5.2 and the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard. While we encountered connectivity issues with the 6 GHz network during our test, the 5 GHz performance proved impressive, delivering fast and stable transfer rates. As a result, the ROG Ally can hold its own against full-size laptops, making it ideal for streaming services like Xbox Game Pass. Asus offers various accessories, including protective cases and headsets, with the option of purchasing the XG Mobile external graphics card featuring the GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop, albeit at a high cost of 2500 Euros. The ROG Ally's maintenance is straightforward, as the back panel can be easily removed to access the fans, battery, and M.2-2230 SSD, which can be replaced. Asus also plans to provide replacement parts in the future, allowing experienced users to replace components without sending the device in for repairs.

In terms of input devices and handling, the ROG Ally features a capacitive touchscreen with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, ensuring smooth interaction. Additionally, the device incorporates a variety of buttons, a D-pad, and two large sticks reminiscent of an Xbox controller layout.