In the ever-evolving landscape of gaming laptops, one name stands out prominently – the ASUS ROG Ally. We’ve had our hands on the Asus ROG Ally for just over a month now, and we must say that Asus definitely know what they are doing.
As passionate gamers and tech enthusiasts, we understand the importance of making an informed decision when investing in a gaming laptop. In this comprehensive review, we delve deep into the ASUS ROG Ally, aiming to provide you with a clear picture of its capabilities, features, and why it’s a strong contender in the gaming laptop arena.
Pricing & Availability
Unlike the Steam Deck, the Asus ROG Ally has surprisingly been easily available worldwide. There’s no shortage worldwide and you won’t need to wait months on end in a waiting list to be able to get your hands on this gorgeous piece of hardware. Unlike the Steam Deck, the Asus ROG Ally is available on Amazon, and it’s also available in all popular brick-and-mortar stores, such as Best Buy.
When it comes to pricing, the Asus ROG Ally with its Z1 Extreme APU is priced at $699, which we think is pretty reasonable. They also have another upcoming version with the Z1 APU, which will be less powerful, but will be priced at $599.
Design and Features
Just a few years ago, such a handheld gaming PC was just a figment in our imagination. However, thanks to Asus, you can now play all your favorite games wherever you go. The design of the ROG Ally is absolutely sleek and premium. It’s slightly smaller than the Steam Deck and quite larger than the Nintendo Switch. When we first took it out of the box we thought it would feel uncomfortable as the device is quite large, but we were definitely wrong as the ROG ally feels perfect.
One of the first things we noticed when we took it outside the box is how light it is. Weighing around 610g (13.8lbs) it’s around 12% lighter than the Steam Deck. This helps a lot when gaming for long sessions as your arms won’t get tired as much.
Since we’re comparing the ROG Ally to the Steam Deck, we love the design of the ROG Ally so much more. The ROG Ally instantly looks so much more like a gaming device than then Steam Deck. With its super modern white colorway and RGB lights, the ROG Ally is every is more in line with the PC gaming trends. While we love the RGB lighting under the joysticks, we definitely know that not everyone will enjoy it. If you don’t like the lighting, it can easily be turned off from the Asus lighting settings.
When it comes to settings, the ROG Ally has a dedicated button to access all the settings easily. When pressing the bottom button on the left hand side, a customizable settings panel will slide right out from the left hand side. The settings panel can be customized to have easier access to certain settings and features, just like an Android’s notification bar/panel. One of of our favorite features in this panel is the Real-Time Resource Monitor. This feature will display a small interface in the top-right corner with all the important data, such as the battery level, the temperature, and the current FPS.
Another great feature in this settings panel is the ability to change the power option. With this feature, you’ll be able to change between the Silent Mode (10W), Performance Mode (15W), and Turbo Mode (25W unplugged and 30W while plugged). These power options will be able to help you balance out battery life and performance. When we’re playing a game which doesn’t require that much power, we’ll switch the power option to Silent Mode. This will preserve the battery life for so much longer, and also will allow the device to stay much cooler and much more silent. While playing a game such as Spider-Man, the ROG Ally won’t be able to run it smoothly on the Silent Mode, so you’ll have to switch it up to Performance Mode, which will use up the battery much quicker.
At the back of the device are two buttons labelled M1 and M2. These buttons make the ROG Ally so much easier to use. For example, when holding down the M1 button and the down button on the D-Pad, it will bring up the Task Manager.
Another super cool feature on the ROG Ally is the fingerprint scanner in the power button. We certainly didn’t expect such a device to feature a power button with a built in fingerprint scanner.
Hands down one of the best features of the Asus ROG Ally is its stunning display. The ROG Ally boasts a buttery smooth 1080p 120Hz display. Games on the ROG Ally not only feel smooth, but they also look amazing.
The Asus ROG Ally Z1 Extreme has a 30W AMD APU with a Zen 4 processor and an RDNA 3 graphics card. It also comes equipped with a 6-core, 12-thread CPU that can reach clock speeds up to 4.9GHz.
We tested a lot of games on the ROG Ally and we were left impressed with every game we tested. From Dead Cells to Spider-Man, the ROG Ally can handle it all. You certainly won’t be playing all the latest AAA games on Extreme settings, but with a little bit of tweaking we were able to get a lot of the games to run at 60FPS and more.
While GTA V is certainly not one of the latest AAA games, it’s still as popular as ever and it can be quite demanding. However, the ROG Ally handled GTA 5 extremely well. With all the settings on High and running on 1080p, the ROG Ally was able to run GTA V at around 100FPS constantly without any stutters.
We also tested Spider-Man, and the Asus ROG Ally was able to run it on Medium/High settings on 1080p at a constant 60FPS and more. For us, that is absolutely amazing for a handheld gaming console.
Like all other things with the ROG Ally, we were also impressed with the battery life. We didn’t expect such a small sized battery to have such a battery life. If the brightness is not turned all the way up, and the ROG Ally is set to run on the 10W Silent Mode, this thing can easily last 6 hours.
Having said that, playing an intensive game with the ROG Ally running on Turbo mode will drain the battery and it will only last around 1.5 hours. But, playing a less intensive game such as Dead Cells, the ROG Ally will be able to handle it easily even on the 10W Silent Mode, so you’ll be able to go on a 6-hour gaming binge without having to hook it up to a charger.
While there aren’t a lot of gaming handheld consoles to choose from right now, the Asus ROG Ally still has some worthwhile competitors. Having said that, we still think that the ROG Ally is hands-down the best gaming handheld console to pick up right now. With its awesome features and ability to game on the go, the ROG Ally will certainly be with us wherever we go!