Today, ASUS introduced the ROG Ally portable game console, and specialized foreign publications have already prepared reviews of the novelty. In short, reviewers praise high performance, support for any games due to Windows 11, and a high-quality screen. At the same time, the console is scolded for a very modest battery life and some software flaws.
Recall that the ASUS ROG Ally is based on the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme hybrid processor with eight Zen 4 cores (up to 5.1 GHz) and 12 RDNA 3 graphics cores (up to 2.7 GHz). A version with less powerful hardware will also be available, however, ASUS provided everyone with a powerful modification for review. The console received a 7-inch touchscreen IPS display with Full HD resolution (1920 × 1080 pixels) and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. There is 16 GB of LPDDR5-6400 RAM and a 512 GB PCIe 4.0 SSD.
ROG Ally’s main competitor is Valve’s Steam Deck portable set-top box, and in terms of performance, the ASUS console is confidently outperforming the latter. This is not surprising, because the Steam Deck has only four Zen 2 cores and eight RDNA 2 graphics cores, and the frequencies are much lower. For example, in Geekbench 6, the ASUS set-top box showed results of 2468 and 11,041 points in single- and multi-core tests, while Steam Deck results were only 1212 and 4233 points, respectively.
But the comparison of gaming performance is much more interesting, but before proceeding with them, one interesting nuance needs to be specified. The Steam Deck has been designed to provide the same performance when running on battery or connected to a charger. In turn, ROG Ally offers several modes of operation in which performance can differ quite noticeably. “Silent mode” (Silent) provides maximum autonomy and reduced performance. The default mode is Performance. Turbo mode offers enhanced performance and automatically turns on when plugged into a charger. It can also be turned on when on battery power, but it eats up charge faster.
Colleagues from Tom’s Hardware tested ROG Ally in the standard Performance mode, as well as in Turbo mode when connected to the charger. The tests were carried out both in the native resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels and in the reduced 1280 × 720 pixels. In turn, Steam Deck was tested at its standard resolution of 1200 × 800 pixels.
As you can see from Tom’s Hardware test results, ROG Ally’s performance is highly dependent on whether the set-top box is used standalone or connected to a power supply. If we compare ASUS and Valve consoles in native resolution (1080p and 800p, respectively), then the new ASUS loses in most games, even when connected to the mains. The situation is corrected by lowering the resolution to 720p in ROG Ally – then it provides a fairly high FPS in every game with medium or low graphics quality settings.
In turn, The Verge also tested ROG Ally in silent mode and could not get a playable FPS in it even with low graphics settings and at 720p resolution. It was also noted that the new product supports AMD FSR 2.0, due to which it is possible to achieve an increase in FPS in compatible games, with practically no loss in graphics quality – on a small screen, this is still not so striking.
As for autonomy, at best, you can count on 4 hours of gaming on ASUS ROG Ally on battery power, while Steam Deck can work in games for up to about 7 hours, write The Verge. In turn, Tom’s Hardware measured autonomy in web surfing – 5 hours and 51 minutes, and the PCMark 10 Gaming battery test showed only 1 hour 43 minutes.
As for the temperature, according to reviewers, during the tests, ROG Ally never became so hot that it was uncomfortable to hold in your hands. Most of all, the console heats up in the central part, away from the controls. The hottest spot, the vents, reached 47.2°C in Tom’s Hardware tests.
Reviewers also noted that ASUS ROG Ally is quite easy to disassemble, which makes it possible to upgrade the SSD. In addition, ASUS will probably sell parts for the console in the future, at least batteries.
In general, reviewers were positive about ASUS ROG Ally, noting higher performance and a better display than Steam Deck, as well as the presence of Windows 11, which allows you to install any game from any app store, which Steam Deck cannot offer (unless you do not install Windows on it). The main disadvantage is too modest battery life. There are also some software flaws and not as high ergonomics as the Valve set-top box.