After numerous leaks and rumors, Asus has finally launched its first handheld console, the ROG Ally. Asus held a launch event to give us everything we need to know about this ambitious PC handheld. As previous rumors hinted there are two versions of Asus ROG Ally, one with AMD Z1 chip and another with Z1 Extreme. Although the device will hit shelves later this year, let’s explore the key details about the Asus ROG Ally.
Asus ROG Ally Design and Display
In terms of design, the ROG Ally closely resembles the Steam Deck as a handheld gaming machine equipped with full-size controllers. Each controller stick features integrated RGB lighting, allowing you to select different colors and effects or disable them altogether based on your preference.
Additionally, the Ally boasts a fully plastic construction and is exclusively available in a white color option. To enhance grip and ease of use, the company has offered a textured surface on the handles. Furthermore, it is lighter than the Steam Deck, weighing in at 608 grams compared to 669 grams.
On the front, you’ll be greeted by a 7-inch full HD (1080p) touchscreen. It offers a 120Hz refresh rate and 500 nits of rated brightness. This display resolution is an improvement over the Steam Deck’s sub-HD display.
As for the performance, Asus is offering the ROG Ally with two processor options from AMD. The lower-spec variant is equipped with an AMD Ryzen Z1 chip, which delivers a processing power of 2.8 teraflops. On the other hand, the top-tier variant features the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme silicon, providing over three times the processing power of the base Z1 at 8.6 teraflops.
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Apart from the difference in processing power, the two chipsets also vary in terms of core count. The Z1 has 6 cores and 12 threads, while the Z1 Extreme boasts 8 cores and 16 threads. However, both chipsets are based on AMD’s Zen 4 architecture, featuring a 4nm processor and RDNA 3 graphics. Asus has paired these SoCs with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB or 512GB of PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 SSD.
Furthermore, the ROG Ally features a proprietary slot that allows you to connect one of Asus’ powerful XG Mobile external GPUs. You have the option to select either the GeForce RTX 4090 or the AMD Radeon RX 6850M XT GPU. These external GPUs also function as docking stations, providing USB Type-A ports, an SD card reader, Ethernet connectivity, and HDMI 2.1 ports. The RTX 4090 dock includes an additional USB Type-C port for enhanced connectivity.
Asus has implemented a dedicated thermal system in the Ally to effectively manage its temperature. Called the Zero Gravity thermal system, it consists of two fans and a heat pipe. The heat pipe incorporates a mesh wick that improves the thermal transfer by increasing capillary pressure by over 15%.
In terms of software, the ROG Ally boots on Windows that let you play games from various game storefronts such as Steam, the Epic Game Store, and Xbox Game Pass. In comparison, the Steam Deck comes with a Linux-based operating system so you will need to use hacks and workarounds to play games from all stores.
Connectivity and Audio
Continuing further, the console offers a range of connectivity options, including a 3.5mm headphone jack, a UHS-II microSD card reader, the ROG XG Mobile Interface, and a USB Type-C port. For wireless connectivity, it supports WiFi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. For audio, the device is equipped with two stereo speakers that also support Dolby Atmos.
Asus ROG Ally Launched: Price and Pre-Order
The Asus ROG Ally is now available for pre-order from BestBuy’s website. The Z1 Extreme model will be available for $699 and will ship on June 13. On the other hand, the cost-effective option with the Z1 chip is priced at $599, but its launch is scheduled for Q3. As an additional bonus, Asus will be offering a three-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for free.