It looks like the competition in the handheld gaming PC space will be heating up like overclocked CPUs very soon. ASUS’s answer to the Steam Deck, the ROG Ally, is finally arriving next month as the first real competitor in this field.
The ASUS ROG Ally is being touted as the biggest rival of Valve’s handheld gaming PC. Fans have been waiting for the official release date and price of the new handheld which ASUS has just recently confirmed - The ROG Ally is coming in a month on June 13, 2023. The premium version of the handheld will be priced at $700. Pre-orders for the ROG Ally are now available on Best Buy.
Based on the hardware specs, the ROG Ally will be a worthy challenger to the Steam Deck. The AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip features a Zen 4 8-core / 16-thread CPU and RDNA 3 GPU rated at 8.6 TFlops, making it the most powerful handheld gaming PC on the market. For comparison, the Steam Deck is equipped with a 4-core / 8-thread CPU and RDNA 2 GPU at 1.6TFlops.
The ROG Ally also features an IPS screen with 1080p resolution and 120Hz refresh rate compared to the Steam Deck’s 1280x800 at 60Hz display. The ASUS handheld is also 61 grams lighter than its Valve counterpart weighing in at 608 grams.
Both the Steam Deck and ROG Ally are powered by a 40 WHr battery. However, the ASUS handheld has the advantage of shipping with a 65W USB-C power brick compared to the Valve’s 45W power supply. One test suggests that the charging time is cut by half. Steam Deck owners can upgrade their charger to a beefier one but doing so negates the price difference between comparable models of the handhelds.
ASUS has also announced that a scaled down version powered by a 6-core/12-thread AMD Z1 CPU will be available in Q3 2023 for $600. The less powerful chip should be more efficient, helping the battery last a little bit longer. However, a price difference of $100 isn’t that big of a savings considering the significant downgrade in CPU specs.
We've already seen reviews comparing the ASUS ROG Ally to the Valve Steam Deck. The results show that Valve’s handheld is still king at the lower 10W power levels. However, ASUS beats out its competition when set to 15W and even doubling the performance of the Steam Deck when using full power. It is worth noting that the performance comes at the expense of battery life.
ASUS will be selling the ROG Gaming Charger Dock which allows the handheld to connect to a TV similar to the Nintendo Switch. Users can also opt to buy an external GPU like the ROG XG Mobile which is equipped with an Nvidia RTX 4090 laptop GPU.
ASUS is giving away a three-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate with every ROG Ally. The handheld natively supports Steam, Game Pass, and Epic Games launcher.