Looking forward to it: Asus initially revealed its entry into the burgeoning handheld gaming PC market as an April Fool’s joke, but has since confirmed its intentions to launch a product. The company hasn’t announced specs, pricing, or a release date yet, but while it looks similar to other attempts to offer a stronger alternative to Valve’s Steam Deck, there are key differences. There is one.
Asus is the latest company to try to compete with the Steam Deck. Important details about the company’s ROG Ally PC gaming handheld are still unknown, but it appears to be similar to other 1080p Windows portable devices these days.
Like the Ayaneo 2 and the latest GPD Win models, the Asus handheld has a significantly faster chip than his FHD screen, Windows 11 and Steam Deck. Valve’s competitors seem to band together to get around Steam Deck’s main caveat: its 800p screen and its reliance on a Linux compatibility layer to run the game.
The Ally tries to match Valve’s console-like SteamOS interface with an integrated version of Asus’ Armory Crate software. I need to see if it’s easy to navigate Windows without a mouse or keyboard.
So far though, with Ayaneo 2 and the latest GPD Win edition around $1,000, no Steam Deck competitor comes close to the $400 starting price. Additionally, Valve believes that lower hardware and lower screen resolutions lead to longer battery life. Asus hasn’t confirmed the price or battery life of his ROG Ally, but he tells YouTuber Dave2D that the former will be competitive.
One of the most unique aspects of the ROG Ally is that the Ayaneo 2, GPD Win 4 and GPD Win Max use AMD’s Ryzen 7 6800U APU while Asus builds a custom Zen 4 RDNA3 APU. is that Exact specs such as clock speeds are unknown, but Dave2D has analyzed the chip and confirmed that Ally is powered by his 4nm chip. Asus claims he can double the performance of the Steam Deck.
Another notable difference from the Ally is the 120Hz screen. This is double his 60Hz on other devices. Dave2D also noted that Asus devices are significantly smaller, lighter and quieter than Valve’s. Looking under the hood, I also found that the SSD and analog stick could easily be swapped out.
Ayaneo 2, the Ally can connect to an external graphics card via a single USB-C port (with an adapter, simultaneous charging is possible). While this feature may defeat the device’s original wearable purpose, it allows for comfortable high-end gameplay while lying in bed.