Asus ROG Ally review: The new standard in handheld consoles

The portable console market seems to be on the rise again, with several brands betting on this niche in the gaming segment. The latest comes from Asus’ gaming brand, Republic of Gamers, with the ROG Ally console.

During the last week I had the opportunity to test a test version (bypass redundancy) of this console. In this article I give you my opinion about it in various aspects, and I try to understand who may find this product attractive.

Asus ROG ally

ROG Ally unboxing

Unboxing the ROG Ally is pretty straightforward. The box ‘screams’ that it is a gaming product, but inside we find only what is essential to have a satisfactory experience with the product.

In addition to the console ready to use, we have a charger with USB-C output, which charges the console at a maximum of 65 W. In addition, you can also find a simple instruction manual, which will help you in the first steps of configuration, if you think it necessary. .

Asus ROG ally

ROG Ally main specifications

  • Operating System: Windows 11
  • AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor
  • GPU: 12 CU RDNA3 up to 2.7 GHz and 8.6 TFlops
  • APU power: 9-30W
  • 7-inch IPS display, Full HD, 120Hz, 500 nits
  • 16GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • 512GB PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD
  • My take on the ROG Ally
  • 3.5mm jack input
  • ROG XG mobile interface
  • USB Type-C combo port (with USB 3.2 Gen2, compatible with DisplayPort 1.4)
  • microSD card reader
  • Built-in array microphone
  • 2 speakers with Smart Amplifier technology
  • Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
  • Battery: 40Wh with 65 WP charge
  • Weight: 608 grams
  • Dimensions: 28.0 x 11.1 x 2.12 ~ 3.24cm
  • Fingerprint sensor on the on/off button

My take on the ROG Ally

Design, construction and comfort

ROG Ally has a design that is in line with what we remember from the brand’s smartphones, and at the same time follows the trends of this type of product. The big difference is its joysticks with RGB lighting.

On the front we have a large Full HD screen capable of delivering a performance of up to 120 Hz and with support for FreeSync Premium. It is a screen with a maximum of 500 nits, enough to play every day. I thought I would miss an OLED, but this panel sold me.

Asus ROG ally

Accompanying this display are A/B/X/Y buttons, cross-positioned analog sticks, and a D Pad. We even have left and right triggers that are just amazing to the touch. On the back, the brand placed two customizable buttons. Also, we have the command center and view buttons on the left of the screen, and the Armory Crate and Menu button on the right. I just lost the touchpads, like on SteamDeck

In addition to the quality buttons, another very important point that I loved about this console was the comfort. I’ve used a Switch for a long time and the ROG Ally is much more comfortable. The curvature where your hands rest makes all the difference. Although it is 608 grams, you do not feel that weight even with prolonged gaming sessions.

Asus ROG ally

The choice of white color for the console makes it perishable to collect dirt. But during my time of use it was as impeccable as can be seen in the photos. And always with great robustness.

screen and audio

As I told you above, the 7-inch screen is a panel with enough brightness and quality for any game. It has Gorilla Glass Victus protection, and a response time of 7 milliseconds. It supports Dolby Vision HDR, AMD FreeSync Premium and the screen has 10-point multi-touch

Asus ROG ally

The result is a panel with good color reproduction, and where I can play many games at full resolution. For the device that it is, this panel size seems perfect. But if you have a monitor or TV handy, now you can play your games on a bigger screen.

The audio on this console is also just amazing, considering its size. We have access to a speaker system, which helps provide great immersion during games. In addition to Bluetooth, you can also connect your headphones via the 3.5mm jack.

Asus ROG ally

Performance

The version I tested has an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor, 8 Zen 4 cores, and 16 threads. But the brand mentions in its statement that it will launch a version with the AMD Ryzen Z1 in the third quarter of the year.

Ideally, games like Cyberpunk 2077 or GTA V should be played in Full HD at “low” settings on this console. Which turns out not to be what many want, but which provides an experience that does not disappoint us if we take the size into account.

Asus ROG ally

The same cannot be said for Forza Horizon 5, which I had the opportunity to test on this machine. This game can be played with the graphics maxed out for an experience that is a real treat for anyone who loves racing games.

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My beloved Fall Guys is a lighter game and runs like butter on this ROG Ally. And I can tell you that I spent a few hours playing in this portable format where it fits like a glove. The same can be said if you want to play FIFA 23 or FM 2023.

Asus ROG ally

And we have to talk about emulation, of course. With Windows, the door is opened to the emulation platforms of the most varied old consoles, which you can easily install on this console. It’s Windows, even with its flaws, doing its magic.

Considerations for the ROG Ally

It comes equipped with Windows, which means you can use it like a normal computer by connecting a monitor, mouse, and keyboard. That same Windows also opens the door to full support for Steam, EA App, Game Pass PC, Epic Games Store, GOG or Xbox Game Pass Ultimate. In fact, when you buy the console, you have access to 3 months free on this Microsoft cloud gaming platform.

Asus ROG ally

That same cloud gaming is also one of the highlights of this console. Because if you’re running certain games on lower settings, when you’re using cloud gaming, they run like butter on higher settings. The same goes for emulating old games.

If we turn to the Gaming Charger Dock, it can be connected to the television and becomes perfect for cooperative games while charging. After all, who doesn’t want to play FIFA with friends on a Friday night on their new console? All you have to do is plug in some Bluetooth controllers and the addiction begins.

Asus ROG ally

If you’re a hardcore gamer, performance can be even higher with the addition of an external XG Mobile graphics card. By connecting an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 you can play AAA games at 4K with Ray Tracing and DLSS 3. Another level.

While you can play cross-platform titles, you should ideally use Armony Crate as the hub of your gaming experience. That’s where you can bring all your titles together and change the settings depending on the game.

Asus ROG ally

With a machine running the games the ROG Ally runs, battery life is always a concern. If you are going to use it to play heavier titles, you should take into account that Turbo mode provides autonomy out of the socket of about two hours.

If you properly manage energy and performance, you can achieve greater autonomy. This is an area where I also believe the console can improve over time with updates. And yes, we do have a fan here, but this is anything but a problem in terms of noise.

Asus ROG ally

Bottom line on the ROG Ally

ROG Ally is not designed to replace your tower or XPTO gaming laptop. This is meant to be a portable solution for anyone who wants to play Windows titles on the go, be it a more or less demanding gamer.

Yes, the ROG Ally can run just about anything you throw at it. But often it will be on the lowest setting. But to play my beloved Fall Guys or a FIFA I never felt that I lost performance. The same applies to Forza Horizon 5.

Asus ROG ally

I found the buttons to be of good quality, and it’s one of the most comfortable handhelds I’ve ever used. The fingerprint sensor is very comfortable, and the possibility of connecting it to a monitor or a graphics card is a quality extra.

In turbo mode, as the name suggests, our battery simply flies as it approaches two hours. But of course, in lighter games this will be greater. I missed a trackpad below the analog sticks, like we have on SteamDeck. But when it comes to performance, SteamDeck is jealous of this ROG Ally. And that’s a win for Asus.

The price of this ROG Ally is €799.99 in Portugal, and the console is already available for order, and it will arrive from June 13.

rog ally

ROG Ally strengths

  • Screen with good colors, definition and ideal size for the format
  • High-quality buttons and triggers and fingerprint sensor
  • Windows operating system offers versatility across all available gaming platforms
  • Possibility to connect a graphics card by cable or connect to a monitor
  • Configurable buttons on the back

Points to improve in ROG Ally

  • The battery just flies in Turbo mode
  • Missing touchpad like on Steamdeck

Thanks to Asus Portugal for making the ROG Ally available for testing ahead of its release.

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