The rising popularity of the Steam Deck has sparked a renaissance in handheld gaming. Taking a leap into the arena, Asus has introduced its contender, the Asus ROG Ally, and it’s coming soon to the UAE. On paper, the Ally appears to be a strong rival to the Steam Deck, garnering significant attention.
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Initially announced as an April Fool joke, the ROG Ally quickly gained traction and buzz when it was officially confirmed and showcased at a launch event on May 11th. Boasting impressive specifications, a smoother display, and a compact form factor with native Windows 11 support, the ROG Ally has grabbed the attention of gaming enthusiasts.
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Asus ROG Ally UAE Pricing and availability
The Asus ROG Ally is expected to arrive in the UAE market on June 14 at a price of AED 2,699. The ROG Ally comes with AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip and 512GB of SSD storage.
Asus has also revealed plans for a lower-end model with a standard AMD Ryzen Z1 processor and 256GB of storage that will arrive later this year. We don’t know the pricing or availability for that model in the Middle East.
Asus ROG Ally Specifications
|Size:||11.02 x 4.37 x 0.83-1.28 inches (280 x 111 x 21.2-32.4mm)|
|Processor:||AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme (8 cores, 16 threads)|
|Graphics:||AMD RDNA 3 graphics @ 2.7 GHz|
|Storage:||Up to 512GB Gen 4 NVMe SSD|
|Connectivity:||Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2|
|Display:||7-inch IPS, 1920×1080, 120Hz refresh rate, touch|
|Ports:||1x USB-C, 1x microSD card slot, 1x PCIe port, 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Speakers:||Dual-firing stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos + Hi-Res Audio support|
The Asus ROG Ally features a robust aluminum chassis combined with textured white plastic, offering durability and a visually appealing design. Taking cues from Xbox controllers, it incorporates RGB lighting underneath the analog joysticks for added visual flair. The button layout includes a concave d-pad on the left side, enabling easy diagonal movements, while the right side houses the ABXY button layout. The device is equipped with shoulder buttons, Hall Effect triggers on the top, and two multifunctional buttons on the back, providing enhanced control during gameplay.
The ROG Ally sports a 7-inch touch screen protected by Gorilla Glass Victus, delivering an immersive visual experience. Utilizing an IPS panel with a 16:9 aspect ratio and a 1920×1080 resolution, it offers vibrant visuals with clear details. The display supports a smooth 120Hz refresh rate, ensuring responsive and fluid gameplay. With a maximum brightness of 500 nits, the screen provides excellent visibility even in well-lit environments. It also offers full coverage of the sRGB color space, resulting in accurate and vibrant colors, and boasts a quick 7ms touch response time for precise and seamless touch interactions.
Features and performance
The higher-end variant of the ROG Ally is equipped with the new AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor. This powerful processor features an eight-core Zen 4 CPU with sixteen threads, as well as an integrated RDNA-3 GPU with 12 cores and a 24MB cache. When connected to the charger, the Ryzen Z1 Extreme can draw up to 30W of power, delivering an additional performance boost for demanding tasks.
On the other hand, the lower-end version of the ROG Ally will come with the basic Ryzen Z1 processor. This variant features six CPU cores, twelve threads, and an RDNA 3-based integrated GPU with four cores. While not as high-performing as the Ryzen Z1 Extreme, it still offers a capable gaming experience and efficient multitasking.
Moreover, the ROG Ally includes a PCIe connector that supports Asus’s ROG Xg Mobile interface. This feature allows users to connect the ROG’s external Xg Mobile GPU, which can go up to Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 (Laptop GPU). By pairing the ROG Ally with this external GPU, users can significantly boost their graphics performance, enabling smoother gameplay and enhanced visuals.
Software and Gaming
The ROG Ally comes preloaded with Windows 11 Home, providing a seamless and native operating system experience right out of the box. Alongside Windows 11, it features a customized edition of Armoury Crate, Asus’s proprietary software suite. As a bonus, every purchase of the ROG Ally includes a 3-month free trial to Xbox Game Pass, granting access to a wide library of games.
The ROG Ally is not limited to Xbox and Steam platforms alone. It offers the flexibility to run any game launcher of the user’s choice, accommodating diverse gaming preferences. Additionally, it supports the use of your favorite emulators, expanding the range of playable games even further.
Armoury Crate SE, which runs on top of Windows 11, provides a user-friendly interface for launching games from various publishers. It also allows customization of lighting effects and provides the ability to switch between different power modes.
Battery & Charging
The ROG Ally comes with a 40-Watt hour battery and runs three modes that draw varying amounts of power. Armoury Crate has a Turbo Mode, a Performance Mode, and a Silent Mode with each drawing 30, 15, and 9 watts of power respectively. This results in a varying battery life that can last anywhere from 1.5 hours to 4 hours.
Alternative to Asus ROG Ally – How does it stack up against the Steam Deck?
When it comes to the Asus ROG Ally versus the Steam Deck, the early indications are incredibly promising. In terms of specifications, the ROG Ally boasts impressive hardware. It is powered by AMD’s Z1 Series processors, custom APUs incorporating Zen 4 CPU cores and RDNA 3 GPU cores.
While the Steam Deck houses weaker hardware with four Zen 2 cores and eight RDNA 2 cores, the ROG Ally shines with the potential for higher performance, reaching up to 30W in Turbo mode compared to the Steam Deck’s 15W limit. Both devices feature 16GB of LPDDR5 memory, a Micro SD card slot for storage expansion, USB-C charging, and a 3.5mm headphone jack.
When it comes to performance, the ROG Ally unequivocally outperforms the Steam Deck. With a higher resolution screen and the ability to run demanding games at medium settings and close to 30 frames per second, the ROG Ally showcases its prowess. Despite similar battery life to the Steam Deck, the ROG Ally justifies its price hike by delivering superior performance and efficiency.
Notably, the operating system sets the ROG Ally apart from the Steam Deck. While the Steam Deck utilizes Valve’s SteamOS, the ROG Ally leverages Windows 11, offering broader game compatibility and access to other storefronts.
However, the ROG Ally’s Windows 11 integration comes with its own set of usability challenges, as it operates as a desktop operating system with Asus’ Armoury Crate providing additional functionality.
In terms of design, the Steam Deck gains an advantage with its larger form factor and quality thumbsticks and buttons. However, the ROG Ally offers enhanced comfort and portability, making it a more appealing choice for on-the-go gaming.
Asus ROG Ally Reviews
The Tech Chap notes that while the Asus ROG Ally has its flaws, such as game compatibility issues and unresponsive thumbsticks, the ROG Ally offers reasonably capable gaming performance.
Linus Tech Tips showcases an overall positive impression of the ROG Ally, highlighting its competitive price, superior display quality, effective cooling system, and quieter operation. They acknowledge Ally’s performance advantages over the Steam Deck at 15 and 25 watts but note that it falls short of ASUS’s initial claims.
Retro Game Corps did an in-depth review of the ROG Ally. The reviewer’s final thoughts on the ROG Ally are positive. While they acknowledge that it may not be worth upgrading from a Steam Deck, they believe it is a worthwhile consideration for those who want better performance or screen quality than what the Steam Deck offers.
Asus ROG Ally FAQs
What configurations of the Asus ROG Ally will be available?
Currently, there’s a higher-end configuration featuring an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme, 16GB of RAM, and a 512GB SSD storage option, with an estimated price of $700. Additionally, there may be a lower-end model equipped with an AMD Z1, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD, starting at around $600.
Is it better than the Steam Deck?
The Asus ROG Ally offers several notable advantages over the Steam Deck and other gaming handhelds. Firstly, its 7-inch display stands out with a sharper Full HD (1920×1080) panel and a 120Hz refresh rate, a rarity among gaming handhelds including the Steam Deck.
Can I run regular Windows Apps on the Asus ROG Ally?
The ROG Ally isn’t just a handheld gaming console; it’s essentially a portable Windows 11 PC. You can play games, browse the web, download files, and run almost any program that you would on a regular computer.