Today ASUS introduced the ROG Ally portable game console, and specialized foreign publications have already prepared reviews of the novelty. In short, the reviewers praise the high performance, support for all games thanks to Windows 11 and a high-quality screen. At the same time, the console is accused of a very modest battery life and some software defects.
Remember that the ASUS ROG Ally is based on the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme hybrid processor with eight Zen 4 cores (up to 5.1 GHz) and 12 RDNA 3 graphics cores (up to 2.7 GHz). There will also be a version with weaker hardware, but ASUS made a powerful modification available for everyone to test. The console got a 7-inch touchscreen IPS display with Full HD resolution (1920 × 1080 pixels) and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. There is 16 GB of LPDDR5-6400 RAM and a 512 GB PCIe 4.0 SSD.
ROG Ally’s main competitor is Valve’s Steam Deck portable set-top box, and in terms of performance, the ASUS console clearly surpasses it. This is not surprising since the Steam Deck only has four Zen 2 cores and eight RDNA 2 graphics cores, and the frequencies are significantly lower. For example, in Geekbench 6, the ASUS set-top box showed scores of 2468 and 11,041 points, respectively, in single and multi-core tests, while the Steam Deck scores were only 1212 and 4233 points, respectively.
However, the comparison of gaming performance is much more interesting, but before we proceed with it, an interesting nuance needs to be specified. The Steam Deck has been designed to offer the same performance on battery power or when connected to a charger. ROG Ally, on the other hand, offers several operating modes where performance can differ significantly. The “silent mode” (Silent) offers maximum autonomy and reduced power. The default mode is performance. Turbo mode offers enhanced performance and turns on automatically when connected to a charger. It can also be switched on on battery power, but then it consumes charge more quickly.
Colleagues from Tom’s Hardware tested ROG Ally in standard performance mode as well as in turbo mode when connected to the charger. The tests were carried out both in the native resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels and in the reduced 1280 × 720 pixels. Steam Deck, on the other hand, was tested at its default resolution of 1200×800 pixels.
As you can see from Tom’s Hardware test results, the performance of the ROG Ally depends heavily on whether the set-top box is used standalone or plugged into an AC adapter. If we compare ASUS and Valve consoles in native resolution (1080p and 800p respectively), then the new ASUS loses in most games even when plugged in. The remedy here is reducing the resolution to 720p in the ROG Ally – then it ensures quite high FPS in any game with medium or low graphics quality settings.
The Verge, on the other hand, also tested ROG Ally in Silent mode and was unable to achieve playable FPS in it, even on low graphics settings and at 720p resolution. It was also noted that the new product supports AMD FSR 2.0, thanks to which it is possible to achieve an increase in FPS in compatible games with practically no loss of graphics quality – it’s still not that noticeable on a small screen.
As for autonomy, at best you can count on 4 hours of gaming on ASUS ROG Ally on battery power, while Steam Deck can work up to about 7 hours in games, writes The Verge. Tom’s Hardware, in turn, measured autonomy when browsing the web – 5 hours and 51 minutes, and the PCMark 10 gaming battery test gave only 1 hour 43 minutes.
As for temperature, according to reviewers, the ROG Ally never got so hot during testing that it was uncomfortable to hold in your hands. The console heats up most in the central part, away from the controls. The hottest spot, the vents, reached 47.2 C in Tom’s hardware tests.
Reviewers also noted that ASUS ROG Ally disassembles fairly easily, allowing for an SSD upgrade. In addition, ASUS will probably sell parts for the console in the future, at least batteries.
In general, reviewers spoke positively about ASUS ROG Ally, noting higher performance and a better display than Steam Deck, as well as the presence of Windows 11, which allows you to install any game from any app store, which Steam Deck does not can offer (unless). You don’t install Windows on it). The main disadvantage is the insufficient battery life. There are also some software bugs and ergonomics that are not as high as the Valve set-top box.