Asus ROG Ally: everything we know so far
More information on the Asus ROG Ally will be coming our way shortly, as the brand prepares to officially unveil price, release date, and spec information at its launch event today. The live stream will take place today, Thursday May 11, at 3pm BST / 10am EDT / 7am PDT with 45 minutes dedicated to everything handheld gaming. We’ll know plenty more about this next step in portable PCs within just a few hours.
With confirmation of the device’s existence last month, Asus has been quiet about its new venture over the last few weeks. However, with a roster of specs now public, it’s easy to see just what kind of device the Ally will be.
If you weren’t paying attention on April Fool’s Day, or you simply dismissed this futuristic gaming PC handheld as a joke, just know that the Asus ROG Ally is the first serious competitor to the Steam Deck that we’ve seen. Its sleek design, Windows 11 operating system, and solid components under the hood promise a slick experience across a wide range of launchers and games. While we’re still awaiting price information, there’s a Launch Event scheduled for May 11, 2023, which will provide all the answers we need.
Until then, we’re taking a deep dive into the Asus ROG Ally specs announced today, to see just where the new generation of on-the-go PC gaming could take us.
Asus ROG Ally price
The Asus ROG Ally price has not been announced yet, although rumors are placing it around $650 / £650. However, other leaks have pitched the price much closer to $900 / £900, so we’re going to have to wait for an official reveal for the answer here. We know from the tech specs that the Ally will have beefier innards than the Steam Deck, so it isn’t too surprising that speculative pricings are higher than Valve’s handheld, which costs $584 / £569.
We do, however, know that the Asus ROG Ally will be exclusive to Currys in the UK and we’re keeping an ear out for a similar retailer deal in the US.
Asus ROG Ally release date
While there hasn’t been an official Asus ROG Ally release date announcement, many are expecting the handheld to hit the shelves in Summer 2023. More will be revealed during Asus’s Launch Event on May 11.
Asus ROG Ally specs
While we’re still awaiting full configuration listings, we do have the Asus ROG Ally spec sheet in hand. Starting from the top, the Ally will run off AMD architecture, with a Ryzen Z1 processing chip and RDNA 3 graphics. This APU has been custom-built and offers six cores and 12 threads for some serious performance. That’s a solid start, and when combined with the 1080p display should provide plenty of grunt to see you through Triple-A titles while on the go. To keep everything running smoothly, the device will also feature ROG Zero Gravity thermals, an ultra-thin dual-fan system with high-friction heat pipes. Why zero gravity? To ensure airflow is maintained when the Ally is held in any orientation. Not only that, but Asus claims that the system produces just 20dB of sound with two fans running.
Up on top, we have a 7-inch Full HD display with a speedy 120Hz refresh rate and AMD FreeSync for extra protection against tearing. At this size, 1080p is very much forgivable, though it remains to be seen whether a more contemporary 1440p screen is going to be missed in practice.
Storage comes in the form of a 512GB PCle Gen4 drive, with an additional UHS-II MicroSD slot. Asus claims that the speeds from this expandable slot should match those of the dedicated drive, though, of course, that performance will also be down to the SD card you choose to use. You’ve also got 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM to see you through as well, though we’re awaiting different configuration sizes.
All of that sits underneath a set of Xbox-style controls, with fully programmable back buttons and customizable thumbstick and trigger deadzone / sensitivity. Squeeze it all down to just 608g and the Asus ROG Ally makes an excellent proposition straight off the bat.
|Processor||AMD Ryzen Z1|
|Display||7-inch 1080p, 120Hz|
|Storage||512GB + UHS-II MicroSD slot|
|Controls||Xbox-style face buttons, asymmetrical sticks|
|Programmability||2x macro back paddles, thumbstick deadzone and sensitivity, trigger sensitivity|
|Audio||Dual front-facing speakers, virtual 5.1.2 surround sound, Dolby Atmos|
|Extra features||Haptic feedback, Armoury Crate launcher and overlay, fingerprint unlock|
Asus ROG Ally software
The whole system runs off Windows 11, which is where Armoury Crate SE comes into play. Whereas Steam Deck will have you breaking through the back door to install Epic and other launchers, everything is supported straight off the bat here. That means the Asus ROG Ally feels much more akin to a fully-fledged console experience, with Armoury Crate pulling all your installed titles together for one home page.
The launcher is already one of the most exciting aspects of the Ally, but there’s plenty more to love about this software. Armoury Crate will also allow you to customize your key mapping, view performance stats in an overlay, and set different power presets.
Asus ROG Ally compatibility
Asus claims that the ROG Ally has been developed to work with as many different game launchers as possible, but attention has also been paid to the streaming experience. Game Pass is a clear goal here, with the system shipping with a three-month subscription straight out of the box.
There’s also a wide range of compatible hardware accessories to choose from as well. At the extreme end of the scale, you’ve got the ROG XG Mobile external GPU, capable of boosting performance with an RTX 4090 graphics card when connected to a separate display. Want the big screen experience without the pricey graphics card attachment? The ROG Ally can also be used with the ROG Gaming Charger Dock for fast charging and HDMI 2.0 transfer, as well as the ROG Raikiri Pro controller. Based on what we’ve seen with the best Steam Deck docks, particularly the third-party ones, we’d expect more Ally docks emerging too.
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