Review of the Asus ROG Ally: A Strong Compromise

Review of the Asus ROG Ally: A Strong Compromise

Review of the Asus ROG Ally: A Strong Compromise At a look

Professional’s Ranking


  • Very good gaming efficiency 
  • Wonderful 120Hz show
  • Runs all PC video games
  • Not tied to at least one cloud sport service
  • Premium, intuitive design 


  • Poor battery life 
  • Some software program bugs 
  • No LTE choice
  • Costly

Our Verdict

Regardless of just a few hiccups, the ROG Ally provides one of the most full gaming expertise you’ll discover on any handheld console. However are you prepared to pay its premium price ticket and endure its flaws?

Value When Reviewed


Greatest Costs At this time: Asus ROG Ally

Handheld consoles have been around because the late Nineteen Eighties, but it surely just lately seems like we’ve entered a brand new period with dwelling console gaming coming to moveable gadgets.

From the Nintendo Swap being the one sensible choice for such handheld high quality just a few years in the past, we now have credible rivals from the likes of Valve, Logitech, and Onex. These are consoles that don’t play conventional bodily sport cartridges, playing cards, or discs, however as a substitute stream or obtain video games from providers reminiscent of Steam or Xbox Recreation Go.

However, with the ROG Ally, Asus desires to take issues to the subsequent stage. Not like rivals, it runs a full model of Home Windows 11, which means you may play the identical variety of video games as any PC. Alongside devoted AMD flagship processors and a 120Hz show, Asus means enterprise. 

However, does it stay as much as the hype, and extra importantly, that top worth? I consider so, however, provided that you’re prepared to completely embrace the hand-held kind issue and its compromises.

Design & construct

  • Premium however the cumbersome design
  • Spectacular Xbox-style controls
  • Good variety of ports

The ROG Ally is an actual assertion of intent from Asus, and that begins with design. It’s a cumbersome, imposing machine with a particular gaming aesthetic, but nonetheless feels slick sufficient to have mainstream attraction. I’m not vastly into fashionable gamer aesthetics, however, don’t have any concerns about utilizing this in public. 

A fairly gentle weight of 608g and thickness of 21.2mm is a giant promoting level of the Ally, which means you may take it nearly anyplace with you. For context, that’s thinner and lighter than the Valve Steam Deck, regardless of each gadget having a 7-in show. 

However crucially for such a costly machine, the premium feel and appearance aren’t compromised to get there. The white end received’t be to everybody’s tastes, however, I really feel it contributes to a design that’s glossy and fashionable. In case you’ve used the white Nintendo Swap OLED, you’ll know what I imply. 

Asus ROG Ally - back

Nearly as good because it appears, although, another color choice would’ve been good. Not like with telephones, you may simply cowl it up with a case right here. Nevertheless, the machine does a superb job of avoiding choosing up-seen grime marks, one thing I used to be involved about. Your fingers can get sweaty while enjoying, but it surely received’t present. 

Whereas the design of the Ally is pretty generic, Asus has nonetheless managed to place its personal stamp on the machine. Small ROG-specific touches may be discovered throughout the machine, from a big emblem on the again to RGB lighting around each joystick. The latter can rapidly turn annoying, notably for those who go away it on the default ‘rainbow’ mode, however, this could simply be customized or turned off altogether. 

The joysticks themselves are the place my thumbs naturally relax, providing snug expertise. My sole grievance is the dearth of padding, which may turn into uncomfortable when making numerous fast actions. 

Asus ROG Ally - side view

Asus has opted for Xbox-style ABXY buttons within the top-right nook, plus a directional pad diagonally reverse. Each are clicky and responsive, making them straightforward to press irrespective of the sport.

Triggers and bumpers on the highest of the Ally are simply nearly as good, however, Asus has added just a few further bodily buttons of its personal. Probably the most notable are two on the again of the machine, which the corporate is asking for ‘Macro 1’ and ‘Macro 2’.  Whereas not related in lots of video games, one-tap entry to features of your selection could make a giant distinction in some titles. It’s definitely a pleasant choice to have.  

Shortcuts to the View, Command Middle, Armoury Crate and Menu sections on the entrance of the machine are extra mundane, however nonetheless price having. Mixed, the bodily buttons and joysticks ship extra convincing expertise than even a devoted controller.

The bodily buttons and joysticks ship a extra convincing expertise than even a devoted controller

On the prime, the facility button doubles as a fingerprint sensor, which is a cool addition. It’s fairly small, however nonetheless comparatively quick and dependable. Subsequent to it, you’ll discover quantity controls and a surprisingly good port choice.

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Alongside a USB-C port for charging, you get a microSD slot for expandable storage, a 3.5mm audio jack, and devoted connector for ROG XG Cellular, Asus’ exterior GPU system. 

Asus ROG Ally - top

The latter can supposedly ship a giant increase to the already glorious efficiency, however I wasn’t despatched one to check out. It additionally prices nicely over $1,000/£1,000 and makes the Ally a lot much less moveable. For the overwhelming majority of individuals, it’s completely pointless. 

Display screen & audio system

  • 7in, Full HD show
  • 120Hz refresh price
  • Spectacular twin audio system

The show on the ROG Ally is one in every of its key strengths. It’s a 7-in, Full HD (1920×1080) IPS touchscreen, full with Gorilla Glass Victus for further sturdiness. That decision provides it a basic 16:9 side ratio, which means nearly all video games can run natively. 

It’s an actual step up from the Steam Deck and Nintendo Swap OLED, which are each restricted to 720p output. You additionally get a 120Hz refresh price on the Ally, relatively than the usual 60Hz on the opposite gadgets. 

With all that in thoughts, it’ll come as no shock to be taught that the show here’s a pleasure to make use of. Gameplay appears very good, with wealthy, vibrant colors and plenty of elements. On a display screen of this dimension, you definitely don’t want the next decision. 

Asus ROG Ally - gameplay

When loading up a sport for the primary time, I used to be genuinely shocked by how good the display screen appeared. It’s not fairly high-end PC or TV console stage, but it surely’s not far off. It is a premium show.

Previous to testing, I used to be involved about how the LCD panel right here would examine to OLED. However darker colors and distinction are nonetheless spectacular on the ROG Ally, and it doesn’t really feel such as you’re lacking out.  

When loading up a sport for the primary time, I used to be genuinely shocked by how good the display screen appeared

The show’s 7ms response time isn’t the best in fashionable gaming, however, you solely have to make use of the touchscreen to enter textual content and cargo up video games, so it doesn’t negatively have an effect on gameplay.

Given how moveable the Ally is, you may wish to use its exterior. A brightness of 502 nits signifies that’s very a lot doable. 

My sole grievance right here is the bezels, which are a lot thicker than they should be. There’s a ROG emblem under the display screen, however is no webcam on the prime – there’s no digicam in any respect. It is a disgrace. Not like a pill, there’s loads of area to comfortably maintain the machine already, so Asus has no actual excuse for not squeezing one in.

Nevertheless, the ROG Ally does profit from the twin stereo audio system, which emits sound from each the back and front of the machine. The room-filling audio they supply is strong, contemplating the dimensions of the machine, with a powerful depth to the music and sound results. 

Asus ROG Ally - speakers

In-game character voices sound crystal-clear too, although an additional hit of bass and better max quantity can be good. For one of the best experts, you’ll nonetheless want to attach headphones – whether or not they’re wired or Wi-Fi by way of Bluetooth.

Specs & gaming efficiency

  • AMD Ryzen Z1 and Radeon graphics
  • Very good, console-level efficiency
  • Restricted storage, however microSD enlargement

Asus has made a giant deal of the efficiency skills of the ROG Ally, and it’s straightforward to see why. 

The machine is powered by the Ryzen Z1 Sequence, new AMD chips which can be particularly designed for handheld consoles. Asus claims each Ryzen Z1 and Z1 Excessive fashions supply flagship-level efficiency, however solely the latter is coming to the UK – it’s the model I’ve been testing. 

Asus ROG Ally - key specs
The decision may be elevated to 1920×1080 in Settings

Whereas built-in AMD Radeon graphics and 16GB of DDR5 RAM (on each fashion) don’t sound notably spectacular, the outcomes are. Efficiency is superb and consistent with low-cost gaming laptops within the £600-£800 worth vary – because the benchmarks under present:

Crucially, that’s mirrored in real-world utilization. I attempted a few of the most demanding PC video games you may play, through three of the preferred platforms: Xbox Recreation Go, EA Play, and Steam. All the things run very easily at 1080p, with gameplay trying very good on the ROG Ally’s glorious show. 

It’s not fairly nearly as good as a full PC gaming rig or next-gen console, however, you received’t be disenchanted by the efficiency of supply right here. There are not any noticeable dropped frames, even throughout fast-paced motion video games.

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Hesitations and lag aren’t a problem whereas enjoying video games, and bugs elsewhere appear associated with software programs relatively more than {hardware}. I extremely doubt extra energy would change something, and it’s price placing up with them for the very good in-game efficiency. 

One function which may typically be neglected is the vibration motor. It’s glorious right here, providing delicate suggestions that actually enhance the gaming expertise. 

All the things runs very easily at 1080p, with gameplay trying very good

After solely a few minutes of enjoying, there was a noticeable build-up of warmth. However the superior cooling system means the Ally solely ever will get heat to the contact, with each follower on the again of the machine the place they received’t be coated by your fingers. Even when in the full motion, they don’t get too loud – Asus claims a most of simply 20dB. 

Not like the Nintendo Swap, it’s important to hold the ROG Ally in a single piece always. The controllers aren’t removable, though you do have the choice to attach them to a TV or monitor by way of HDMI. 

It works seamlessly, with nice image high quality, and no drop in efficiency. However, the function depends on the ROG Gaming Charger Dock, which prices £60 further within the UK. Merely together with an HDMI port on the machine itself would’ve solved this downside. 

When it comes to connectivity, the ROG Ally options each Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2. There’s no mobile connectivity, but it surely’s straightforward to hotspot out of your telephone whereas out and about. This isn’t a good way to the sport although, as hot-spotting to a telephone will not be a quick strategy to stream video games and isn’t a way I like to recommend counting on. If you wish to stream video games, that is solely realistically doable on good Wi-Fi.

The upcoming Android-based Razer Edge has a 5G choice, however, that machine is far less highly effective than the ROG Ally.

The ROG Ally Z1 model features a 256GB SSD, whereas the Z1 Excessive mannequin I examined will increase that to 512GB. However, with around 54GB taken up by Home Windows system records data, it doesn’t go away a lot of room for video games.

Even with solely 5 video games put in, I obtained a pop-up message saying inadequate storage when attempting to obtain a sixth. Most titles I performed, together with FIFA 22, F1 22, and Name of Obligation: Warzone, have been between 50-100GB. However some – reminiscent of Forza Horizon 5 – have been considerably larger. 

Asus ROG Ally - FIFA 22

Fortunately, the storage capacity may be expanded by way of microSD, but it surely’s one other separate buy. 

Software program

  • Runs Home Windows 11 House
  • Entry to full variety of PC video games
  • Several software program bugs

A key benefit of the ROG Ally in comparison with different handheld consoles is the software program. It runs a full model of Home Windows 11 House, which means you’ve gotten full entry to the identical variety of video games as a PC. You should utilize several totally different sports providers, and also you aren’t tied to at least one firms.

The nice benefit of the ROG Ally is you may stream video games for those who go by way of a cloud gaming service or play utilizing on-device downloads. It’s finest with the latter, however having the choice is luxurious.

Whether or not you employ Steam, Xbox Recreation Go, the Epic Video games Retailer, or perhaps a cloud gaming service, they’ll all work on the ROG Ally. All of your downloaded video games may be accessed by way of the Armoury Crate SE app, which opens by default once you activate the machine.

It acts as an easy app launcher, but additionally a hub for the in-depth customization choices obtainable. You’ll be able to modify controls, efficiency, lighting, show, and audio, most of which may also be accessed by way of the devoted Command Middle button mid-game.

Asus ROG Ally - Command Center

You’ll need to verify the gamepad is chosen for a lot of video games, with a keyboard and mouse usually set because of the default. However, altering all these settings feels slick and intuitive. 

Sadly, the identical can’t be mentioned for the remainder of the Home Windows 11 expertise. Microsoft’s working system isn’t optimized to run on this sort of {hardware}, and it exhibits.  

I bumped into dozens of bugs and points throughout my testing time, from app crashes and stuttering to video games that merely refused to show on the full display screen. On a few events, the display screen wouldn’t activate in any respect. 

All of those have been resolved within a few minutes, but it surely’s irritating to come across them so steadily. Nearly as good as the gaming is, and software program bugs look like half and parcel of the ROG Ally expertise at launch. I might repair each bug by closing or minimizing different apps and restarting software programs, but it surely was very irritating.

Nearly as good because the gaming is, software program bugs are half and parcel of the ROG Ally expertise

However, the advantages of Home Windows 11 can nearly outweigh the drawbacks. You’ll simply be the affected person when loading video games, although.

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Battery life & charging

  • 40Wh battery
  • Lower than two hours of gaming per cost
  • Quick 65W charging

Battery life is the most important purpose for not purchasing the ROG Ally. It has a 40Wh cell, however clearly that’s not sufficiently big for 1080p gaming on a 120Hz show.  

I charged the machine earlier than every gaming session, but would at all times hit 0% in lower than two hours. It didn’t matter which sport I performed – all AAA titles deplete the battery extraordinarily rapidly.

That is considerable to be anticipated given the dimensions of the battery and the facility wanted to drive PC-level gaming. However, this console can’t even final a brief haul flight earlier than needing a cost, which defeats the purpose – and the enjoyment – of gaming on the go.

The Nintendo Swap can hit about six hours at the finest, which is significantly better. Granted, these video games are less complicated and never PC-level, however, if you’d like true portability then that is the place the compromise appears to be in the intervening time for such consoles; less complicated video games with good battery life, or PC-level video games with horrible battery life.

Asus ROG Ally - battery information

A 720p video loop take a look at 120 nits of brightness isn’t notably related right here, however, a time of simply 5 hours is nicely behind any Home Windows laptop computer we’ve reviewed. Having to fret about battery life a lot relatively defeats the purpose of a transportable console. 

After all, there are issues you can do to lengthen battery life. Dropping right down to 720p gameplay or 60Hz refresh price will imply the ROG Ally lasts longer, as will decreasing the brightness. However, the gaming expertise is nowhere close to nearly as good once you cut back these settings.

Having to fret about battery life a lot relatively defeats the purpose of a transportable console

At the very least charging speeds are first-rate. The 65W adapter included within the field can cost the Ally to 54% in half-hour and 89% in 1 hour, with a full cost taking around 1 hour 45 minutes. 

However, when the battery lasts about the identical size of time it takes to cost, that is scant comfort. As is enjoying the factor continually plugged into the mains, which is feasible.

Value & availability

Poor battery life won’t be a dealbreaker for you, however, the worth of the ROG Ally may very well be. 

The Z1 Excessive mannequin with 512GB SSD that I examined will set you again $699/£699. Pre-orders can be found now (by way of Currys within the UK), forward of its launch on 13 June.

All purchases do embody three months of free Xbox Recreation Go Final, after which it prices $14.99/£10.99 monthly. 

A less expensive common Z1 model with a 256GB SSD can also be anticipated at some unspecified time in the future, however, no launch date info has been supplied.

However, at its present worth, the Ally is considerably costlier than the $399/£349 Steam Deck. The Nintendo Swap OLED ($349.99/£349.99) is cheaper nonetheless.  

There are different inexpensive choices for price contemplating, though none can match the efficiency and set of the ROG Ally. It simply comes down to if you’re prepared to pay the premium for it. 


With the ROG Ally, Asus has taken handheld console gaming to the subsequent stage, however it highlighted the compromises nonetheless wanted within the class.

Devoted AMD CPUs ship top-tier efficiency throughout all essentially the most demanding video games, whereas the 120Hz touchscreen is a pleasure to behold. Xbox-style controls are acquainted and simple to make use of, even when they will be indifferent. 

The machine is comparatively gentle and cozy to carry, whereas Home Windows 11 means you’ve gotten entry to the complete variety of PC video games. Nevertheless, the overall software program expertise is buggy at instances, and battery life is horrible. 

Are you prepared to place up with these compromises at this worth? That’s right down to you. The ROG Ally, regardless of these downsides, is among the finest handheld gaming consoles you should buy.


  • AMD Ryzen Z1/Z1 Excessive processor
  • AMD Radeon Graphics 
  • 16GB LPDDR5 RAM 
  • 256/512GB SSD 
  • Micro-SD card slot 
  • ROG XG Cellular port 
  • USB-C port 
  • 3.5mm audio jack 
  • 7in 1920×1080 show, 120Hz 
  • Wi-Fi 6E 
  • Bluetooth 5.2 
  • 40Wh battery 
  • 65W quick charging 
  • 280.4 x 111.2 x 21.2mm 
  • 608g