ASUS ROG Ally review: A handheld gamer's delight with a few tweaks needed
In the wake of the portable gaming renaissance triggered by the likes of the Steam Deck and the Nintendo Switch, the ASUS ROG Ally confidently takes a step into the fray, promising both entertainment and work capabilities. Here's our deep dive into what it offers.
ASUS ROG Ally design and display
At first glance, the Ally might remind you of the Nintendo Switch, but it quickly distinguishes itself. The white finish, though not everyone's cup of tea, adds a certain sophistication to the device. The 7-inch screen sits beautifully between controls, reminiscent of an Xbox layout. There's a strong emphasis on quick access, whether it's adjusting game settings through the Command Center or launching games via the ROG Armoury Crate SE software.
The screen is a standout, boasting a 1080p resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, producing visuals that can only be described as 'delightful.' But it's not just about looking good. The dual front-firing speakers and AI noise cancellation features ensure you hear every in-game sound in crystal clarity.
ASUS ROG Ally performance
Backed by the Ryzen Z1 Extreme and Radeon RDNA 3 graphics, the Ally's gaming performance seems promising on paper. And for the most part, it delivers. However, the Windows 11 environment does have its quirks, and certain games require tweaking in settings to run optimally. A special mention to the AMD’s upscaling technology, which often saves the day, making even compromised graphics settings look good on this handheld device.
ASUS ROG Ally software & usability
Running a full version of Windows 11, the Ally offers more than just gaming, but the OS does show its limitations. Windows 11 is not seamlessly adapted for touch devices, leading to a few hiccups, especiaAsuslly with text selection and game launching. However, the Asus Armoury Crate software makes an admirable attempt to streamline the experience. Also, the pre-installed Steam's Big Picture mode is a life-saver, making navigation intuitive.
ASUS ROG Ally battery
Unfortunately, the Ally's battery is its weakest link. Heavy gaming will deplete the device in about 90 minutes. Still, Asus offers different power modes to balance performance and battery life. The speedy charging does soften the blow, but one must be strategic about gaming sessions or ensure a power source is nearby.
ASUS ROG Ally conclusion
The ASUS ROG Ally is an ambitious attempt to merge desktop-level gaming with portability. While it dazzles in many areas like display quality, performance, and design, the battery life leaves something to be desired. At its price point, slightly above the highest-end Steam Deck, it's a commendable machine, especially when paired with a dock for a desktop experience.
For those who dream of PC-level gaming without the shackles of a desk, the Ally is a solid contender. Yet, be prepared for a few compromises and always keep your charger handy!