To compete with the Nintendo Switch, which transformed handheld gaming with its groundbreaking portable hybrid design and extensive game library, Asus has now stepped into the portable gaming PC market just a year later through its first portable handheld gaming device -- "ROG Ally".
The ROG Ally has now been officially launched in India, which runs on the new Windows 11 so that you can continue your gaming experience while you're on a long trip, commuting, or just chilling in your backyard.
We used the 16GB+512GB variant of ROG Ally for a week, and here is what we think about the latest device.
In terms of design and display, the Asus ROG Ally's all-white design looks as good as it feels, and its port selection -- a microSD slot, headphone jack, ROG XG Mobile Interface and USB-C with DisplayPort 1.4 -- is adequate for gaming both at home and on the go.
The device boasts a 7-inch 1080p touchscreen panel, which packs a 120Hz refresh rate for ultra-smooth gaming.
The main advantage of this portable PC, however, is Windows 11.
In contrast to the Steam Deck, which operates on a separate operating system and requires adjustments to install Microsoft's OS, the ROG Ally comes preloaded with Windows 11, allowing you to effortlessly utilise their preferred launchers, such as the Epic Store, EA Play, Xbox Game Pass, etc.
This handheld device has exceptional image quality for gaming, watching video content, and browsing the web. Navigating Windows 11 on a smaller 7-inch display is smooth.
With a weight of around 608 grams, the gaming console feels lightweight and comfortable to use even during extended gaming sessions.
Powered by the brand-new AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip inside and Zen 4 CPU on a 4-nanometer with 8 cores and 16 threads with a clock speed of up to 5.1 GHz, the ROG Ally delivers seamless performance.
Demanding games like Dirt 5, Forza Horizon 5, and Death Stranding looked impressively sharp and ran seamlessly on the Ally, however, it's important to note that the device may not match the graphics and achieve frame rates at par with a high-end gaming PC.
Modern big AAA games like Diablo 4, Street Fighter 6, etc. ran smoothly at 720p resolution, low to medium graphics settings. Both online and offline, these games performed admirably at a consistent 60 frames per second, which is the ideal minimum for smooth, extra-responsive gameplay.
We were particularly impressed by the system's dual fans, which effectively maintained the device's temperature at a comfortable level and ensured a nearly silent operation, even during intense gaming sessions.
However, when playing fast-action games, the buttons would occasionally get stuck at the wrong time.
Meanwhile, the speakers are impressive, making headphones almost unnecessary unless you're in a particularly noisy environment like an airplane or train. The dual front-firing Smart Amp speakers boast Dolby Atmos technology, resulting in a rich audio quality and volume that can get pretty high.
For online gamers who like to communicate in mind, the Ally includes two-way AI noise cancellation for incoming and outgoing audio.
When it comes to battery life, we observed that the ROG Ally, while delivering solid performance, lasts for approximately two to three hours on a single charge when running high-end games. Battery performance of this type is comparable to gaming laptops, which have traditionally been limited in battery life. It kills the purpose of a portable gaming machine when the battery life is significantly shorter.
Priced at Rs 69,990, the ROG Ally is now available for purchase from online and offline stores.
Conclusion: The Asus ROG Ally is a powerful and portable gaming device that is a good alternative to traditional PC gaming. With Windows 11 pre-installed, the device becomes more than just a gaming PC handheld, but also a functional tablet.
While the ROG Ally struggles with 1080p graphics on graphically intensive games and the controls could be improved, it's still a solid piece of hardware that can serve as an excellent travel companion if you don't wish to carry a bulky gaming laptop.