Should you get an ASUS ROG ALLY?
On April 1st, ASUS surprised everyone by unveiling the ROG ALLY, a handheld gaming PC along the lines of the SteamDeck. Initially thought to be a prank, the ALLY turned out to be a serious contender in the portable gaming market.
The ROG ALLY is now available and offers a truly portable gaming experience. Imagine the convenience of the Nintendo Switch in handheld mode, combined with the power and versatility of a gaming laptop. That’s exactly what you get with this impressive device.
This powerful device features the new Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor and RDNA 3 graphics technology. That’s the grunt behind the device that allows you to “play ALL-Your games” on such a compact and ergonomic design.
Built with precision, the lightweight device boasts a button configuration similar to an Xbox controller, ensuring a seamless transition from console to handheld. The cooling is impressive, the Zero Gravity thermal system and dual fan design keeps the machine at optimal temps. On a heavy session you can feel the warm air being dispersed through the top of the device, but only if you purposely put your hand over it, the design of the machine generally keeps you hands away from it.
One common complaint with mobile gaming is the poor quality of game ports. Every now and then you get a good one like the Witcher 3 but more often than not it is a lazy uninspiring waste of cash like Fifa 23 was on the Nintendo Switch. The graphics on that version of the game are terrible and the update is lazy as they didn’t even update the substitutions rule from 3 to 5 like they did on the proper version of the game, it’s just fifa 22 with a new cover, which was Fifa 21 with a new cover.
Why the ASUS ROG ALLY Makes it Better
Now being able to play a game like Fifa in all its full high definition glory on a handheld device is as easy as the ALLY and even when its running on the lower watt mode called “performance” the game play is smooth and the graphics at the standard it should be.
For those intense gaming moments, you can activate turbo mode by simply plugging the device in using the convenient USB-C connection located on the top in a perfect position to keep cables away from your hands while gaming. This extra boost of power ensures you never miss a beat during intense battles or captivating cutscenes.
However you will need to plug it in regularly, battery life is.. Lets say, A work in progress.
Work in Progress is a Good Thing
But I don’t see “work in progress” as a bad thing. Since the device was released there have been several updates that have improved performance considerably. It’s amazing how much a firmware update can affect the hardware performance of any machine and this is proof that the team at ASUS believe in this product and are constantly working to make it a better user experience. There’s even talk of Microsoft developing a more handheld friendly version of Windows 11 for these devices.
That brings me to the special edition of the Republic of Gamers Armory Crate. It’s this app that truly makes it more console-like and therefore quicker to get to gaming while on the go. This impressive app also lets you customize keymaps, manage your game footage, and tweak Aura Sync lighting so don’t ignore it thinking you’ll just navigate Windows instead, it’s there to help.
The Headache of a Set-Up
Setting up the ROG ALLY initially requires some basic Windows 11 knowledge. While some users may need to connect a mouse and keyboard for setup, I found the onscreen keyboard and touchscreen to be seamless and sufficient.
ROG ALLY Reunited with an Old Friend
Gaming on the ASUS ROG ALLY is full of surprises for example
Years ago you couldn’t drag me away from the game Destiny 2, at release it was one of the biggest First Person Shooter MMO’s we’d ever seen with Bungie at the helm delivering beautiful graphics and intense game play with a loot grinding mechanic that made you want to play for hours. Then something happened and I just moved away from it.
There’s been multiple expansions since then and nothing that had lured me back into the fold until recently where I decided to use it as a test for Xbox Game Pass on the device.
Sure enough, it ran perfectly. In fact, the portability and different medium of the game had me playing for hours discovering more and more updates and suddenly just like visiting an old friend you haven’t seen for years we are back in touch like nothing happened.
Play All Your Games Isn't Just a Catchy Slogan
Playing games like Destiny 2, COD, Marvel’s Spider-man (Miles Morales) and even The Last of US remastered on a handheld device is a breathtaking experience and it’s mostly thanks to the stunning Full HD 120Hz high-refresh rate display, the Adaptive Sync technology provides a crystal-clear view, making every detail pop with vivid colors, high resolution, and rapid refresh rate, the display provides an unparalleled visual experience that brings your games to life.
It sounds great too with the Virtual 5.1.2-channel surround sound powered by Dolby Atmos technology, you’ll be fully immersed in the action either through the speakers or via the headphone jack. .
ASUS say PlayALLYourgames, which is a nice little use off ALLY in the sentence, but it’s true. When you have access to Steam, Game Pass and more, you really can play just about anything on the portable device.
Handheld mode is just the tip of the iceberg as you can also connect it to a TV and pair multiple controllers, perfect multiplayer gaming or for a solo adventure on the big screen. To get the most out of this experience look at the ASUS external GPU (XG Mobile) that really powers up the device in a similar way to the five lions coming together to form Voltron and win the day.
Should You Buy the ASUS Republic of Gamers ALLY?
The ASUS Republic of Gamers ALLY sets a new standard for handheld gaming PCs. While the price point may initially seem high for a console-like device, considering its power and versatility, the ROG ALLY proves to be one of the best ways to stay connected with the world of gaming PCs and offers the ultimate gaming experience on the go.