Game, chip and set: ROG Ally is ASUS' finest champion
The first handheld device from Republic of Gamers is getting popular on merit even before its global release. We look at the reasons why
Republic of Gamers (ROG) has pulled out all stops in bringing its first handheld gaming PC - the ROG Ally. A month before the global launch date, the initial devices out of the manufacturing units have already gone out to tech reviewers, such is the confidence. It is not misplaced either.
The biggest buzz has been around the price, but more on that later. The ROG Ally from ASUS breaks through the noise of the competition while staying around the same size in terms of dimensions with the Steam Deck and reminding many of the Nintendo Switch due to its design. It is 60 grams less heavy to the Steam Deck at 608g, but it powers in much more hardware than the competition.
Honouring the ROG reputation from ASUS, the Ally offers the portability of a Windows 11 personal computer with the gaming power AMD Z1 Extreme APU.
The heart of the Allys is the AMD's latest mobile central processing units, Zen 4-based Ryzen Z1 Extreme SoCs available in the UAE market, which are aimed specifically at ultra-portable gaming devices. With up to 8 cores, 16 threads, and 8.6 teraflops of graphics performance, the chip is built on the four-nanometer (nm) Zen 4 architecture. There is support to pair with the XG Mobile eGPU dock to boost the performance to another level, with the availability of up to a Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 Laptop GPU.
The most powerful version of the ROG Ally, available in the UAE, features the Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor with eight cores and a 12 CU RDNA 3-based GPU. In terms of graphics tasks, this version is three times more powerful than its lightweight counterpart with the Z1 chip. It comes equipped with 16GB of LPDDR5-6400 memory and a 512GB SSD in an M.2-2230 form-factor, which utilises a PCIe 4.0 interface.
ASUS apparently put a lot of focus on the weight and the ergonomics of the ROG Ally and then worked its way around it. At 608g, it is the sweet spot on the weighing scale with a packed hardware suite. The controls are well-placed for fast navigation. The console houses a Dolby Atmos-certified audio subsystem with noise cancelation technology.
There is type-C charging and a fingerprint sensor on the power button. The key part was to get the motherboard and cooling components right in their spread and choice. Anti-gravity heat pipes, two fans and a radiator help control about 30W of heat from the powerful processor in a polycarbonate chassis.
All this is behind a rare, if not first, 1,920x1,080 resolution seven-inch display at a maximum refresh rate of 120 Hz, no less. Playing so many AAA games just got visually blissful. We played FIFA and Hogarts Legacy and, after being used to 720p, the Gorilla Glass Victus-covered display with a peak luminance of 500 nits has made it a welcome change. Moreover, the display also supports AMD FreeSync Premium, ensuring consistently smooth graphics without any stuttering or tearing.
Storage, customisability and bonus
Considering the weight and heavy-duty performance, it is expected that some trade-offs would be inevitable. However, such is not the case for the ROG Ally, as it manages to avoid any compromises.
The Ally puts you in control by offering the ability to remap and customise every button, including two additional paddles on the back. This allows you to personalise your gaming experience according to your unique style. It is also designed to tackle the most demanding games and applications, guaranteeing a smooth and seamless performance experience. Furthermore, it offers a dedicated microSD card slot for convenient storage expansion. With connectivity options galore, the ASUS ROG Ally is a customisable beast.
You can now also enjoy a complimentary three-month trial of the Xbox Ultimate Pass, providing access to a wide range of gaming options. The ROG Ally, powered by the versatile Windows OS, not only allows seamless web browsing experiences but also offers compatibility with various platforms such as Steam, GOG, Xbox Game Pass, GeForce Now, Android, and more. This extensive compatibility ensures that gamers can enjoy almost any game on the go. Furthermore, with the support of ASUS's Armory Crate software, users can enjoy a streamlined and interruption-free gaming experience.
There are many creditable firsts, which prove ASUS' ROG Ally is just getting started on the future. There have been no compromises despite the price. Slated for a local release on June 14, it is available on pre-order at Dh2,699 on June 1. In fact, the price for the features alone is a big reason why this ROG debutant from ASUS should be the gamer's close ally.