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Something to look forward to: Asus initially unveiled its entry into the emerging handheld gaming PC market as an April Fool's joke, but has since confirmed intentions to bring the product to market. The company hasn't revealed specs, price, or a launch date yet, but it appears similar to other attempts to offer more powerful alternatives to Valve's Steam Deck – with one crucial difference.
Asus is the latest company to try to compete with the Steam Deck. Key details of the company's ROG Ally PC gaming handheld are still unknown, but it appears similar to other recent 1080p Windows portables.
Like the Ayaneo 2 and the most recent GPD Win models, Asus's handheld features an FHD screen, Windows 11, and significantly faster chips than the Steam Deck. Valve's competitors seem unified in avoiding the Steam Deck's most significant caveats: its 800p screen and reliance on a Linux compatibility layer to run games.
The Ally tries to match Valve's console-like SteamOS interface with a built-in version of Asus' Armory Crate software. We'll have to see if it allows easy navigation of Windows without a mouse or keyboard.
However, none of the Steam Deck's competitors so far have come close to its $400 starting price, with the Ayaneo 2 and latest GPD Win editions hovering around $1,000. Furthermore, Valve believes its less powerful hardware and lower-resolution screen are better for battery life. Asus hasn't confirmed the ROG Ally's price or battery life but told YouTuber Dave2D the former would be competitive.
One of the ROG Ally's most unique aspects is that, while the Ayaneo 2, GPD Win 4, and GPD Win Max use AMD's Ryzen 7 6800U APU, Asus assembled a custom Zen 4 RDNA3 APU. Although exact specs like clock speed are unknown, Dave2D did analyze the die, confirming that the Ally has 4nm chips. Asus claims it can double the Steam Deck's performance.
Another striking difference with the Ally is its 120Hz screen – double the 60Hz of the other devices. Dave2D also noted Asus' device is significantly smaller, lighter, and quieter than Valve's. Peeking under the hood also revealed that its SSD and analog sticks are easily replaceable.
Like the Ayaneo 2, the Ally can connect to an external graphics card through its sole USB-C port (an adaptor allows for simultaneous charging). The feature might defeat the device's original portable purpose but could allow for comfortable high-end gameplay while lying in bed.
Interested users can sign up at Best Buy to receive a notification when the ROG Ally goes up for pre-order.