It’s only inevitable for Steam Deck to receive some competition due to the growing demands for a more portable and more budget-friendly gaming device that can handle PC games. Asus answered and now we have the Asus ROG Ally. So, is the Asus ROG Ally worth it?
The short answer is that from the specs alone, the Asus ROG Ally is more than worth it. In fact, it beats the Steam Deck in most categories, leaving it in the dust based on raw and maximum gaming performance. But as always, there are different factors to consider here based on your needs or your use case.
And there’s also the other question of how much the Asus ROG Ally is worth it compared to the Steam Deck. Now that the units are out in public space.
Asus ROG Ally Official Specs
Right off the bat, you can see what makes the Asus ROG Ally appealing. It’s a pretty product with the all-white chassis and sturdy build. Asus has a good reputation in the computer industry for manufacturing some durable and quality products and this design philosophy has extended to the ROG Ally.
Underneath the hood, this is what you’ll get if you buy it:
- AMD Ryzen™ Z1 Extreme Processor / Z1 Processor (cheaper version)
- CPU: “Zen4” architecture with 4nm process, 8-core / 16-threads, 24 MB total cache, up to 5.10 GHz boost
- GPU: AMD Radeon™ Graphics (AMD RDNA™ 3, 12 CUs, up to 2.7 GHz, up to 8.6 Teraflops)
- 16GB LPDDR5 on board
- 512GB PCIe® 4.0 NVMe™M.2 SSD
- TDP: 9-30W
- OS: Windows 11
- 7-inch FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS-level
- Touch Screen (10-point multi-touch)
- Refresh Rate:120Hz
- Brightness: 500nits
- AMD FreeSync™Premium
Those are the specs that matter the most. The device incorporates one of AMD’s latest attempts to dominate the APU or integrated GPU market and the move has paid off well for Asus.
The Asus ROG Ally is often dubbed now as one of the fastest or most powerful handheld gaming PC or consoles on the market. We imagine that title won’t last long, however. But for now, the Asus ROG Ally has shaken up the competition for the Steam Deck and other similarly-priced handheld gaming devices.
How Much Better Is the Asus ROG Ally Against the Competition?
Based on gaming benchmarks, the Asus ROG Ally offers nearly double the performance of the Steam Deck at maximum performance settings though it also consumes more power. If you need to conserve your battery, the Steam Deck wins as it offers better performance at nine watts (battery saver mode) compared to just about any other device in this category.
Another device that might catch your attention would be the Ayaneo 2S and it’s either on par or slightly better than the Asus ROG Ally but– big BUT, the price is a huge factor here; that’s what we’ll be discussing next.
Pricing for the Asus ROG Ally Is Extremely Competitive
At the moment, the Asus ROG Ally has two models. There’s the Extreme variant which comes with the higher price tag and offers better performance and a budget-friendlier variant with a slightly weaker processor. Both of them are priced reasonably enough:
- $700 for the Asus ROG Ally Extreme version
- $600 for the non-Extreme
Against the competition, the Asus ROG Ally’s price might be a bit of a deal-breaker. After all, the Steam Deck is still significantly more affordable. There are three versions for the Steam Deck and they only differ in terms of storage space. The Steam Deck has the following MSRPs:
- $400 for the Steam Deck 64 GB storage model
- $500 for the 256 GB storage
- $600 for the 512 GB storage
It’s great that the Steam Deck offers a huge price advantage for those who can only spend $400 but that 64 GB of storage will run out way too fast and might not even be enough for a lot of AAA video games. Realistically, you’d want a $600 for today’s games.
So you can see where the Steam Deck-killer moniker for the Asus ROG Ally came from. As even the budget variant of the ROG Ally is better than the Steam Deck for the same price. If you have a budget for best version of the Steam Deck, you might want to hold off on it and consider the Asus ROG Ally instead as it simply offers better performance for the same or a slightly higher price.
What About the Ayaneo S2?
There’s a less popular device being offered on Indiegogo which began in Eastern markets and that would be the Ayaneo S2. As wel previously stated, the Asus ROG Ally can output gaming performance that’s usually on par with the Ayaneo S2 though in some cases, the Ayaneo pulls ahead slightly.
For the price, however, it’s not even close. The Asus ROG ally is the clear winner. That’s because the Ayaneo S2 costs this much at retail:
- $1,139 for the 16 GB RAM + 512 GB storage version
- All the way up to $2000 for the 64 GB RAM + 4 TB version
That’s a hefty price tag. The device is robust, however, and packs a lot of good hardware in such a small frame. However, it’s practically a luxury device compared to either the Steam Deck or the Asus ROG Ally.
Gaming PC or Asus ROG Ally?
Now there’s also this big question. The Asus ROG Ally is essentially a small gaming PC as well complete with nearly the full functionality of Windows 11. In that case, wouldn’t it be better to buy a gaming PC and enjoy a bigger screen?
In order to answer that question and provide a direct comparison, we have to level the playing field here.
The Asus ROG Ally’s biggest advantage over the gaming PC is portability. The only gaming PCs that are fully portable would be gaming laptops.
Right now, the cheapest gaming laptops that surpass the Asus ROG Ally well in performance cost a little over $700 with some even coming in close to $800. You will get a bigger screen and better performance in gaming, however gaming laptops are still heavier compared to the Asus ROG ally and cannot be played handheld.
If you’re willing to spend that extra few dozen dollars or the USD equivalent for a bigger screen and better overall functionality, then feel free to do so. It’s worth noting that the performance difference between $700+ gaming laptops and the $700 Asus ROG Ally is considerably better, especially if the laptops sport an RTX 3050.
However, for the price and the better portability, you can’t go wrong if you pick an ROG Ally over a similarly priced gaming laptop (with an RTX 3050). You can rest assured that you got a good deal either way.