ASUS ROG Ally is a portable gaming device priced at Rs 69,999, providing a robust alternative to conventional PCs. It stands out as an exceptional budget gaming PC, enabling Indian gamers to enjoy their favorite games while on the move. Despite some drawbacks such as limited battery life and challenges with Windows integration, it exhibits considerable potential as an initial release.
The ASUS ROG Ally, ASUS’s latest handheld gaming device, has provided me with a truly distinctive gaming experience. I must admit, I’m not particularly fond of handheld gaming. My only previous encounter with handheld gaming was during the golden era of the PlayStation Portable, which I owned briefly before passing it on to my brother. Given this context, my time with Ally was a delightful and somewhat perplexing revelation.
The ASUS ROG Ally was released on Wednesday, July 12, with a price tag of Rs 69,999. ASUS has added an extra incentive for early buyers. The first 200 customers who purchase the ROG Ally from the ASUS eShop or ASUS Exclusive stores between July 12 and July 15 will have the opportunity to acquire the ROG Ally case, originally priced at Rs 2,000, for just Re 1. Additionally, the XG Mobile, an external graphics card valued at Rs 1,42,990, will be available at a discounted price of Rs 87,990 during the same period.
Let’s begin with the specifications of the ASUS ROG Ally. It is powered by either an AMD Ryzen Z1 or Z1 Extreme processor, which combines both the CPU and GPU functions. The variant I received for review was equipped with the Extreme variant, along with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of SSD storage.
If you require additional storage space, there is an option for expandable storage using a Micro SD card reader. Moving on to the display, the front of the device features a 7-inch full HD (1080p) IPS display that is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus. It offers a refresh rate of 120 Hz and a peak brightness of 500 nits.
For audio, the ROG Ally has dual front-firing speakers that deliver decent sound quality on their own. However, if you prefer, you can also connect a dedicated gaming headset using the 3.5mm headphone jack.
Additionally, the ASUS ROG Ally features ports for connecting to an external display. As it is a Windows device, you can fully enjoy the benefits of Xbox Game Pass and the Xbox ecosystem, including wireless controller connectivity. It also includes a USB Type-C port for charging and connectivity.
The device is enclosed in a compact matte white housing that bears a striking resemblance to the Nintendo Switch or the Steam Deck, neither of which is officially available in India. With a price tag of Rs 69,999, the Ally stands as the sole viable choice for Indian gamers seeking an officially available portable gaming PC. The ASUS ROG Ally is impressively lightweight, weighing only 608 grams. This lightweight design contributes to a comfortable handheld gaming experience.
As someone who primarily plays console games, it took me a shorter amount of time compared to PC gamers to adapt to the built-in joystick on the ASUS ROG Ally. However, as a PS5 gamer accustomed to the layout of the DualSense controller, it took me a little while to adjust to the Xbox-style control layout. Once I familiarized myself with it, I was able to dive into gaming with full concentration.
One notable aspect that immediately caught my attention is that ASUS managed to incorporate a complete Windows 11 operating system into such a compact device, which comes with its own advantages and drawbacks. On the positive side, it’s impressive to see a full-fledged OS packed into a device weighing just over 600 grams. However, this also means that the OS has not been specifically optimized for handheld gaming. It provides a full PC experience on a 7-inch screen, which may require squinting at the small font unless you have exceptionally sharp eyes. While the system is fully touch-enabled and can be navigated using the controller, the overall small user interface poses challenges. Personally, I’m not a fan of this aspect.
It’s important to note that the ROG Ally is not intended to replace your laptop or primary PC. If you attempt to use it for work tasks as you would on a laptop, you may encounter difficulties. This device is designed primarily—and possibly exclusively—as a gaming device. If you keep that in mind, everything falls into place smoothly.
The ASUS ROG Ally features a control layout reminiscent of an Xbox controller, including the familiar ABXY face button array. The joysticks are equipped with RGB lighting effects, adding a visually appealing touch. The buttons and triggers are responsive, and the device also offers the convenience of two configurable back buttons.
The display on the ROG Ally is impressive, boasting a sharp 7-inch 1080p screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. Games look stunning on this display, and the speakers deliver clear and immersive audio. I tested a range of games, from older titles like Grand Theft Auto IV and Dragon Age: Origins to more demanding ones like Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, FIFA 23, and F1 22. The device handled them all effortlessly, without breaking a sweat. Although during intense gaming sessions, the device did become slightly warm, it never reached an uncomfortable level thanks to its dual fans.
The battery life of the ASUS ROG Ally was a disappointment for me, as it only provides approximately two hours of usage, which falls short of the expectations for a portable gaming handheld. However, it’s important to note that this is a first-generation device. Considering ASUS’s expertise in crafting exceptional gaming hardware, it is reasonable to anticipate that future iterations of the Ally will feature more optimized and improved battery life.
What is the ASUS ROG Ally?
The ASUS ROG Ally is a gaming laptop from the Republic of Gamers (ROG) series by ASUS. It is designed to provide high-performance gaming capabilities and features.
What are the key specifications of the ASUS ROG Ally?
The specifications may vary depending on the specific model, but generally, the ASUS ROG Ally offers a powerful processor (such as an Intel Core i7 or i9), a dedicated graphics card (such as NVIDIA GeForce RTX), ample RAM (typically 16GB or more), and a fast storage solution (such as SSD).
What is the display size and resolution of the ASUS ROG Ally?
The display size may vary, but it is typically in the range of 15.6 to 17.3 inches. As for the resolution, it often offers Full HD (1920×1080 pixels) or higher, such as QHD (2560×1440 pixels) or 4K UHD (3840×2160 pixels).
Does the ASUS ROG Ally support virtual reality (VR) gaming?
Yes, many models of the ASUS ROG Ally are equipped to handle virtual reality gaming. With their powerful processors and dedicated graphics cards, they can provide a smooth and immersive VR gaming experience.
What are the cooling capabilities of the ASUS ROG Ally?
The ASUS ROG Ally usually features an advanced cooling system with multiple heat pipes, fans, and vents. This design helps to keep the laptop cool during intense gaming sessions, reducing the risk of thermal throttling and maintaining optimal performance.
What are the connectivity options available on the ASUS ROG Ally?
The ASUS ROG Ally typically offers a range of connectivity options, including multiple USB ports (Type-A and Type-C), HDMI and DisplayPort outputs for external displays, an Ethernet port for wired internet connection, an audio jack, and built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
Does the ASUS ROG Ally have RGB lighting?
Yes, many models of the ASUS ROG Ally feature customizable RGB lighting. You can personalize the keyboard backlighting and other illuminated accents to match your preferences or create dynamic lighting effects.
Can the ASUS ROG Ally be upgraded?
Yes, the ASUS ROG Ally is designed to be upgradable to some extent. You can typically upgrade the RAM, storage (add or replace SSDs), and sometimes even the CPU or GPU, depending on the specific model. However, it’s always recommended to check the user manual or consult ASUS’s official support for specific upgrade options and compatibility.
To conclude, the ASUS ROG Ally stands as a robust and portable gaming device that presents an alternative to conventional gaming PCs. It can be argued that it is not only the finest officially available handheld gaming PC but also one of the best budget gaming PCs overall, owing to its exceptional portability. PC gamers seeking the ability to play games while on the move will undoubtedly enjoy the Ally. Although the device has its shortcomings, such as the imperfect integration of Windows and limited battery life, it shows tremendous potential as a first-generation product.