Let’s be clear, hardware manufacturers have been trying to make handheld gaming PCs forever. The Steam Deck isn’t the first, and won’t be the last, it was just the first to be truly successful. A result of that success is that rivals now have a benchmark to aim for, though, and one of the first companies to take a swing at Valve’s new crown is ASUS.
Launching under the company’s Republic of Gamers (ROG) label, this is the ROG Ally. While the handheld’s reveal video runs for three whole minutes, there’s not a single mention of specs, just the announcement that it’ll run on a custom AMD chip, and that it’ll be compatible with ASUS’ existing external GPU/power supply unit (the ROG XG Mobile eGPU) used by its laptops.
A bunch of influencers got their hands on the device early, and while their videos are also devoid of the most useful hard numbers, they do mention details like the fact the Ally will have an impressive 1920x1080/120hz display (compared to the Steam Deck’s 1280x800/60hz), and that it’s smaller and lighter than Valve’s handheld as well.
The Ally will run Windows 11, and has a fairly traditional control setup, with two analogue sticks, a d-pad, four primary face buttons and some triggers. It certainly looks nice in the videos, but then, this is pre-release marketing, and how nice it looks now will be completely irrelevant if the Ally’s price, battery life, performance and storage aren’t up to scratch. Like I said, this isn’t the first and won’t be the last time a PC hardware manufacturer has tried to make a handheld gaming PC; ASUS will have to get the mix just right to be able to compete with Valve (and already, even without numbers, this feels like it’s going to be way too expensive!).