The Ultimate Gaming Handheld Face-off: Why the ASUS ROG Ally X Deserves Your Attention

There’s no shortage of gaming gear, and finding what makes your portable playtime truly next level can be like finding a needle in a haystack. The ASUS ROG Ally X fits right into the eye of that haystack – if you’re thinking of jumping into the world of handheld PC gaming. For only $799, available through Best Buy, the ROG Ally X is an iteration to pay attention to.

What Makes the ASUS ROG Ally X Stand Out?

At first glance, the ROG Ally X might seem like a slight upgrade to its predecessor, with the same design and similar components. But if you look a bit closer at what ASUS has come up with this time around, you’ll find some upgrades sprinkled on top of the old model’s features. Here’s a look at what’s under the Ally X’s hood. Design 6 out of 10 The Ally X doesn’t really deviate too much from the look of the original Ally, a design that was a radical step away from the more traditional laptop form factor. It’s also similar in shape to the Nintendo Switch. The polycarbonate plastic cover has a matte finish for most of its area, aside from the display, where it’s just slightly shiny. Colour-wise, we got the Arctic White model. The Ally X isn’t a small device either. It might fit into the handheld gaming PC category, but it’s larger than the Nintendo Switch, and just as thick. Ally X’s coolest feature comes courtesy of a large hinge you’ll find on the left side. It allows you to shift the screen by roughly 45 degrees to the right, which is by far the most comfortable position for playing games.

Under the Hood: Specs and Upgrades

It has the same 7-inch 1080p 120Hz display as the ROG Ally, so it’s just as visually impressive, and it uses the same AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor and AMD Radeon GPU as the first ROG Ally. But that’s about as far as the similarities go. Thanks to ASUS, the ROG Ally X also has a boost to 24GB LPDDR5 onboard memory, an additional 1TB of SSD storage, and an additional USB-C port for connectivity and performance.

A Design Reimagined

The device undergoes a complete redesign externally, adding an all-black colourway and ergonomic adjustments to button placements. The result promises a much better feel in the palm of your hands after hours of gaming sessions. New analog sticks promise durability, while back-facing buttons are moved to a place that prevents them from triggering inadvertently — improvements that might, of course, tip the balance of competition.

Windows 11: A Game-Changer

Its operating system is likely one of the most enticing touches, with the ROG Ally X coming with Windows 11 pre-installed – an early win over competitors such as the Steam Deck, which runs on a custom version of Linux. That means owners can access gaming storefronts beyond Steam, including Epic Games Store and Xbox Game Pass.

Hands-on with the ASUS ROG Ally X: A Brief Insight

Editors’ note: due to the brevity of time spent with the ROG Ally X, it’s impossible to provide a final verdict on the device, other than noting the myriad design and performance tweaks are immediately perceptible. The rejiggered button placement and grips feel intuitive and comfortable, holding steady in hand while playing, and the added weight is negligible (the device remains no less portable than before) and is a welcome tradeoff for the upgrades inside.

Gaming Performance: First Impressions

While a game called Battletoads was on the marquee of the demo session – hardly an appealing title to show off the ROG Ally X’s gaming chops – it handled the non-demanding game easily, pumping out bright pictures at rich frame rates. Despite the unchanged CPU and GPU from the original Alienware handheld, which we saw last September, our initial impression of the ROG Ally X is that it doesn’t quite step up in performance for more demanding AAA games on the go. The Ally X has an extra 8GB of RAM, though, which could translate to smoother gameplay – we’ll have to wait for some actual benchmarks to find out.

Is the ASUS ROG Ally X Worth the Upgrade?

Consumers already holding the original ROG Ally might balk at a $100 price jump for the X. But for newcomers to the scene or anyone still on the fence about entering the handheld gaming PC market, the ROG Ally X is looking like a true standout, especially with Windows 11 on its side.

About ASUS

ASUS has always strived to lead by pushing boundaries across a wide range of products, such as laptops, desktops, smartphones, and gaming hardware. Its ROG (Republic of Gamers) hardware features high-end performance and design that cater to the demanding requirements of gamers around the world. That may be through the use of next-gen components or through the thoughtful design of gaming peripherals, ASUS always pushes gaming technology to achieve what hasn’t been possible before. This commitment has built ASUS the respect it carries among gamers today.

As well as having these systems-on-chip upgrades, the ASUS ROG Ally X inherits the advantages of switching to a fully proprietary AMD approach. As well as polishing a Phoebe product that was already pretty darn good, ASUS has helped set benchmarks for a new generation of portable gaming.

Handheld gaming PCs are the hottest space in gaming hardware right now, and the ASUS ROG Ally X is a great option to keep an eye on in this expanding realm. As a product that pushes the boundaries of what ASUS stands for – innovation, quality, and performance – and offers consumers a real value proposition, the ROG Ally X steers the gamer ship in a new direction, guiding the intrepid crew on the adventure of a lifetime.

Jun 03, 2024
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