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Asus ROG Ally review: a viable competitor to the Steam Deck ?

Asus has revealed; its alternative to the Steam Deck: the Asus ROG Ally. Available within a few weeks, this hybrid console is both a portable console and a mini computer! Discover our review of the ROG Ally.

Announced as an April Fool's joke, the ROG Ally is nevertheless very real and the first nomadic console from Asus. Why do we use the term "nomad” ? Quite simply because the ROG Ally is &agrav; both a portable console that you can take anywhere, but also a small computer with an integrated Windows environment. !

Launched at the price of 799 € for us, the ROG Ally quickly makes you think à another fairly recent console. The latest machine from Asus has many similarities with the Steam Deck, current market leader. nomadic consoles/PCs. However, is the Asus ROG Ally coming? stand out from the crowd to establish itself as more than a simple alternative ?  The answer in our test.

A gaming design and very good handling

Là où The Steam Deck instead plays the sobriety card. with its discreet black chassis, the Asus ROG Ally does just the opposite: entirely white case, backlit joysticks RGB, integrated professional triggers, "Republic of gamers" inlaid… Everything in the design of the ROG Ally is reminiscent of professional gamer controllers. Whether its design pleases or no: the Asus console stands out and clearly distinguishes itself from its main competitor.

Asus ROG Ally review: a viable competitor to the Steam Deck ?

The design of the Asus ROG Ally is very game-oriented. professional gaming. © Linternaute/Julian Madiot

The ROG Ally has a first advantage over the Steam Deck: its weight! The nomadic console from Asus p&egrave ;se à barely more than 600 grams. Although it feels good in the hand, especially if you're not used to it. on the Steam Deck, the ROG Ally is a real pleasure à use on a daily basis. Whether you're traveling on the subway or quietly on your couch, the weight of the Asus console makes it clear played to its strengths.

The ROG Ally's button layout is reminiscent of that of the latest Xbox controllers. The two joysticks (which have RGB lighting) are therefore not facing each other, but offset from each other. with a directional cross and A/B/X/Y buttons. This arrangement remains well thought out, and the buttons fall well under the thumbs. The two triggers L and R located above the console are also pleasant to use. use daily.

On the other hand, we have more reservations about the two small triggers located at the back. rearof the ROG Ally. Pensé to be configured according to your preferences and games launched, the latter& These are not very intuitive to use. use and will quickly be abandoned. unless you're really the type to do something. like having lots of controls over your games (but why not just plug in a keyboard then ?).

A nice 1080p screen, but which consumes a lot

One of the main strengths of the ROG Ally compared to the its competitor fits on its screen. Là où the Steam Deck is blocked &agrav; a 720p resolution, the Asus console is capable of displaying your games in 1080p.If the difference in quality is relatively significant on a majority of cases. When playing games, this option has the downside of draining the device's battery very quickly. We will return to this point a little further down in the test.

The screen of the ROG Ally seems to be of excellent quality. The restitution The colors in our test sets turned out to be very good and the readability was very good. is there. Tested in full sunlight, it was still easy to enjoy our content without having to look for a patch of shade where it could be viewed. take shelter to play.

Asus ROG Ally review: a viable competitor to the Steam Deck ?

The ROG Ally's screen is of very good quality. © Linternaute.com/Julian Madiot

Note that some games have difficulty switching from 720p à 1080p. Titles like "Honkai: Star Rail" or "Hogwarts Legacy" suffer some FPS losses when changing the resolution in game. You will therefore have to favor 720p or 1080p before launching the title in question, and no longer touch it during your session .

Another advantage of the ROG Ally compared to the Steam Deck: its refresh rate. The Asus console is capable of displaying up to 120 FPS… At least in theory. Unfortunately, it&s already out there. quite complicated; for the console to reach 60 FPS on the majority' recent games, which we will discuss in the "performance" of this test.

Very uneven performance depending on the game

One of the points put forward by Asus for its ROG Ally is its power compared to the ROG  the Valve console. Là où the Steam Deck barely à exceed 30 FPS at 720p, the ROG Ally  is generally capable of delivering better performance depending on the games launched. Here are some results observed during our testing sessions:

We therefore observe that 120 FPS is far from being achieved. Even worse: reaching 60 FPS on some games seems practically impossible&agrav; Unless you configure the screen resolution and graphics qualities to a minimum (1080p and “low” graphics). It must be admitted, however, that the results of these tests exceed those of the Steam Deck by approximately 10%. 20% on the same games tested.

Asus ROG Ally review: a viable competitor to the Steam Deck ?

Released in early 2023, Hogwarts Legacy can run at 60 FPS on the ROG Ally. © Linternaute.com/Julian Madiot

A software part that could be improved

The Asus console is powered by an AMD Zen 1 Extreme processor and a customized Windows 11 environment. We were able to test the ROG Ally up and down for more than a week, and unfortunately it was not tested. free from defects on both sides software.

The majorityé Problems occur in the Windows or Armory Crate environment. This special menu launches automatically when you start the console and groups your installed games to launch them quickly. a sort of "HUB" which brings together the software installed on the ROG Ally. If the idea of ​​a dedicated menu appeals to you &agrav; your games are very well thought out, the execution remains quite messy on many points.

First of all, stability level; : the console experienced numerous bugs during our tests (white screen on startup, "Armory Crate" which no longer responds, keyboard not displayed…). While these should be easy to implement, solve through updates Today, they did not show up during our gaming sessions. Once our test games have been launched, the console remains stable, and the bugs observed therefore remain mainly linked to the starting the ROG Ally and navigating the console menus.

Asus ROG Ally review: a viable competitor to the Steam Deck ?

The "Armory Crate" was é source of several bugs during our tests. © Linternaute.com/Julian Madiot

If the moments spent in our games therefore remain very pleasant, we have not missed out on the game. to rail against certain bad ideas specific to console. To quit a game in particular, you will have to do so within it. The ROG Ally does not allow you to close a game by itself, which can cause unpleasant surprises and leave many titles still active in the background. We would really appreciate an option to launch AND close console games directly in the "Armory Crate" menu.

An operating system accessible to everyone. all

Unlike the Steam Deck, the Asus ROG Ally runs thanks to à a Windows environment. This allows à the console to appear more as a “general public” option; compared &agrav; the Valve machine which is based on Linux. The majorityé Users will find it much easier by tinkering with the ROG Ally and its Windows desktop in order to install all kinds of software and emulators.

Another positive point of Windows: the management of anti-cheats. Certain titles like Destiny 2 or Valorant don't really like Linux and are not playable on Steam Deck(unless you install a Windows partition, which can be quite painful for ordinary mortals). The ROG Ally does not suffer from this problem, and we were able to try our hand at it. several long gaming sessions on various online multiplayer titles which had an anti-cheat.

Average autonomy for slow charging

The autonomy of the ROG Ally blows hot and cold. The latter will mainly depend on your mode of use (turbo/performance), the quality of the engine and the engine. game graphics, displayed resolution (720p/1080p) and FPS achieved. Average for a large AAA game with graphics set to 'medium' and 30/40 FPS, you should play around 2 hours.

A score which is not surprising, but which is reminiscent of the autonomy of the Steam Deck. On this point, the two consoles seem to share the same performance, & except that the Asus ROG Ally has many options to extend its autonomy (game mode, FPS limit, screen resolution …). The autonomy of the ROG Ally therefore remains generally correct, but will surely frustrate the general public who imagine themselves making one portable console &agrav; take it everywhere with you.

Asus ROG Ally review: a viable competitor to the Steam Deck ?

The charger supplied with the Asus ROG Ally allows you to recharge the console in just over an hour. © Linternaute.com/Julian Madiot

Once the battery of the Asus ROG Ally is empty, ités time to recharge it. The console comes with a charger ;dié and included in the box. Good news which unfortunately hides a rather long recharge. Allow around 1h10 to fully recharge the console. It's a long time, and it will comfort you in the ' idea of ​​playing by keeping it permanently connected, removing a little more from the received idea that it is of a real portable console.

Our conclusion to testing the Asus ROG Ally

The Asus ROG Ally seduces us as much as it frustrates us. The console definitively establishes itself as a viable alternative to the Steam Deck with its Windows environment, its screen 1080p, its well thought-out design and its superior performance to its competitor. More accessible to the general public (it should in particular be available in stores), the ROG Ally is a very good first initiative of the brand in the small market portable consoles.

We will unfortunately regret the few bugs (which should be corrected in future updates) as well as the autonomy and charging which greatly limits the use of the console outdoors.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116