TECH NEWS – Asus announced its handheld gaming PC as an April Fool’s joke, then let it stand for a few days before revealing the truth.
Asus has confirmed that the ROG Ally, its own handheld gaming PC, is real. This capped off a painfully long April ‘prank’ in which the product was first leaked.
Just to be clear, the ROG Ally is a handheld gaming PC that Asus announced on April Fools’ Day and confirmed was just a joke.
They then followed it up later, and now, two days later, they’ve revealed that the actual April Fools’ Day prank was that the product was genuine all along. The announcement was suspicious from the start, but more importantly, we finally got to know a little about the device’s performance. One thing’s for sure: it’s no baby sponge!
Dave2D aired the details. He confirms that inside the ROG Ally is a custom AMD SoC built on TSMC’s 4nm process node. It houses a Zen 4 CPU and an RDNA 3 GPU. All this means it’s up to date. It rivals the latest processors and graphics cards available today as discrete desktop components.
It sounds like it should have a more powerful processor than the one in the Steam Deck, which it will need as Asus has equipped it with a 7-inch 1080p 16:9 1080p screen.
That’s more pixels than the Steam Deck’s 800p screen. Ally will also run faster, up to 120Hz. Whether this 4nm AMD silicon will be able to make the most of this resolution and refresh rate remains to be seen. But for the games where it is possible, it should provide a smoother experience.
Even better news, according to Dave2D, is that the Ally runs pretty quietly. In their tests, the Ally ran around 20 under load. Steam Deck, which is not the quietest device, ran at 37 db.
“If only it wasn’t Windows,” said Asus
The device runs Windows 11, but there is a custom Asus app that includes a game launcher and allows on-the-fly manual system settings. In our experience with other Windows-based handhelds, they’re not as slick to use as Valve’s Linux-based SteamOS on the Steam Deck, so that’s something to watch out for. At least Windows limits the games you can play less. Some online games, such as Destiny, refuse to work on Steam Deck.
The fascinating part of the ROG Ally is that it will be connectable to one of Asus’ external GPU enclosures, which uses a proprietary connector.
This would mean you could massively boost the GPU performance up to an RTX 4090. Assuming, of course, that you can still run all the other display outputs on the GPU chassis. All of this could be a decent way to dock the device at home and play demanding games at higher resolutions.
The most crucial piece of information that’s missing right now is the price. This device looks good, but the Steam Deck’s appeal lies in its reasonably low price for a gaming PC. Asus told Dave2D that the cost would be “very competitive”, but beyond that, we don’t know.
Let’s hope that it will be a really competitive price and that the software will provide a seamless experience. Despite the shaky announcement, it looks like a really decent handheld PC.