Republic of Gamers (ROG) by Asus is a name that resonates strongly with PC gaming enthusiasts. The ROG Ally is Asus' bold foray into creating a handheld PC gaming console or better put, a portable gaming PC. With robust hardware and Windows 11 at its core, it offers access to a wide range of games beyond just Steam titles. Having had the chance to use the ASUS ROG gaming ally, here's my quick review.
What's in the Box:
Upon unboxing, you'll find a rather large charger and a power cable. It's worth noting the absence of a protective case, a notable miss for a device designed for portability.
The ROG Ally excels in running nearly any PC game, even handling recent titles surprisingly well. Asus has opted not to create its own closed ecosystem, distinguishing it from competitors like Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony. This means no proprietary hardware or software, and no allegiance to a specific game store. You have the freedom to download from various sources, including Steam, Epic, EA, and more.
Hardware and Performance:
Equipped with a vivid 7-inch Full HD touchscreen boasting a 120 Hz variable refresh rate, the device also features joysticks, a D-pad, and the familiar array of buttons and triggers similar to popular gaming controllers. Under the hood, the Asus ROG Ally packs a punch with an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor, 16 GB DDR5 RAM running at 6400 MHz, and a 512 GB Gen 4 SSD.
Connectivity and Accessories:
Connectivity options include a USB-C 3.2 port that serves for charging, data transfer, and display output. While a second USB port would have been appreciated, it's not included. Additionally, there's a connector for the Asus ROG XG Mobile dock, which enhances graphics capabilities and provides additional connectivity options, albeit at an extra cost. The device also features a 3.5 mm headphone jack for wired headsets, along with surprisingly impressive built-in speakers.
Windows 11 on a Small Screen:
Despite the generally positive gaming experience, one drawback is the use of Windows 11 on a screen this size, which can be somewhat challenging.
Pricing in India:
Asus offers two variants of the ROG Ally internationally, differing in the System on Chip (SoC). The Indian market currently receives the higher-end version, powered by AMD's Ryzen Z1 Extreme. Priced at Rs. 69,990, it offers good value considering its specifications.
While most PC gamers prefer desktops or laptops for their power and larger displays, the Asus ROG Ally caters to those seeking a lighter and more compact alternative. Although there are areas for improvement, it excels in gaming performance. However, it's worth noting that battery life is limited, and optimal performance is achieved when connected to a 65W power source. Personally, I found it most convenient to use at home. In this regard, it's a nice-to-have, even though a luxury. While it might not be a finished product in the grand scheme, it's an impressive initial attempt.