ROG Ally Review: A Mobile Gaming Powerhouse with Perks

ROG Ally Review: A Mobile Gaming Powerhouse with Perks

The ROG Ally throws down the gauntlet in the portable gaming arena, earning a coveted Gold Award from [invalid URL removed]. ASUS’ latest offering boasts a powerful AMD processor, a sleek design, and the unfettered freedom of a full Windows 11 experience. But how does this contender stack up against its rivals, most notably the Steam Deck? Let’s delve into the Ally’s strengths, weaknesses, and whether it lives up to the promise of “premium gaming on the go.”

Unboxing a Pocket-Sized Powerhouse

First impressions matter, and the Ally doesn’t disappoint. The device exudes a premium feel, despite its plastic construction. It’s surprisingly sturdy and compact, easily fitting into a backpack or even a large handbag. The 7-inch IPS LCD display delivers a crisp Full HD resolution, boasting a buttery smooth 120Hz refresh rate – ideal for fast-paced games where every millisecond counts. Under the hood lurks the beating heart of the Ally – the AMD Z1 Extreme APU. Accompanied by 16GB of DDR5 RAM, this processor packs a serious punch, allowing you to play a wide range of PC games without breaking a sweat. Here’s where the Ally shines the brightest. Unlike the Steam Deck’s tethered library, the Ally grants access to your entire PC game library through launchers like Steam, Epic Games, and even emulators. It truly embodies a PC gamer’s dream – the freedom to play your favorite titles, anywhere, anytime.

Portability Perfected: A Gaming PC You Can Take Anywhere

The Ally’s true strength lies in its unmatched portability. Compared to traditional gaming laptops, it’s significantly lighter and more compact, making it ideal for long commutes, quick gaming sessions on the couch, or even lounging on the beach (weather permitting, of course). The built-in kickstand allows for comfortable tabletop gaming, and the plethora of ports (including two USB-A ports, a USB-C port, and a headphone jack) ensures you can connect your favorite peripherals. This level of portability opens doors for a truly versatile gaming experience, something the Steam Deck, with its more limited software options, can’t quite compete with.

The Achilles’ Heel: Power vs. Battery Life

However, the trade-off for this remarkable portability is battery life. The Ally struggles to maintain consistent performance for extended periods on battery power alone. While ASUS claims up to 3 hours of gameplay on a single charge, demanding titles can drain the battery much faster. This forces you to be near a power outlet more often than you might like, slightly dampening the “go anywhere” appeal.

Performance: A Balancing Act

The AMD Z1 Extreme APU delivers impressive performance for a portable device. You can expect smooth gameplay at 1080p resolution with medium to high settings on most modern titles. However, pushing the graphics settings to the max or attempting to play at higher resolutions can result in frame rate drops. This isn’t surprising considering the size and thermal limitations of the Ally. The built-in cooling system does a decent job of keeping things from getting too hot, but extended high-performance gaming sessions can lead to thermal throttling.

Here’s where the “eternal trade-off” comes into play. To maximize battery life, you might have to sacrifice some graphical fidelity. However, if you prioritize raw performance and are willing to stay tethered to a power outlet, the Ally can handle most modern games admirably.

Beyond the Games: A Full Windows 11 Experience

The Ally isn’t just a gaming device; it’s a full-fledged Windows 11 PC. You can use it for browsing the internet, working on documents, or even basic video editing (although the processing power might limit your options). This versatility adds tremendous value to the Ally, making it a true portable workhorse that can transition seamlessly from gaming to productivity tasks.

Gold Standard Performance ([invalid URL removed])

[invalid URL removed] awards the ROG Ally a Gold rating based on its exceptional performance for a portable device. The combination of the AMD Z1 Extreme APU and 16GB of DDR5 RAM allows the Ally to run a wide range of PC games smoothly. While graphics settings might need adjustments for demanding titles, the overall gameplay experience is impressive, especially considering its size and portability.

Who Should Buy the ROG Ally?

  • Gamers who prioritize portability and want access to a wider library of PC games than the Steam Deck can offer.
  • Users who require a versatile machine that can handle both gaming and productivity tasks on the go.

Who Should Look Elsewhere? 

  • Gamers who prioritize long battery life and uncompromised performance might be better suited for a traditional gaming laptop. These laptops offer superior power and can maintain consistent performance for longer durations. However, their larger size and weight significantly hinder portability.
  • Casual gamers who primarily play less demanding titles might find the Ally’s price tag a bit too steep. There are many affordable gaming laptops or even high-end smartphones with controllers that can handle less graphically intensive games.

The Future of Portable PC Gaming: Where Does the Ally Stand?

The ROG Ally is a significant step forward for portable PC gaming. Its blend of power, portability, and versatility sets a high bar for future iterations. As technology advances, we can expect to see even more powerful and efficient processors, improved cooling solutions, and longer battery life in future versions of the Ally or similar devices. This paves the way for a future where true “uncompromised” portable PC gaming becomes a reality, blurring the lines between handheld and traditional gaming experiences.

The Verdict: A Silver with Room for Improvement

The ROG Ally isn’t a perfect device, but it’s a bold step in the right direction. Earning a Silver rating from us here at is a testament to its impressive performance and capabilities. It offers a compelling option for gamers who value portability and a vast library of PC games. However, the trade-off in battery life and thermal limitations requires careful consideration.

Who should buy it? For the discerning mobile gamer who prioritizes access to a wider range of titles and prioritizes portability over unfettered battery life, the Ally is a fantastic companion. It offers the freedom to enjoy demanding titles virtually anywhere, as long as a power outlet is within reasonable reach. Casual gamers or those who prioritize long gaming sessions on battery power might be better suited for a different device.

Overall, the ROG Ally is a powerful and versatile portable PC that pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in the handheld gaming space. Whether you’re a hardcore PC gamer seeking a portable option or a casual user looking for a versatile machine, the ROG Ally is definitely worth considering, but be sure to weigh its strengths and weaknesses carefully before making the plunge.


Tech Editor, gear head , photographer, videographer, editor and all around lover of technology.

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