ASUS readies Steam Deck rival

It’s a pretty good time to be a handheld gamer. While the Switch’s success ensured that handhelds never fully went away, thanks to the Steam Deck, companies are remembering there’s a market for people who like to game on the go — or, at least, away from the TV. While Chinese companies like Powkiddy, Anbernic, Retroid, and Aya Neo have been making decent strides in giving Valve some degree of competition (assuming you’re okay with long shipping times, hit-or-miss performance, and the occasional bizarre design choice), now some heavier hitters are starting to get into the space, with ASUS’ announcement that they’ll be unveiling their ASUS ROG Ally on May 11th.

Given it was initially announced on April 1st, a lot of people assumed it was an April Fools’ Day joke (not least because “Ally” sounds kind of like “A lie”). However, ASUS soon clarified that their announcement really was an announcement. And now, we have some more details.

As you can see in the above image, the Ally is going to running on Windows 11 and powered by new AMD Ryzen chips designed specifically for handhelds. (AMD themselves gave more information on the new chips earlier this week, if you want to get into the nitty-gritty.) While you’ll be able to add all kinds of Windows-based launchers — meaning you won’t need to go through side-loading apps and launchers to get your games from Epic Games Store and GOG, as you currently have to do with the Steam Deck — the Ally will also include a 90-day trial of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.

The big unknown, of course, is price, though last night we got some pretty strong hints that the upper-end version of the Ally will cost just under $700, putting it squarely up against the Steam Deck:

We’ll have to wait until May 11th to get confirmation, so for now, we’ll have to make do with the press release below!

ASUS Republic of Gamers (ROG) is proud to announce the ROG Ally, an incredibly powerful new Windows 11 gaming handheld. Powered by a cutting-edge AMD Ryzen? Z1 series processor, the Ally can breeze through AAA games and indie titles with ease. A bright and high-refresh-rate touchscreen ensures that gamers see their content clearly even when gaming outdoors. The Ally is easy to carry and handle all day, thanks to its lightweight 608 g design and ergonomic handholds.

Incredible AMD-powered performance

Featuring an all-new purpose-built APU ? an AMD Ryzen? Z1 series processor with RDNA? 3 graphics ? the ROG Ally is primed to deliver never-before-seen levels of handheld gaming performance. Gamers who enjoy lighter indie titles, or more graphically intensive AAA games, can do it all with the Ally. Making all this possible is also ROG?s Zero Gravity thermal system, which uses a dual-fan system with ultrathin heatsink fins and high-friction heat pipes to ensure the Ally stays cool in any orientation.

Flagship gaming performance demands a panel to match, and the Ally does not disappoint. Equipped with a 120 Hz FHD (1080p) panel with FreeSync? Premium support, gamers will enjoy supreme motion clarity in fast-paced games, with no tearing or stuttering in the event of an FPS drop. The display also has a maximum brightness of 500 nits, enabling gamers to easily keep track of the action in more challenging environments like the great outdoors. This touchscreen also allows seamless navigation of the Windows desktop when gamers need to change settings or install their next game.

Full-fledged Windows 11 gaming

The ROG Ally runs Windows 11, meaning gamers can access all their publisher libraries and game streaming services on a single device. No matter where the latest and greatest titles are available, the Ally can power gamers to victory. Navigating the Windows desktop is a seamless experience, either through the Ally?s joysticks and buttons or through Windows? robust touchscreen support.

Additionally, a Special Edition of Armoury Crate makes its debut with the ROG Ally, customized with quick performance mode toggles, a game launcher, in-game monitoring software, Aura Sync support, and more. ROG is also offering a bundled 90-day trial of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, giving users instant access to hundreds of great games from Xbox Game Studios, indie studios, and blockbusters the moment they boot their Ally.

Ergonomic and lightweight design

For a handheld, weight and ergonomics are everything. ROG engineers painstakingly developed and iterated the shape and weight of the ROG Ally until they were satisfied that they had created the perfect machine to carry and play all day. Weighing in at just 608 grams, the Ally will never weigh heavily in a gamer?s backpack or hands, allowing for plenty of uninterrupted and comfortable gameplay.

The Ally?s ergonomics continue with its handgrips, with unique triangle texturing on the rear giving gamers a solid hold on the machine from any angle. ROG styling lines adorn the palm side of the grip while also helping to reduce any accidental slipping.

Learn more at the ROG Ally launch event

The official ROG Ally launch event will be held on May 11, 2023. Please tune in to learn more about the full specifications and pricing. The keynote will start at 10.00 a.m. Eastern Time (14.00 GMT), followed by a panel discussion with Shawn Yen, Product Management Director of Gaming Business Unit from ASUS, Roanne Sones, CVP, Head of Xbox Hardware, and Frank Azor, Chief Architect of Gaming Solutions and Gaming Marketing from AMD to talk about the design story of the ROG Ally and its impact on the gaming landscape.