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  • Writer's pictureLaMar Bridges

The Asus Rog Ally Z1 has become my go-to gaming device

The Rog Ally is everything the Switch could be, Except for the battery being the weakest aspect of the Asus Rog Ally Z1 extreme.

This powerful handheld PC improves what the switch nature truly is or was. I finally bit the bullet and bought the Asus Rog Ally Z1 Extreme, and my experience was great, with minor headaches.

I want to make this article clear. It points out my experience playing with the Rog and why I chose to keep it. I am not saying the Rog is better than the SD or other devices.

The Switch-like vibe was a great idea by Nintendo, and the Rog has followed. Plenty of times, I would play a game on my PC and realize I needed to be somewhere or a friend wanted to hang out or pick up my wife from work.

I would have to stop my gaming session and leave, only to return to my PC many hours later.

Thanks to cloud saves and me being able to play on the Rog anytime. I no longer have to wait and not continue my gaming sessions. Of course, it is still a matter of saving my game and then having to boot up the Rog to continue. Nothing in comparison will beat the Switch in picking up and playing, but the SD and the Rog come close.

My time with the Rog Ally

Like many of you, I heard how poor the battery life was on the Rog Ally. At first, I hesitated to purchase the handheld because I had my Steam Deck OLED and the Nintendo Switch for two months prior.

Though a great pickup, the Steam deck could only run Game Pass and Epic with a runaround of downloads to help make the software run smoothly. That is when I learned Asus made the perfect handheld for me.

Not only does the Rog Ally run Epic Game Store and Game Pass natively, but the OS system is Windows 11. As a Microsoft user through and through, this was perfect, seeing how the Steam Deck uses Linux—a system I have never used and, honestly, struggle with using.

So I gave in and bought the mini PC, and the first few days, I hated it. The Rog was awkward; the button placements and joystick selections were inferior to the steam deck. Compared to the SD OLED, the thumbsticks felt loose, like someone had handed me an old controller.

Comparing the two hand in hand, the deck felt much better in my hands naturally. But I thought I was being unfair, so I gave the rog time to grow on me. After a week of playing with the Rog, the device grew on me. I still had my issues with the handheld.

I can tell you what I love about this device in a shortlist. One thing I love is that it is Windows 11. I use Windows on all of my devices. Many of you do not like Windows 11, but I do. Because I use Windows, all my profiles can be used on my Rog Ally. Even though I did not get the Rog for a laptop, it is nice to be able to continue my work on it.

Reason two, the Rog Ally can play almost any game PC-ready. Unlike the Steam Deck, the Rog Ally can play many games from other platforms without a workaround. Let me clear the air on what I mean because some people have mastered the SD fully, and they can make it seem very easy to use the device. The setup became easy because it was a lot of install and play for me on the Rog; while using the Steam Deck, I would have to change the game settings for it to run properly at times.

I also get the Steam Deck can, but it is more complex and less natural than the Asus Rog Ally. I can download the Epic Games Store app and Xbox Game Pass and play any game without tweaking the controls. That's the best part about the RG Ally. It can run most games the SD can't, which is a plus. I am a big Xbox Game Pass subscriber, playing every new game released on the platform.

It was nice to know I could play those games on the Rog and not have to play them only on my Xbox Series X or PC. Of course, the downside is that I will have to use my mobile hotspot for the internet due to game pass conditions. (There are other workarounds to this, but it is not something the Rog makes a problem; instead, it is Windows itself. )

Of course, the one thing I truly dislike about this device is its battery life or the lack of it. I know Asus told the world how long you should be able to play games in one sitting, but that did not come with my Rog. I get less than an hour on battery almost every time. I give the SD all its flowers on the battery. With the proper settings, games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Starfield play for more than an hour.

But on the Rog, I would catch myself plugging in the charger 45 minutes into my game session.

If you are out and it will take an hour, please don't play demanding games because, within 50 minutes, you will lose 90 percent of your battery. So play less demanding games, and you will have the game longer. Or bring your charger or a power bank with you.

Now, I did love the features on the Rog Ally. You have different CPU modes that will change how much power is used. There is a performance mode, which is the default mode. Silent mode is the weaker of the modes, and you have turbo mode, which is the strongest of the modes. Silent lowers the battery wattage and should only be used for internet use like YouTube or Google.

The performance mode uses a lot more battery. It will be your go-to for gaming most of the time ( also the mode I spend 90 percent of the time in. ), While Turbo is the hotrod of hell. It cranks up the battery usage while giving you the power to play games like Elden Ring over 45 frames per second. But the battery consumption is very high, so turning on Turbo while charging is a suggestion.

The minor headaches were far in between with the Rog. The biggest headache was setting up everything, unlike the SD, which is ready to play after its update and log-in. The Rog has many pieces that are needed to make the device playable. You have to update Armory Crate, which is the game launcher. Then there is the Myasus app that covers the Rog life and the Windows software that will keep the entire system running.

Luckily, I am used to this setup because, again, I am a Windows user, but that doesn't take away the pain of it. The Switch has steps similar to the SD, and it gets even simpler if you never go into the store to buy games.

The real question is whether it is worth the almost 800 USD dollars.

I bought the SD OLED for almost 600 USD and have loved the handheld since my purchase.

However, out of curiosity, I bought the Asus Rog Ally Z1 Extreme for nearly 800 USD, a 200-dollar difference. After playing high-demanding games like Starfield, Baldur's Gate 3, and Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty, the Rog Ally handles each game with a mean streak of power.

It's small, portable, and, most importantly, it plays games. I did not buy the Rog Ally to use it as a laptop. I have an Asus Tuf Gaming A17 laptop and a gaming PC with a 4050 graphics card to run the best games possible. No, I got the Rog because I wanted the ability to play games on the go or my bed.

To answer the question, is the Rog worth the price? Yes, but with conditions? If you don't care about portability, stick with a laptop for that 800-dollar price. But you are looking for an incredible gaming handheld that can play

Cyberpunk 2077 or everything else the SD or Nintendo Switch cannot. In that case, the Rog Ally would be the next best thing to buy.

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