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  • Writer's pictureLaMar Bridges

The Unstoppable Rog Ally: A Seven-Month Review

The Rog Ally, with its unique blend of power and portability, stands out in every way. No matter what gaming challenge I threw at it, this handheld gaming device held its ground and surpassed my expectations.

The Asus Rog Ally has two versions with a funny price point that the internet deemed high value. The first version and Cheaper of the two is the Rog Ally Z1, which costs 500 USD. The more powerful version can reach almost 800 USD.

Both handhelds have different pricing, and to make the difference in price, both have minor internal differences. The Z1 and Z1 Extreme editions have the same physical design with a 7-inch LCD screen that shows 120hz. While both have the same physical design, the real difference between the two is the power the Z1 Extreme provides.

The Z1 Extreme has an 8-core/12-thread count chip, while the Z1 has a 6-core/8-thread count chip. Thus, the Z1 Extreme will be best for more demanding games.

I didn't opt for the more budget-friendly Z1; I dove straight into the Z1 Extreme. I was on a quest to explore this handheld's high points and see if it could replace my Steam Deck OLED, which I had acquired just a month earlier. Initially, I was skeptical, but over time, I found myself drawn to its unique features and began to use it more frequently than my Desktop PC and the impressive Steam Deck.

well, several months later, here is my Rog Ally review.

My Rog Ally review

My first thoughts on owning the Ally were slow buildup. I often went to Best Buy to test out the demo on display, and I kept telling myself this felt like an Xbox controller.

The box it came in was grey, with the front of the Ally printed on it. Inside came the Ally, a plastic stand with Rog spelled into it, and the 65-watt power cord.

When I opened the Ally, I kept telling myself I wouldn't keep it long. In my inventory, I already had a gaming PC, a gaming Laptop, and the newly released Steam Deck OLED. So, I had many options for playing games, but the Steam Deck could only play games on Game Pass natively with a little extra installation most would not care to do.

Because of its versatility, I first considered using the Rog as a laptop and portable gaming device. However, I quickly did not like that idea and decided to play games only on the PC handheld and use my laptops when needed. The device could have done a better job as a laptop, but the screen was too small, and buying a portable monitor would be extra work.

At first, I was not impressed with the Ally. I constantly compared it to my Steam Deck and gaming laptop, the Asus Tuf A17. The Rog Ally seemed to pale in Comparison. But then, something changed. I decided to give the Ally a real chance to use it as my primary gaming device. And that's when everything changed. The Ally proved its worth, and I fell in love with it.

Thus, giving Ally a real chance, I loved what this portable PC could do. The Ally replaced all my gaming needs while I had the Steam Deck; I would catch myself using the Rog more and more on trips or day-to-day gaming. My experience with the Rog Ally was a great one.

The performance of the Rog Ally was a reason for me to try the device.

In a head-to-head comparison with the Steam Deck, the Rog Ally consistently outperformed it in many aspects of gaming. Games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Fallout 4 ran smoothly on the Rog, achieving high FPS, a feat the Steam Deck couldn't match.

As a portable gaming PC, it outshines my gaming needs and laptop. To explain what I am talking about, my Rog worked so well that I did not have to carry my gaming laptop around for all my gaming needs. Yes, my laptop was a suitable gaming device, and I spent a lot on it, but I did not need it for gaming as it only produced 1080p.

But the resolution was not why I did not need to carry it around; it was Rog's ability to play any game I wanted while away from home.

I am not an expert and will not act like I am regarding how the cooling system works or if it works. I have not had an overheating issue in the seven months I have owned the gaming PC. I still can use the SD card slot. It gets hot, but the fans blow out that hot air through its vents as designed.

My seven-month experience with the Asus Rog ally

Design and build quality

In terms of quality of construction, I think the Rog is fine. Sure, the team could have done a better job locating the charging port or the SD card. Fortunately, the Rog Ally X fixes that compared to the last-year model.

Looking at the button and Joystick placement, this device feels more like an Xbox controller than what Valve has done with its Steam Deck. However, this also makes the device smaller compared to the Steam Deck, which is an advantage. But to say the least, I do not like the Joysticks. Since having the SD and the Rog, I believe Valve has made the better joystick.

The Rog Ally's Joystick feels loose and quickly can get stick drift. Hopefully, this never becomes true once I reach 1000 thousand man hours playing with it. Of course, this is all compared to the SD OLED, which has taller and firmer sticks.

Display and audio quality

The Rog comes with a 7-inch 1920x1080p screen that has a refreshed 120hz. Yes, 1080 is still awesome for gaming. The screen size is not oled like the Steam Deck, but it can still bring some vibrant colors to the screen; just try one of the games that play in HDR, like Devil May Cry 5.

The Asus Rog Ally Z1 Extreme does a great job with sound. The speakers are down towards the bottom of the gaming device, and they are truly a frontal blast of sound. I really loved the way sound was captured when I tried my hands at Hellblade 2. The Rog did a fantastic job capturing the other voices that Sensuana hears throughout her journey.

Because the Asus Rog Ally Z1 Extreme is a portable gaming device, its portability is 9. The charger area could be in a better position, which explains why the Asus Rog Ally X will have two charging ports, one at the top and one at the bottom.

The worst thing about the Rog is its battery life. If you were to play games on it, you would get 1 hour of playtime. Of course, depending on the mode you choose to play on, you will be able to play for 1 hour or an extra 30 minutes. There are workarounds to this, such as lowering the graphics for the games you play or playing less demanding games to help increase that battery life, but buying a power bank worked for me. However, playing games like Ghost of Tsushima or Sims 4 would be the difference in battery dropping.

Worth the gaming

Summary of pros and cons

I have had many ups and downs with this awesome gaming device. I haven't run into many games it cannot handle. I genuinely have a disdain for battery life. I understand that this is my biggest gripe with owning the Rog Ally.

Now, there are more cons, but I think the Pros far outweigh the cons, like the ability to run every game possible at your fingertips. Games like Mafia 3, Call of Duty, Marvel's Spider-Man, and God of War (2018) can run better than Steam Deck.

Long-term viability and recommendation

The Asus Rog Ally Z1 Extreme proves it is one of the best gaming handhelds in 2024. Its great feature helps keep the battery life longer than other gaming handhelds, such as the Steam Deck or the Legion Go, which I recommend you do in the long run to give your ally the best life possible.

If you have the cash, get yourself a rog Ally trust me

These six months with the Rog Ally have been fun, to say the least. In the first month of owning it, I wanted to get rid of it because I kept comparing it to my gaming Laptop. However, once I allowed the Ally to be my only source of portable gaming, things became much clearer about how great the Asus Rog Ally Z1 Extreme could be. For example, I remember taking the Rog on my trip to San Antonio for Nostalgia Con. I left my laptop at home, but unlike my laptop, the Rog booted up and allowed me to play Manor Lords instantly. Yes, my laptop could have played the same game, but due to the size of my laptop being 17 inches and me needing to find a suitable place to play it, the Rog was the better choice.

The Rog Ally is not without its competitors. For instance, Microsoft has been rumored to be developing a portable handheld that could rival the Xbox Series S. However, the Rog Ally stands out in terms of performance and versatility. It's the closest thing to an Xbox handheld, offering a gaming experience that is hard to match.

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