Our ASUS ROG Ally review unit arrived earlier today following the Aussie price and release date announcement, and whilst I wanted to save a lot of my opinions and thoughts until I’ve had more time with it, I did see a lot of questions about it after my briefs hands-on earlier this week, so I wanted to talk a little bit about the biggest advantage which is the fact that this is a Windows 11 device.
The ASUS ROG Ally runs rings around the Steam Deck in terms of performance thanks to its Z1 Extreme RDNA3 chip, but more importantly, the fact that it runs Windows 11 means that you can play literally any game that’d run on a normal Windows PC on the ASUS ROG Ally.
Unlike the Steam Deck, you’re not limited to Steam games (yes I know there are workarounds). This means that you can install games from the likes of the Epic Game Store, Ubisoft, Rockstar and EA launchers, but most importantly the Xbox app including Xbox Game Pass games, which is a big advantage considering you won’t need to re-buy a lot of PC games that you might own on consoles
Now, I saw a lot of confusion about people thinking this was a cloud streaming device, but I assure you it is not. You are downloading these games to play locally, just like you would on the Nintendo Switch, and playing them at quite decent frame rates on the gorgeous 1080p/1440p display.
Other devices such as the AYANEO 2 run Windows 11 as well and are similar powered, but to be honest, Windows 11 isn’t the greatest experience with a touch-screen (you can collect a keyboard/mouse), but what ASUS has done really well is use its own Armoury Crate SE software that acts as one single launcher that pulls all the others together, as well as your games.
Another great feature is Command Centre which basically is a quick menu that will overlay your game. You can use it to change brightness and sound as well as the resolution and framerate and also do other more advanced things such as limit the frame rate or turn on AMD FSR to smooth frame rates further. You can also really handily turn on a real-time monitor to keep tabs on frame rate, temperature etc.
It wasn’t without glitches, but the ASUS ROG Ally is still almost a month from launching, and it’s still miles ahead of the what I’ve experienced with AYASPACE (AYANEO’s software that overlays Windows), and I’d hope to see more improvements before launch.
With the ASUS ROG Ally costing $1,299 AUD (far less than I expected), and the 512GB Steam Deck being the same price on Amazon currently, I do feel like this is the better buy for most people if the software ends up getting up to scratch.