This portable PC gaming machine from Asus would be serious competition for the Steam Deck if the company actually puts it on sale.
Considering the date on the calendar and the lack of a price or other details, the first — and probably correct — response to Asus surprise-announcing a handheld gaming machine is that this must be an April Fools’ Day prank. Still, this Asus ROG Ally launch video is just a little too good to simply shake off.
According to Asus, the Windows 11-powered ROG Ally has a customized Ryzen APU from AMD inside, like the Aerith SOC inside Valve’s Steam Deck, and Asus claims it is the fastest one from AMD yet.
The screen will provide “full HD gaming,” and it promises a quiet dual-fan design along with the visible standard setup of dual analog sticks, left-mounted D-pad, and four face buttons, plus a few smaller buttons around the screen to access menus and settings. Going beyond the Steam Deck dock, it even advertises the opportunity to “experience Ally’s full potential” by plugging in the ROG XG Mobile eGPU the company offers for use with its gaming laptops while streaming your games to a TV.
The trailer features real games like High On Life, Moving Out, and WRC Generations — unusual for a prank — and has a link to Best Buy, where gamers can sign up for information about pre-orders.
While Valve’s Steam Deck has been the most successful attempt to make PC gaming a truly portable experience, there are plenty of competitors, like the Ayaneo 2 or other Switch-like machines from GPD and OneXPlayer. However, in our experience, they’ve relied on an AMD 6800U chipset instead of a custom design and generally lack the right combination of horsepower and efficiency that we want to see from handheld gaming machines.
More than anything, the machine featured in the video looks fully designed and ready to roll out as a high-powered entry into the portable gaming market. It’s certainly more realistic than what Asus ROG (Republic of Gamers) posted on April Fools’ Day 2022, hawking a concept “Smart Lens” for eye-controlled gestures that it later revealed was a joke. Of course, Asus is also the company that just unleashed this ROG Flow Z13 Acronym portable that defies all belief and understanding.
We’ll have to wait and see if this Ally handheld is still standing after the clock rolls over to April 2nd, but Asus certainly seems ready to face the Steam Deck in this category sooner or later.