ASUS ROG Ally vs. Steam Deck: A Facet-By-Facet View

The ROG Ally from Asus dropped again in July to a whole lot of fanfare. Billed as a Steam Deck killer, the ROG Ally definitely appeared to be the half – a minimum of on paper. Now that we’ve had a couple of months with the machine, it’s time to determine: does the ROG Ally stay as much as the hype? Or is the Steam Deck nonetheless the undisputed king of handheld gaming PCs?

ROG Ally vs. Steam Deck: Technical Specs

Asus didn’t pull any punches out of the gate, choosing a “go huge or go house” mentality. That is an applicable technique given the Steam Deck’s market dominance. While you take a shot on the king, you higher not miss. With AMD’s Ryzen Z1 Excessive chip, the ROG Ally comfortably takes the throne as the brand new handheld efficiency juggernaut.

Rog Ally Amd Ryzen Z1 Cpu
Picture Supply: AMD

That is due to the spectacular eight Zen 4 CPU cores and a staggering 12 RDNA3 GPU cores. Comparatively, the Steam Deck is operating an eight-core AMD Zen 2 chip mixed with eight RDNA2 GPU cores. We don’t need to get misplaced within the technobabble weeds, however the ROG Ally boasts newer, superior processing energy in comparison with the Steam Deck. Consequently, the ROG Ally can run just about something you throw at it, from AAA video games to probably the most demanding emulators.

Steam Deck Valve Apu Amd
Picture Supply: AMD

That mentioned, it’s essential to notice that the ROG Ally additionally is available in a barely cheaper variant. For about $100 much less, you may get the ROG Ally that makes use of the vanilla AMD Ryzen Z1 CPU. Regardless of the financial savings, it’s probably not value it. The efficiency of the ROG Ally takes a big hit. In assessments, the Steam Deck outpaces the inventory, non-Excessive Z1, despite the fact that it makes use of an older structure.

Each gadgets make the most of 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. That mentioned, each the Steam Deck and the ROG Ally’s RAM is soldered onto the motherboard. Sadly, because of this it’s not doable to improve the RAM. That’s, except you’re actually helpful with a soldering iron and prepared to void your guarantee.

Winner: ROG Ally (Z1 Excessive variant)

FYI: attempt these free Steam Deck mods.

ROG Ally vs. Steam Deck: The Display screen

The show of the ROG Ally is a 7-inch 1080p IPS touchscreen. Some people would say that the benefit of 1080p on such a small display is negligible. Nonetheless, that is largely a subjective declare. In any case, magnificence is within the eye of the beholder. There may be respectable concern surrounding how a lot juice the display attracts from the battery. Naturally, extra pixels on display means extra horsepower is required. This ends in extra energy being drawn, negatively impacting battery life.

On varied boards, ROG Ally house owners declare that the display decision candy spot is 900p – however there’s a catch. The ROG Ally solely has two decision settings: 1080p and 720p. Nonetheless, it’s doable to set 900p because the default display decision utilizing mods and different workarounds.

Comparatively, the Steam Deck comes with a 7-inch, 1280 x 800p IPS contact show. As talked about earlier, display decision is subjective. Nonetheless, the DeckHD, an aftermarket Steam Deck display alternative that boasts a 1200p decision, has been promoting like hotcakes. Interpret that nevertheless you desire to, but it surely appears people would favor the next display decision.

Whereas the decision debate can go both approach, nearly everybody will agree {that a} larger display refresh price is completely mandatory when gaming. In that area, the Rog Ally’s 120 Hz refresh price trumps the Steam Deck’s 60 Hz display.

Winner: ROG Ally

ROG Ally vs. Steam Deck: Storage

Having a strong handheld PC permits you to play extra demanding AAA titles. Sadly, these video games usually chew up a ton of space for storing. Due to this fact, you’ll need to just be sure you have sufficient storage to take your sport library on the go.

The Steam Deck makes use of a compact 2230 M.2 NVMe SSD, which is offered in three flavors: 64, 256 and 512 GB. When you’ll save a bit of money whenever you go for a smaller storage drive, it isn’t beneficial, as Valve doesn’t formally endorse finish customers swapping out the SSD. But, it’s doable, as there are a variety of how-to guides on the Web that may stroll you thru the method. Remember that whereas it’s pretty straightforward to switch the drive, you’ll have to reinstall the OS to get all the things up and operating. Since Valve didn’t intend for customers to do that, it requires a bit of additional effort.

The ROG Ally ships with a compact 2230 M.2 NVMe 512 GB SSD. There aren’t any different storage choices on the time of this writing, but the ROG Ally’s inner SSD is definitely replaceable. Actually, not like the Steam Deck, ASUS encourages customers to switch the SSD if they need and even offers an official information on learn how to do it. Moreover, ASUS has a helpful cloud restoration software that reinstalls Home windows and all of the ROG Ally software program that may be launched from throughout the machine’s BIOS. This makes upgrading the SSD comparatively painless.

Steam Deck Vs Rog Ally Rog Ally Ssd Upgrade

Each the Steam Deck and the ROG Ally have micro SD card slots. That is a simple and comparatively cheap method to broaden your storage. Nonetheless, micro SD playing cards are usually not practically as quick as the inner SSD, so you’ll have to take care of prolonged loading occasions. As well as, there have been quite a few reviews that the ROG Ally corrupts micro SD playing cards.

It’s assumed that the machine’s thermals are too excessive and fry the micro SD. ASUS has tried to rectify the problem with software program updates, but it surely hasn’t mounted the issue. At this level, ASUS acknowledges that it’s a design flaw, however they’ve responded with a shrug of the shoulders, so don’t anticipate the issue to go away any time quickly.

Winner: ROG Ally

ROG Ally vs. Steam Deck: Battery Life

Having a handheld gaming PC is nice, however with out respectable battery life, you’ll be tethered to an influence outlet. Battery life is dependent upon a wide range of elements. This contains issues like display decision, brightness, body price and the way onerous you’re pushing the {hardware}. Since so many issues can affect the longevity of a battery, we’re going to maintain issues easy and take care of reported battery life averages.

Energy consumption is expressed in watts (W). Merely put, extra wattage means higher efficiency; nevertheless, it additionally means quicker battery drain. The ROG Ally has three settings that decide the efficiency of the machine in addition to the ability consumption. Quiet equates to 10W, Efficiency is 15W and Extremely is 30W. Customers have reported that operating the ROG Ally at 30W offers you about an hour of play time – not nice for something greater than the morning commute. Relying on the way you tweak your gaming expertise, it’s doable to squeeze about 4 hours of playtime.

Rog Ally Playing Handheld Mode Portable

Valve has ensured that the Steam Deck system is optimized on low wattages. This permits it to preserve energy whereas nonetheless delivering the products – offered you’re prepared to make some concessions. Some customers declare to have the ability to squeeze a whopping eight hours of play time, however these claims may be deceptive. As we talked about above, battery life is dependent upon all kinds of things, however the common consensus is that the ROG Ally has fairly crummy battery life in comparison with the Steam Deck. That is most likely attributable to ASUS eager to outperform the Steam Deck by way of sheer energy. Sadly, because of this they ignored battery optimization.

Winner: Steam Deck

ROG Ally vs. Steam Deck: Working System

The Steam Deck runs a customized model of Linux referred to as SteamOS. This has been designed from the bottom up for the Steam Deck and incorporates the Steam storefront. Since SteamOS is Linux-based, it additionally makes use of Valve’s Proton. It is a piece of software program that enables Home windows video games to run on the Linux-based OS with none end-user tweaking. The Steam Deck will also be used as a conventional PC in desktop mode. SteamOS relies on Arch Linux and makes use of KDE Plasma for its desktop surroundings.

Steam Deck Steam Os

The ROG Ally runs Home windows 11 out of the field, together with a set of ROG Ally-centric software program that mainly runs on prime. This features a sport library supervisor dubbed “Armoury Crate,” that ties collectively the entire main sport platforms, together with Steam, GOG Galaxy, Epic, and Xbox Recreation Cross, on one display. It really works effectively however is simply a bit of software program that Home windows runs, versus being a devoted platform tailored for the ROG Ally.

The most important benefit right here is that almost all video games are designed with Home windows in thoughts, so that you gained’t be operating into any compatibility points. Even anti-cheat software program gained’t be an issue, because it’s principally made to play good with Home windows, however the identical can’t be mentioned for Linux. That mentioned, Home windows is certainly extra resource-hungry, so you might need to take into account optimizing Home windows in your ROG Ally for gaming.

Rog Ally Docked

Just like the Steam Deck, the ROG Ally is a PC and can be utilized like one. Due to the ever present nature of Home windows, utilizing the ROG Ally as a PC is a bit simpler. You don’t have to be accustomed to Linux or the command line to rise up and operating. With the ROG Ally operating a patchwork of software program, you’re going to need to take care of varied updates, each ROG Ally and Home windows.

To take action, you’ll have to periodically test the MyASUS app to see if there are any new driver updates, and also you’ll additionally have to test the Armoury Crate app for any related updates. Updating the Steam Deck is a extra streamlined expertise. Merely test for any updates throughout the Steam Deck’s Settings, apply them, and restart if mandatory.

Winner: Steam Deck

ROG Ally vs. Steam Deck: Look & Really feel

Each the ROG Ally and the Steam Deck sport an analogous look. Analog sticks, face buttons, shoulder buttons and mappable again buttons are current on each gadgets. There are slight variations by way of connectivity, however in a side-by-side comparability, the Steam Deck is sort of a bit bigger. Granted, the bigger dimension is partly because of the Steam Deck having built-in touchpads located on the left and proper of the display. When you think about the primary promoting level of both machine that it’s transportable, dimension and weight are going to make a distinction.

Steam Deck In Hand

The Steam Deck measures 11.7 inches throughout, 4.6 inches from prime to backside and is 1.9 inches thick (298 x 117 x 49mm). Moreover, it weighs about 1.5 kilos (669 grams). Then again, the ROG Ally measures 11 inches throughout, 4.3 inches vertically, and fewer than .83 inches deep (280 x 111 x 49mm). The ROG Ally weighs roughly 1.3 kilos (608 grams). On paper, these variations don’t appear to be a lot, however whenever you’re lugging round a transportable PC, it issues.

Rog Ally Size

That is very true for people with smaller fingers, however anybody who’s planning on prolonged gaming periods can anticipate to expertise some hand fatigue. Greater and heavier is simply going to exacerbate this.

Winner: ROG Ally

ASUS ROG Ally vs. Steam Deck – Which to Select?

Though each the ROG Ally and the Steam Deck are handheld gaming PCs, and highly effective ones at that, they do differ in key areas. Each are good at what they do and ship after they declare they’ll deal with AAA gaming on the go. That mentioned, every machine is just not with out its flaws. Sadly, this implies which you could’t get all the things in a single package deal. You’ll need to make concessions.

Purchase the ROG Ally if …

  • It’s essential to have one of the best efficiency.
  • You need a 1080p display at 120 Hz.
  • You need a extra transportable machine.

Purchase the Steam Deck if…

  • You’re searching for a user-friendly working system.
  • Longer battery life is a precedence.
  • You need a extra reasonably priced possibility.

Now that you’ve got your fingers on a brilliant highly effective handheld gaming PC, you’re prepared to leap into some precise gameplay. Given the worth tags of those spectacular little machines, you might be a bit of strapped for money. Fortunately, there are some wonderful free-to-play video games that gained’t value you a cent.

If neither one among these handhelds is what you’re searching for, attempt one among these Steam Deck options.

Picture by Ryan Lynch