Since the release of the Steam Deck, interest in handheld gaming PCs has increased substantially. Asus became the first major PC gaming brand to join the Windows handheld market with the Asus ROG Ally earlier this year. Only the $700 Z1 Extreme model was available at launch, but now you can buy the more budget-friendly Z1 model for $600 at Best Buy.
Asus ROG Ally
While its battery life admittedly isn’t the strongest–expect around two to three hours from a full charge on average–the ROG Ally Z1 does make up for it with strong hardware at this price. The crisp seven-inch 1080p LED screen will make your games look great, it has a respectable 512GB SSD, 16GB of DDR5 RAM, and the AMD GPU can easily handle graphically-intensive games. If you want, you can even turn the ROG Ally into a desktop gaming PC with a charger dock that’s sold separately.
If you’re after even more power, you’ll want to invest in the Z1 Extreme. This model costs $700, but for that extra $100, you’ll get significantly more compute units and threads.
What makes the ROG Ally stand out in comparison to the Steam Deck is that it’s essentially a Windows 11 PC, one which you can install a wide number of applications on. Steam, Epic Games Store, and EA Play run just fine on it, as does the Windows Xbox app. If you’re subscribed to it, you can easily access your entire Game Pass library on the ROG Ally.
Other notable features include haptic feedback, fast-charging capability, a fingerprint sensor, microSD card slot to cheaply expand storage, and a striking design. It’s a comfortable machine to play games on, and one that can be expanded on further with a wide range of extra accessories.
Thanks to the Bluetooth and USB-C connection, you can easily plug in or sync a DualSense or Xbox wireless controller to play games on the ROG Ally, the official Asus wireless earbuds support active noise cancellation, and you can even add more power to the ROG Ally with the (very expensive) XG mobile eGPU.
Check out the Asus ROG Ally and its related accessories below: