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Tuesday, December 19, 2023

Steam Deck vs ASUS ROG Ally: Which must you purchase?

Whereas handheld gaming PCs aren’t a current idea, they solely actually received a shot within the arm with the launch of Valve’s Steam Deck in 2022. The product has spawned a flurry of rivals, and even a fast revision, the Steam Deck OLED. Its chief competitors for the time being is the ASUS ROG Ally — so how do the 2 gaming machines stack up?

Steam Deck vs ASUS ROG Ally: At a look

  • Each have acceptable low-end fashions, however it’s best to routinely improve should you can afford it.
  • The Ally can run any Home windows recreation that meets its specs, whereas the Steam Deck is restricted to Steam titles except you employ workarounds.
  • SteamOS supplies a extra seamless, console-like expertise than the Ally’s software program overlay.
  • The Ally does not have an OLED possibility, however presents superior efficiency and backbone, and even the choice to dock with an eGPU.
  • The absence of trackpads on the Ally could possibly be an issue for individuals who prefer to play mouse-based PC video games.
  • The usual (Ryzen Z1 Excessive) model of the Ally is dearer than the Steam Deck OLED.

Steam Deck vs ASUS ROG Ally: Specs

Steam Deck OLED ASUS ROG Ally (Z1 Excessive)

Working system

Steam Deck OLED


ASUS ROG Ally (Z1 Excessive)

Home windows 11 Dwelling


Steam Deck OLED

AMD Aerith APU system-on-chip

ASUS ROG Ally (Z1 Excessive)


Steam Deck OLED

512/1TB NVMe SSD
Expandable by way of microSD card (UHS-I)

ASUS ROG Ally (Z1 Excessive)

Expandable by way of microSD card (UHS-II)


Steam Deck OLED

7.4-inch, 90Hz 1280×800 HDR OLED

ASUS ROG Ally (Z1 Excessive)

7-inch, 120Hz 1920×1080 LCD


Steam Deck OLED

Bluetooth 5.3
Wi-Fi 6E
1x USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
3.5mm headphone jack

ASUS ROG Ally (Z1 Excessive)

Bluetooth 5.2
Wi-Fi 6E
1x USB-C 3.2 Gen2
1x ROG XG cell interface
3.5mm headphone jack


Steam Deck OLED


ASUS ROG Ally (Z1 Excessive)



Steam Deck OLED

50Whr (3-12 hours)

ASUS ROG Ally (Z1 Excessive)

40Whr (2-6.8 hours)

The very first thing to notice right here is that we’ve gone with essentially the most comparable fashions. Whereas you may get nonetheless get a 256GB, LCD mannequin of the Steam Deck, or a much less highly effective Ryzen Z1 model of the Ally — each of which value about $400 as of this writing — the previous is already outdated, and Valve is aware of it. The one motive it’s nonetheless accessible is to draw individuals who in any other case couldn’t afford something. You’re getting much more bang for the buck with the Steam Deck OLED, or any model of the Ally, for that matter.

ASUS ROG Ally Hollow Knight

Nick Fernandez / Android Authority

While you examine the Steam Deck OLED towards the Z1 Excessive Ally, the latter (above) continues to be the hand-held to decide on if efficiency trumps each different concern. You’ll see higher framerates in nearly each recreation. It may not matter very a lot should you persist with titles with 2D or easy 3D graphics, like Hole Knight or Dave the Diver, however you’ll very a lot recognize it when making an attempt to play one thing like Elden Ring or Baldur’s Gate 3. In the event you personal considered one of ASUS’ ROG XG Cell docks, you’ll be able to join it and get even sooner graphics  — the present mannequin contains NVIDIA’s top-of-the-line GeForce RTX 4090 GPU, higher than what you get on most desktop PCs. To get something like that on a Steam Deck, one of the best you are able to do is distant connect with a desktop or laptop computer by way of Steam Distant Play.

There are causes some individuals will want the Deck nonetheless, together with its show. Whereas the Ally does win in decision and refresh charge, it makes use of a 7-inch LCD, whereas the Deck (under) after all presents a 7.4-inch OLED panel. It’s onerous to overstate how a lot better OLED seems to be — pictures pop, thanks partially to true blacks. The Deck additionally helps HDR in some video games, enabled by 1,000 nits of peak brightness versus simply 500 on the Ally. The Deck is immediately higher should you play in sunlit environments.

The Steam Deck OLED showing a game library

Battery life is one more reason, however we’ll contact on that in a later part. Right here we’ll add that solely the OLED Deck has 512GB and 1TB inner storage choices, whereas the Ally is restricted to 512GB. Each handhelds can broaden their storage by way of microSD, so this may be a moot level for some. Inside reminiscence is all the time sooner, nonetheless, and the 1TB Deck ships with some further perks, together with an etched anti-glare show and a second slim case that matches inside the default one. The Ally doesn’t include a case in any respect.

Steam Deck vs ASUS ROG Ally: Design and options

ASUS ROG Ally standing off

Nick Fernandez / Android Authority

As measurement and weight go, there are variations, however they shouldn’t be a deciding issue. The Deck is technically 32g heavier than the Ally, however each handhelds are cumbersome. You’ll wish to prop them up in your legs or one thing else for prolonged gaming classes. In reality there are third-party kickstand instances because of this, and a few individuals have even taken to mounting swing arms the place they often play.

What could possibly be completely important in your determination is software program. The Steam Deck runs Valve’s Linux-based SteamOS, which by default can solely play video games hosted on Steam. Since most Steam video games are literally Home windows titles, they’re “translated” for the Deck by way of a compatibility layer referred to as Proton.

That feels like it could be a recipe for catastrophe, however in actuality an enormous variety of video games have already been optimized for the Deck or play effectively sufficient on it, and SteamOS supplies a streamlined, “it simply works” interface that’s the closest you’ll get to a console just like the Nintendo Swap or PlayStation 5. It’s designed for handheld gaming, and it exhibits. The draw back is that you just’ll have to make use of (authorized!) workarounds to entry apps from non-Steam sources like Xbox Sport Go and the Epic Video games Retailer.

The Ally is a full-fledged Home windows PC, however that may be as a lot a hinderance as a profit. It’s a profit in that if one thing works on an equal desktop or laptop computer, it’ll work on the Ally — that features not simply video games like Fortnite (an Epic unique) however obscure emulators and even Microsoft Workplace. Hooked as much as a dock, you can also make an Ally your solely laptop.

It’s a hinderance in that whereas ASUS has customized software program for the Ally, it’s not as seamless and omnipresent as Valve’s. You’ll need to tinker with Home windows settings sometimes, and cope with intrusions from different apps. Microsoft is engaged on enhancing Home windows for handheld PCs, however because the firm was caught off-guard by the Steam Deck, we wouldn’t anticipate an answer anytime quickly.

The Steam Deck OLED analog stick and buttons

Mockingly, it’s the Steam Deck that has twin trackpads on high of the touchscreen, D-pad, gyroscope, analog sticks, and lots of buttons that each gadgets share. You’d assume not less than one trackpad can be warranted on a tool with Home windows, however as an alternative the Ally forces you to make use of stick, pad, or contact enter always except you’ve linked peripherals. On high of this some PC video games are merely meant to be performed with a mouse-like controller, and a tiny trackpad is best than nothing.

Steam Deck vs ASUS ROG Ally: Battery life and charging

The Steam Deck OLED side profile

Any moveable PC goes to be an influence hog, so many individuals play linked to a USB-C charger once they can. While you’re touring or in any other case totally wi-fi, although, the Steam Deck does beat the Ally. Due to power-efficient OLED and a 50Whr battery, it may possibly run anyplace from 3 to 12 hours on a cost, relying on the depth of what you’re doing. You possibly can conceivably play throughout a cross-continental flight and have battery to spare.

The Ally simply doesn’t fare effectively. ASUS claims as much as 2 hours of “heavy” gaming, or alternately 6.8 hours of streaming video content material like Netflix and YouTube. That hardly counts as moveable, so that you’ll completely have to plug into an outlet or battery pack on lengthy journeys. We’re assuming ASUS might be compelled to deal with this on its subsequent handheld, partly by making the shift to OLED.

Steam Deck vs ASUS ROG Ally: Worth

  • Steam Deck OLED (512GB): $549
  • Steam Deck OLED (1TB): $649
  • ASUS ROG Ally (512GB, Z1 Excessive): $699.99

You’re undoubtedly paying for the additional efficiency of the Ally, which as talked about doesn’t even ship with a carrying case. However in its protection, it’s nonetheless spectacular which you can play one thing like Baldur’s Gate 3 on any handheld, and the Ally can hit 30fps in that recreation with medium element. The Deck can wrestle with some triple-A 3D titles.

Steam Deck vs ASUS ROG Ally: Which must you purchase?

The Steam Deck OLED

It is a legitimately robust query, however we really feel that most individuals can buy the Steam Deck OLED. It’s cheaper than the Ally, lasts for much longer on a cost, and presents the seamless console-style expertise you’re most likely anticipating from a gaming handheld. It’s annoying that you just want workarounds for issues like Alan Wake or Xbox Sport Go, however the Deck already has an enormous group prepared to assist on the market.

The Ally is extra perfect for energy customers. Other than it actually being extra highly effective, giving it entry to extra demanding video games, having Home windows 11 opens up entry to customization and alternate storefronts. In the event you subscribe to Sport Go or have a considerable non-Steam library, it’s best to most likely take into account the Ally first, and the Deck provided that there’s a dealbreaker like battery life. In spite of everything, it hardly issues if a system can play Lifeless House if it actually dies on you in an hour or so.

Steam Deck vs ASUS ROG Ally: FAQ

Sure, though you’ll want a specialised dock or another type of USB-C-to-HDMI connection. You’ll wish to use HDMI 2.1, or not less than HDMI 2.0.

Each handhelds provide microSD slots. It’s also possible to improve their inner SSDs, however that course of is delicate, technical, and dearer. ASUS does have official directions, apparently. You’ll need to seek for Steam Deck guides.

Sure. The Ally helps the Epic Video games Retailer natively, and the Steam Deck can deal with it utilizing Proton. Try these directions from Polygon.

Sure, every has a microSD slot. It’s price noting that the Ally has a sooner UHS-II slot, however you shouldn’t be hampered a lot by the Deck’s UHS-I speeds.

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