When the ROG Ally was teased as a non-April Fools gag I was impressed with the design and, jokingly compared it to the Tesla Cybertruck. More details have been shared with me since then and, well… it's still a wonderfully angular handheld gaming gadget but one with some very cute design touches.
There's certainly room in the gaming space for a serious rival to Steam Deck and the copy-cat PC handhelds, as well as the best games consoles around at the moment. With rumours of Nintendo Switch 2 spiralling, now really is the time for a new handheld. The ROG Ally could be the handheld games device to give Nintendo cold sweats, as this runs on Windows 11 and can connect to every PC games platform, including Steam, Epic Games Store, EA Play, Battle.net and Xbox Game Pass.
The ROG Ally is pitched as a true PC in your pocket and it sounds incredible. Inside this handheld is a purpose-built APU – an AMD RyzenTM Z1 series processor with RDNATM 3 graphics – and a bespoke cooling system that features a dual-fan system with ultra-thin heatsink fins. This PC handheld is going to be a beast.
Outside is equally impressive, as the ROG Ally sports a 120 Hz full HD (1080p) 500 nits touch display made with an anti-glare DXC coating for outdoor play. Dolby Atmos and virtual surround sound will ensure your games sound as good as they look.
Now here's the thing, when ROG revealed the Ally over April Fools weekend it was no joke, this PC handheld has been in development for more than five years and has gone through hundreds of prototype and concept stages. A glimpse at these shows the ROG Ally once resembled everything from a large and bulky PS Vita to an elongated Nintendo Switch.
The final design struck by ROG looks like nothing else; its angular edges and sharp silhouette ensures it stands out from the crowd. There are subtle textures across areas of the handheld for slip resistant edges and curved sides for an ergonomic grip. Just as Sony now includes tiny symbols in its hardware designs ROG has included small triangles across areas of the Ally.
ROG has a number of accessories lined up for the Ally too, each one designed to enhance the experience. This includes the ROG Cetra noise-cancelling earbuds, a water repellent travel case, a charging deck and ROG Kaikiri Pro game controllers. There's even a planned mobile PC mini with the latest Nvidia RTX 4090 GPU to plug the ROG Ally into and really ramp up your mobile gaming. The ROG Ally tops out with Wi-Fi 6E and the option a 512GB SSD. If you're a student in halls or simply lack space, the ROG Ally could replace even the best gaming laptops.
The ROG Ally is an impressive new handheld PC and I'm taken by the unique design of this device. The only reservations I have are with the use of Windows 11 as opposed to an operating system tailored to handheld gaming; but the inclusion of Windows 11 does ensure all your PC games, no matter the platform, will run on the ROG Ally.
There are also questions yet to answer over the price. ROG has said in a press demo it will likely cost more than a Steam Deck and considering Valve takes a hit on the cost of its PC handheld (but makes it back in game sales) ROG could hope to impress with its build quality and specs to the point of charging more. A price of around $600 - $700 / £500 - £600 would be a good guess. But remember, you can play any games not just Steam purchases on the ROG Ally, which could be enticing if you have a Xbox Game Pass, for example.
Still, as someone who can't help but be drawn in by clever product design and the idea of a new entry in the games space, the ROG Ally is taunting me and already has one hand in my wallet. Here in the UK the ROG Ally will sell exclusively through Currys; visit the Currys website (opens in new tab)closer to the May 11 launch for pre-order details.