Asus ROG Ally X vs ROG Ally: Differences explained

Rosalie Newcombe

Asus ROG Ally X vs ROG Ally: Differences explained

Dexerto

  • 1

    Specs

  • 2

    Price

  • 3

    Design

  • 4

    Display

  • 5

    Performance

  • 6

    Battery Life

  • 7

    Which should you buy?

Asus announced the new ROG Ally X handheld, but how does it stand up to the current ROG Ally? We have all you need to know about what separates the Asus ROG Ally handhelds.

Asus introduced the ROG Ally handheld in 2023 as the brand’s answer to Valve’s mighty Steam Deck, but in 2024, they announced a premium variant, named the ROG Ally X.

This newer ROG Ally handheld brings the same Z1 Extreme chip we’ve seen before. However, Asus has taken feedback on board and packed the ROG Ally X with new battery life, RAM, and design upgrades. 

However, is setting aside your old ROG Ally for its newest ROG Ally X counterpart worth the price, or are you better off sticking with what you’ve got? We’ve broken down both handhelds so you know what to buy.

Specs

Asus ROG Ally X Asus ROG Ally (Z1 Extreme)
APU AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme
Process 4nm 4nm
CPU architecture AMD Zen 4 AMD Zen 4
CPU clock speed Up to 5.10 GHz boost Up to 5.10GHz boost
Cores | Threads 3 | 12  6 | 12
GPU architecture AMD RDNA 3 AMD RDNA 3
GPU clock speed Up to 2.7 GHz 2.7GHz
RAM 2-speaker system with Smart Amplifier technology Atmos®AI noise-canceling technologyHi-Res Audio certificationBuilt-in array microphone 16GB quad-channel LPDDR5 @ 5,500MT/s
Storage Up to 1 TB M.2 2280 NVMe PCIe G4x4 Value SSD 512GB NVMe SSD (PCIe 4)
Display 7-inch screen 7-inch screen
Native resolution 1920 x 1080 1920 x 1080
Refresh rate 120Hz 120Hz
Audio 1 x USB-C® supports USB 3.2 Gen 2 (DisplayPort™ 1.4 with FreeSync support, Power Delivery 3.0 (Input: 20V/5A, Output 5V/1.5A))1 x USB4® (Thunderbolt™ 4 compliance, DisplayPort™ 1.4 with FreeSyncsupport, Power Delivery 3.0 (Input: 20V/5A, output:5V/3A) Dual speakers with Dolby Atmos
Connectivity 1 x USB-C® supports USB 3.2 Gen 2 (DisplayPort™ 1.4 with FreeSync support,Power Delivery 3.0 (Input: 20V/5A, Output 5V/1.5A))1 x USB4® (Thunderbolt™ 4 compliance, DisplayPort™ 1.4 with FreeSyncsupport, Power Delivery 3.0 (Input: 20V/5A, output:5V/3A) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB-C, custom Asus PCIe port
Battery 80 Wh 40 Wh
Weight 678g 608g

Price

When it launched back on June 13, 2023, the Asus ROG Ally had an MSRP of $699. This version of the handheld came packed with the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme chipset, and 512GB of storage. 

At the time, the then 512GB LCD model of the Steam Deck cost $449, making the ROG Ally $250 more expensive than its then-PC gaming handheld rival.

Later, a down-graded and more affordable version of the ROG Ally was released on September 18, 2023. This model came with the Z1 APU and was available for $100 cheaper than the Z1 Extreme version, costing $599.

While the new ROG Ally X comes with the same Z1 Extreme processor as its predecessor, its fresh new look and key upgrades mean you can expect to pay $799 for the handheld.

Design

The Asus ROG Ally X and its predecessor, the Asus ROG Ally Z1 Extreme, both feature a similar form factor. Where the upcoming ROG Ally X handheld differs is predominantly through its brand-new color scheme and Asus’s decision to lean into a more ergonomic and comfortable chassis design. 

Asus ROG Ally X vs ROG Ally: Differences explained

Asus ROG

The new ROG Ally X features an all-black look, similar to that of the Steam Deck OLED. The eye-catching RGB halos around the thumbsticks remain intact, however, this time around Asus has opted to arrange the sticks and the handheld D-pad at a slightly different angle for optimized comfort and to prevent any accidental button presses.

Related:

Asus ROG Ally price plummets in unmissable Best Buy deal

Alternatively to the ROG Ally, the triggers of the ROG Ally X have a slight slant to their shape, to make them easier to press. 

The upcoming handheld uses a more rounded shape to differentiate itself from the ROG Ally Z1 Extreme and make it more comfortable to hold for long gaming sessions.

Multiple buttons on the ROG Ally X are noticeably different from the previous ROG Ally. The back macro buttons are D-pad on the ROG Ally X has also been altered to feature a new eight-directional design, to make it more ideal for picking up fighting games.

Display

Asus ROG Ally X vs ROG Ally: Differences explained

Asus ROG

Unlike the upgraded Steam Deck, Asus has decided not to include an OLED display with their newly upgraded ROG Ally X. 

Instead, the new handheld is set to launch with the same 7-inch FHD IPS 1920 x 1080 display as the current model. While the ROG Ally X won’t benefit from the highly saturated visuals as seen on handhelds like the updated Nintendo Switch OLED model, all is not lost.

The display of the ROG Ally X will still benefit from a 120 Hz refresh rate, again, like the current ROG All, along with up to 500-nit brightness, and FreeSync Premium support. 

Both handhelds also benefit from DXC-branded glass coating, to help reduce glare and surface reflections.

Performance

Asus ROG Ally X vs ROG Ally: Differences explained

Asus ROG

The ROG Ally X and the current ROG Ally model both use the same AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor. With that in mind, it’s more than likely the upcoming ROG Ally X will be able to handle a slew of modern AAA titles just like its predecessor. 

Where the ROG Ally X will truly differ in performance will be down to its new 24 GB of RAM. Over the years, AAA titles have demanded more and more RAM, in order to offer up a smoother gaming experience. 

While it likely won’t be a dramatic difference from the current ROG Ally device, having double the available RAM can help offer up those smooth visuals from the more RAM-demanding titles.

Battery Life

Battery life on most PC gaming handhelds isn’t astounding, namely as that’s a lot of pixel-pushing power to keep going at a time. Even before its OLED update, the original Steam Deck struggled to last over two hours at a full charge. 

The original Asus ROG Ally handheld isn’t any different, providing around two hours of playtime when playing AAA games, as tested in our review with its 40 Wh battery.

However, when pushing the original handheld to its limitless in Turbo Mode, the battery life was considerably lower, only reaching just above an hour regardless if you’re playing a graphically intensive AAA title or a low-spec indie.

The ROG Ally X has double this capacity and is expected to launch with a massive 80 Wh battery. This is even bigger than that of the Steam Deck OLED, which currently sports a 50 Wh battery. 

While we haven’t yet got any hands-on experience with the new ROG Ally X, the upgraded battery capacity is going to give it a significant boost over its predecessor. 

The LCD model of the Steam Deck’s two-hour playtime was dramatically extended when the OLED model was released. 

The upgraded Valve handheld can last over four hours, and that’s with a 45 Wh battery. We speculate that the ROG Ally X’s battery life will be a dramatic improvement over the older model.

Which should you buy?

What Asus ROG Ally handheld you want to buy lays entirely up to what you prefer the look of, and what fits your budget.

PC gaming handhelds don’t come cheap from the get-go, but a brand-new device like the ROG Ally X is always going to put you considerably more out of pocket than older models.

As stated before, the ROG Ally X is launching for $799, $100 more than the older ROG Ally handheld. 

While the new device comes packed with double the battery life and onboard RAM, a whole new colorway, and a more ergonomic design, it’s up to you if that alone is worth the additional $100 price point.

Brand-new iterations of hardware also occasionally result in discounts for older models. The older ROG Ally is still capable of playing AAA titles like Cyberpunk 2077 and Resident Evil 4 Remake to an impressive degree, offering a stable and smooth playback especially when running Turbo Mode.

Picking up the current ROG Ally at a discount could still give you access to playing modern games on the go at high stable frame rates, you’d just be giving up the inevitable major battery upgrade of the upcoming X model.

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