ROG Ally vs Steam Deck Comparison

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ROG Ally vs Steam Deck Comparison

The Asus ROG Ally and Valve’s Steam Deck are poised to engage in a continuous battle for supremacy in the handheld PC gaming realm. It was only natural that comparisons between the two devices would arise, given the trend of new gaming handhelds attempting to either surpass or rival the Nintendo Switch. This prompts the question: will the Steam Deck face any challenges? It is difficult to predict, but it is worthwhile to delve into a detailed comparison of these remarkable devices.

In terms of initial intuitiveness, the ROG Ally may not be as user-friendly as the Steam Deck. However, the Ally offers plenty of appealing features and aims to be a versatile handheld device, whereas the Steam Deck specializes in being a portable Steam machine, with the added advantage of supporting other gaming launchers if one is inclined to explore. Although Steam and other launchers function reasonably well on the Ally, there are occasional instances where the experience feels slightly cumbersome. Now, let’s examine how these PC handhelds fare across various aspects.

ROG Ally

Let’s start with the specifications: ROG Ally vs. Steam Deck.

When it comes to gaming performance, we conducted tests on the Ally using different games with various launchers. The 7-inch screen of the Ally delivers an impressive 1080p resolution, resulting in stunning visuals and intricate details, especially for a handheld device. However, the excitement is somewhat limited, as the battery life allows for approximately 1-2 hours of gameplay, which is not entirely surprising, considering that the Ally employs a battery of similar size to that of the Steam Deck.

Both the Steam Deck and ROG Ally perform admirably with indie titles such as Vampire Survivors, Dead Cells, and Hades, effortlessly maintaining a smooth 60 frames per second. Interestingly, both devices exhibit similar battery consumption when playing games under these settings, offering an average playtime of about 4-5 hours per session.

The ROG Ally stands out as the first handheld gaming PC to utilize AMD’s new Z1 Extreme mobile processor, which boasts superior power compared to the Steam Deck’s custom APU and even outperforms the current mobile champion, the AMD Ryzen 7 6800U. The Z1 Extreme houses an 8-core Zen 4 processor with RDNA 3-powered graphics, capable of reaching a maximum power draw of 30W when connected to a power source. On the other hand, the Steam Deck features a 4-core custom Zen 2 APU, limited to a power draw of 15W both on battery and when plugged in.

Our tests clearly revealed the dominance of the Z1 Extreme chip. When running games at 720p on the 15W power setting, the ROG Ally achieved impressive scores of 38fps in Total War: Three Kingdoms, 57fps in Borderlands 3, and 64fps in Hitman 3, surpassing the Steam Deck’s scores of 25, 42, and 44 respectively. All tests were conducted at the highest available graphics preset.

Even at the higher-power 30W setting, the ROG Ally maintained its lead, although the performance gains were somewhat diminished when transitioning to the more demanding 1080p resolution. However, it’s worth noting that running games at 30W on the Ally, albeit at 720p, yielded even more significant performance improvements compared to the Steam Deck. For a more comprehensive analysis of the performance statistics, I recommend referring to our complete ROG Ally review.

Overall, the Asus ROG Ally and Valve’s Steam Deck are formidable contenders in the handheld PC gaming market. While the Ally may have a slight learning curve and the Steam Deck focuses primarily on being a portable Steam machine, both devices offer unique strengths and capabilities. The ROG Ally impresses with its advanced Z1 Extreme processor, providing superior performance in gaming scenarios, particularly when paired with a 720p resolution. On the other hand, the Steam Deck’s versatility lies in its seamless integration with the Steam platform and compatibility with other launchers. Ultimately, choosing between these impressive handhelds will depend on individual preferences and priorities.

Steam Deck

Design: ROG Ally vs Steam Deck

The ROG Ally and the Steam Deck both exhibit similar design philosophies, featuring a central screen with standard ABXY side-form controls. However, they each have their own distinct aesthetic elements that set them apart. The ROG Ally embraces a bolder approach with its white design and illuminated RGB thumbsticks, adding a touch of flair to its overall appearance. In contrast, the Steam Deck opts for a more traditional black and grey scheme, evoking a sense of classic gaming nostalgia.

When it comes to ergonomics, the ROG Ally excels in providing a sleek and lightweight device that is easy to hold. Its slim profile gives it a noticeably slender look, but this design choice also results in a lack of heft and stability compared to the Steam Deck. This is expected, considering the Ally is 60g lighter and adopts a slimmer design, sacrificing the larger grips found on the back of the device.

On the other hand, the Steam Deck boasts a more substantial build that commands attention. Its larger size and weight may require some adjustment, but it ultimately offers a comfortable gaming experience during long play sessions. Individuals with smaller hands might gravitate towards the Ally’s angled sides and sleek profile, while others may prefer the overall form factor of the Deck, particularly appreciating its ergonomic grips at the rear.

However, one notable omission from the ROG Ally is the absence of the Steam Deck’s pressure-sensitive touchpads. While this may not be a significant concern for many gamers, it is still a noteworthy feature that could potentially limit gameplay options on the go. The touchpads on the Steam Deck greatly facilitate control in mouse-based games, especially when combined with the wide array of community control profiles available. Thus, the lack of touchpads in the Ally design places an advantage in favor of the Steam Deck.

In summary, both the ROG Ally and the Steam Deck offer distinct design choices and considerations. The Ally impresses with its bold aesthetics and lightweight design, while the Steam Deck commands attention with its substantial build and touchpad inclusion. Choosing between the two ultimately depends on personal preferences, whether favoring the Ally’s sleekness or the Deck’s robust features for an enhanced gaming experience.


Xbox Game Pass: ROG Ally vs Steam Deck – A Comparison

When it comes to the ROG Ally and Steam Deck, one of the significant distinctions lies in the availability and convenience of Xbox Game Pass. The ROG Ally offers a remarkable advantage by making it feel like an unofficial handheld Xbox that fans have long been yearning for. Although the Xbox launcher on PC may have some minor glitches, the overall experience is commendable, highlighting the brilliance of Xbox Game Pass and Xbox Play Anywhere.

On the other hand, Steam Deck’s compatibility with Game Pass is not as straightforward. While it is technically possible to have native Game Pass support on the Steam Deck, it requires some extra effort and technical know-how. Most gamers would need to follow a comprehensive guide on how to dual-boot and install Windows on their Steam Deck, preferably on a separate SD card, and hope that everything goes smoothly.

However, if you prefer a simpler route, there are a couple of alternatives available. Both options require some tinkering but can still be valuable for accessing Game Pass games on the Steam Deck. Cloud Gaming is a viable choice, either by utilizing Microsoft Edge on the handheld or by installing the Greenlight app for Linux.

While the accessibility of Game Pass might not be a deal-breaker for many Steam Deck users, it is worth noting that at the time of writing, the ROG Ally provides a more straightforward experience. Hopefully, Microsoft and Valve can collaborate to improve native support in the near future, offering a smoother and more seamless integration.


Game Verification: ROG Ally vs Steam Deck – An Evaluation

Another notable distinction between the ROG Ally and the Steam Deck is the lack of a game verification system in the former. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering that the Ally essentially operates as a portable gaming PC running Windows 11. In essence, users would need to either install a game and test it or refer to online sources to check if their system meets the necessary specifications. However, in theory, most games should run comfortably on the device.

For experienced PC gamers, this absence of a verification system might not pose any issues, as it aligns with the usual process of PC gaming. Everyday Windows PCs don’t come with a “Verified” status, so there are no expectations of having one on the ROG Ally. Nevertheless, for casual gamers who have grown accustomed to Steam’s Verified or Playable status, the absence of a verification system on the ROG Ally could be a bit daunting initially. While it may appear to be a minor feature, having that additional assurance can provide a sense of confidence when installing and playing games for the first time, especially for those who may not be the most tech-savvy.

It’s important to clarify that I’m not suggesting that the ROG Ally necessarily needs a verification system, as most games should work without any issues. However, it remains a notable difference between the two devices and could influence the preferences of certain users.

Comparison: ROG Ally vs Steam Deck – Features, Price, and Accessories

When it comes to features, Windows 11 gives the ROG Ally an edge over the Linux-based Steam Deck. The Ally allows for easy installation of additional launchers such as Epic, EA, GOG, Steam, and Xbox without any extra effort. It also comes with the convenient Armoury Crate software, which organizes all your installed games into a user-friendly home screen. On the other hand, the Steam Deck provides a more user-friendly experience with its version of Steam Big Picture, but installing additional launchers requires more tinkering compared to the Ally.

However, running Windows on the ROG Ally means missing out on the software-based customization and optimization that Valve has done specifically for the Steam Deck. While the Ally offers some degree of software tweaking, such as adjusting power settings, resolution, and setting framerate caps through Armoury Crate, it lacks the complete hardware/software symbiosis found in the Steam Deck.

One notable advantage of the Steam Deck is its ability to suspend and resume games with the touch of a button. In contrast, the ROG Ally requires saving and quitting the game entirely, making it less convenient for longer breaks. This aligns with the standard behavior of desktop PCs.

Moving on to pricing, the ROG Ally offers two models: the Z1 Extreme 512GB priced at $699.99 and the standard Z1 256GB with a price yet to be announced. The pricing of the ROG Ally will play a crucial role in its success, as it competes directly with the Steam Deck. In comparison, the Steam Deck offers three tiers: the 64GB model priced at $399.99, the 256GB at $529.99, and the 512GB at $649.99. With the highest-priced ROG Ally model being only $50 more expensive than the top-tier Steam Deck, it brings a host of technical improvements, making it a competitively priced option for handheld gaming enthusiasts. However, the Steam Deck’s accessibility is evident with its lowest-tier starting at just under $400.

In terms of accessories, it’s worth noting that the ROG Ally does not come with a carry case included in the purchase, unlike the Steam Deck. Asus offers a dedicated carry case separately, featuring water repellency, space for accessories, and an integrated stand for the Ally. Additionally, Asus has developed its own controller designed for use with the Ally, which can be preordered for $169.99 from Best Buy and is likely usable with any Bluetooth-enabled device. Asus also offers the ROG XG GC33Y Mobile, a docking station with the latest Nvidia RTX 4090 GPU, providing a significant power boost to the ROG Ally. However, this option comes at a high price of just under $2000.

Both the ROG Ally and Steam Deck have dedicated charging docks available for connecting to monitors. Additionally, to extend battery life, it is recommended to invest in a powerful power bank for either device.

Overall, the ROG Ally and Steam Deck offer distinct features, price points, and accessory options, catering to different preferences and budgets of handheld gaming enthusiasts.

Conclusion: ROG Ally vs Steam Deck: A Battle of Handheld Gaming Powerhouses

The gaming community is abuzz with excitement surrounding the ROG Ally and Steam Deck, two handheld gaming devices that have captured the attention of gamers worldwide. Each device brings its own unique features and capabilities to the table, making it challenging to determine which one reigns supreme.

One notable advantage of the ROG Ally is its undeniable power. The device packs a punch with its impressive hardware, making it feel slightly more robust than the Steam Deck. Additionally, the Ally boasts a stunning 1080p screen, enhancing the visual experience for gamers who enjoy playing on the go. Another significant win for the ROG Ally is its seamless integration with Xbox Game Pass. This compatibility provides gamers with easy access to a vast library of games, setting it apart from the Steam Deck, which falls short in terms of native support for launchers other than Steam.

However, the Steam Deck offers a unique set of advantages that shouldn’t be overlooked. One area where the Steam Deck shines is in its software-based customization options, which optimize the device’s overall performance. This level of customization allows gamers to tailor their gaming experience to their preferences, giving them a sense of control and personalization that the ROG Ally may lack. Furthermore, the Steam Deck’s design as a handheld device feels more refined, with community-led gamepad profiles, innovative front-facing touchpads, and the ability to seamlessly resume games after putting the device to sleep.

In summary, the emergence of the ROG Ally and Steam Deck marks an exciting time for handheld gaming. These devices are just the beginning of what could potentially become a new era of portable gaming. As more devices enter the market, gamers will have a wider range of options to choose from, leading to a more personalized gaming experience than ever before.

While the ROG Ally has a few setbacks, such as the lack of software-based customization, it is undoubtedly a significant step in the right direction for handheld gaming. Its powerful hardware and Xbox Game Pass compatibility make it a formidable competitor to the Steam Deck. This healthy competition between the two devices is likely to inspire even more innovation and brilliance in the handheld gaming market moving forward.

Ultimately, the choice between the ROG Ally and Steam Deck will depend on the individual preferences and priorities of gamers. Both devices have their strengths and weaknesses, so it’s essential for gamers to carefully consider their gaming needs and desires before making a decision. Whichever device they choose, they can look forward to an immersive and exciting gaming experience right in the palm of their hands.

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