While the wait for a local launch of the Steam Deck goes on in Australia, a more powerful handheld gaming PC is about to beat Valve's system to the portable gaming punch. Today ASUS announced that the Z1 Extreme model of its ASUS ROG Ally will launch at $1,299 RRP on June 13, with preorders available now from JB Hi-Fi.
"The Ally is a device designed by ROG, a brand for gamers by gamers," said Bradley Howe, Head of Consumer for ASUS. "Australia is one of the focus countries and we are proud to make ROG Ally available to Aussie gamers."
ASUS apparently developed hundreds of prototypes over a five-year period before settling on the ROG Ally in its final form. The ASUS ROG Ally Z1 Extreme features an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme CPU with eight cores, 24MB total cache, and up to 5.10 GHz boost, along with an AMD RDNA 3 GPU capable of processing up to 8.6 teraflops. The ROG Ally also features 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD, the latter of which can be expanded via the microSD slot.
If you have no teraflopping idea what any of that means, just know that the ASUS ROG Ally is a more powerful handheld gaming PC than the Steam Deck, and it also offers a higher resolution 1080p screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. Unlike the Steam Deck which runs on SteamOS (derived from Linux), the ROG Ally runs on Windows 11 so that it supports Steam, Epic Games Launcher, GOG, and Xbox Game Pass without having to consult internet forums for workarounds.
"With the advantage of Windows 11, gamers will be able to access their entire existing library of games," said Howe. "Through Armory Crate, we will continue to optimise the device for all games out there."
All that extra grunt under the hood does take its toll on the Ally's battery life, however. In our recent review, we said, "You’ll need to keep your expectations in check when it comes to battery life on the ROG Ally, as it’s not going to blow your socks off. If you want to play any kind of graphically intensive game, you’re going to get a max of 1-2 hours overall, especially if you’re playing in 1080p."
However, if you don't mind being tethered to an AC adaptor or tossing a powerbank into your backpack for your commute then the Ally could be the portable gaming PC you've been waiting for, with our review concluding, "With a beautiful 1080p screen that’s marvelously bright and perfect for playing on the go in any condition, alongside its powerful set of specs and a fierce price tag, the ROG Ally might actually be the Steam Deck competitor we’ve been anticipating."
Howe added, "ROG is here to stay. The Ally represents out mission to give gamers the very best options to enjoy the entertainment we love. In the years to come we will continue to support the ROG Ally. We will be listening to our customers and making improvements and optimisations to the software, drivers and hardware."
What do you think, Australia? Will you be joining the handheld gaming PC revolution with the Asus ROG Ally? Or are you holding out for a local launch for the Steam Deck? Or is the Gameboy Advance still your go-to for gaming on the toilet? Let us know in the comments!