The Asus ROG Ally X is official – I’ve gone inside and checked it out

When Valve introduced the Steam Tech OLED, I called it “everything the original should have been.” Asus is trying to do the same thing with the new ROG Ally X.

After months of leaks, teases and exclusive early details from you guys, it’s official: the ROG Ally X portable gaming PC is up for pre-order today For $799.

When it ships on July 22nd, it will have twice the battery, double the storage, USB-C ports, twice the USB bandwidth, 50 percent (and faster) 7500 MHz memory, and up to 15 percent performance boost. A comprehensive list of revised ergonomics, revised internal layout and other changes in the system.

ROG Ally (top) vs. ROG Ally X (bottom).

There are so many changes, in fact, that I spent a couple of hours on the phone with Asus Technology Marketing Director Saska Krohn. I also visited the company’s US headquarters to open up an ROG Ally X with my own screwdrivers and play with the new configuration. I took a lot of pictures because I want you to hang out with me.

But first, let me remind you what ROG Ally X is No. Here’s what I wrote last month:

Don’t call it Ally 2: When it ships in the second half of the year, the Windows-based Ally X will have the same AMD Z1 Extreme chipset and the same 7-inch 48–120Hz VRR screen. It’s not like the Steam Deck OLED, where Valve AMD tweaked its chip for better battery life and stability and added a bigger, brighter, nicer new OLED panel with improved response time and slimmer bezels.

The ROG Ally X is a revision, not a sequel, and it’s expensive. It still runs on Windows, and I’m still convinced that Windows is dragging down gaming handhelds. But the Ally X might still be the best Windows handheld — because Asus packed a monster 80 watt-hour battery into the handheld. didn’t realize Heavier, fits my average-sized hands better than any Windows laptop I’ve tried.

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Want to see some comparisons with the original ROG Ally and the Steam Deck? Here’s a quick hardware tour:

At 1.49 pounds (678 grams), the ROG Ally X is only 0.15 pounds (70g) heavier than the original, and is 0.18 inches (4.5mm) thicker at its thickest point. It weighs the same as the original Steam Deck and is nearly half an inch thinner, but has twice the battery capacity inside.

How? While the larger battery adds 120 grams of weight, Asus has managed to offset half of that by making other components lighter. Krone says the stronger, thinner, lighter chassis offered the biggest savings – the weight of the talcum-filled ABS/polycarbonate composite went from 176g to 134g at Asus’ time. (I encountered one side effect of the hard plastic composite: it was difficult to open for repairs.)

The Ally X features lighter circuit boards, shaving off unnecessary boards, and a lighter cooling module – including 23-percent smaller fans. Further Powerful because the company’s in-house design team created its own custom set of 77 ultra-thin blades that trump the original 47. Krone says you’ll find the Alli runs two degrees cooler, and the thinner blades help reduce audible noise at 5,000Hz.

Also, the Ally X has a new series of vents that allow it to cool its touchscreen more effectively – up to 6°C cooler.

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Let’s take a look around the Ally X internals, starting with the 80Wh battery.

Joysticks are another place where both excel And Lighter: Completely revised motherboards now use the same high-quality potentiometer-based ALPS sticks you’d find on a PS5 or Xbox gamepad, with a much tighter throw than the original counterpart, a la Steam Tech OLED, and delightfully sticky concave tops on wide decks. Excellent dust resistance, and low friction POM plastic For smooth action when the rods scrape against the edge of the joystick ring.

They’re rated for 2 million to 5 million cycle cycles, and if that’s not enough, they’re modular – skid-resistant ready. Hall Effect Magnetic Joystick Upgrade Kit Kulikit is already in development. (Grohn says that not enough gamers like Hall Effect sticks to come standard, which is… maybe?)

Also, Asus seems to have addressed all of the biggest complaints about I/O:

You now have a full-length M.2 2280 PCIe 4 SSD slot that also supports dual-sided drives, opening up the highest capacity and most cost-effective storage options on the market.

Asus has ditched its proprietary XG Mobile eGPU port for a second USB-C port, which offers all the benefits of Thunderbolt 4: 40Gbps speeds, 100W USB-C PD charging, DP 1.4 video output, and 4 lanes of PCIe for standard eGPUs. (No Oculink, sorry.)

Both ports are top-mounted, but Krone claims that even the weaker one can deliver 100W charging and 10Gbps data.

Yes, Asus says you will get one New SD card reader ie No There is one problem that Asus has not acknowledged.

ROG Ally X is a pager. 24 GB RAM means no more sharing between GPU and system.

Here are some minor details I learned:

  • Not only is the T-Pad now eight ways, it’s bigger and more comfortable. I really like it.
  • Face buttons are 3mm high, inside long tube for more stability. I found they have a flattering press.
  • The speakers have slightly more volume and a bit more room for bass.
  • The haptic actuators have moved to the edges of the device, below the palms, for more vivid feedback and weight distribution.
  • The shoulder buttons are mounted differently on the board so they don’t break easily in a fall.
  • The triggers are wide and made of a cool-looking smoky semi-transparent plastic.
  • The rear intakes are slightly larger.
  • Joystick tops are now attached with screws, so you could theoretically 3D print your own tops or stem extenders.
  • Similarly, the new back buttons are now screwed into the back shell, so you could theoretically move their position on your own 3D printed back shell.
  • There is now a ring around the fingerprint power button for easier detection by feel.
  • Turbo mode still runs at 25W, but Silent has been bumped from 10W to 13W and Performance from 15W to 17W.
  • The battery is estimated to have 80 percent remaining after 3 years of cycling from 70 percent.
  • The handheld now uses a different IMU.
  • It still has magnetic Hall Effect triggers, but has been slightly modified to ensure they don’t interfere with the speakers or vibration motors.
  • Although it now supports 100W charging, it still comes with the same 65W adapter.
  • It’s not compatible with existing cases and mounts, but Asus has teamed up with fan favorites JSAUX, Deckmate and Dbrand to offer new ones.
  • Existing Ally owners can transfer settings to Ally X with cloud backup.

Last but not least, there’s an easter egg on the comfortable new grips – just like the PS5’s controller is emblazoned with incredibly small PlayStation logos, the ROG Ally X’s grips are covered with “ROG ROG ROG”:

I can’t wait for a review unit of this handheld because the battery is king in the handheld gaming PC world, and the Ally X is the king of handheld battery packs. Don’t expect it to ditch the Steam Tech OLED, though, because so far Asus can get by without a more capable chip and screen — and I’m still not sure how I feel about Asus. Reputation is tarnished for support.

There is also some small news today: Asus recently announced All ROG Ally devices in North America now have a two-year warranty.

Photo by Shawn Hollister / The Verge

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