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Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Asus ROG Ally X is official — and I took a peek inside

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When Valve launched the Steam Deck OLED, I referred to as it “every little thing the unique ought to have been.” Asus is attempting to do the very same factor with the brand new ROG Ally X.

After months of leaks, teases, and exclusive early details from yours truly, it’s official: the ROG Ally X handheld gaming PC is happening preorder at the moment for $799.

When it ships on July twenty second, it’ll include double the battery, double the storage, double the USB-C ports with quadruple the USB bandwidth, 50 % extra (and quicker) 7500MHz reminiscence for as much as a 15 % efficiency enhance, dramatically revised ergonomics, an overhauled inside structure, and an in depth listing of different tweaks.

ROG Ally (high) vs. ROG Ally X (backside).

There are such a lot of modifications, in reality, that I spent two hours on the telephone with Asus technical advertising director Sascha Krohn to listen to about all of them. I additionally went to the corporate’s US headquarters to open up an ROG Ally X with my very own screwdrivers and play with the brand new construct. I took loads of pics, as a result of I need you to nerd out with me.

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However first, let me remind you what the ROG Ally X just isn’t. Right here’s what I wrote last month:

Don’t name it an Ally 2: when it ships within the second half of the 12 months, the Home windows-based Ally X can have the identical AMD Z1 Excessive chipset and the identical 7-inch 48–120Hz VRR display screen. It’s not fairly like the Steam Deck OLED, the place Valve bought AMD to revise its chip for higher battery life and stability and added a bigger, brighter, beautiful new OLED panel with improved response time and slimmer bezels.

The ROG Ally X is a revision, not a sequel, and it’s a pricier one. It nonetheless runs Home windows, and I nonetheless firmly imagine Home windows drags gaming handhelds down. However the Ally X is perhaps the perfect Home windows handheld but — as a result of Asus has crammed a monster 80 watt-hour battery right into a handheld that doesn’t really feel heavy, one that fits my average-sized hands better than any Home windows handheld I’ve tried.

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Need to see some comparisons to the unique ROG Ally and Steam Deck? Right here’s a fast {hardware} tour:

At 1.49 kilos (678g), the ROG Ally X is just 0.15 kilos (70g) heavier than the unique, and it’s solely 0.18 inches (4.5mm) thicker at its thickest level. It’s virtually precisely the identical weight as the unique Steam Deck, and virtually half an inch thinner, however with twice as a lot battery capability inside.

How? Whereas the larger battery added over 120 grams of weight, Asus was in a position to offset half of it by making different elements lighter. Krohn says a stronger, thinner, lighter chassis provided the largest financial savings — the load of the talcum-filled ABS / polycarbonate composite went from 176 grams to 134 grams by the point Asus was executed. (I did run into one aspect impact of the stiffer plastic mix: it’s tougher to pop it open for restore.)

The Ally X has lighter circuit boards, too, shaving away a number of pointless board, and a lighter cooling module — together with 23-percent smaller followers which can be truly extra highly effective, as a result of the corporate’s in-house design staff created its personal customized set of 77 ultra-thin blades that trump the 47 of the unique. Krohn says you may see the Ally run a pair levels cooler, and the thinner blades assist scale back the audible noise bump at round 5,000Hz, too.

And, there’s a brand new sequence of vents that allow the Ally X cool its touchscreen extra successfully — as much as 6°C cooler.

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Let’s tour the Ally X internals, beginning with the 80Wh battery.

The joysticks are one other place the place they’re each higher and lighter: fully revised modular boards now use the identical high-grade potentiometer primarily based ALPS sticks you’ll discover in a PS5 or Xbox gamepad, with far tighter throw than the unique Ally, delightfully cheesy concave tops a la Steam Deck OLED, wider bases for higher mud resistance, and low friction POM plastic stems for smoother motion after they scrape in opposition to the joystick ring’s edge.

They’re rated to five million rotation cycles, up from 2 million, and if that’s not sufficient, they’re modular — prepared for a drift-resistant Hall Effect magnetic joystick upgrade kit that Gulikit already has in improvement. (Krohn says not sufficient players choose Corridor Impact sticks for them to return customary, which… possibly?)

And, Asus has seemingly addressed virtually the entire greatest complaints about I/O:

You get a full-length M.2 2280 PCIe 4 SSD slot now, one which helps double-sided drives too, opening up each the very best capability and essentially the most value efficient storage choices in the marketplace.

Asus has additionally ditched its proprietary XG Cell eGPU port for a second USB-C port, one that provides all the advantages of Thunderbolt 4 too: 40Gbps speeds, 100W USB-C PD charging, DP 1.4 video output, and 4 lanes of PCIe for traditional eGPUs. (No Oculink, sorry.)

Each ports are top-mounted, however Krohn says that lets even the weaker one supply 100W charging and 10Gbps information.

And sure, Asus says you get a new SD card reader that’s not the identical because the one that Asus won’t admit has an issue.

The ROG Ally X one-pager. 24GB RAM means the GPU and system principally now not have to share.

Listed here are among the smaller particulars I realized:

  • The D-pad just isn’t solely eight-way now, it’s additionally bigger and extra comfy. I vastly choose it.
  • The face buttons are 3mm taller, inside an extended tube for extra stability. I discovered they’ve a flatter press.
  • The audio system have a barely bigger chamber for barely extra quantity and bass.
  • The haptic actuators have moved to the sides of the system, beneath palms, for extra pronounced suggestions and weight distribution.
  • The shoulder buttons are mounted in a different way on the board in order that they don’t break as simply in a fall.
  • The triggers are wider and made from smoky semi-transparent plastic that appears cool.
  • The rear consumption vents are barely bigger.
  • The joystick tops are actually connected with screws, so you possibly can theoretically 3D print your personal tops or stem extenders.
  • Equally, the brand new again buttons are screwed into the rear shell now, so you possibly can theoretically transfer their place in your personal 3D printed rear shell.
  • There’s a hoop across the fingerprint energy button now to search out it simpler by really feel.
  • The Turbo mode nonetheless operates at 25W, however Silent has been bumped from 10W to 13W, and Efficiency from 15W to 17W.
  • The battery is now rated to have 80 % remaining capability after 3 years of biking, up from 70 %
  • The hand held makes use of a distinct IMU now.
  • It nonetheless has magnetic Corridor Impact triggers, however revised barely to verify they don’t intervene with the audio system or vibration motors.
  • Whereas it does assist 100W charging now, it nonetheless comes with the identical 65W adapter.
  • It’s not appropriate with present {cases} and mounts, however Asus is in contact with fan favorites JSAUX, Deckmate and Dbrand to supply new ones.
  • Current Ally homeowners will have the ability to migrate settings to an Ally X with a cloud backup.

Final however not least, there’s an easter egg within the cozy new grips — just like the PS5’s controller is studded with incredibly tiny PlayStation symbols, the ROG Ally X’s grips are coated with “ROG ROG ROG”:

I can’t await a overview unit of this handheld, as a result of battery is king in handheld gaming PC world, and the Ally X is about to be king of handheld battery packs. Simply don’t essentially anticipate it to dethrone the Steam Deck OLED, as a result of there’s solely to date Asus can go with no extra environment friendly chip and display screen — and since I’m nonetheless undecided how I really feel about Asus’ deteriorating reputation for assist.

Some small information at the moment there too, although: Asus has just announced that each one ROG Ally units in North America now have a two-year guarantee.

Images by Sean Hollister / The Verge





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