ASUS ROG Ally Z1 vs Z1 Extreme – which is best for you?

We're all looking forward to these gaming devices

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Here it is – our lowdown on the ASUS ROG Ally Z1 vs Z1 Extreme.

There’s a lot to love about the forthcoming handheld gaming devices from ASUS. A direct competitor to Valve’s Steam Deck but different enough for gamers to make a decision between the two, the devices promise speedy graphics and access to PC games on the go.

The Ally is set to feature AMD Ryzen Z1 APUs, providing users with the latest Zen 4 CPU architecture and RDNA 3 graphics. According to the Asus specs page, there are two variants expected: the six-core Z1 and the more powerful eight-core Z1 Extreme processor.

This means there are two models to choose from: The Ally Z1 and the Ally Z1 Extreme. But which is right for you? Read on to find out.

What is the ASUS ROG Ally Z1?

The ASUS ROG Ally Z1 is a handheld gaming console running off the Windows 11 operating system. It is being eagerly awaited by PC gamers everywhere. ASUS have said the device will not just function as a gaming device but as a portable Windows PC – even more so than a laptop. You’ll be able to browse the web, download files and run programs like on a bigger computer. Plus, high-tech cooling features keep everything running smoothly.

The hand-held device features a range of control buttons, including the classic ABXY, a D-Pad, L and R bumpers, thumbsticks and more. Games are easily accessible from the Windows Store or other places, all stored in the Armoury Crate. This is a specialised launcher designed to make things easier – you won’t have to switch between places.

Plus, 3 months of the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate come included for free with purchase of the device. Not bad!

When can I buy the ASUS ROG Ally Z1?

The device is set to launch on June 13th. However, it possible to pre-order the Z1 Extreme version of the Ally from Best Buy for $699 USD. The cheaper Z1 version will cost $599 USD but isn’t currently available for pre-order. Check out where else to find the device here.

Best Buy

ASUS ROG Ally Z1 vs Z1 Extreme

Firstly, it’s worth noting there are many similarities between the two devices, especially when it comes to the exterior specs.

Both models boast a 7-inch Full HD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 IPS-level display, offering vibrant and sharp visuals, with a sRGB coverage of 100%. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass DXC and Gorilla Glass Victus™, ensuring durability and resistance to scratches. They feature responsive touch screens with 10-point multi-touch capability. The display refresh rate for both is 120Hz, resulting in smooth motion transitions, with a quick 7ms response time which enhances the overall display performance. With a brightness of 500 nits, the screens deliver bright and clear visuals even in well-lit environments. Additionally, AMD FreeSync™ Premium technology is supported for both consoles, offering an improved gaming experience with reduced screen tearing and stuttering. Battery life varies according to games played.

Read on for some key differences – and a striking similarity.

Price

Here is where a key distinction lies. The Ally Z1 is currently set to retail for $599/£479.55. On the other hand, the Z1 Extreme version of the Ally is currently available for pre-orders from Best Buy for $699 USD/£559.61.

CPU and GPU

Another difference lies in the internal specs – CPU and GPU.

The Ally Z1 comes with an AMD Ryzen™ Z1 Processor is a high-performance CPU featuring the “Zen4” architecture on a 4nm process. It has 6 cores/12 threads, 22MB cache, and boosts up to 4.90 GHz. The GPU incorporates AMD Radeon™ Graphics (AMD RDNA™ 3) with 4 CUs, up to 2.5GHz, and 2.8 Teraflops. The processor operates at a TDP of 9-30W, offering a balance between power and efficiency.

On the other hand, the Ally Z1 Extreme comes with an even faster, more powerful set of kit. It boasts the AMD Ryzen™ Z1 Extreme Processor, which features advanced “Zen4” architecture on a 4nm process, with 8 cores/16 threads and a 24MB total cache. The CPU can boost up to 5.10 GHz, delivering fast and responsive performance. The GPU integrates AMD Radeon™ Graphics (AMD RDNA™ 3) with 12 CUs, up to 2.7 GHz, and a whopping 8.6 Teraflops. Despite its impressive specs, the processor maintains an energy-efficient TDP of 9-30W, making it suitable for various devices.

Memory

Here the two devices are equal. Both feature 16GB LPDDR5 on board, and 512GB PCIe® 4.0 NVMeM.2 SSD. That’s more than enough to store all the games your heart desires. 

Gloria’s Thoughts

So, in many respects, the ASUS ROG Ally Z1 and the Ally Z1 Extreme are pretty similar when it comes to design, display and storage. Where they differ is hardware, with the Extreme being faster and more powerful. It is thus the better choice for pro gamers. If you have a tighter budget, the Ally Z1 may be the way to go.

Gloria is a tech and AI writer for PC Guide. She is interested in what new technology means for the future of digital and broadcast journalism.