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3 reasons you should buy the ASUS ROG Ally X – and 3 reasons you shouldn’t

Is the new ROG Ally X really worth it?
Last Updated on June 18, 2024
ASUS ROG Ally X promotional graphic, source: ASUS
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The ASUS ROG Ally X is just around the corner, and handheld console fans are excited. The original ROG Ally is largely considered the best Steam Deck alternative on the market by many, and has proven highly popular – and the upgraded version is boasting some valuable upgrades. If you’re weighing up whether or not to invest in the ROG Ally X, either via pre order or upon release at the end of July, we’ve compiled some things to consider.

ASUS ROG Ally X on show at Computex 2024
ASUS ROG Ally X on show at Computex 2024 ahead of the Ally X release, source: PCGuide

Why you should buy the ASUS ROG Ally X

The ASUS ROG Ally X is a highly promising handheld console, with plenty to offer returning or first-time buyers looking for the best handheld console on the market. Here’s 3 reasons why the ROG Ally X is a worthwhile purchase.

1. Performance

Though the ASUS ROG Ally X is an upgrade rather than a full-fledged sequel, the upgrades certainly look promising. An extra 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM is sure to boost performance, and hopefully improve stability across the board. Modern handheld games consoles are beleaguered with issues – as can be expected, given you’re cramming top-end hardware into a device that needs to fit in your backpack – but with more memory and a more modern build, the ROG Ally X is looking to surpass it’s predecessor’s already-high popularity and performance benchmarks.

2. Power & battery

The battery life on the ROG Ally X has been doubled compared to the original ROG Ally: a stunning 80WHr battery replaces the 40WHr unit in the previous incarnation. That places the potential battery life well above that of the Steam Deck OLED and even the original MSI Claw, whose improved battery life was a marketed feature. Of course, true battery life depends on the content played and the complexity of settings, but the tangible improvement makes for tangible results: you’ll be able to play for longer without reaching for the charge lead.

3. Price

The ROG Ally’s initial price was quite steep upon launch, given that it was attempting to compete with the Steam Deck. It was hard to justify the original model’s price. The ROG Ally X, on the other hand, feels like a justifiable investment at that same price point (the original ROG Ally models have been discounted, too). Given the performance and battery enhancements detailed above, a $799 price tag feels reasonable for an overall performance improvement. In the same way that the Steam Deck changed its pricing structure to match the market, it’s good to see ASUS doing the same.

Why you shouldn’t buy the ASUS ROG Ally X

That said, there are equal arguments to the contrary: that the ROG Ally X is merely too little, too late. Consider the following:

1. Screen

Unlike the Steam Deck, whose 2023 reincarnation boasted a gorgeous upgrade to an OLED screen, the ROG Ally X is still employing a 1080p IPS touchscreen. For some, this makes the already difficult-to-parse graphics of a handheld even murkier. As we see more and more innovation with AMOLED screens in smaller devices, this seems like a notable oversight on ASUS’ part. Whether it wasn’t considered financially viable or not considered in the rapid development of this upgrade is unknown. If you really want to feel the benefit of that extra processing power, an IPS screen is likely a limiting factor.

2. Sustainability

Those who bought the ASUS ROG Ally less than a year ago now might feel somewhat ripped off by the new product announcement. Not only is there a better version of the handheld available so quickly, but its existence has cheapened the value of their current console due to the price drop. This raises a larger issue of sustainability within the handheld console market: with MSI pivoting on the MSI Claw a mere handful of months after launch, the newest handheld console doesn’t stay the newest for long. Even if you trade in your previous ROG Ally, you aren’t getting a great return on investment. Unlike a PC, where you can upgrade piecemeal as suits your needs and budget, you have to buy the ASUS ROG Ally X in full.

3. Stability

Though the added memory may fix the notable stability issues that the original ROG Ally has, it’s not a total fix. Running on Windows 11 hasn’t proven the ROG Ally to be much more stable than Steam’s Linux-based OS, and that’s without users modding in changes or different software. As we’ve seen with the MSI Claw: improved specifications don’t necessarily lead to improved stability. And at double the price of a PS5 – which all but guarantees stability – the ROG Ally X needs a better guarantee of results. Until it can be benchmarked, maybe hold off on buying this new handheld console.

Should you wait for an ASUS ROG Ally 2?

We’re confident in saying that a full-fledged ASUS ROG Ally 2 will hit shelves eventually, the question simply is when. The existence of the ROG Ally X confirms that ASUS is actively developing its handheld technology, and is pushing for improved components in smaller sizes. But equally, given the ROG Ally X’s existence, we don’t expect the ROG Ally 2 in 2024.

There is also the question of whether the ROG Ally 2 will ever be as competitive as it needs to be. With handheld consoles becoming outmoded a mere handful of months from release, we may stop seeing the active development of complete handheld consoles. The XPG Nia, announced at Computex 2024 alongside the ROG Ally X, is marketing itself as a “moddable” handheld, with users actively encouraged to switch up design elements and components. Given the rapid rate at which technology, particularly PC technology, is evolving; maybe handhelds will truly embrace the modifiable regular upgrading that custom PCs benefit from?

Angus Warrender is a PCGuide Writer and Editor. He's interested in a range of tech, from cameras to consoles, and has an eye for spotting the best products on the market!