Steam Deck vs Asus ROG Ally: A Detailed Comparison of Handheld Gaming Consoles
|Comparison illustration of Steam Deck (top) and ROG Ally (bottom) (GizChina)|
In the world of portable gaming consoles, Asus recently made its entry with the launch of their first handheld gaming console, the Asus ROG Ally. Positioned as a competitor to the Steam Deck, the Asus ROG Ally shares similar functionalities and a comparable design. With the limited availability of handheld consoles capable of running PC games, it's no surprise that the Asus ROG Ally is predicted to be a strong rival to the Steam Deck. While these "gaming powerhouses" may seem similar in function and form, there are several key differences that set them apart.
Similar Design with Distinct Differences
|Comparison illustration of Steam Deck (top) and ROG Ally (bottom) (Dave2D)|
One noticeable difference in design is the color scheme of the two consoles. The ROG Ally boasts a white exterior, while the Steam Deck comes in black. Additionally, they differ in size, with the ROG Ally appearing smaller than the Steam Deck. The ROG Ally weighs 608 grams and measures 280 mm x 113 mm x 39 mm, whereas the Steam Deck weighs 669 grams and has dimensions of 298 mm x 117 mm x 50.5 mm. Both consoles are constructed using plastic materials.
Both the Asus ROG Ally and the Steam Deck feature large screens in the center. There are various buttons positioned on the left and right sides of the screens. The Asus ROG Ally sports a 7-inch screen with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels, a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz, a 16:9 aspect ratio, and a brightness level of 500 nits. On the other hand, the Steam Deck has a 7-inch screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, a refresh rate of 60 Hz, a 16:10 aspect ratio, and a brightness of 400 nits. As for the buttons, both consoles come equipped with Xbox-style ABXYA operation buttons, R1-R2, L1-L2, two analog sticks, a directional pad (d-pad), and a menu or quick access button. However, the placement of some buttons differs between the two consoles. For example, the Asus ROG Ally's directional pad is located in the middle of the console (to the left of the screen), while the Steam Deck's directional pad is positioned on the left edge. Unlike the Steam Deck, the Asus ROG Ally does not have a touchpad that can replace mouse controls. Regarding the back of the console, Asus only provides a single pair of rear buttons, whereas the Steam Deck is equipped with two pairs. However, the Asus ROG Ally boasts an exclusive feature—a colorful RGB-backlit analog stick similar to those found on gaming laptops. These colors can be customized or turned off.
Hardware and Software Differences
In terms of internal specifications, the Asus ROG Ally offers two chipset options: the regular AMD Ryzen Z1 and the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme. On paper, the AMD Ryzen Z1 delivers processing performance of up to 2.8 teraflops, while the Extreme version offers up to 8.6 teraflops. The number of cores and threads also differs between the two. The AMD Ryzen Z1 has 6 cores and 12 threads, whereas the Z1 Extreme has 8 cores and 16 threads. Both are designed with AMD Zen 4 (4 nm) architecture and utilize the RDNA 3 graphics processing unit (GPU).
Users can also attach the Asus XG Mobile external GPU using the dedicated slot available on the console. In terms of memory, the Asus ROG Ally, equipped with either the AMD Ryzen Z1 or Z1 Extreme chipset, comes with 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and storage options of 256 GB or 512 GB. On the other hand, the Steam Deck, created by Valve, utilizes older technology, featuring an AMD Zen 2 CPU (4 cores, 8 threads) and an RDNA 2 GPU with processing power of up to 1.6 teraflops. This chipset is paired with 16 GB of LPDDR5 RAM and storage options of 64 GB, 256 GB, or 512 GB. Apart from hardware, the software running on these handheld consoles also differs. The Asus ROG Ally operates on the Windows 11 operating system, allowing users to enjoy games from various app stores such as Steam, Epic Games Store, and PC Game Pass, among others. On the other hand, the Steam Deck runs on Linux, customized with the SteamOS interface. Due to its Linux-based system, gamers can only play games that are compatible with this operating system. However, it's worth noting that Linux is an open-source operating system, so users can install Windows on the Steam Deck if they want to play games that are not compatible. However, this process can be complex and less user-friendly for beginners.
Battery Life and Additional Features
|Illustration of Steam Deck. (PCGamer)|
Both the Steam Deck and the ROG Ally rely on a 40 Wh battery. According to gaming media IGN, these consoles offer a battery life of approximately 4-5 hours when playing indie games like "Hades" and "Vampire Survivors." However, when playing more demanding games, the battery life can be reduced to 1-2 hours. The ROG Ally comes with additional features, including a 3.5 mm audio jack, a microSD UHS-11 slot, ROG XG Mobile Interface, USB-C, WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and Dolby Atmos stereo speakers. It also features a fingerprint sensor that doubles as a power button, along with the "Armoury Crate" software for ROG Ally system settings. On the other hand, the Steam Deck includes Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 802.11/a/b/g/n/ac, dual microphones, dual speakers, a 3.5 mm audio jack, a microSD slot, and a USB Type-C port as additional features.
Price Comparison: Asus ROG Ally vs. Steam Deck
The Asus ROG Ally Z1 Extreme is set to be released on June 13th, while the Asus ROG Ally with the AMD Ryzen Z1 chipset is expected in the third quarter of 2023.
Here are the detailed prices, as compiled by KompasTekno from Pocket Lint on Monday, May 15th, 2023:
1. Asus ROG Ally Z1 - $599 (approximately Rp 8.8 million)
2. Asus ROG Ally Z1 Extreme - $699 (approximately Rp 10.3 million)
For comparison, here are the prices of the Steam Deck handheld consoles:
1. Steam Deck 16/64 GB - $399 (approximately Rp 5.9 million)
2. Steam Deck 16/256 GB - $529 (approximately Rp 7.8 million)
3. Steam Deck 16/512 GB - $649 (approximately Rp 9.6 million)
Considering the specifications mentioned above, the Asus ROG Ally excels in various aspects such as screen quality, performance, and weight. However, the Steam Deck offers more extensive button options, including a touchpad that simulates mouse controls. Additionally, the Steam Deck provides more RAM and storage choices, with the 16/64 GB and 16/256 GB variants offered at more affordable prices compared to the cheapest option of the Asus ROG Ally.