Asus’ next ROG Ally handheld will be the ROG Ally X

The Asus ROG Ally was Steam Deck’s first real competitor. While it fell a little short, the add-on legitimately enhanced the affordable Windows handheld gaming scene with performance improvements and a smooth variable refresh rate display. Now Asus has started teasing its successor, the ROG Ally X.

Due out later this year, the Windows-based Ally X will feature the same AMD Z1 Extreme chipset and the same 7-inch 48-120Hz VRR display. While not as good as the Steam Deck OLED, Valve is pushing AMD to improve battery life and stability. To improve the chip, improve response time and add a new, larger, brighter and more luxurious OLED panel with thinner bezels.

“We don’t expect to increase capacity by 30-40 percent”.

But Asus Senior Vice President Shawn Yen told The Verge that the new black-colored handhelds will have significantly improved battery life. That’s because Asus will pack a significantly larger battery pack into the Ally X’s improved shell. We’re thinking much bigger than that.

Asus won’t talk about specific specs today. Instead, Yen asked me how much battery life I realistically want from the revised handset. I told him that I currently use it for about 1.5 hours in intense gaming, so in a worst-case scenario I’d like to double the battery life to three hours. He assured me that he would not be disappointed in the worst case scenario.

The battery isn’t the only change Asus is talking about today; the Ally X addresses many of the community’s top priorities for how to refresh the original. “We’re thinking about battery, storage, graphics, memory and ports,” says Gabriel Meng, Asus’ senior product manager.

Specs are still unknown today, but Asus says the Ally X will have more RAM than the current 16GB, allowing more RAM to be allocated to the GPU without affecting the rest of the system. It will also have a longer M.2 2280 SSD slot, making it easier to find and purchase a larger SSD upgrade from the current M.2 2230.

The Ally X will also have a redesigned joystick module that should be more interchangeable and more easily repairable should Gulikit step in, and upgrades will also be possible. While I couldn’t see it myself, Asus says the handset will be a little heavier due to the larger battery, the grip will change and there will be some minor tweaks to the D-pad, joystick and triggers.

While Asus still won’t admit there’s a bug in the Ally’s SD card reader, saying it’s the same SD card reader they use in their laptops and that they don’t believe there’s a real problem with overheating, the Ally X does have a motherboard and appears to be moving it away from the system vents. Meng said while carrying the SD reader. Meng had this to say about carrying the SD reader.

Asus has stated that developing the Ally X will be costly. Unlike the Steam Deck OLED, which nearly replaces Valve’s LCD model at the same price point, the Ally X starts at a higher price than the original. The original 2023 ROG Ally will also continue to be available and could go on sale.

As for the ROG Ally 2, Asus agrees with Valve that it has a similar philosophy: it wants to create a true successor if it can offer significant performance increases rather than just incremental ones.

While Asus has no plans to sell aftermarket battery upgrades to original Ally buyers, there’s a major software update for those buyers too: Armory Crate SE 1.5 gets a fresh coat of paint and improved navigation, as well as allowing gamers to share button mappings for various games with other Ally owners.

Asus still believes in Windows. Asus states that there are philosophical and logistical reasons for sticking with Microsoft’s operating system. We’ll have more on the logistical reasons in due course.

Asus says it will officially launch the ROG Ally X on June 2.

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Written by Sean Anderson

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