Hands On: Asus ROG Ally X Redesign Amps Up the Storage, RAM, and Battery


Alongside a line of new Copilot+ PCs at Computex 2024, Asus revealed the first upgraded version of its original ROG Ally Windows handheld gaming device, the ROG Ally X. The Ally X is chiefly concerned with addressing the most prominent user feedback since the launch of the Ally, which has manifested as a new black color, a bigger battery, and other internal and external upgrades. I got a chance to get my hands on the device at a preview event before its full unveiling, which you can watch in the video above and read about below.


The Full Ally Family

The Ally X isn’t the first new Ally since the original Asus ROG Ally launch, but it’s the first improved version. Following the launch of the original, Asus released the Ally Z1, a less powerful (and less expensive) version of the first. The Ally Z1 wasn’t a follow-up or sequel to the original in the way the new Ally X is, but rather, it was a cheaper model to lower the starting price—mainly on the back of using AMD’s Z1 chip rather than the Z1 Extreme found in the first Ally.

(Credit: John Burek)

Now, the Ally X upgrades the original design without being a full-on generational sequel. For me, it will require a new chip to truly count as an “Ally 2.” Asus believes the Z1 Extreme APU—which handles both processing and graphics—is still enough for current games. The screen is the same, too. You can check out our full review of the original or our testing comparison piece for Z1 Extreme performance numbers.

Asus ROG Ally X

(Credit: John Burek)

So, you’ll find essentially three different tiers when shopping for an Ally: the ROG Ally Z1 ($599.99), the ROG Ally (our review unit was a $699.99 model), and now the ROG Ally X ($799.99). Considering Asus has added upgrades, the price hike seems reasonable despite the device using the same chip and display. Let’s run through those upgrades.


An Unexpectedly Detailed Redesign

Firstly, the all-black design. Asus noted that shoppers frequently asked about a black SKU of the original, and rather than sell both in a new model, the Ally X comes in black only. A white model may be added down the line, but that’s not currently a certainty.

Asus ROG Ally X

(Credit: John Burek)

Sticking to the exterior, Asus also tweaked the control sticks and face buttons, placing them at a more comfortable angle and position for moving your thumbs between them.

The sticks are new, too, with more tension than the originals, and the directional pad has also been upgraded for more precision. While redesigning the other external parts, Asus also made the hand grips more substantial; the Ally X is a little more comfortable to hold than the flatter Ally.

Asus ROG Ally X

(Credit: John Burek)

The top edge of the system also looks a bit different. The proprietary eGPU port has been replaced with two USB Type-C ports instead of one, which should make the Ally X more versatile for a broader range of users. You’ll also find another vent on this top edge now. Combined with smaller, more efficient fans, this model should have superior cooling to its predecessors.


Internal Improvements: Bigger Battery, Faster RAM, More Storage

Naturally, the most critical Ally X upgrades are on the logic board. One of the most requested improvements to the Ally—and all of these Windows handhelds and the Steam Deck—is improved battery life to support longer portable gaming sessions.

Asus ROG Ally X

(Credit: John Burek)

Asus answered by doubling the battery size to 80Whr, which should give the system more juice for playing off the charger longer. Of course, we’ll test the new battery life for ourselves when we get a system. This does make the Ally X heavier than the original, a weight increase of about 0.15 pounds (or an 11.5% gain). It didn’t feel any heavier to me just to hold or lift, but the added weight could be felt along the bottom of the device while in a gaming position. Hopefully, that doesn’t fatigue your fingers more quickly during handheld sessions.

Asus ROG Ally X

(Credit: John Burek)

While the Z1 Extreme chip remains the same, the Ally X should perform better regardless. It has 24GB of memory instead of the 16GB in the original, and the RAM is now faster at 7500MHz. Since integrated graphics processors tap into system RAM for pre-loading video assets, this should result in a noticeable speed boost to frame rates.

Recommended by Our Editors

Asus ROG Ally X

(Credit: John Burek)

Asus also found that users were replacing the storage after purchase to install bigger and faster drives, which will now come stock in this machine: The Ally X includes a 1TB 2280 M.2 SSD. Our original Ally review model included a 512GB drive, which is a decent amount, but 1TB gives you a lot more breathing room for today’s sizable games.


New Armoury Crate Software, Too

You’ll notice one more intangible upgrade that should improve your gaming experience: Asus has updated the Armoury Crate software to version 1.5. This probably seems minor relative to all of the hardware upgrades, but most handheld gaming devices ride on the quality of their software. The Steam Deck has its excellent SteamOS UI, but the Windows devices all vary wildly in their interfaces.

Asus ROG Ally X

(Credit: John Burek)

Asus’ first take on its software was better than most, allowing you to jump between game launchers and change device settings on the fly, but the updated version looks cleaner. More customization for your library, an overlay panel, and import/export for key mapping should streamline the experience. I didn’t have too much time to mess around with the new menus—just how much better version 1.5 is will become apparent with more prolonged use—but seeing some usability improvements is encouraging.

Asus ROG Ally X

(Credit: John Burek)

Those are all the significant changes coming to the Asus ROG Ally X. While the price is creeping further away from what some shoppers may consider affordable for this kind of machine, the upgrades seem worthwhile. Plus, $800 is quite competitive with even budget-grade gaming laptops. The less expensive models will remain available even after the Ally X launches.

Check back for a full review of the Ally X once units are made available.

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