The Asus ROG Ally runs Home windows, eats battery, and wishes time to prepare dinner

Asus ROG Ally held in one hand, on a porch
Enlarge / With the appearance of the Asus ROG Ally, you possibly can take Home windows gaming anyplace! Do you have to? That could be a good query.

Kevin Purdy

Geralt of Rivia regarded good, moved easily, and responded swiftly to instructions. There was only one drawback: He was continuously sucker-punching the villagers of White Orchard. Again and again, he raised his fists in opposition to tavern keepers, youngsters working on the street, and detachments of Nilfgaardian troopers. That final one begat a brutal loss of life. Typically, proper after taking an unprovoked swing, the digital camera would furiously spin round my white-haired avatar, making me really feel like I, too, had caught one within the head.

Specs at a look: Asus ROG Ally
Show 7-inch IPS panel: 1920×1080, 120 Hz, 7 ms, 500 nits, 100% sRGB, FreeSync, Gorilla Glass Victus/DXC
OS Home windows 11 (Residence)
CPU AMD Ryzen Z1 Excessive (Zen 4, 8 core, 24M cache, 5.10 Ghz, 9-30 W (as reviewed)
RAM 16 GB LPDDR5 6400 MHz
GPU AMD Radeon RDNA3, 4 GB RAM (as reviewed)
Storage M.2 NVME 2230 Gen4x4, 512 GB (as reviewed)
Networking Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
Battery 40 Wh
Ports ROG XG interface, USB-C (3.2 Gen2, DPI 1.4), 3.5 mm audio, Micro SD
Measurement 11×4.3×0.8 in. (280×111×21 mm)
Weight 1.34 lbs (608 g)
Worth as reviewed $700 (plus mini dock)

I performed the most recent model of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt on Asus’ new ROG Ally handheld gaming PC ($700, obtainable June 13, preorders begin immediately) as a private benchmark. Having accomplished the sport 3 times beforehand (Xbox/PC/Change, Yennefer/Triss/neither), I used to be seeking to spot variations on this rising platform. Asus’ new system can run The Witcher 3—and Murderer’s Creed: OdysseyForza Horizon 5, and Hitman 3—extra powerfully than the Steam Deck or nearly every other “transportable” system round, minus questionably transportable gaming laptops. The system runs Home windows, so it has fewer recreation compatibility points than Valve’s Steam Deck (nonetheless admirably far that system has superior). What would make The Witcher or every other playthrough totally different on the Ally, a Change-sized system that boasts 7–13 instances the energy of that platform? “Random violence” wasn’t the reply I anticipated, so I dug in.

My first thought was that the thumb sticks might be the issue, as they appear to have larger useless zones and really feel much less sturdy than those on the Steam Deck. Or perhaps it was pre-release video {hardware} reacting to a recreation identified for uneven efficiency. I up to date every little thing I might, recalibrated the sticks, and double-checked my in-game settings. I performed the identical construct of the sport on a Steam Deck with Home windows loaded, in the identical location, however could not recreate the issue.

Finally, I figured it out: It was the touchscreen. The Ally’s proper stick is just too shallow, and it is too near the correct aspect of a display with small bezels. Each time my thumb glanced too shut, the overly delicate touchscreen picked it up as a left click on. The default left-click mouse motion in The Witcher 3 is an assault. Like some malevolent specter of Polish folklore, the Ally had made Geralt’s world richer, however it whispered violent ideas to him every time the Thumb Moon solid its shadow over the 1080p sea.

Apparently, my big thumbs get very active when I'm moving the camera in <em>The Witcher 3</em>, enough to trigger a phantom single-click tap on the touchscreen.
Enlarge / Apparently, my huge thumbs get very energetic after I’m shifting the digital camera in The Witcher 3, sufficient to set off a phantom single-click faucet on the touchscreen.

Kevin Purdy

You possibly can, in fact, disable a touchscreen in Home windows 11 by way of a sequence of tiny-target System Supervisor faucets on the Ally’s 7-inch display. Somebody might even make a batch script or tiny executable that allows or disables the touchscreen on the fly. Or Asus might add a touchscreen toggle to the Command Heart, which pops out roughly 95 % of the time that you simply click on its left-side button, or it might enable me to set that up within the Ally’s complicated per-game profile system.

However when I’ve time to dedicate to concerned, graphically intensive video games, the very last thing I wish to do is repair up a Home windows set up—and an awkwardly scaled one at that. I discover it simpler to put in, launch, and configure video games on Valve’s Steam Deck, a handheld PC rooted in Arch Linux, than on the Ally’s mixture of Home windows 11 and Asus’ personal Armoury Crate software program. I legitimately forgot my Steam Deck had a touchscreen till I ran Home windows 11 on it for side-by-side comparisons. Asus has much more work to do earlier than its system reaches that sort of game-focused move.

Whenever you’re inside a recreation, the Ally performs higher than almost any system its measurement—you will see that within the benchmarks. However every little thing else about my expertise with the Ally makes it arduous to advocate as a $700 system you should buy from Asus this month. If you wish to get 39 frames per second in Cyberpunk 2077 as an alternative of 33 with the identical settings on the Steam Deck or eke out some ray tracing at simply over 30 frames per second, the Ally can do this. The identical goes when you’re determined to play Home windows-only, cheat-detecting PC video games like Future 2 in your sofa (and you’ve got determined in opposition to high-end streaming).

However most individuals ought to most likely wait till Asus, like Valve earlier than it, will get a number of suggestions and hopefully improves its software program. Not that some {hardware} fixes could not assist, too.

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