Image: Anyron Copeman / Foundry
There have been a lot of would-be competitors to the Steam Deck that have popped up since its arrival, even a few from major PC vendors like Asus and Lenovo. But none of them, indie or big time, have managed to beat Valve on value. The Deck’s $400 starting price remains unbeaten for an x86-based gaming handheld. Until today. The entry-level version of the Asus ROG Ally, a more powerful handheld running an optimized version of Windows, is on sale for just $399.99 at Best Buy.
There’s just one potential fly in the soup. This version of the ROG Ally is running the AMD Ryzen Z1 processor, not the faster, flagship Ryzen Z1 Extreme APU that made the Ally such a splash when it launched earlier this year. So, while the hardware is still newer and faster than the Steam Deck, it’s to a lesser degree than you might think and running Windows instead of the Linux-based Steam OS creates a lot of operating overhead. If you want the full-fat Extreme version of the Ally, it’s also on sale for $599.99 ($100 off the original price instead of $200).
That being said, even the base model of the ROG Ally is impressive. The 1080p IPS screen is a big step up over the base model Steam Deck and with 120Hz capability, it’s arguably better than the new OLED version, too. Both versions of the Ally get 512GB of speedy PCIe 4th-gen storage out of the box, plus whatever you can fit in the microSD card reader. And the Ally can be docked to Asus’s proprietary ROG XG Mobile series of external GPUs, if you want to turn it into a full-fledged gaming desktop or entertainment center.
At the time of writing, Best Buy seems to be the only retailer running such a dramatic discount on the Ally — competitors like Amazon and Newegg have declined to match the price drop. That being the case, you might want to get an order in quickly if you’re ready to buy.
Get the ROG Ally handheld gaming PC for $399.99
Author: Michael Crider, Staff Writer
Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.
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