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New ROG Ally revealed with AMD Ryzen Z1 processor and £599 price tag

ROG Ally (Ryzen Z1) - main image

The new ROG Ally trades power for affordability but will that help or hinder it in its quest to become king of the handheld consoles?

Asus has confirmed that a more affordable but less powerful iteration of its ROG Ally handheld console will be available to buy in the UK from Tuesday, 3 October. 

The new model is powered by an AMD Ryzen Z1 processor rather than the Z1 Extreme chip found in the original Ally but the two consoles are otherwise identical.

The striking white polycarbonate chassis remains unchanged, as does the 7in Full HD screen with its 1080p resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. Its other internal components are the same too, with the ROG Ally Z1 housing 16GB of dual-channel 6400MHz LPDDR5 RAM, 512GB PCIe storage and a microSD slot.

Like the Z1 Extreme-powered ROG Ally, the Z1 model is able to play titles from a variety of different gaming services as it runs the Windows 11 operating system. Games can be downloaded from Steam, Xbox Games Pass, the Epic Games Launcher, Ubisoft Connect, GOG Galaxy and more, providing gamers with a huge portfolio of AAA and indie titles to choose from. 

This gives the Ally a big advantage over its main competitor the Valve Steam Deck, although it does also face competition from the recently announced Lenovo Legion Go, which also runs Windows 11 and has detachable control pads like the Nintendo Switch and Nintendo Switch OLED

Once downloaded, games populate a bespoke version of Asus’ Armoury Crate software – Armoury Crate SE – which serves as both a games launcher and hub for tweaking the console’s numerous settings. Among those settings are the ability to adjust the Ally’s dual-fan “Zero Gravity” cooling system and select from a selection of picture modes, including ones specifically created for FPS and RPG games.

ROG Ally (Ryzen Z1) - lifestyle image

That breadth of choice and customisation, along with impressive performance and an attractive display helped secure the ROG Ally a four-star rating when reviewed earlier this year, although it wasn’t without its foibles. Battery life was disappointing – particularly when running demanding games in the console’s most powerful Turbo mode – and navigating Windows 11 using the handheld’s controls wasn’t always intuitive. 

The ROG Ally Z1 Extreme’s price of £699 will also have proved offputting for some, especially when you factor in near-essential accessories like ROG’s 65W Gaming Charger Dock (£60) and the ROG Ally Travel Case (£25). But with a price tag of £599, the Z1 ROG Ally is a more accessible proposition and one that costs just £30 more than the top-spec Steam Deck. It also comes with a three-month subscription to Xbox Games Pass, meaning you’ll be able to play new releases like Starfield and Lies of P without spending a penny. 

It will be fascinating to see how the downgraded processor affects performance and we hope to have a review unit in our hands soon, so be sure to check back for our full review. Until then, head on over to our roundup of the best handheld consoles to see what we consider the top gaming portables on the market. 

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