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Asus ROG Ally X Gaming Handheld Was Built From Your Wishes

Improvements abound for Asus' ROG gaming handheld, but if you're hoping for a full overhaul, you'll have to wait.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
2 min read
asus-rog-ally-x-01

The ROG Ally X is a touch heavier than the original but with a bigger battery and a better feel.

Josh Goldman/CNET

Asus refreshed its Republic of Gamers Ally gaming handheld, redesigning it based on user feedback for the new ROG Ally X. It's not a completely new device, though it's close, and there's enough here that if you passed on the original Ally, you might consider a second look. Although, if you do, you'll see that the price has increased from $700 to $800.

Aside from the general appearance, the only carryovers from the Ally to the Ally X are the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor and 7-inch full-HD touch display. And it's still running Windows 11. So if your wish list had those being replaced, maybe next time. 

But just about everything else has changed for the ROG Ally X. For starters, instead of just the 512GB of storage, the Ally X will have a 1TB option. If that turns out not to be enough, the device's M.2 2280 solid-state drive is accessible for upgrading. 

ROG Ally X specifications

Display 7-inch 1,920x1,080 touchscreen, 120Hz refresh rate, 500 nits max brightness
CPU AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme
GPU AMD Radeon
Memory 24GB LPDDR5 onboard (7,500MHz dual-channel)
Storage Up to 1TB M.2 2280 NVMe PCIe SSD
Operating System Windows 11 Home
I/O Ports Audio combo jack, microSD card reader (UHS-II, 312MB/s), USB-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2), USB-C (USB4, Thunderbolt 4 compliant)
Audio 2-speaker system with smart amplifier technology, Dolby Atmos, AI noise-canceling technology, Hi-Res Audio certification, built-in array microphone
Battery 80-watt-hour
Power Supply USB-C 65-watt power adapter
Dimension 11x4.4x1.5 inches
Weight 1.5 pounds (678 grams)

Asus also increased the amount of system memory. The most popular configurations on its ROG gaming laptops have 16GB of RAM with 8GB of video RAM. Since the Ryzen Z1 Extreme combines both CPU and graphics on a single chip, Asus bumped up the shared memory from 16GB to 24GB to improve performance. 

Battery life is always an obstacle with gaming handhelds, but the Ally's 40-watt-hour battery pack was a bit too small for users. The Ally X has a new battery, doubling the capacity to 80 Wh. Surprisingly, the increase barely added to the total weight, which is a hair under 1.5 pounds. I got to play with one for a bit, and while much of the weight is toward the bottom half of the device, it's evenly distributed, making it more comfortable than the original design. 

Watch this: Asus ROG Ally X Gaming Handheld: First Look

To accommodate the larger battery, Asus also had to redesign the motherboard and cooling system. The process resulted in an improved cooling solution that included smaller but more efficient fans and an additional fan vent. The combination resulted in a temperature drop of up to 42 degrees Fahrenheit (6 degrees Celsius). Asus said the cooling system also decreased the touchscreen temperature, so it's more comfortable to use. 

Lastly, while it doesn't look too different from the Ally, the Ally X has slightly deeper and more rounded handgrips, smaller rear macro buttons to reduce accidental presses, a more precise D-pad, more durable joysticks with stiffer springs and better overall control layout. Asus also swapped out the Ally's XG Mobile port in favor of two USB-C ports, one of which is Thunderbolt 4. 

Again, all these improvements do result in a price increase. The original Ally started at $500, with a step-up configuration priced at $700. The ROG Ally X is available to preorder at Best Buy now for $800.