When ASUS unveiled the ROG Ally earlier this year, it made waves in the gaming community thanks to its groundbreaking performance powered by AMD’s Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip. This handheld device quickly dethroned the Steam Deck, establishing itself as the new ruler of portable gaming. However, ASUS recently launched a more affordable variant, the base ASUS ROG Ally Z1 model, which has sparked mixed reactions among gamers. Priced at $600, it undercuts the Z1 Extreme’s $700 price tag, but with less power under the hood.
The Budget-Friendly Z1 Model: Less Bang for Your Buck
The ASUS ROG Ally Z11, in its base model, retains several appealing features of its high-end counterpart. Gamers can still enjoy a generous 512GB of storage, a shared 16GB of LPDDR5 memory, and a stunning 1080p, 120Hz display. However, the critical differentiator is the processor. The base Z1 model deploys a less potent CPU, making gamers wonder if it’s a worthy addition to the ASUS ROG lineup.
The Ryzen Z1 vs. Z1 Extreme: A Step Backward
Contrary to expectations, the Ryzen Z1 in the ROG Ally base model takes a step backward in terms of performance when compared to its Extreme counterpart. While the Z1 Extreme boasts eight Zen 4 CPU cores, the Ryzen Z1 is limited to just six cores. A more significant setback is observed in the GPU department, with the Ryzen Z1 housing only four RDNA 3 GPU cores, which is a mere third of what the Z1 Extreme offers. Additionally, there’s a slight reduction in cache, from 8MB of L2 on the Z1 Extreme to 6MB of L2 on the Z1, which impacts certain game launches.
Asus ROG Ally — 1 Month Later! Honest Review…
Falling Short: ROG Ally Z1 vs. Steam Deck
The most telling comparison comes when pitting the ROG Ally Z1 against the Steam Deck. ASUS’ offering consistently lags behind in every game tested. Although the ASUS ROG Ally Z1 is technically cheaper than the Steam Deck with the same storage capacity, it falls short in performance, especially in titles like Dying Light 2, where the difference can mean the distinction between a playable and unplayable experience. It’s worth noting that the Steam Deck, while initially priced higher, offers a lower-cost variant with 64GB of storage that can be expanded with a micro SD card—an option not without its own set of challenges, notably in the ROG Ally’s case.
In conclusion, the ASUS ROG Ally Z1, in its base model, presents itself as an affordable alternative to its Z1 Extreme sibling, but it fails to bridge the performance gap with the Steam Deck. Gamers looking for portable gaming excellence might find themselves reconsidering their options in light of this performance discrepancy. The ROG Ally Z1 seems to exist more because it can than because it caters to a specific gaming audience, leaving enthusiasts yearning for a more compelling gaming experience on the go.
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