The base version of the Asus ROG Ally handheld gaming console is now on the market for a slightly reduced price of $600, but this comes at the cost of a less powerful processor.
The Asus ROG Ally Z1 retains nearly all the features of its $700 counterpart, including the 7-inch 1080p screen, 512GB of storage, and 16GB of DDR5 memory. The change in the handheld gaming console lies in the processor, which has been downgraded from an AMD Z1 Extreme APU to a standard AMD Z1 chip. Although the less expensive variant is not yet listed on Asus’ official website, it is currently available at Best Buy.
In terms of raw performance, the Z1 Extreme surpasses the regular Z1. With eight cores, 16 threads, and a peak boost of 5.1GHz, it outperforms the regular Z1, which has six cores and 12 threads at 4.9GHz. While we still await direct comparisons between the two chips, one thing is clear: the base Z1 offers strong performance at a lower power consumption, which will result in improved battery life.
The release of the Asus ROG Ally Z1 comes at a time when competition in the handheld gaming market is growing. While there have been handheld gaming PCs from Chinese manufacturers like GPD and Ayaneo for some time, it was the Valve Steam Deck that breathed new life into this space.
Valve’s established reputation in the PC gaming community as a reliable game distributor through its Steam platform greatly contributed to the widespread appeal of the Steam Deck. Additionally, the Steam Deck’s modest launch price of $399 played a significant role in its success. Since then, more hardware manufacturers, including Lenovo with its upcoming Legion Go handheld, have entered the handheld gaming arena.