I HATE being lied to… but I love the ROG Ally

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Asus was a bit misleading with their marketing during the preview cycle, but we've now had time to properly test the ROG Ally Z1 Extreme and it's still a very impressive handheld. We were already excited, but when they FINALLY confirmed the final price we almost couldn't believe it. Time to sell your Steam Deck? Maybe…

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MUSIC CREDIT
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Intro: Laszlo – Supernova
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Outro: Approaching Nirvana – Sugar High
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Intro animation by MBarek Abdelwassaa
Monitor And Keyboard by vadimmihalkevich / CC BY 4.0  
Mechanical RGB Keyboard by BigBrotherECE / CC BY 4.0
Mouse Gamer free Model By Oscar Creativo / CC BY 4.0

CHAPTERS
—————————————————
0:00 Intro
2:00 15W Performance
2:55 25W Performance
3:55 Battery
4:30 Display
7:30 Cooling
8:25 Noise
9:25 Software
11:58 Ally Advantages
13:20 Physical Aspects
14:50 Conclusion
17:43 Outro

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70 Comments

Linus Tech Tips

Thanks to dbrand for sponsoring today’s video! Head to http://shortlinus.com for all your ROG Ally screen protector and skin needs.

Pre-Order the ASUS ROG Ally here: https://lmg.gg/ASUSROGALLYPREORDER

Buy a Steam Deck: https://geni.us/qrCmI1y

Purchases made through some store links may provide some compensation to Linus Media Group.

    Gamer_Time

    You should talk about repairability in another video.

    Sakthi Vel

    Great Video

    cake

    linus short

    Sany0

    Does the CPU explode on this aswell ?

    Dave Voyles

    ROG Ally pre-order link does not work

The Modern Dilettante

Whoever came up with the idea to have the pulsing white circle appear on your graphs so people can more quickly and easily reference the metrics you are referring to deserves a raise. It made viewing your graphs and data pages SO MUCH BETTER!

    Foxy

    Exactly, I always struggle to find the right stat

    GFBunnyHop

    They should change color to something more contrasty like red, in few cases white color dot was hard to see or find

    SeeOlEe

    Yeah I was just about to comment the same 👏🏻

    trafon31

    OK editor in disguise we get it you did a good job

    Jamiezz

    i see you – smart.. i think they deserve a raise too!

Javier Castillo

A Steam Deck feature offer overlooked is its console-like sleep function. As a parent with small children, being able to put my game down at a moment’s notice is a must.

    iionas

    I agree with you here man, same position and I use this feature absolutely non stop. Two kids and gaming on the go

    Gregor

    The Rog ally don’t have such a function? Omg, that’s one of the most important functions. Not only for kids.

    Dragon Slayer Ornstein

    A limitation of Windows I suspect. Maybe Microsoft will add the feature, but I doubt it.

    Eric B

    Not just for kids… any on the go gaming. Does the ROG Ally really not have this?

    Susan doesn’t understand fair use

    That’s a Steam OS feature, which the Ally can use.

Youtube Viewer

I love the fact that these handheld devices are becoming a thing. Very convenient form factor.

    Jacob Morel

    Yes as someone who grew up using the game boy, DS, psp and ps vita it’s awesome to see handhelds finally make a comeback

    SOSukelele

    ​​@Jacob Morel amd apu’s look to have a bright future in laptops (due to power/performance efficiency) and are assumed to be amd’s solution to low end gpu’s (in a few generations). With prospects like that we’re bound to see more powerful and efficient handhelds in the coming years.

    Classy Days

    I wonder if it’ll carry over to mobile games. Mobile games have a janky track record and the popularity of these might inspire developers to develop better titles for that.

    Egg-Roll

    @Jacob Morel Now if only they would bring back user swappable batteries… So much easier to grab said battery than finding an outlet on the go, plus you’re geo locked to juice up once you do.

    Skyrim

    Right! I’m just speaking about this I’m happy to see Ally challenging steam deck
    That push companies to do greater things in their devices

Oxyacetylene

The biggest advantage the ROG Ally has over the Steam Deck for me is that the Ally will be available in my country unlike the Deck.

    Avi sharma

    you can get it imported

    uditt lamba

    @Avi sharma for a lot of people, that is either too expensive or just not possible.

    kin pact

    @Avi sharma Yeah import tax to australia basically doubles the cost for example

    Avi sharma

    @uditt lamba well you can do sus stuff

    Avi sharma

    @kin pact sus stuff exists

PhysicsGamer

The other issue with this thing is that I have confidence in Valve getting games to work on their Steam Deck in the future. Proton works stunningly well, and keeps improving.

Meanwhile, who knows if the Ally’s firmware will still be updated three years from now? Asus may not be Google, but that’s very much still a risk…

    Reprint001

    Asus will just expect you to buy Ally II

    lightn heal

    Their armory crate software is considered a malware and their rgb control panel easily rivals chrome running 40 tabs

Harvey Hans

i hope linus also addresses the issues on asus boards

    AP May

    I’m sure it will be in WAN show tonight.

    Dressden Black

    He may “touch” on it, but I doubt he’ll go into much detail.

    crsv7armhl

    @Dressden Black Yeah, he wants that money

Scuntus Werbenjagermanjensen

The main reason why I don’t think I’ll ever be replacing my steam deck is the controls. The trackpads, the gyro, and the back buttons are essential to me. I’d literally be unable to play certain games without these things, especially the back buttons. I play deep rock galactic, and I have one of the back buttons mapped so that when I press it, it brings up the chat. And when I long press it, it brings up the on-screen keyboard. I use the gyro and trackpads in tandem for better accuracy in shooting games. These features are so nice that I can’t imagine living without them.

Luciano Rivera

The Ally LOOKS promising, but with their current track record (see Asus’ last debacle with AMD CPUs), the lack of support for repairability, Armoury Crate and overall software (and what that entails), I am not so sure I want to give this one a go.

It sure is tempting to go for this instead of a Steam Deck, but given it’s an ASUS product, I’m holding my breath to be honest, even if it means having less performance, “worse” audio and a worse screen.

At the most, I’ll take another look at this one in about 4 months, to see if there have been any actual positive changes.

    Jordan Wirth

    Same. I’m doubtful Asus will give this thing as much love as Valve gives the Steam Deck

    Dino Man

    haha right, i always try to wait for the second revision of tech. instead of being a product tester.

    Ebalosus

    That, and Linus is missing an aspect that the Deck has that the Ally doesn’t: good usability for its OEM operating system. The Deck amongst Linux devices is both really good for both Linux people and for just gamers, while the Ally is good for gamers but not general users; and I strongly feel that’s what’s going to hurt it in sales. Linus and the likes are like _”oh you can use it for all the usual Windowsy stuff as well as gaming, unlike the deck!”_ yet as the likes of the GPD One and Ayaneo show, the only people really purchasing them are either supporters of the respective projects or people whose specialised use-cases the devices serve. The same will apply to the Ally, because for as good as it is at gaming, it comes across as a pretty mediocre Windows portable.

    Mikhail Kiselev

    Armoury Crate is just horrendous, sudden gpu spikes killing my fps in games, even severely overspecced ones (e.g. warframe that had ~300 fps when uncapped dropping to 20 from time to time)
    Uninstalling all of asus stuff helped a lot. Thank God their 200 dollar mouse has internal memory (but even that refused to work on first try)

    Dino Man

    @Mikhail Kiselev ASUS is terrible with software. firefox with 15 tabs is competing with their RGB motherboard software on CPU usage. both about 4%. and its literally only running the mb RGB and 2 sticks of ram, the fans are on a separate controller.

Pao_lumu

I’d be interested in longevity tests on the Ally. Hopefully it doesn’t crank the core voltage and make the CPU self-immolate. *cough cough*

Lilac Lullaby

The timing of the ROG Ally coming out when Asus is getting dragged for some of their questionable practices in other areas is almost comical. I’m a big switch fan though and more players in the space of handheld that can easily be fed to the tv is a win imo. Though I highly value portability and like them to be small (I struggle to use pretty much all phones these days bc of how they are made for giant people with giant people hands).

Andrew Hunt

I’m torn because I like this device, but ever since Asus is being scumbags about their AM5 boards, I don’t know if I can back them.

    Zapf hahn

    This is the way.

    z

    I feel the same way. Won’t support Asus anymore.

    Nickochione Antony

    don’t feel bad though, ASUS will always be ASUS, and your ROG Ally RMA will have a very complicated and time consuming procedure.

    Deuteronomy

    Big supporter of ASUS here but out of the loop, what happened with the boards?

    Clowninghowler

    @Deuteronomy Gamers Nexus has 3 videos regarding this. The last one focuses on Asus’ “handling” of the issue.

Brandon Hill

I would wait to purchase this product. Asus’s product quality and software has been under scrutiny since GamerNexus’s video series documenting firmware faults in Asus motherboards.

MelvinTheMagician

I think this is a good case for how going Linux works in Valves favor. The modularity and opensourcey-ness allows Valve to customize the OS and get around Microsoft’s mobile UI failings.

So happy to see more competition. I want to see a future where mobile gaming PCs really take off.

Dave Rucker

Based on how ASUS has been acting recently I would be terrified to buy one of these. If you do buy one, you better hope it doesn’t break, cause their shady asses are going to be a huge pain to work with.

    JammingMan

    Came from Gamers Nexus absolutely agree

    Makhel

    amazing timing for this video lmao

    Rafacka

    @JammingMan Was thinking on preordering but after the recent Asus acting I think I’ll wait, I dont think this is going to be out of stock.

    Àbris Tar

    Yeah better avoid asus, most of their stuff is overpriced anyways and if they don’t even honor warranty what’s the point. This is also a good way to filter reviewers, any1 still promoting asus after this, better unsubscribe from their channel because they definitly don’t care about customers either.

    FlamingScar

    ​@Rafacka it probably will be considering only us tech savvy actually know how awful ASUS is, the general public doesn’t even know what an x3d CPU is let alone that ASUS motherboards cooked them

Buggie’s Industries

I wonder how well these are going to pan out in the long run…
ASUS are currently having huge issues with their motherboard side of the business, so will be interested to hear if these encounter similar QA issues

Angelfire

I like what the Z1 Ally’s trying to do but, as someone who has a Deck I cannot underestimate the ability Valve gives you to customize your control schemes. Being able to do so much with all buttons, triggers and trackpads on the deck is so nice. I have a feeling a Deck 2 or a Deck 2.0 is going to likely be the Z1 Ally with better I/O.

Devon Pack

Interested to see how software support goes. Armory Crate is buggy at times and Asus didn’t do too well with X670 Mobos blowing up AMD CPUs. I think the Microsoft partnership and potential handheld windows mode will help, but there’s some good graces that need to be redeemed.

Ivwin

The button sticking issue is an actual gamebreaker for me. The fact that they knew about the issue and didnt fix it makes me feel like they wont support this very well… Stuff like that is a huge red flag for me…

    François M

    Yeah, I don’t understand why Linus didn’t tell more about this. This is awful, more because you cannot replace them, as seen on the Steam Deck.

    Ben L

    Probably because they were already in production

    vegeta6555

    Not a excuse. It shouldn’t of been caught and fixed before production was started.

    damyr55

    ​@Ben L That’s literally the problem. It’s not an obscure issue, that Linus accidentally discovered. It’s one of the main buttons getting stuck, during normal use. There’s no way it was news to them, when Linus told them

    AlphaShadowSphere

    Your controls matter a lot. Steam partnering with i-fixit was a big selling point that you could replace inputs as they were out.

Pixel Shade

This is my take on the ROG Ally
+ Amazing performance if you are okay with 1-2 hours of Battery life.
+ Higher resolution display allow more flexibility. (Increased graphical fidelity, better scaling in emulators).
– Terrible performance if you want to conserve battery life beyond 3 hours (compared to the Steam Deck)
– It cannot go much below 7-9W due to the 8-core CPU. So you are stuck with 4 hours at most, with REALLY bad GPU performance. Steam Deck can have 4-8.5 hours with better performance (Which is apparent in older PC-/AAA- games, indies, 2D games and emulation)
– Lack of touchpads, You can’t play a lot of PC games intuitively without touchpads or navigate around all the “jank” of PC gaming (launchers, mouse-only menus etc)
– Unknown repairability. This will likely be bad with Asus pulling both support and repairs beyond the warranty period.

Also, it’s quite clear that this is a joint effort between Microsoft and ASUS to tone down the disruption of the Steam Deck. It’s so blatantly obvious from the ASUS presentation that Microsoft want to position themselves on the front page when it comes to gaming. But the thing is. Linux is starting to run Windows games better than Windows itself. And since many Linux distributions are easier to use- , more stable than Windows-, have no ads or telementry data collection (!!!). Well it’s starting to be really hard to justify Windows. And Microsoft sense that. That people might just move away from Windows. The Steam Deck is that bridge. (although KDE Plasma is quite awful compared to many other Linux desktop environments) I really hope that people don’t buy into the marketing too much and that we can have the Linux transition that end-users deserve.

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