Asus’ forgotten ROG Ally is now the best deal you’ll find on…

Starfield running on Asus ROG Ally.
Jacob Roach/

Asus’s ROG Ally Z1 wasn’t very good when it was released. As you can read in our ROG Ally Z1 review, the handheld was too expensive to justify its $600 launch price, with the much faster Z1 Extreme model coming in at just $100 more. This is changing with a big drop in price.

Best Buy currently has

, and although it’s technically on sale, it’s hard to imagine the price going back up any time soon. For example, following the announcement of Steam Deck OLED, the Z1 Extreme model has been available for about $100 less than its $700 list price for several weeks.

At $400, the ROG Ally Z1 is surprisingly competitive. It now matches the Steam Deck’s base model, which comes with an LCD screen and 256GB of storage for $400. The ROG Ally Z1 offers a higher-resolution screen and twice the storage capacity at the same price. To get a Steam Deck OLED with the same amount of storage, you’ll have to spend $550.

Asus ROG Ally Z1 performance against Steam Deck.
Jacob Roach/

It’s not a bad performer either. As you can see in the chart above, the ROG companion with the base Z1 comes close to the performance of the Steam Deck. This was a problem at its original list price, but at $400 it’s a fair compromise when the ROG Ellie is offering more storage, a better screen, and Windows 11.

Asus ROG Ally Z1 performance on different display modes.
Jacob Roach/

By far, this is the cheapest way to get a handheld Windows PC. The Z1 is now $200 to $300 cheaper than the Z1 Extreme model, depending on sales, and it’s $300 cheaper than Lenovo’s Legion Go. It’s also not fair to compare it to more obscure handhelds like the Ayaneo 2S, where you’ll easily spend over $1,000.

There’s also a lot that’s good, especially with ROG Ellie. It supports Asus’ XG Mobile external GPU, even if you choose the Z1 model. This base configuration mainly struggles in the graphics department, so an external GPU would give a huge boost to performance, and that’s something that competitors like Valve, Lenovo, and Ayaneo don’t offer.

Although the ROG Ally Z1’s new price offers the best value you can get on a handheld gaming PC, that doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone. It’s still quite weak in terms of performance, and Windows 11 still shows quirks with this form factor. However, if you’re ultimately looking to buy a handheld gaming PC, the ROG Ally Z1 is by far the best deal you can find.

Leave a Comment