ASUS ROG Ally X gaming handheld PC brings small changes that have a big impact

After numerous leaks and rumors, the cat is finally out of the bag. The next ASUS Republic of Gamers handheld PC isn’t the Ally 2 but the ROG Ally X as expected. While some might see it as simply splitting hairs, the naming does make a difference. It still has the beating heart of the first ROG Ally, but with a few extras that respond to the criticisms and requests of the gaming community who embraced this more portable form factor right off the bat. From some perspectives, those extras are really small and subtle, especially if looking at it from the outside. But with enough of those changes working together, the ROG Ally X is positioning itself to be a more powerful companion that will let you play more games longer.

Designer: ASUS ROG

Just from a glance, you might not be able to tell that this is in any way different from the OG ROG Ally, at least except for its new all-black motif. It still boggles the mind why ASUS chose white for its first iteration, a color that’s almost alien to gamers’ palettes, though it did help the ROG Ally stand out from its rivals. If you look more closely, however, and hold the device in your hands, you might notice how things are somewhat different, hopefully for the better.

The handles, for example, are rounder now, which helps improve the grip that’s critical to a handheld device. The back triggers now come at an angle for better ergonomics, while the joystick and D-pad have been improved to be more durable and more precise. The biggest changes, however, are on the inside, where every little thing counts if it’s meant to improve the gaming experience.

It’s still the same AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme as the original ROG Ally, but that mobile gaming processor is now paired with 24GB of DDR-7500 RAM, up from 16GB in the first iteration. The storage capacity has been doubled to up to 1TB, but the bigger surprise is that ASUS is making it easier to upgrade it. The battery has also been doubled to 80Wh, which means you’ll have more time playing before you need to plug the little monster in. To compensate for this newfound power, ASUS ROG promises an improved thermal cooling solution so you won’t burn your hand while you play.

There is at least one change that some might consider a downgrade, depending on how attached they’ve become to ASUS’ proprietary XG external graphics port. In its place, the ROG Ally X uses a more standard Thunderbolt-compatible USB-C port that could still work with external GPUs but also with a lot more devices as well. Given all these changes, it’s no surprise that the ASUS ROG Ally X will cost more than its predecessor at $799.99. Then again, this version is squarely aimed at power gamers, and those who can live with the bare minimum can still get the older model, at least for now.