Hands on: Asus ROG Ally X: an impressive array of community inspired improvements

The Asus ROG Ally X is a superior yet more expensive upgrade

What is a hands on review?
PC gaming handheld on white table
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

Asus has used community feedback to improve its ROG Ally X, the middle ground between the original ROG Ally and the upcoming ROG Ally 2. The result is a system that has been upgraded in nearly every way that matters, except for its display and processor.


  • +

    RAM, storage, and battery life have doubled

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    Much improved joysticks and D-pad

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    Slightly larger chassis with superior grip

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    Better button layout

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    Improved ventilation


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    Display and processor are the same as the original

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    Much more expensive

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The Asus ROG Ally X's existence has been well known for quite some time now, but now it's been officially revealed in its entirety. Now that the cat is completely out of the bag, we know what specs it's rocking, as well as its pricing and launch date.

But how does it measure up in terms of performance, build quality, and more? I was able to briefly get my hands on the PC gaming handheld and try it out for a bit, seeing if it truly felt like a new model worth releasing. Thankfully, there are plenty of quality-of-life changes both externally and under the hood to justify its existence.

Asus ROG Ally X: price and availability

The Asus ROG Ally X will launch on July 22, 2024, and it will be available in the US, UK, Australia, and other regions.

Currently it's available for pre-order exclusively through Best Buy in the US and Curry’s in the UK for a retail price of $799.99 / £799. In Australia, you can pre-order it from JB Hi-Fi for AU$1,599. The pricing for the ROG Ally X is a bit steeper than the original model, though the latter is still available for purchase and cheaper than ever.

Asus ROG Ally X: specs

Here are the specs for the Asus ROG Ally X at a glance. 

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Asus ROG Ally X specs
Display7-inch FHD (1920 x 1080), 120Hz, 500 nits
CPUAMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme
GraphicsAMD Radeon Graphics
Storage1TB M.2 2280 SSD
Port selection2x USB Type-C ports, 1x combo jack, 1x SD card reader slot
Dimensions280.2 x 114 x 36.9mm (WxDxH)

Asus ROG Ally X: design

There have been several changes to the Asus ROG Ally X's design, both externally and internally, which was inspired by users who gave precious feedback and modders posting videos of them revamping the original ROG Ally for upgrades. 

The chassis has been enlarged, allowing for more space for an upgraded motherboard, more memory and storage, and a larger battery, among other changes. Since the chassis is larger, it's much better fitted for those with larger hands, especially as the button layout has also been adjusted to prevent accidental presses. 

The joysticks have been completely overhauled to be stiffer and with 5 million rotation cycles, and just by testing them out on a few games, I could immediately feel the difference. They're also larger and the rubber grip feels more comfortable, perfect for longer gaming sessions that leave your hands sweaty. Its D-pad is more precise and just better designed as well, making it much easier to navigate menus in and out of games.

Internally, the larger chassis means that the fans are superior - though they're smaller, they push out more hot air. As a result, the vents no longer push out extremely hot air from the top as you reach over to access the top controls. This also means that Asus was able to update the components, taking a page from all those DIY videos showing buyers modifying for the same reason. It also means you can add upgrades more easily without tearing apart the entire outer casing.

Asus ROG Ally X: performance

Though I couldn't run any proper benchmarks to test out exactly what the Asus ROG Ally X is capable of, gameplay performance is still just as smooth and nearly as stutter-free as before. The processor hasn't been upgraded for this model, nor has the display, meaning it's more or less the same experience.

The difference, however, is how all those design improvements enhance the gameplay experience. The joysticks and D-pad make navigating through game worlds much smoother, and the adjusted button layout, coupled with the slightly larger system, takes out all the frustration of accidental presses and a too-small chassis that the original system had.

Having more RAM to work with is a boon for more intensive AAA titles that the ROG Ally previously struggled with at times, and the included storage is the perfect amount to install quite a library of the best PC games

Another upgrade that has the potential to be game-changing is the battery life, as the capacity has been doubled to 80Wh. We'll have to test and see, but if the ROG Ally X could get six hours or more, that alone would be the best reason to invest in this system since not even the Steam Deck can do that.

It'll be interesting to see just how much the improved specs affect performance, which we'll be testing once we get our hands on the PC gaming handheld and take it for a more thorough spin ourselves.

Asus ROG Ally X: early verdict

PC gaming handheld on white table

(Image credit: Future)

So far, the Asus ROG Ally X seems quite promising. Though it only serves as an in-between for the eventual ROG Ally 2, it sports tons of quality-of-life changes and enhancements that address nearly every issue buyers of the original ROG Ally had. For those looking for a new PC gaming handheld that's not the Steam Deck, this could truly be a contender for a true Steam Deck rival.

However, the only drawback that could hold it back is that the processor hasn't been updated, meaning that performance will most likely not change too much from the original. And with that model's price going down while the ROG Ally X starts off quite pricey, this could end up being a major deciding factor in its success.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.