ASUS' answer to the Steam Deck drops to $399 with specs crushing Valve's cheapest model — making it the best value handheld

Portable PC handhelds are becoming a hot new option for gamers in 2024, a trend made possible by Valve's Steam Deck, which launched two years ago. Hardware ages rapidly, though, and rival brands have since entered the scene with more powerful hardware and a fully-fledged Windows 11 operating system, like the ASUS ROG Ally Z1, down from $599.99 to $399.99 at Best Buy for a limited time.

ASUS ROG Ally Ryzen Z1 512GB |$599.99now $399.99 at Best Buy

ASUS ROG Ally Ryzen Z1 512GB | <a href="https://shop-links.co/link?skuId=6543664&intl=nosplash&publisher_slug=future&exclusive=1&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestbuy.com%2Fsite%2Fasus-rog-ally-7-120hz-fhd-1080p-gaming-handheld-amd-ryzen-z1-processor-512gb-white%2F6543664.p%3FskuId%3D6543664%26intl%3Dnosplash&article_name=hawk-article-name&article_url=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"">was $599.99 now $399.99 at Best Buy

The standard Z1 (non-Extreme) ROG Ally is ASUS' entry-level model, but it's still a significant step ahead of Valve with a 512GB solid-state hard drive and a 1080p screen supporting 120Hz refresh rates.

✅Perfect for: Playing PC games while traveling or as a break from using a traditional mouse and keyboard at your desk.

❌Avoid it if: You want the absolute best performance possible. For that, you'll want the Ryzen Z1 Extreme variant for an extra $100.

👀Alternative: ROG Ally Z1 Extreme <a href="https://shop-links.co/link?skuId=6542964&publisher_slug=future&exclusive=1&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bestbuy.com%2Fsite%2Fasus-rog-ally-7-120hz-fhd-1080p-gaming-handheld-amd-ryzen-z1-extreme-processor-512gb-white%2F6542964.p%3FskuId%3D6542964&article_name=hawk-article-name&article_url=hawk-article-url" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"">was $699.99 now $599.99 at Best Buy

🔎Our review: <a href="https://www.windowscentral.com/gaming/pc-gaming/asus-rog-ally-review" data-link-merchant="windowscentral.com"" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"">ASUS ROG Ally: So close to perfect

💰Price check: <a href="https://click.linksynergy.com/deeplink?id=kXQk6%2AivFEQ&mid=44583&u1=hawk-custom-tracking&murl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.newegg.com%2Fwhite-asus-rog-ally-rc71l-ally-z1-512-gaming-entertainment%2Fp%2F2WC-000N-0E4Y9" data-link-merchant="newegg.com"" data-link-merchant="windowscentral.com"" data-link-merchant="bestbuy.com"">$729 at Newegg

🔥More great deals🔥

The best deal for a PC gaming handheld

There's no need for Linux compatibility troubleshooting; the ROG Ally runs Windows 11. (Image credit: Windows Central | Jez Corden)

I'll be frank: Valve will continue dominating the portable handheld scene if it keeps the 256GB Steam Deck LCD priced at $399 without rivals attempting to match it. I've used it daily since it launched, but I've been craving an upgrade since our initial ASUS ROG Ally review. The price was always a downside because although the jump in price did net me a performance boost, it was hard to be sure if ASUS would support the handheld in the long term. Thankfully, after a six-month review with the ROG Ally, our Jez Corden laid those fears to rest. It really is that good.

Now is the time to jump ship to a Windows 11-based handheld and finally enjoy the complete list of the best ROG Ally games, regardless of whether or not they utilize anti-cheat software (something that often causes issues with the Linux-based Steam Deck.) If you're heavily ingrained into the Steam ecosystem like I am, moving to ASUS' "Armoury Crate" software environment might feel strange, but there are solutions for that, like booting the ROG Ally into SteamUI with EmuDeck.

Even common issues like dwindling battery performance when playing intensive games can be solved by picking up one of the best ROG Ally battery packs. It's not tied to a proprietary connector, so you could use most of these to charge everyday devices like your smartphone and even some laptops, making the ROG Ally a perfect companion for getting through long, boring flights or train journeys. The deal won't last forever, so grab it while you can and get started on your PC game backlog — we all have unfinished games!

Ben Wilson
Channel Editor

Ben is the channel editor for all things tech-related at Windows Central. That includes PCs, the components inside, and any accessory you can connect to a Windows desktop or Xbox console. Not restricted to one platform, he also has a keen interest in Valve's Steam Deck handheld and the Linux-based operating system inside. Fueling this career with coffee since 2021, you can usually find him behind one screen or another. Find him on Mastodon @trzomb@mastodon.online to ask questions or share opinions.

  • Phyzzi
    Windows Central said:
    With 512GB of solid-state storage and a gorgeous 120Hz screen, the Ryzen Z1 ROG Ally is temporarily $200 off with a discount from ASUS at Best Buy.

    ASUS' answer to the Steam Deck drops to $399 with specs crushing Valve's cheapest model — making it the best value handheld : Read more
    I can see how having Win11 might be an advantage for some games, but for a handheld it's a huge disadvantage for a lot of other games. SteamOS is simply more streamlined. MS is missing the purpose built lightweight OS market a bit. Don't get me wrong, I love Win11 on my hummer of a desktop, and I the flexibility to do PC VR, 3D modeling and printing, and AAA games from the same place, but that's not a thing I want on a portable and so I will always choose the lightest thing that will get me there if I can.
    Reply
  • Annie_M
    Phyzzi said:
    I can see how having Win11 might be an advantage for some games, but for a handheld it's a huge disadvantage for a lot of other games. SteamOS is simply more streamlined. MS is missing the purpose built lightweight OS market a bit. Don't get me wrong, I love Win11 on my hummer of a desktop, and I the flexibility to do PC VR, 3D modeling and printing, and AAA games from the same place, but that's not a thing I want on a portable and so I will always choose the lightest thing that will get me there if I can.
    Hello and welcome to Windows Central!
    Reply
  • dirtyvu
    Phyzzi said:
    I can see how having Win11 might be an advantage for some games, but for a handheld it's a huge disadvantage for a lot of other games. SteamOS is simply more streamlined. MS is missing the purpose built lightweight OS market a bit. Don't get me wrong, I love Win11 on my hummer of a desktop, and I the flexibility to do PC VR, 3D modeling and printing, and AAA games from the same place, but that's not a thing I want on a portable and so I will always choose the lightest thing that will get me there if I can.
    The Asus is lighter and smaller than the Steam Deck. I already think the Asus is bordering on being too big but next to the Steam Deck, it's svelte.

    You still have big picture mode for Steam if you don't like Asus's software.

    And not only do you have Steam, you also have all the other gaming stores. Plus you have PC Game Pass. You can use your VR headsets. Games run better on the Asus (yes, Steam Deck fans will always point out the few exceptions).

    I like my Steam Deck but it's the least used of my portables. Asus > Switch > Steam Deck. It would totally switch places with my Switch if you could easily use PC Game Pass.

    RbsFfC4
    Reply
  • fdruid
    Competition is good!
    Advantages of this one other than specs:
    - You can buy it anywhere, no need for region locked Valve nonsense.
    - Has Windows in it so you can do anything besides Steam (You can also do Steam identically).
    Reply