The handheld gaming console market expanded rapidly in 2023. We now have excellent options for gaming on the go from Valve, Lenovo, Logitech, and ASUS. The ASUS ROG Ally sits atop our list of the best gaming handhelds 2024, and right now you can get it for a massive discount through Best Buy. You can save $200 on the base model ROG Ally or get it for an even larger discount if you're willing to buy one with an open box.
✅Perfect for: Playing PC games on the go.
❌Avoid if: You want the convenience of running Linux on a gaming console.
💰Price check: $507.95 at Newegg
🔍Our experience: Asus ROG Ally review: So close to being the perfect gaming handheld
Best handheld gaming console
ASUS first announced the ROG Ally in early 2023. The console has an ergonomic design that makes it more comfortable to use than many competing consoles. While the overall design looks similar to other handheld consoles, ASUS paid special attention to how the ROG Ally feels in the hand.
"From the moment I pulled the Ally out of the box, I knew my hands would love it. Hand grip and comfort are important to me, considering that my pinkies tend to numb when playing the Switch or Steam Deck after 30 minutes. However, I'm happy to say that in the 24-plus hours I've spent playing with the Asus gaming handheld, I haven't experienced any finger numbness, cramping, or discomfort," said our Rebecca Spear in our ASUS ROG Ally review.
Spear ran the ROG Ally through benchmark testing in her review. That review featured an ROG Ally with an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme. The long-in-short is that many of the best PC games can run smoothly at 1080p at 60 FPS or higher on the ROG Ally with that more powerful processor. You'll see lower performance with the more affordable model with an AMD Ryzen Z1 (non-extreme).
You can enhance the performance of the ROG Ally greatly with the ASUS ROG XG Mobile eGPU, though at that point the ROG Ally is not exactly a handheld gaming console.
The ROG Ally runs Windows 11, which has its strengths and weaknesses on a device of this size. Navigating the device isn't as smooth as a console with SteamOS, such as the Steam Deck, but compatibility is better. You can play games from Battle.net, Epic Games, Xbox Game Pass on the ROG Ally without any extra work.
ASUS ROG Ally deal
While you can get an ASUS ROG Ally for as little as $299.99 with an open-box discount, I don't recommend getting the cheapest version. Best Buy's website outlines the different conditions the ROG Ally is available in. A device labeled "Open-Box Excellent" looks brand new, includes all original parts and accessories, and "typically contains packaging." In contrast, "Open-Box Fair" means the device has "significant cosmetic signs of use" and that "vital accessories may be missing.
There's a fairly large difference between Excellent and Fair, and I suggest going with an Excellent ROG Ally. You can order an Open-Box Excellent condition ASUS ROG Ally for $339.99 right now.
If you don't want to deal with open-box deals, you can also get the ROG Ally at a large discount brand new. The ROG Ally with a Ryzen Z1 costs $399.99, thanks to a $200 discount. The model with an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme is $100 off, bringing its price down to $599.99.
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.