The best handheld console is $549.99 right now, and that's for the Ryzen Z1 Extreme model

The ASUS ROG Ally is a portable gaming PC that fits in the palm of your hands. The console runs Windows 11, allowing you to play a vast library of games. In addition to letting you play games on the go, the ROG Ally can connect to a TV or monitor as part of PC gaming setup. Right now, you can save $100 on the ROG Ally with an AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor and 512GB of storage. That discount brings the console down to $549.99.

ASUS ROG Ally | $649.99now $549.99 at Best Buy

ASUS ROG Ally | was $649.99 now $549.99 at Best Buy

The ROG Ally runs Windows 11, giving you access to a massive library of your favorite games. It's comfortable, performs well, and supports VRR.

✅Perfect for: People who want to play PC games in bed, on the couch, or on the go. 

❌Avoid it if: You'd rather go with the more affordable powerful Z1 (non-extreme) ROG Ally. 

🔎Our expertise: ASUS ROG Ally review

👀Alternative: ROG Ally Z1 Extreme — $699.99 now $599.99 at Best Buy

ASUS ROG Ally review highlights

More ROG Ally

When it comes to the best handheld consoles, ASUS tops the list with the ROG Ally. The portable console runs on up to an AMD Ryen Z1 Extreme processor and lets you play the best PC games while on the go. The ROG Ally is comfortable, performs well, and supports VRR. Since it runs Windows 11, it provides access to a vast library of games.

In our ASUS ROG Ally review, the handheld console earned a 4 out of 5. The system's strong performance, comfortable body, display, and Windows 11 operating system all drew praise. The ROG Ally lost a point due to its short battery life and "finicky interface."

"The Asus ROG Ally is a phenomenal gaming handheld that can run modern games smoothly and with beautiful delivery, but it's held back by its limited battery life and finicky interface controls," said our Rebecca Spear.

A strong testament to the ROG Ally's quality is the fact that Spear enjoys hers frequently. "I personally like the ROG Ally quite a lot and find myself wanting to play with it every day," said Spear in her review. "It gives me plenty of freedom to get the Ally doing exactly what I want and access any gaming service I want. I love how light and balanced it feels in my hands, and the fact that it's the only modern gaming handheld that doesn't make my hands cramp up is enormous."

Spear also covered the last deal on the ROG Ally, though that model had slightly different specs. In that piece, she highlighted how much she enjoys the console:

"I get so much enjoyment out of my ROG Ally, and I love the freedom it gives me to work as a regular computer or a small gaming laptop with controllers attached. If any of this sounds exciting to you, then you definitely should consider grabbing one of these devices before the sale ends."

ASUS ROG Ally vs ASUS ROG Ally X

ROG Ally X vs ROG Ally

The ROG Ally X has more memory, storage, and a much larger battery than the original ROG Ally. (Image credit: Windows Central)

ASUS announced the ROG Ally X earlier this year. The new version of the handheld launches on July 22, 2024, though you can already preorder an ROG Ally X for $799.99. ASUS ROG Senior Manager of Content Marketing said the ROG Ally X "is more than just a basic refresh... it is the ROG Ally built for the enthusiasts that wanted a bit of X-tra goodies." There are some specs that overlap across the ROG Ally and ROG Ally X but there are also notable differences.

The ROG Ally is available with either a Ryzen Z1 Extreme or a Ryzen Z1. The ROG Ally X is only available with a Ryzen Z1 Extreme, which is the more powerful of the two chips. Both the ROG Ally and ROG Ally X feature the same screen, which is a 7-inch FHD display with a 120Hz refresh rate.

The differences in RAM and storage options are quite apparent when comparing the ROG Ally vs the ROG Ally X. The ROG Ally maxes out at 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage, while the ROG Ally comes with up to 24GB of memory and 1TB of storage.

Arguably the biggest difference between the ROG Ally and the ROG Ally X is battery size. While we don't have exact figures for the battery life of the ROG Ally X, we do know that it has an 80Whr battery. That's double the size of the 40Whr battery in the ROG Ally.

Overall, the ROG Ally looks like it will be a nice improvement to the ROG Ally but there will be a place for both. The ROG Ally will serve as a more budget-friendly option, both thanks to having options with the non-extreme Ryzen Z1 processor and being a bit older. Sales, like the current $100 discount on the ROG Ally with a Z1 Extreme also carve out a niche for that generation of the handheld.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

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 sean.endicott@futurenet.com.