Hands-on with the overhauled and improved ROG Ally X: More and faster RAM 1TB SSD, 80Wh battery

Asus ROG Ally X
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Asus made its updated ROG Ally X official last month, while also spilling details on many of its improved specs. But at a Computex preview event last week, we spent some time with the beefed up handheld, and it's clear that this is a serious overhaul from Asus.

Aside from a doubling of the battery capacity, the Ally X sports a 1TB M.2 2280 SSD, a step up to 24GB of LPDDR5-7500 RAM, and a completely redesigned black shell. You also get deeper handles, and a slightly tweaked button and stick arrangement for better ergonomics, and smaller macro buttons on the back to help avoid accidental presses.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

While most games won't need more than 16GB of RAM at these settings and 1080p resolution, keep in mind that the APU needs to allocate its video memory from the RAM pool. So 24GB means there's more to share between the OS and your games. And in theory, the speed bump up from 6400MT/s on the Ally and 7500MT/s on the Ally X could mean slightly higher game frame rates. Of course we'll need to spend some serious time with a review unit to know for sure.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

The joystics are also new, with stiffer springs and a longer 5-million cycle rating. They're also easier to replace, and Asus was showing off a third-party hall effect option for those inclined to swap in third-party components. The D-Pad is also tweaked with the aim of making it more precise for retro and fighting games, and the XG Mobile port has been replaces with a second USB-C Thunderbolt-compatible USB4 port up top, to support more external docks.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Given all those additions, and especially the bigger battery, it's not surprising that the Ally X is thicker and heavier than the Ally. But at 1.49 pounds, it's just 0.15 pounds heavier than the original Ally. One way Asus accomplished this was to make the shell lighter. The company had the old and new shells on hand and the Ally X model was noticably lighter. Time will tell if there are any drawbacks to this in terms of durability, but the Ally X didn't have any nopticable flex or other similar issues in our brief time with it.

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

 Asus also overhauled the cooling, which is good given the issues many have had with heat and the microSD card slot. To make room for the larger battery, Asus made its fans smaller. But the blades are now reportedly 50% thinner, and there are more of them, to achieve better airflow. There are also new thermal tunnels in the housing to push up and out toward a new third exhaust on the top edge. Hopefully, this directs heat away from the steamy microSD slot area. Asus says it results in 24% more air being moved through the Ally X, making even the touch screen up to 6 degrees Celsius cooler.

While many of these changes are arguably minor, there are a lot of them, and they add up to a device that feels like a major upgrade from the original model. But it also costs $100 more than the Z1 Extreme model of the original Ally. The Asus ROG Ally X should be available to preorder at Best Buy by the time you read this, for $799. Personally, if I already owned a handheld that I was happy with, I might consider holding out for a next-gen chip from AMD (or Intel, I guess) with better gaming performance (and hopefully improved efficiency).

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

But if you want a premium gaming handheld soon and you like the idea of one running Windows 11 to make it easier to play games from stores other than Steam, the Ally X makes a good argument for itself. Now, if only the company could improve its reputation when it comes to RMAs, it might have a big hit on its hands with this substantially updated gaming handheld.

Matt Safford

After a rough start with the Mattel Aquarius as a child, Matt built his first PC in the late 1990s and ventured into mild PC modding in the early 2000s. He’s spent the last 15 years covering emerging technology for Smithsonian, Popular Science, and Consumer Reports, while testing components and PCs for Computer Shopper, PCMag and Digital Trends.

  • hotaru251
    as a device? its nice.

    however I would still never recommend one to anyone given ASUS's business model.

    ignoring the RMA drama recently the original Ally was flawed in design and problematic & they refuse to take the blame & ratehr than fix the issue to those who ordered their product they make a new version that doesnt have that issue & charge full price.

    Their business model is too awful to recommend any product by them any time soon. They treat their customers like trash.
    Reply
  • Notton
    All the tech youtubers and review sites I have seen: This thing is amazing! Now about your RMA situation...
    Reply
  • Amdlova
    Asus? Pass
    Reply
  • peachpuff
    Notton said:
    All the tech youtubers and review sites I have seen: This thing is amazing! Now about your RMA situation...
    Ya easy to say its amazing when you're reviewing it for free and making money off of it.
    Reply
  • Notton
    peachpuff said:
    Ya easy to say its amazing when you're reviewing it for free and making money off of it.
    Yeah? but they also included the hard part, the RMA situation, in the article too.
    There are less scrupulous reviewers out there who don't say anything bad at all.
    Reply
  • 3tank
    hotaru251 said:
    as a device? its nice.

    however I would still never recommend one to anyone given ASUS's business model.

    ignoring the RMA drama recently the original Ally was flawed in design and problematic & they refuse to take the blame & ratehr than fix the issue to those who ordered their product they make a new version that doesnt have that issue & charge full price.

    Their business model is too awful to recommend any product by them any time soon. They treat their customers like trash.
    My experience is a mixed bag. The Ally is a good device but it's kind of messy in launch, in part due to windows. As a grab and go kind of device, it kind of wrecks the point of it when Windows bogs things down with apps that won't work until you system update, followed by Asus updates back to back. I had 1 joystick crap out and the only option I was given was to send it in and won't sell parts for something that easily replaced. I can live without the SD card but I think it ruined mine as the system would freeze up when inserted so that was $150 down the toilet of it's not salvageable.

    I have sent things for RMA and did get them repaired/replaced at least after about a month without paying anything other than shipping.
    My biggest concern is the 4090 thing. Mine has been great so far but it bugs me that Nvidia and 3rd parties haven't addressed this issue, let alone a recall for something that can be a fire hazard.
    Reply