Asus ROG Ally VS Steam Deck: Comparing the Flagship Handhelds

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The ROG Ally VS Steam Deck debate has been raging on since the Ally was released to the public last month. In our full review of the Ally, we already drew some comparisons between the new Asus device and Steam’s handheld. However, we are now going to go through the different aspects and selling points of each device one by one and compare them. This will hopefully help out those trying to decide which of the two to purchase.

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ROG Ally VS Steam Deck: Price

Price is a huge factor of the ROG Ally VS Steam Deck debate.
Price is a huge factor of the ROG Ally VS Steam Deck debate.

After doing a quick Google search, it appears that the 64GB version of the Steam Deck can currently be purchased from multiple online stores for less than £400. Buying this model means that you can’t have too many games installed at the one time, but if you are willing to suffer download times, then you could save yourself £300 over the ROG Ally.

The price point of the ROG Ally was one of the major sticking points when it came to recommending it in our full review. Buying the 64GB Deck along with a 512GB Micro SD card is still less of an investment than buying a 512GB ROG Ally. Even the 512GB version of the Deck still comes in £50 cheaper than the Ally. It is a no-brainer, the Deck wins in terms of price.

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Winner: Steam Deck

Also read: Turtle Beach Atom Controller Review – Is This Mobile Controller Splitting Opinions?

ROG Ally VS Steam Deck: Specs

Based on technical specs alone, the Ally should be superior.
Based on technical specs alone, the Ally should be superior.

This comparison is difficult. On paper, the Deck packs superior specs when compared to the ROG Ally. The Ally’s AMD Ryzen Zen 4 CPU alone blows the Deck’s Zen 2 APU out of the water. The Ally has an APU capable of 2.8 Teraflops in comparison to the Deck’s more lackluster 1.6 Teraflops.

At the end of the day though, none of that matters if it has not been optimized for the operating system. I would much rather play games on an “inferior,” chip if it means that the games will actually run, as opposed to constantly crashing in the way they do on the Ally.

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Winner: ROG Ally (on paper even if not in practice)

Also read: Fans Aren’t Happy that Xbox Live Gold Is Being Discontinued, Replaced By Game Pass Core: “TBH Core Seems Useless…”

ROG Ally VS Steam Deck: Ease of Use

The Steam Deck is extraordinarily easy to use. The ROG Ally is not.
The Steam Deck is extraordinarily easy to use. The ROG Ally is not.

This one is an absolute no-brainer. If someone with no technical knowledge were to attempt to launch a game on both of these devices, they would have a much easier time with the Steam Deck. The Steam OS that comes integrated with the deck is extremely easy to use and makes for a much smoother experience than trying to operate Windows 11 on the Ally.

While it is somewhat frustrating that a number of games haven’t been optimized of the Deck, the large amount that have all run like butter. Compare that the Ally, where you are able to run games via any launcher you choose, but there is a good chance that it will run horribly, littered with frame rate drops and crashes.

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Winner: Steam Deck

Also read: Sony’s PlayStation is Spending a LOT of Money On Live Service R&D

ROG Ally VS Steam Deck: Display

It is hard to deny that gorgeous display.
It is hard to deny that gorgeous display.

The pendulum swings back again. Although the Deck isn’t even two years old, it looks incredibly dated in comparison to the Ally and the main reason for this is the display. The Deck’s display is fine, but it was never something to write home about. Whereas the screen on the Ally is arguably one of the best things about the device.

That crisp 1080p, 120Hz, touch screen display is a true selling point for Asus. It looks impressive whether playing indoors in a dark room, or outside in broad daylight. Colors are rich, the blacks are sharp, and the brightness is also very welcome. The ROG Ally’s screen is truly fantastic and blows the Deck’s display out of the water.

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Winner: ROG Ally

Also read: Xbox Game Pass Ultimate Due for Yet Another Ridiculous Price Rise

ROG Ally VS Steam Deck: Hardware Design and Comfortability

The Steam Deck comes with more junk in the trunk that the Ally.
The Steam Deck comes with more junk in the trunk that the Ally.

The Steam deck may feature a pretty chunky build, but the plastic mold that forms the back of the device makes it feel ergonomic and natural in the hand. If your phone buzzes while you are playing on the Deck, it requires no effort to switch to a one-handed grip of the Deck to allow your other hand to check your phone, or take a sip of water.

Whereas, if you receive a ping while playing on the Ally, switching your grip to one hand in order to lift your phone will require a bit more manoeuvring. Presumably Asus opted to go with a flatter, lower-profile design for the sake of keeping things compact, but it leads to the hardware feeling under-designed and impractical.

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Winner: Steam Deck

Also read: Microsoft Landmark Call of Duty Deal with Sony Keeps the Franchise on PlayStation for Ten More Years

ROG Ally VS Steam Deck: Portability

The Deck may not even fit into smaller backpacks.
The Deck may not even fit into smaller backpacks.

As previously mentioned, the Deck is a much more substantial machine than the Ally. The grips at the back of the device alone essentially double the thickness of the handheld. This added heft makes it less portable overall. It will also take up far more room in your backpack than the Ally will.

Add to that, the slightly larger display on the Steam Deck and suddenly you have something that becomes outright awkward to transport. The Deck is also weightier than the Ally, again adding to its lack of portability.

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Winner: ROG Ally

Also read: “They must own the super premium edition”: Xbox’s Phil Spencer and Bethesda’s Pete Hines have been Playing Starfield Early

ROG Ally VS Steam Deck: Battery Life

The battery life on the Ally is ridiculously short.
The battery life on the Ally is ridiculously short.

The Steam Deck’s battery life is laughably short. So many enthusiasts were crossing their fingers, hoping that the Ally would be able to deliver longer play sessions before needing to be plugged in. Unfortunately, this turned out not to be the case and the pathetically short battery life of the Ally actually makes that of the Steam Deck look impressive by comparison.

The fact that two hours is the absolute maximum amount of playtime that can be squeezed out of the ROG Ally is ridiculous. It becomes especially frustrating when you remember that the Ally is supposed to be a portable device, made to occupy the user during long journeys etc.

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Winner: Steam Deck

Also read: The Exciting Galaxy Unleashed: Top 10 Star Wars Video Games

ROG Ally VS Steam Deck: Game Library

Unfortunately, the dog in the background does not come packaged along with the Deck.
Unfortunately, the dog in the background does not come packaged along with the Deck.

Whilst the games that have been optimized for the Deck do run extremely well, the fact that not even all games on Steam can be played smoothly on the Steam Deck is a bit of a letdown. Add to that the fact that other launchers like Epic Games and Battlenet cannot be installed on the Deck and suddenly the device feels restrictive.

Due to the fact that the Ally comes with Windows 11 pre-installed, any game launcher can easily be installed and logged into. This means that there are no real restrictions when it comes to which games you can install on the Ally. However, actually getting them to run is a different matter entirely.

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Winner: ROG Ally

Also read: RUMOR: Assassin’s Creed Codename RED Will Finally End The Series’ ‘Origins’ Formula After 7 Years

ROG Ally VS Steam Deck: Overall

The Steam Deck is hard to beat.
The Steam Deck is hard to beat.

Although the points are even, the Steam Deck takes all of the points that really matter. Ease of use is the biggest one, followed by battery life and price. The ROG Ally may become a more worthwhile machine following a price drop and a whole bunch of updates. However, as it stands at the time of writing, the Steam Deck is a much better machine for the money and is yet to be dethroned as the greatest handheld currently on the market.

Winner: Steam Deck

The ROG Ally was provided to FandomWire for review by ASUS.

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Written by Daniel Boyd

Articles Published: 143

Dan is one of FandomWire's Gaming Content Leads and Editors. Along with Luke Addison, he is one of the site's two Lead Video Game Critics and Content Co-ordinators. He is a 28-year-old writer from Glasgow. He graduated from university with an honours degree in 3D Animation, before pivoting to pursue his love for critical writing. He has also written freelance pieces for other sites such as Game Rant, WhatCulture Gaming, KeenGamer.com and The Big Glasgow Comic Page. He loves movies, video games and comic books.