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No joke — Asus is releasing a Steam Deck competitor

Asus released a trailer for a handheld Steam Deck competitor over the weekend, but there was just one problem. The trailer dropped on April 1. That lead many to assume it was an elaborate, high-budget April Fool’s prank, but Asus has confirmed that its handheld gaming PC is real and coming soon.

ROG ALLY - ROG’s First Gaming Handheld Console

The ROG Ally is coming soon, according to Asus, and there’s even a page live on Best Buy if you want to be notified when pre-orders are up. The handheld includes AMD’s “most powerful APU yet,” according to Asus, and it looks to be running Windows 11 with a custom overlay from Asus.

In addition, the Ally supports Asus’ XG Mobile GPU, which can carry up to a laptop-grade RTX 4090. This is shown off in the announcement trailer, which certainly carries the tone that the Ally was an April Fool’s joke.

It seems Asus planned for this rollout, though. On Monday morning, YouTuber Dave2D published a video comparing an early prototype model of the Ally to the Steam Deck, confirming that it’s real and that Asus has likely been working on the Ally for quite some time.

ASUS Thinks They Can Beat the Steam Deck

Dave2D confirmed some other critical specs about the device, as well. It carries a custom Zen 4 APU, the same architecture behind Ryzen 7000 processors, along with RDNA 3 graphics, which powers graphics cards like the RX 7900 XTX and RX 7900 XT. In addition, it has a 7-inch, 1080p display with a 120Hz refresh rate. All of that, and Dave2D says the Ally is smaller, lighter, and quieter than the Steam Deck.

The YouTuber didn’t get into specifics on performance, but he said the Ally is allowing games to run at much higher frame rates with higher graphics settings compared to the Steam Deck, showcasing titles like Resident Evil 4 Remake and Warhammer 40K: Darktide. 

Even more impressive, Dave2D said he couldn’t hear the fan noise while playing. In his measurements, fan noise from the Ally was around half the volume of the Steam Deck under load on the early prototype model.

There are still a lot of details we don’t know about the ROG Ally, though. Critically, we don’t know its price and release date. Rumors suggest it’s coming this year, and given the hardware inside, it will likely cost more than the Steam Deck’s $400 base price. I’ve reached out to Asus to see if the company has any more details to share at this time.

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Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
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