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Asus ROG Ally X is real and it’s everything we hoped for - hands on

Doubled battery life, improved ergonomics, more robust joysticks, and 24GB of RAM make the new ROG Ally X an Ally 2 in all but name.

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It’s official, the Asus ROG Ally X is here and available for pre-order now. Asus unveiled the new gaming handheld at Computex and it is packed with even more upgrades than we expected, including a massive boost in battery life.

While it’s too early to say whether the Asus Ally X’s improvements are enough to make it a contender to knock the Steam Deck OLED off the top of our best handheld gaming PC guide, the sheer number of improvements is sure to make it a tempting prospect for many buyers. I had a chance to try it out for myself on the Computex show floor, and it makes a great first impression.

The most obvious change with the Ally X is that it has switched from the white finish of the original Ally to a black finish, with each version only available in one color. This will make for a handheld that better hides the ravages of life on the road and in your hands.

Slight stylistic tweaks aside, the biggest upgrade with the Ally X is its doubled battery size, from 40Whr to 80Whr – yes the Ally X leaks were true. The battery life of the original model wasn’t terrible but was behind its chief rival the Steam Deck, so an improvement as large as this could even put it ahead.

Despite this big increase in battery capacity, the ROG Ally X isn’t that much heavier than the Ally thanks to Asus shaving weight from elsewhere on the device. Even the fan has shrunk, dropping 23% in size while maintaining up to 10% higher airflow thanks to its use of thinner fan blades. A third exhaust area also aids in venting heat.

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Other internal improvements include a default 1TB of storage with a move to using a “full-size” 2280 format SSD, greatly increasing the range of SSDs you’ll be able to fit in the device. RAM allocation has also increased to a huge 24GB of 7,500MHz LPDDRX memory – more than many gaming PCs.

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Externally, there are a host of ergonomic improvements too, with rounder handles and triggers, which are legitimately more comfortable to hold. The D-pad has switched to a “precision” eight-way design too, and the buttons have been slightly rearranged so they’re easier to reach. Conversely, the rear macro buttons are smaller and less easy to hit accidentally.

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In our short time with the device, all these small changes did feel like they added up to make for a more comfortable device to use overall, though the extra weight definitely isn’t a welcome addition.

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We couldn’t help but feel a slight disappointment that the screen hasn’t switched to OLED, even if it wasn’t quite as dazzling an OLED as that on the Steam Deck OLED. The obvious drop in contrast and color saturation when viewing the Ally X from an angle, and the general lack of pop when viewed side by side with the Steam Deck OLED, is plain to see. I guess there has to be something for Asus to upgrade with the Ally 2.

The Asus ROG Ally X price is set at $799, making it more expensive than the original version of the handheld, and considerably more than the Steam Deck and Steam Deck OLED. We’ll just have to wait and see if it delivers the performance to justify that price.