Steam Deck vs. Asus ROG Ally: Handheld Gaming PCs

Get a side-by-side comparison of the Steam Deck and Asus ROG Ally and discover which handheld gaming PC is the best fit for you.

Valve, the company behind the seminal Steam Deck PC gaming handheld, has recently chimed in on the official launch event for the long-awaited Asus ROG Ally, the first mainstream competitor to Valve’s Steam Deck. The Asus ROG Ally is a substantially more powerful device that still manages to maintain a competitive price point, making comparisons between the two devices very interesting indeed. This article aims to compare the two devices and discuss their strengths and weaknesses.

Asus ROG Ally Features

The Asus ROG Ally needs some Steam Deck features to offer a more streamlined and seamless gaming experience. However, the fact that it’s running Windows makes playing any modern game a breeze. This also makes the device a veritable Game Pass powerhouse, as it can access a far wider array of applications and prerequisites than the Linux-based Steam Deck. With more games available on Windows, users can play a greater variety of games without any compatibility issues.

Valve’s Steam Deck Features

Valve’s Steam Deck, on the other hand, runs on Linux-based SteamOS, which is designed to offer the best possible gaming experience. Steam Deck’s OS has been designed to be streamlined and optimized for gaming, and it offers features like a quick resume from sleep mode, a customizable interface, and support for all kinds of gaming peripherals. While it may not have as many games available as the Windows-based ROG Ally, Steam Deck is still a great option for PC gamers who value portability.

Device Comparison

Regardless of the ROG Ally’s superior hardware, however, it’s become obvious that the two devices are different enough that reviewers won’t be able to easily recommend one over the other, which has been a point of contention in the past. Both devices have their strengths and weaknesses, and the final choice will depend on the user’s specific needs.

Valve’s Response

There’s apparently no actual rivalry between the companies themselves either, as the official Steam Deck Twitter account has decided to chime in on Asus’ launch event with praise and positivity, claiming that Valve is excited to see the PC handheld gaming niche grow. In other words, even though the Steam Deck now has a major competitor on the market, Asus’ efforts to step up to the task are precisely what Valve had hoped to accomplish.

Future of Handheld Gaming PCs

While there’s no shortage of boutique companies working on handheld gaming PCs — like AYA, GPD Win, and Loki — Asus is the first big global hardware supplier to follow Valve into this new hardware category. Others are now far more likely to follow suit, and it’s possible not all of them will stick with Windows for the job. Though the rumors of a full-fledged SteamOS release have been going around for a while now, the plan is seemingly still for Valve to eventually push its Linux-based gaming OS for anyone to use, completely for free. Once that happens, it will be possible to forego Windows for gaming purposes entirely, which would be a particularly interesting development.

Microsoft’s Response

After a Microsoft developer explained the Windows handheld leak, saying that it was just an internal hackathon project that didn’t end up going anywhere, it appears that the company isn’t working on an official answer to Valve’s SteamOS. That might not be a problem for Microsoft right now, but the pace at which SteamOS is developing is quite impressive indeed, and there’s no telling how competitive it might be in just a few years’ time.

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