The ROG Ally 2 is coming. Here’s why that’s a great sign

Starfield running on the Asus ROG Ally.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

It’s no surprise that Asus is already working on the next generation of its gaming handheld, the ROG Ally — but I never expected it to be this fast. According to Asus, the next-gen ROG Ally is likely to be released this year. That might feel a little rushed, but it’s great sign for the future of handhelds.

Oftentimes, when news like this comes out, it’s a rumor or a leak that you can’t be sure about. However, this time, the information comes straight from the source. Asus India’s vice president for consumer and gaming PC, Arnold Su, told Techlusive in an interview that the second-gen handheld is “most likely” coming this year.

“We most likely will launch a second-generation [handheld gaming console] this year,” said Su. Given that the first-gen model came out in mid-2023, that would make for, at most, a year-and-a-half between the two releases. We don’t know what all will be in this new model, but that feels dangerously quick.

Don’t get me wrong, the ROG Ally is a killer handheld, and it provides performance that the Steam Deck can only dream about. But these small, portable gaming PCs aren’t just about raw numbers and frame rates they can put out in AAA games — it’s about the entire experience, and this is where the Asus handheld runs into issues.

The Asus ROG Ally, while powerful (in huge part thanks to AMD’s Ryzen Z1 Extreme chip), is not without faults. Even months after the release, the device was having an issue with frying up microSD cards. The user experience factor is a little lacking when compared to the Steam Deck, too. It’s not even just the fact that the Ally runs on Windows 11 — that’s not inherently a bad thing; if anything, it makes it more versatile than the Steam Deck. However, some quality-of-life updates could make the interface easier to interact with. In our review, we’ve also found that its 720p performance can be inconsistent, and it’s actually gotten worse after Asus released new BIOS updates instead of getting better.

Asus ROG Ally with the Windows lock screen.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Then there’s the ROG Ally Z1. To this day, I’m not sure why it was made; it certainly makes almost no sense to buy it over the Z1 Extreme version. It’s things like this that make me think that Asus may not be quite ready for a ROG Ally 2 just yet. What I would like to see instead — and I’m sure that some ROG Ally owners would agree with me — are more frequent updates to the existing console.

The good news, however, is that it’s proof that PC-based gaming handhelds aren’t just a passing fad. Competition is heating up, and the quick pace of launches shows how much appetite exists in the market. More competition between manufacturers means more choices — and hopefully, better products in the end.

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