3 things we want to see from the Asus ROG Ally X

Asus ROG Ally X
(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Claire Tabari)

Asus unveiled the latest model in their handheld console line on Thursday, unveiling the Asus ROG Ally X through a livestream on YouTube titled The next Asus ROG Ally is coming.

While the company laid out breadcrumbs for us by offering details on the things we can expect, the full reveal is happening on June 2. 

Whitson Gordon, Senior Manager at Content Marketing for Asus ROG, and one of the hosts who revealed the Asus ROG Ally X, claims that the device will be "more than just a refresh with one spec change." 

However, he does clarify that it's "not a full redesign or totally new generation." We're looking at a middle-of-the-generation upgrade in the same way Steam Deck was followed by Steam Deck OLED or how PlayStation 5 will be followed by PS5 Pro.

He also says "almost everything we put into this was a result of the feedback that you, the community, provided us over the last 12 months." We already know that changes are being made to battery life, RAM, storage, ports, and "some other physical changes." When the latter is mentioned, Gordon raises his hands and mimics motions of pressing triggers and moving joysticks, so it could mean improvements to haptics.

But we do know two things that aren't changing: The model will still use the AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor seen on the original Ally, and its VRR display will not be changing. If you were hoping for an OLED model, those dreams are crushed.

Otherwise, here are three things we'd love to see improved on the Asus ROG Ally X.

3. Suspend and resume gameplay

I love my Asus ROG Ally, but the lack of a resume option, when the display goes to sleep, is frustrating. I was playing Resident Evil one morning and because the game doesn't have an automatic method of saving (due to its Ink Ribbon system where players can save only at specific points and must use a limited currency to do so), I had to turn the display off and put the device to sleep before catching my train.

PlayStation Remote Play Asus ROG Ally

(Image credit: Laptop Mag / Momo Tabari)

When I got onto the train and tried to turn my Asus ROG Ally back on, it was frozen. Even though music was still loudly playing in a train car regardless of how much I tried to lower the volume, I couldn't continue playing because the sleep mode broke the application and I lost my save progress. 

Windows is not optimized for handheld gaming consoles, but it would be great for the software built in the Ally to find a way to let users suspend and resume an application without it completely breaking. It would be even more convenient if that automatically kicked in when the device goes to sleep, similar to how PS5 handles it.

2. Anything to make Windows less of a hassle

Every gaming handheld PC suffers at the hands of Windows 11's lack of convenient compatibility with a gamepad, and as a result, navigating it can be painful. Even with Armoury Crate making the experience exponentially less frustrating, the software still has issues and there are moments where the app can malfunction. It would be great to see any improvements to Asus' built-in software to make the overall experience on Windows bearable.

Asus ROG unveiled a couple of changes coming to Armoury Crate in its announcement video, some of which are welcome to make navigation less of a hassle. This includes separating the games library into three tabs titled Favorites, All Games, and Game Platforms.

Asus ROG Ally X

(Image credit: Asus)

Previously, game platforms like Steam or Xbox App would be interspersed between the actual games themselves, which is a little awkward if you want to launch Steam but have to scroll through a dozen games to get there first. Now, those applications will be available in the Game Platforms tab. Favorites will allow users to select specific games and add them to a separate tab for quick access. Each of these tabs can be cycled through with LT and RT.

Armoury Crate will also now let users customize their home screen and put it into a list view, with some examples being a carousel view that resembles game console home screens. Users can customize the size of the tiles, the alignment of the cover art, and whether it scrolls vertically or horizontally. Users can also hide the game title so it's not haphazardly placed over the cover art, alongside hiding the background image.

Asus ROG Ally X

(Image credit: Asus)

Users can even now select an uninstall game option from Armoury Crate, which isn't directly from the software but will take users to Add or Remove Programs on Windows. You can also import gamepad templates for specific games, meaning the community will be able to offer their ideal button mappings for certain titles.

Beyond aspects of what was announced, Armoury Crate should make it easier to access screenshots and videos on the Ally. It would also be great if they implemented an option to capture the full screen. The way Asus ROG Ally's screenshot system works now is that it automatically locks to whatever application or window is currently highlighted or full-screened. That's great for most cases, but sometimes you want to capture the whole screen.

Armoury Crate also needs some performance improvements, which I'm hoping will come naturally through the inclusion of more RAM. The amount of times it has frozen or crashed and forced me to restart the device is cumbersome.

1. Longevity to survive on-the-go

I love my Asus ROG Ally, but similar to the other handheld gaming consoles like the Lenovo Legion Go or MSI Claw, it runs out of juice quick if you're not near an outlet. On the Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits of brightness, the Z1 Extreme model lasted 5 hours and 51 minutes. While that may seem solid, its battery life while using the PCMark 10 gaming battery test reduced this number to 1 hour and 43 minutes. And with even higher demanding games, that number will get closer to 1 hour before you know it.

In the stream, Asus ROG Video Producer Jake Kulinski claims that the battery on the ROG Ally X is improved, and it's "not a small battery improvement, the battery is very good." While that isn't much to go off, we're hoping that the company managed some sort of miracle here. It would be great to see a PCMark 10 test going as high as 3 hours, but even if it's just a 45-minute improvement, that would be huge in letting people take it on the go with commutes that might last several hours.

Momo Tabari
Contributing Writer

Self-described art critic and unabashedly pretentious, Momo finds joy in impassioned ramblings about her closeness to video games. She has a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Media Studies from Brooklyn College and five years of experience in entertainment journalism. Momo is a stalwart defender of the importance found in subjectivity and spends most days overwhelmed with excitement for the past, present and future of gaming. When she isn't writing or playing Dark Souls, she can be found eating chicken fettuccine alfredo and watching anime.