ASUS ROG Ally X May Cost $799 At Launch, Is The Upgrade Worth It?

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Gaming handhelds that breach into the world of PC gaming have been all of the rage the last few years after the release of Valve's Steam Deck. While handheld consoles such as the Nintendo Switch have been ultra-popular, its walled garden ecosystem keeps many titles out of reach. 

ASUS joined the fray with its original ROG Ally, a handheld reminiscent of the Steam Deck. It's now ready to refresh this handheld with its latest ASUS ROG Ally X iteration, but it may come at a higher price. Rumored to start around $799, this latest handheld update will need real-world improvements to justify this change. While we got a few tidbits of information on the device during its initial reveal, the full picture will only be known during its official June 2nd uncovering. 

The biggest rival for the ROG Ally X will be the Steam Deck, which has performed well even without significant hardware updates. The Valve Steam Deck has enjoyed a number of software updates, however, breathing new life into the device. The Steam Deck also got an OLED screen update, together with a limited edition offering. Battery life improvements were also on the latest Steam Deck, addressing areas of complaint from the first version. 

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Is the ROG Ally X worth a potential price of $799 based on the information we currently know? First, it does not appear to be getting an OLED display, which is typically a big wish-list item for new handhelds. The original ROG Ally came in varied hardware configurations, but at present the ROG Ally X appears to come only in one flavor. 

Packing a 7-inch 1080p display with a 120Hz refresh rate, it's also only available with the higher-end AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme. A 1TB SSD tops off the package, which means that this is a robust configuration out-of-the-box. While a cheaper version may come later if the trajectory with the original ROG Ally is any indication, it may also live as just this singular version if it proves not to be too popular. 

The original ROG Ally carried with it a white finish, but the ROG Ally X may come in just a black finish as a contrast. It supposedly will include a larger battery and a lot more RAM, to explain some of the $100 price premium that it carries over its predecessor. 

These improvements seem relatively tame for the asking price, and may place this device into an unfavorable position. The risk of positioning it at $799 (if that ends up being the case) is it may not have enough high-end updates to appeal to the enthusiast crowd, while more casual gamers may find it's priced too high (especially if they already own the current ROG Ally). Gamers typically will be more enthusiastic over more tangible upgrades, such as screen improvements and GPU horsepower, but we'll have to wait and see.