Steam Deck OLED Vs ROG Ally – Is Display Change Enough To Keep Up?

Introduction

The handheld gaming PC market is experiencing a surge in innovation and competition, with Valve’s newly announced Steam Deck OLED model and Asus’s first-ever handheld gaming device, the ROG Ally, generating significant buzz. As these two devices vie for the attention of gamers seeking portable gaming experiences, it’s essential to delve into a comprehensive analysis comparing their features, performance, and overall value proposition.

Design Comparison

Steam Deck OLED

Valve’s Steam Deck OLED maintains the iconic shape and button layout of the original model, ensuring excellent ergonomics for comfortable handheld gaming. The device features nicely contoured grips and balanced weight distribution, making it suitable for extended gaming sessions. The OLED model is slightly lighter than its LCD predecessor, offering added comfort for mobile play. Additionally, the Steam Deck OLED introduces an exclusive translucent black colorway, enhancing its premium styling options.

ROG Ally

Steam Deck OLED Vs ROG Ally
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ASUS ROG Ally 7" 120Hz Gaming Handheld - AMD Z1 Extreme Processor - 512GB - White - PRE ORDER!
  • Amazing graphics: AMD Radeon RDNA3 graphics (4GB VRAM, 12 compute units)
  • Ample storage: A 512GB NVMe PCIe 4 M.2 SSD gives you room to store your favorite games and keep load...
  • Stunningly beautiful visuals: No tearing, no stuttering, and games are crisp and clear on the ROG...
  • Blazing fast memory: Swap through your applications and have multiple tabs running with 16GB LPDDR5...

Asus’s ROG Ally is designed with advanced control in mind, featuring rear paddle buttons for customizable inputs. The device promises a refined handheld gaming experience, with controls tailored to the ergonomic needs of gamers. The ROG Ally also offers customizable RGB LED logo emblems for personalization, adding a touch of flair to its design.

Display Quality Comparison

Steam Deck OLED Vs ROG Ally
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Valve Steam Deck OLED 1TB Handheld Gaming Console
  • 1TB NVMe SSD
  • 1280 x 800 HDR OLED display with premium anti-glare etched glass, 7.4" Diagonal display size up to...
  • Wi-Fi 6E
  • 50Whr battery; 3-12 hours of gameplay (content-dependent)

Steam Deck OLED

Both the Steam Deck OLED and ROG Ally feature 7-inch OLED displays optimized for gaming on the go. The Steam Deck OLED boasts a resolution of 1280×800, providing enhanced visual clarity compared to its LCD predecessor. It supports refresh rates up to 90Hz for smooth and responsive animations, making it ideal for gaming.

ROG Ally

In contrast, the ROG Ally is equipped with a sharper 1080p IPS display, offering superior image quality with a higher pixel density. The device boasts a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, providing ultra-fluid motion during fast-paced gameplay. With variable refresh rate technology, the ROG Ally dynamically adjusts between 48Hz to 120Hz, ensuring smooth frame pacing and lower input latency.

Performance Comparison

Steam Deck OLED

The Steam Deck OLED utilizes a custom AMD APU, combining four Zen 2 CPU cores with eight RDNA 2 Graphics cores into a single chip. While not built on the most advanced manufacturing nodes, it delivers capable gaming performance in a handheld form factor.

ROG Ally

On the other hand, the ROG Ally harnesses a specialized gaming CPU from AMD based on the cutting-edge Zen 4 architecture, paired with advanced RDNA 3 Graphics technology. The Zen 4 architecture offers significant improvements in CPU performance, while RDNA 3 Graphics provide a substantial graphical boost. With LPDDR5 RAM clocked at 7500MHz, the ROG Ally delivers outstanding gaming performance tailored for handheld gaming.

Software and Flexibility Comparison

Steam Deck OLED

The Steam Deck runs on SteamOS but allows the installation of Windows or other operating systems, providing flexibility for gaming, web browsing, media playback, and game emulation. Its open-handheld PC functionality gives it an edge in versatility, catering to a wide range of user preferences.

ROG Ally

While supporting SteamOS, the ROG Ally also runs Windows-based gaming PCs, allowing users to access games from platforms such as Steam, Xbox, and other PC game libraries. Unique hardware features like programmable air triggers and ultrasonic buttons offer advanced control options tailored for gaming.

Price and Value Proposition

The Steam Deck OLED maintains a competitive pricing structure, starting at $399 for the base model and $649 for the 1TB version. In comparison, the ROG Ally is priced at $599 for the base version and can go up to $699 for a more powerful configuration. Despite the premium pricing of the ROG Ally, its advanced AMD silicon and superior performance justify the investment for gamers seeking top-tier handheld gaming experiences.

Conclusion

While both the Steam Deck OLED and ROG Ally represent significant advancements in handheld Windows PC gaming technology, they cater to slightly different preferences and priorities. The Steam Deck OLED offers flexibility and proven design at a competitive price point, making it an attractive option for gamers looking for versatility. On the other hand, the ROG Ally boasts superior performance and advanced features, making it a compelling choice for enthusiasts seeking the ultimate gaming experience on the go. Ultimately, the choice between these two impressive devices depends on individual preferences and priorities, but both have the potential to make a significant impact in the thriving handheld gaming PC market.

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