I might surrender my Steam Deck if the ROG Ally 2 had these options

Lies of P running on the Asus ROG Ally.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Last 12 months, I wrote about how I went back to my Steam Deck after utilizing the ROG Ally for a number of months. Asus’ gadget is an actual competitor (learn our Asus ROG Ally review to study why), however there are a handful of elements of the Steam Deck that make it the appropriate handheld for me. That might change with the ROG Ally 2, nonetheless.

Rumor has it that Asus is gearing as much as launch an updated version of the ROG Ally for 2024. Even if this isn’t a completely new handheld, it’s onerous to think about Asus will exit the world of handheld gaming PCs any time quickly. And if it makes a couple of key adjustments to the subsequent iteration of the ROG Ally, I would lastly retire my Steam Deck for good.

No Windows lock display

Power button on the Asus ROG Ally.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

By far, my largest frustration with the unique ROG Ally is the Windows lock display. Asus smoothed out the method of logging into Windows by placing a fingerprint reader within the energy button, however being met with the lock display and having to register every time I boot up the gadget fully kills the hand-held gaming expertise.

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It sounds small, and to a level it’s, however the lack of a lock display on my Steam Deck is among the primary causes I nonetheless use it. I contact the facility button, and I’m instantly at my video games. I don’t must register and wait on Windows to launch dozens of background duties earlier than I can get right into a recreation I need to play.

Asus can do that, too. It’s potential — although admittedly troublesome — to bypass the lock display in Windows 11. Moreover, Xbox was an in depth companion for the ROG Ally. With these type of ties to Microsoft, I discover it onerous to think about there isn’t a world the place some type of bypass might be enabled. You ought to be capable of decide up the gadget, press the facility button, and be at your library.

A correct sleep mode

The desktop on the Asus ROG Ally.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

This works hand-in-hand with bypassing the Windows lock display. A giant level of rivalry on the ROG Ally is the truth that it doesn’t have any type of sleep mode. You can put the gadget to sleep, however there’s no assure that your recreation will nonetheless be working if you wake it again up. On the Steam Deck, you possibly can faucet the facility button, droop your recreation, and decide up proper the place you left off.

It’s barely annoying having to correctly again out and stop a recreation if you’re carried out taking part in, however not a dealbreaker. The primary purpose I need a sleep mode is for video games the place that’s not potential — video games with restricted checkpoint methods or saving choices. There are loads of conditions the place I must put down my Steam Deck for a couple of minutes to do one thing else earlier than resuming my recreation. And with the present ROG Ally, I simply have to depart my recreation operating and hope the gadget doesn’t put itself to sleep.

In equity to Asus, I’m undecided that is one thing that’s potential with Windows. There are a number of completely different sleep states in Windows, and so they’re already buggy as is. Even on a desktop with no recreation operating, sleep states don’t at all times work how they need to. Still, it’s a giant factor separating the Steam Deck and ROG Ally for me.

A verification system

A page explaining the Deck Verified program.

Valve’s Deck Verified program is much from good, but it surely’s nonetheless a great signpost for the hand-held. At the very least, it provides you an concept if a recreation will run on the Steam Deck, and this sort of system is totally absent from the ROG Ally. I’d argue that it’s much more vital on Asus’ gadget contemplating you possibly can set up and play nearly any recreation.

The drawback is that you haven’t any concept about how your video games will run. You may be capable of discover a YouTube video or Reddit thread about how a selected recreation performs, however when you can’t, you’ll simply have to put in the sport and discover out by yourself. That might imply clearing out house, ready for an set up to complete, and taking part in the sport for 5 minutes earlier than realizing it’s too demanding.

With the ROG Ally 2, I might like to see some type of efficiency estimate in Armoury Crate. I’m not asking for perfection, however even a common concept of how a recreation will run would go a good distance. It shouldn’t be terribly troublesome to do, both. Asus can pull in system requirement metadata and evaluate that with the chip inside, coming away with a couple of completely different efficiency tiers.

A extra strong overlay

Quick access menu settings on the Asus ROG Ally.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The Armoury Crate utility for the ROG Ally is highly effective — and it seems to be much more spectacular stacked up towards gadgets just like the Lenovo Legion Go — but it surely’s removed from good. One space that’s clear is the overlay. You can add a restricted variety of features to the overlay, pull it up whereas in video games, and tweak no matter settings you’ve got there. Still, I’d prefer to see Asus go additional.

With the Steam Deck, you are able to do nearly every little thing via the 2 overlays out there. If the place to look, you by no means must pop into the settings. With the ROG Ally, you’ve got entry to some choices, and also you’re free to customise what these choices are, however you’ll nonetheless must poke round Armoury Crate to entry every little thing the gadget is able to.

I’m certain redesigning Armoury Crate is excessive on Asus’ checklist of priorities for the ROG Ally 2 now that it has stabilized efficiency via a number of updates. A most strong overlay with dense choices out there is certainly one thing I’d prefer to see if that redesign is underway.

A functioning microSD card

SD card hanging out of the Steam Deck.
Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

If there’s something Asus is certainly going to repair with the subsequent ROG Ally, it’s the microSD card slot. A firestorm set off throughout the web when reviewers found that extra warmth might essentially fry your microSD card whereas it was within the ROG Ally. That’s no good, particularly contemplating it’s the first method most individuals will increase their storage.

Asus has addressed the issues with BIOS updates that reportedly cut back warmth, however this can be a bodily design defect greater than something. The subsequent ROG Ally must have a functioning microSD card slot, and I think about that’s the very first thing Asus will deal with when designing the subsequent iteration of the hand-held.

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