Steam Deck OLED vs Asus ROG Ally: which is the better console?

While the Steam Deck OLED boasts an OLED screen and hardware enhancements, the Asus ROG Ally relies on raw performance with its AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme processor. In this in-depth comparison, we explore every facet of these two giants to determine which deserves to reign as the champion of gaming mobility.

Steam Deck OLED and Asus ROG Ally screen showdown

If you’re looking for unrivalled image quality with deep blacks and superior contrast, the Steam Deck OLED is the obvious choice. However, if high resolution and a faster refresh rate are your key criteria, the Asus ROG Ally may be the answer.

Steam Deck OLED: Black depth and impeccable contrast

The flagship feature of the Steam Deck OLED is its OLED screen. This popular technology delivers exceptionally deep blacks, generating superior contrast that translates into impressive picture quality. Compared with an LCD screen, OLED guarantees a more immersive visual experience, rich in detail.

What’s more, the Steam Deck OLED can achieve an impressive maximum brightness of 600 nits for SDR content and 1,000 nits for HDR content. This capability makes it even more versatile, offering exceptional visibility even in bright environments.

Asus ROG Ally: Vivid but limited LCD screen

In contrast, the Asus ROG Ally uses an LCD panel, a cheaper alternative that, while less impactful, still offers solid image quality. However, brightness limitations are apparent with a maximum capacity of 500 nits, compared to the 600 nits of the Steam Deck OLED.

Although the Ally boasts a higher resolution of 1080p compared to the Steam Deck OLED’s 800p, offering a sharper image, and a higher refresh rate of 120Hz compared to 90Hz, it can’t match the depth of blacks and exceptional contrast of OLED technology.

Raw performance: Steam Deck OLED vs ROG Ally

The Steam Deck OLED has undergone some notable improvements, including the switch to a new processor. However, despite these improvements, reports suggest that performance remains almost identical to its predecessor. On the other hand, the Asus ROG Ally, with its superior AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme-powered configuration, beats the original Steam Deck in terms of performance. Benchmark tests reveal an advantage of around 15 frames per second for modern AAA games, delivering a smoother, more responsive gaming experience.

This means that the ROG Ally is better equipped to handle demanding new games and can also take advantage of a higher refresh rate, offering gamers increased immersion.

Operating system: A matter of preference

One of the major distinctions between these two handhelds lies in the choice of operating system, an element that significantly influences the user experience.

The Steam Deck runs on SteamOS, a streamlined platform for portable use. This simplifies downloading and running games from the Steam Store. However, accessing third-party software requires the use of the Linux desktop, which can make it difficult to run applications such as Xbox Game Pass.

On the other hand, the Asus ROG Ally uses Windows 11, the same operating system as on a desktop or laptop. While this may make some tasks less user-friendly in laptop mode, such as downloading games or entering passwords, it does provide added versatility for accessing third-party applications such as Xbox Game Pass, GeForce Now and Epic Game Store.

Power and energy efficiency

Valve has taken the battery issue seriously by increasing the capacity of the Steam Deck OLED to a generous 50 Wh. This represents a significant improvement on its predecessor. However, capacity alone doesn’t necessarily determine battery life, and Valve has also incorporated a more energy-efficient processor compared to the original Steam Deck.

Although battery testing is ongoing, Valve claims that the Steam Deck OLED can deliver an impressive 3-12 hours of battery life on a single charge. This should allow users to enjoy an extended gaming session or lighter usage without having to constantly search for a power outlet.

In comparison, the Asus ROG Ally is equipped with a 40 Wh battery, a lower capacity than the Steam Deck OLED. While this difference may cause concern, it’s essential to consider other factors, such as the overall energy efficiency of the system.

Battery tests on the ROG Ally revealed a battery life of 4 hours under normal conditions. However, when running resource-hungry games such as Horizon Zero Dawn, this dropped to just 90 minutes. This indicates that despite its power, the ROG Ally can sacrifice battery life to deliver high performance.

Tough choice between the Steam Deck OLED and the Asus Rog Ally: A matter of compromise

Choosing between the Steam Deck OLED and the Asus ROG Ally is no easy task, but having read the above, you already have the information you need to make your choice with complete peace of mind. If raw performance and fluid gameplay are your priorities, the ROG Ally is clearly in the lead. However, if the Steam Deck OLED may be the ideal companion if you prioritise battery life.

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