Yesterday was April Fool’s Day, and in following with the tradition in the world of PC gaming and technology, many brands participated in the festivity by announcing “brand new” products that were completely fictional. For Taiwanese brand ASUS and the announcement of its ROG Ally handheld console, there may be more than meets the eye.

Before we start debating the legitimacy of the ROG Ally, let’s take a step back and take a look at what was announced again. Based on the “official” product launch video, the Ally is a handheld gaming console, designed and built in the same spirit of the Steam Deck. Of course, it goes without saying that its overall looks and shape is not the same as said Deck. of a portable PC such as the OneXPlayer 2 and…well, the Steam Deck, obviously.

Then there are the details that are being shared in the teaser video. The ROG Ally apparently uses a custom APU, made in collaboration between ASUS and AMD. This isn’t something that just any company can simply brag about, even as a joke. Therefore, this does lend some level of credibility. The specs of the APU, however, are never revealed within the video.

Then there’s the method in which the ROG Ally will allegedly run all your PC games – it uses ASUS’ own Armoury Crate app, which is technically proprietary to the company. Of course, one of the major highlights of the handheld console is that, like the Flow series laptops, the Taiwan-based brand appears to have made it so that the console is able to connect to the ROG XG Mobile eGPU, opening up the world of multiplayer on your living room TV. As with all April Fool’s jokes, it goes without saying that any “product” announcements made on the day should be taken both in jest and boisterous laughter. As to why we believe that we don’t think that the ROG Ally is a joke product, there are a handful of reasons for it.

(Image source: ASUS ROG.)

First, it’s a handheld gaming console. After the launch of the Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck years after, the concept of a portable gaming machine with PC-level graphics is undeniably more mainstream than before. The second is the mention of the custom APU and the fact that it runs Windows OS. You’ll note that the revelation of the APU was not followed up with some unbelievable specs. For that matter, besides SteamOS on the Deck, the ROG Ally, again, isn’t the first device to run the Microsoft-based operating system. In fact, that’s already been done on a multitude of handheld gaming consoles, including the earlier mentioned OneXPlayer 2 and all Ayaneo handhelds.

Thirdly, while the teaser throws around buzzwords such as ROG intelligent Cooling and its exaggerated cooling performance being depicted in the video, that ASUS could shrink that cooling technology even further isn’t an impossible task. Again, take ASUS’ own Flow X13 and Z13 as examples: the latter is both technically and effectively a tablet, and yet through the wonders of precision engineering, the brand still managed to shrink down its dual-cooling solution to fit into the 13.3-inch form factor.

Lastly, and this part is really just hearsay at this point, we had heard whispers prior to the ROG Ally video that ASUS was allegedly working on some handheld console. So, in all seriousness, releasing this ROG Ally video on April Fool’s Day raises two possibilities: Either this is a fake product and ASUS is never, ever going to release it, or the brand purposely released it on that day, in order to throw us off-guard and off its scent. If it is the latter, then it’s working.

(Source: ASUS ROG Global via YouTube)


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