ROG Ally RC71L | Small computer with a big heart – La Presse

We can argue, and that’s our job, that the ROG Ally isn’t as user-friendly as a Nintendo Switch and that it doesn’t handle the addition of a monitor well. Nevertheless, the small device at 625 grams is a technical masterpiece because you can play all PC games on its 7-inch screen and it can be transformed into a very good computer for other tasks at a reasonable price.

Posted at 1:15 p.m

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Some manufacturers, notably Valve, Asus and more recently Sony, have taken note of the success of the Nintendo Switch and the fact that millions of gamers are ready to live out their passion on small screens with portable consoles. Asus is one of the leaders in this field with its ROG Ally RC71L.

So we have a 625 gram device in our hands that runs on Windows 11 and is completely self-sufficient in turbo mode for about an hour with a demanding game like God of War or The Last of Us 2. Its autonomy climbs between three and four hours in quieter mode. Of course, you can also connect it with the included charger with an output of 65 watts.

It’s also self-sufficient with its 1080p touchscreen and 120Hz refresh rate, flanked by two joysticks, the usual four X, Y, B and A buttons and a few navigation buttons. The image is bright at 50 nits and the colors are vibrant. Here we find ourselves with Windows 11, which is far from the ideal system for a portable device. Asus has therefore developed its own simplified interface called Armor Crate SE, which takes up the entire screen when you press the dedicated button.

This is where we find our game library and here we have all the key combinations for controlling the resolution, performance, lighting, all CPU and GPU parameters, in short all the mechanics that gamer PCs like to dig around in.

First, let’s take a look under the hood, where we have installed an AMD Ryzen Z1 processor with 16 GB of RAM that can reach 5.1 GHz. The graphics are powered by an AMN Radon graphics card on RDNA 3 architecture with 4GB of dedicated memory. We also have 512GB of storage with a Micron 2400 SSD drive.

How does this hardware compare to larger computers? The statistics from the Geekbench 6 benchmarking platform are breathtaking. Excuse the sequence of numbers that follows, it is unavoidable. When it comes to CPU, this little machine’s 8 cores scored 10,885, higher than all of our tested laptops that cost twice as much, from the MSI GL66 to the MacBook Air with the M1 chip. On the graphics side, we get a score of 30,836, far less than the 97,817 of our MSI GL66 with GTX 3070 card, but still higher than the 18,759 score of our MacBook Air M1.

Its SSD hard drive offers us an exceptional speed of 3168 Mbps reading large files with FlashBench and 1874 writing speeds.

The ROG Ally RC71L is therefore a very good computer that is more than sufficient for everyday tasks when connected to a monitor with a keyboard and mouse via its USB-C socket. As with any PC, you can add any peripherals you want via Bluetooth, including a controller and headphones.

The experience on this 7-inch screen with integrated buttons is very satisfying. The Dolby Atmos sound provided by the two speakers is quite powerful, but enthusiasts will likely prefer headphones, wireless or via the ROG Ally’s 3.5mm jack.

Whether with the two big games mentioned above or the half dozen PC games we downloaded, from Dead By Daylight to Rise of The Tomb Raider to the indie This Bed We Made, they all worked well on this little machine. Sometimes you have to lower the resolution and choose medium presets instead of the most demanding ones, and we never exceeded 50 FPS, which is acceptable without being blinding. No bugs and maximum quality when streaming games, whether via Steam or better with Xbox Game Pass Ultimate, which you get for three months free with purchase.

In short, we’ve solved the problem of squaring the circle: PC gaming, usually reserved for more expensive and more powerful devices, on a portable console.

We like less

The overall gaming experience with the 34-inch 2K monitor, controller and Bluetooth headset was unsatisfactory. At first we only achieved a measly 17 FPS in God of War, we had to reduce the resolution of our monitor to 1600 by 900 to get a working 38 FPS. Same results with the reboot of Marvel’s Spider-Man. Some AAA games like Monster Hunter Rise, Forza 5, Diablo IV and Doom Eternal can exceed 60 FPS, Asus assures us. We didn’t have them on hand. There’s plenty of advice on the internet for tinkering with the settings for this sport that’s so popular with PC gamers.

We missed the clarity of the Nintendo Switch UI. Although we find the essence in the simplified Armor Crate SE interface, Windows 11, with its tiny menus, is definitely not suitable for a portable console or tablet. After two weeks, we’re still confused about finding our way around the portable console, exiting a game to return to the Windows menu, or finding our library.

Keep your screen level while gaming on ROG Ally. A horizontal angle of about fifteen degrees is enough to make the image appear washed out.

You buy ?

Let’s leave out the video gamer who, to satisfy his passion, has equipped himself with the ultimate, with the most powerful graphics card and the fastest computer. The ROG Ally RC71L doesn’t offer that. You can play with it anywhere, with satisfactory quality on the 7-inch screen, flawless when streaming, and with many graphical compromises in local mode on a larger monitor or TV.

As a bonus, the less experienced gamer has access to an ultra-portable gaming computer that can do a good job in everyday life. Amazing little machine.

ROG Ally RC71L

  • Manufacturer: Asus
  • Price: $899.99 ($699.99 as of November 23)

Rating: 8.5 out of 10


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