The handheld gaming device market has exploded in popularity and competition in recent years. With the runaway success of the Nintendo Switch and Valve’s Steam Deck, more companies are vying to meet demand for portable, on-the-go gaming experiences.
Two of the most impressive and powerful options currently available are the Asus ROG Ally and Aya Neo 2 portable gaming PCs.
The Aya Neo 2 launched earlier this year to positive reviews praising its slick design, robust hardware specs, and excellent battery life. Now in August 2023, Asus has thrown its hat into the ring with the flashy, high-end ROG Ally.
ROG Ally appears to have a more premium, visually appealing aesthetic along with bleeding edge internal components. Asus has partnered with AMD to equip the Ally with a custom Zen 4 + RDNA 3 APU that is expected to significantly outpace the hardware in the Aya Neo 2. The ROG Ally also boasts a blazing fast 120Hz display compared to the 60Hz screen on the Neo 2.
So while the Aya Neo 2 has earned praise in its own right, the ROG Ally shows the potential to beat it out in terms of raw power and smooth visuals. But which handheld ultimately reigns supreme? Let’s dig into a full comparison of every key metric.
Asus ROG Ally vs Aya Neo 2
From what we are seeing so far, ROG Ally is planning on going big against other handheld giants such as Steam Deck, AYANEO, and GPD. We will compare the ROG Ally against the AYANEO 2 and find out whether it has all that it takes to beat the competition.
|Asus ROG Ally
|Aya Neo 2
|Striking white chassis with RGB LED accents
|Similar ergonomics to AYANEO GEEK, RGB LED
|D-PAD, analog sticks, and extra buttons
|Triggers and joysticks with Hall Effect Sensors, fingerprint sensor
|Custom Zen-4 RDNA-3 4nm APU
|AMD Ryzen 7 6800U
|7-inch, 1080p resolution, 120Hz refresh rate
|7-inch, bezel-less, same size as ROG Ally
|Up to 500 nits brightness, 5ms response time
|400 nits brightness, wider vision
Design and Build Quality
Starting from the design, ASUS has truly outdone itself with the remarkable design of the ROG Ally, which seamlessly integrates the iconic ROG branding into a striking white chassis. Even in its early prototype stage, fans are already praising its stunning aesthetics.
The left side boasts a convenient D-PAD, an analog stick, and two extra buttons for added functionality. Similarly, the right-side features ABXY buttons, an analog stick, and two operational buttons for a comprehensive gaming experience.
What’s even more impressive is that it got a beautiful RGB LED that glows right underneath both analog sticks, and it looks absolutely fantastic. Additionally, two additional grip buttons on the back further enhance user convenience, making the ROG Ally an absolute joy to use.
Now, if we look at the AYANEO 2, the design here is pretty much different from the ROG Ally. It has the same ergonomics as its predecessor AYANEO GEEK, as it comes with similar palm grips. However, its triggers and joysticks are particularly noteworthy, as they are among the best available in the market.
These components utilize Hall Effect Sensors, which use magnetic fields to accurately track your input or movement, resulting in superior accuracy and responsiveness. These joysticks also have RGB LED glows underneath which looks absolutely fantastic.
On top of that, a fingerprint sensor has been incorporated into the power button, which can recognize multiple fingerprints, enabling you to share the device with your family. In addition to these features, the device also boasts a dual-mic design, a TF card slot, and two Type-C connectors for effortless connectivity.
So visually, ROG Ally does seem more appealing in terms of aesthetics. On the other hand, you also cannot avoid the build quality of AYANEO 2, as it is built with Hall Effect Sensors which is one of the best among other handhelds on the market.
One of the biggest differences between the two handhelds is in the display department. The ROG Ally is equipped with a 7” 1080p resolution screen that runs at a blazing fast 120Hz refresh rate. This high refresh rate results in smoother motion and more responsive controls. Asus has also cranked the brightness up to 500 nits.
By contrast, the Aya Neo 2 sticks with a 7” 1200p resolution panel but only hits 400 nits brightness and 60Hz refresh. While no slouch, it simply can’t match the buttery smoothness and vivid colors of the ROG’s screen. The 120Hz display gives the Ally a real edge for fast-paced gaming.
In terms of sheer resolution, the Neo 2’s 1200p screen actually packs in slightly more pixels. But most games won’t benefit noticeably from this bump. On a small 7” display, the human eye can’t discern much difference between 1080p and 1200p anyway.
Hardware and Performance
This category is where the ROG Ally pulls far ahead of the Aya Neo 2 on paper. Asus has partnered directly with AMD to equip the Ally with a custom Ryzen 7000 series APU featuring Zen 4 CPU cores and next-gen RDNA 3 graphics. It’s built on an extremely power efficient 4nm manufacturing process. This silicon is engineered specifically for handheld gaming performance.
We don’t have full details yet, but early leaks point to CPU clock speeds over 4 GHz and up to 12 compute units (CUs) on the i-GPU side. Nothing else on the market comes close to matching this combination of cutting-edge Zen 4 and RDNA 3 technology in a handheld form factor.
By comparison, the Aya Neo 2 runs on a Ryzen 7 6800U APU based on the older Zen 3+ architecture. It packs 8 CPU cores and 12 GPU CUs clocked at 2.7 GHz and 2.4 GHz respectively. Those are impressive specs for a handheld, but the ROG’s exotic hybrid chip is on another level.
Real world gaming benchmarks will reveal exactly how much additional performance the ROG Ally’s silicon provides. But with architecture improvements alone, Zen 4 should offer at least 15% higher CPU throughput thanks to its increased efficiency. The RDNA 3 graphics will also easily outpace the existing RDNA 2 i-GPU in the 6800U.
Battery life remains one of the most important considerations for any handheld gaming system. After all, maximum performance doesn’t mean much if your device runs dry after an hour away from a charger.
Here the Aya Neo 2 looks very competitive thanks to its massive 50 Wh battery capacity. For comparison, the Steam Deck has a 40 Wh battery. Aya says users can expect around 2 hours of intensive 3D gaming on a single charge. Very solid if accurate.
Asus has not yet revealed the battery specs for the ROG Ally. We don’t know if it will be able to match the Neo 2’s mammoth power pack. The Ally’s cutting-edge APU is extremely power efficient, but gaming still consumes lots of juice. This mystery makes battery life an important question mark for the ROG Ally.
Ergonomics and Controls
Both handhelds have similar control layouts, but there are some small ergonomic differences. The Neo 2 is slightly wider but thinner than the Ally. The Ally weighs about 70g more at 680g total. In practice, this weight difference shouldn’t be very noticeable.
An area where the Neo 2 pulls ahead is the hall effect joysticks. These provide more accurate and durable control input thanks to contactless magnetic sensors rather than a physical potentiometer. The clickable joysticks also feature impressive tactile feedback.
The ROG Ally final specs don’t mention hall effect sensors on its control sticks. It may be using traditional analog potentiometers. If so, the Neo 2 has the edge in terms of joystick feel and responsiveness. But we will have to confirm this once full details emerge.
Both handhelds support vibration feedback for immersive rumble. And they include proper analog triggers for precise throttle/brake control in racing games. This level of control fidelity is expected in modern gaming devices.
Software and UI
The software experience can make or break a handheld gaming system. Out of the box, the ROG Ally will run Windows 11 for access to the entire Steam gaming library and other Windows apps. It also features Asus’ Armoury Crate software for controlling the RGB lighting effects and other customization options.
The Aya Neo 2 runs Windows 11 as well, but also includes the AYASPACE user interface tailored specifically for handheld gaming. It provides useful features like system monitoring tools, performance optimization modes, and controller customization.
Heavy fragmentation remains an issue on Windows, however. Game compatibility and optimal settings require tinkering. The AYASPACE software aims to smooth this over, but Windows lacks the seamless integration of something like the Nintendo Switch’s software stack.
Valve’s SteamOS on the Steam Deck is trying to address these issues by providing a unified Linux gaming environment. But Windows remains the path of least resistance for most PC games.
Price and Value
With top-notch hardware packed into a portable form factor, the ROG Ally and Aya Neo 2 command premium prices. The Neo 2 starts at $1099 USD.
Considering you get a full-fledged Zen 4 + RDNA 3 gaming PC that fits in your hands, the ROG Ally will likely cost north of $1200. Its cutting-edge silicon and display tech don’t come cheap.
At these prices, the Neo 2 delivers good value with its slick design and great battery life. But if money is no object, the ROG Ally brings Chart topping performance that’s worth the premium for hardcore gamers.
Compared to the $399 Steam Deck, both handhelds are far more expensive. But you pay for the bleeding edge hardware. For those seeking the ultimate in portable power, the Ally and Neo 2 represent exciting options.
Based on the specs revealed so far, the Asus ROG Ally appears to beat the Aya Neo 2 when it comes to raw gaming performance and display technology. Its exclusive Zen 4 + RDNA 3 silicon combined with the blazing fast 120Hz screen give it an undeniable edge.
However, we still need to confirm real-world battery life, controls, and overall user experience. The Neo 2 still impresses with its premium build quality, excellent battery, and competitive internals at a more affordable price point.
For sheer gaming power, the ROG Ally looks set to claim the handheld performance crown in 2023. But for some users, the Neo 2 may provide the better overall blend of portability, controls, and software experience. Until full reviews emerge, it’s too close to make a definitive call.
One thing is certain: handheld gaming PCs are reaching incredible new heights. With the ROG Ally and Aya Neo 2, Nintendo Switch finally faces some real competition in the portable gaming space. Exciting times lie ahead for gamers who prefer gaming on the go.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How does the performance of ASUS ROG Ally compare to the Aya Neo 2?
A: The ROG Ally is expected to deliver noticeably better performance thanks to its cutting-edge Zen 4 + RDNA 3 hardware. This special silicon provides a big advantage in running games at higher resolutions and frame rates. But the Neo 2 still performs remarkably well for a handheld.
Q: Is the Aya Neo 2 more portable than the ASUS ROG Ally?
A: Absolutely. As a dedicated handheld, the Aya Neo 2 is far more portable and easier to use on the go compared to the ROG Ally’s laptop-like form factor.
Q: Can the ASUS ROG Ally play more games than the Aya Neo 2?
A: Yes. Since the ROG Ally runs Windows, it has access to a much larger library of games compared to the Neo 2. Any game playable on a Windows PC will work on the Ally.
Q: Which device is more expensive: the ASUS ROG Ally or the Aya Neo 2?
A: The ROG Ally is confirmed to be significantly more expensive based on its premium components and flashy design. The Neo 2 starts at $1099, while the Ally will likely cost upwards of $1200.
Q: Does the Aya Neo 2 have a touch screen?
A: Yes, the Aya Neo 2 features a touch-sensitive display for additional interactivity, while the ROG Ally does not appear to support touch.
Q: Can the ASUS ROG Ally handle Virtual Reality (VR) games?
A: Definitely. With the Ally’s cutting-edge hardware, it is more than capable of powering VR gaming experiences. The Neo 2 likely falls short here.
Q: Can the Aya Neo 2 run AAA games?
A: Yes, the Neo 2 can run many graphically demanding AAA titles thanks to its Zen 3+ APU, though some compromises in settings may be required.
Q: Which device is better for multiplayer gaming?
A: The ROG Ally’s larger screen and superior networking hardware give it an edge for online multiplayer gaming. But the Neo 2 can still deliver smooth multiplayer experiences.
Q: Is the ASUS ROG Ally worth its high price tag?
A: For hardcore gamers who want maximum power, the Ally delivers enough cutting-edge performance to justify its premium pricing. More budget-minded users are better off with the Neo 2.
Q: Can I use the Aya Neo 2 as a regular computer?
A: Definitely. Since the Neo 2 runs Windows, you can use it just like a regular laptop or desktop for productivity, web browsing, media consumption, and more.