Why the latest rival handheld still can’t beat the ROG Ally

The Lenovo Legion Go is impressive. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it definitely leaves an impression. As you can read in our Lenovo Legion Go review, its huge screen and unique features set it apart from other handheld gaming PCs. But in my testing, it shows some strange problems compared to the similarly priced Asus ROG Ally.

The Legion Go and the ROG Ele are very similar devices, with similar specifications and price, and both run Windows 11. They’re one of the most powerful handheld gaming PCs on the market at the moment, but the Legion Go clearly needs some more tuning with it. Performance before your dollars are ready.

Pricing and Availability

Starfield running on Asus ROG Ele.
Jacob Roach/

Both the ROG Ele and Legion Go are available in two versions, but Lenovo and Asus offer these versions in different ways. Starting with the ROG Ally, the base model (and the one we’re using here for comparison) is $700, and comes with 512GB of storage and AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme. Asus also sells a version with an AMD Ryzen Z1 processor for $600, which otherwise has identical features.

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The Legion Go comes with AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme regardless of the edition you choose. The base model comes with 512GB of storage for $700, just like the ROG Ally. However, Lenovo also offers a version with 1TB of storage for $750. Extra storage is nice, but both the Legion Go and the ROG Ele allow you to replace the SSD if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty.

Lenovo Legion Go's game library.
Jacob Roach/

If you’re only concerned about saving money the ROG Ele is technically cheaper. However, as you can read in our review of the ROG Ally Ryzen Z1, the handheld sacrifices a lot of performance to achieve that $600 price tag. For comparison, the ROG Ele and Legion Go are priced similarly, with the Legion Go offering a slightly more expensive version for a reasonable upgrade in storage.

There’s no clear winner here, but Legion GO has a slight edge. It comes with similar hardware to the ROG Ellie, but a much nicer display and additional features like a first-person shooter (FPS) mode that allows you to detach the controller and use it like a mouse. However, the gain is only marginal. As I’ll delve deeper into in the rest of the comparisons, the Legion Go offers a lot of bargains.

Display

Horizon Zero Dawn running on Lenovo Legion Go,
Jacob Roach/

Undoubtedly the most impressive aspect of the Legion Go is its screen. It’s a 1600p display with a 165Hz refresh rate, but it’s not the specs that matter. It is such that you are getting an 8.8-inch display in the Legion Go, whereas the ROG Ele is limited to a 7-inch screen. That extra size makes a huge difference.

As a result, this makes Legion GO also huge. It is much larger than the ROG Ally and is also quite heavy. With the controllers included, the Legion Go weighs 856 grams, which is much heavier than the ROG Ellie’s 608 grams.

The ROG Ele achieves its smaller size with a less impressive screen. It’s a 1080p display with a 120Hz refresh rate, and as mentioned, it measures in at just 7 inches diagonally. It’s much less impressive than the Legion Go’s display, and now that the Steam Deck OLED is available it’s even overtaken by the Steam Deck.

Cyberpunk 2077 running on Asus ROG Ally.
Jacob Roach/

Although the Legion Go’s screen is more impressive on paper, it’s a bit of a hassle in practice. The higher resolution and refresh rate means the battery drains just as quickly as the ROG companion, despite the fact that the Lenovo packs in a larger battery. However, the biggest problem is performance.

You can’t play most games at native 1600p resolution with the Ryzen Z1 Extreme, at least not without sacrificing a lot of performance. This means you’ll often be running games below 1600p, which is especially noticeable on such a large screen. It’s strange that Lenovo chose such a high resolution, because you won’t often be able to achieve this unless you limit yourself to low frame rates or 2D games.

The ROG Ally has a similar problem with its 1080p screen, but it’s less pronounced. Not only are games more likely to achieve playable frame rates at 1080p, but the smaller screen size hides imperfections if you need to reduce the resolution.

The Legion Go certainly has the more impressive screen, but in actual use, the ROG Ele’s more conservative approach comes out on top.

Display

Performance is strange for Legion Go. As mentioned, it’s packing the same Ryzen Z1 Extreme as its ROG companion, so the performance of both devices should be largely similar. it’s not like that at all.

ROG Ele and Legion Go performance at 1080p.
Jacob Roach/

With both devices locked to 1080p and running on maximum power mode, you can easily see the Legion Go ahead of the ROG Alley. It won every game we tested, with some titles like dying light 2 Showing a huge difference. That’s what a great device gives you. The Legion Go handles heat better when devices are pushed.

A chart shows Legion Go benchmarks across three games running at 1600p.
Jacob Roach/

However, jumping up to the native 1600p resolution for Legion Go reveals some strange performance. It can crack 30 frames per second (fps) in titles like cyberpunk 2077 And immortal phoenix Emerging, But only when the device is plugged in at its highest power mode. If you unplug the charger and use the 15-watt balanced preset you are losing about 30% to 40% performance.

That’s not the worst part of it. If we limit the devices to 800p for a fair comparison of the Steam Deck OLED and ROG Alley, you can see that the Legion Go lags significantly behind in every game we tested. It is also ahead of Steam Deck OLED, whose processor is quite weak on paper.

ROG Ally, Legion Go and Steam Deck OLED displays at 800p.
Jacob Roach/

What’s going on here? It looks like Lenovo still has some tuning to do on the Legion Go. This is an extremely fast device whose power maxes out when plugged into a charger, but it’s clear that Lenovo isn’t getting the most performance out of the Ryzen Z1 Extreme in its more conservative power mode. This is a problem for handheld gaming devices.

Both the ROG Ele and Legion Go suffer from poor battery life, but it hurts more on the Legion Go. Even on Balanced mode, you’ll be lucky to get two hours out of a difficult game cyberpunk 2077, And at maximum power, you’ll barely be able to last 45 minutes. Considering that the Legion Go can only put up numbers at full power, it’s hard to call it a portable gaming PC at all.

ROG affiliate is the winner

The Legion Go may eventually become a handheld gaming PC, but there are too many problems to recommend it right now. The awkward performance numbers combined with a strange form factor outweigh any extra features it offers and even its impressive 8.8-inch screen.

With stiff competition from the Steam Deck, the ROG Companion isn’t perfect either. However, among the Windows handheld gaming PCs I’ve tested, it still remains the best choice for gamers looking for extreme power on the go.






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