Monday, May 20, 2024

How to get more from your handheld console

If you’ve got yourself a nifty little gaming handheld in the form of the Asus ROG Ally then you’ll no doubt be pleased with your purchase. It’s a fantastic handheld console with plenty on offer, but there are a few things you can do to get even more out of it without much fuss.

So stick with us as we dive into some of the best things you can do with your console to make your experience even more pleasant.

Asus Rog Ally Review 5-1

Download the latest Windows updates

If you’ve just recently acquired your ROG Ally (or even when you’ve had it a while) it’ll be worth ensuring you have the latest updates.

The Ally is a Windows 11 device, so be sure to check for those updates regularly:

  • Tap on the Start button and search for updates
  • Then tap “check for updates” under system settings
  • And download the available updates and install them

Asus ROG Ally Armoury Crate updates

Grab Armoury Crate updates

The next thing to do is to launch Asus Armoury Crate SE and check for updates there too.

  1. On the right-hand side of the ROG Ally there’s a button with the ROG logo on it
  2. Tap that and it’ll open up Armoury Crate
  3. Then tap on Content on the top of the screen
  4. Click check for updates and download and apply any updates that are there

Asus ROG Ally shortcuts

Know your shortcuts

The Ally is a great bit of kit, but Windows 11 isn’t perfectly suited to the touchscreen experience. Luckily Asus has made your life easier with some handy shortcuts that aren’t immediately obvious.

On the back of the Ally are two buttons (known as macro buttons), if you press these along with other buttons you can carry out some quick actions:

  • Macro + D-pad up: Show virtual keyboard
  • Macro + D-pad down: Open Task Manager
  • Macro + D-pad left: Show Desktop
  • Macro + D-pad right: Task Viewer
  • Macro + A: Take a screenshot
  • Macro + B: Show Windows Notification Center
  • Macro + X: Projection mode
  • Macro + Y: Begin Recording

These are particularly useful if you are in a game and want to get back to the Windows desktop or switch between various activities.

Asus ROG Ally battery saving tips

Use the virtual keyboard

As well as these shortcuts there’s also the Command Center. Press the triangle button on the left-hand side of the screen and it’ll pop up the Command Center which gives you quick access to various settings.

One of these is the virtual keyboard which is super helpful. You might find that when you’re trying to enter passwords, for example, the keyboard doesn’t pop up so this shortcut can help.

When the keyboard is open you can also adjust its position on the screen, but also change through various modes. We like the “traditional” setting, which makes it like a normal keyboard complete with most of the buttons you’re used to. You can then use Windows shortcuts like ALT+Tab, CTRL+Shift+Del and others.

If you open Armoury Crate itself you can also tweak what buttons appear in the Command Center to give you easy access to things.

Rog Ally Bluetooth Devices

Connect a Bluetooth device

The Asus ROG Ally is a capable device. It has intelligent settings to switch between different control modes depending on what you’re doing. It also has a 10-point touch screen so it can handle multiple inputs. You can also customise the controls for specific games via Armoury Crate, which works really well if you need to tweak controls for different games.

Being a Windows device though, you also have the option to connect up some Bluetooth devices. It’s easy to connect a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to this console and then have easier controls for certain games or productivity tasks.

  • Press the Windows start button
  • Type to search for Bluetooth settings
  • Tap to open them
  • Tap on “Add device” and then let it search
  • In the meantime put your device into Bluetooth pairing mode
  • Connect your device and away you go

ROG Ally Tweak settings

Tweak settings for better battery life

The ROG Ally is a great gaming device and one that you probably would like to crank up to maximum settings to make the most of the 1080p screen with its 120Hz refresh rate. Doing so though you’ll probably find that the battery life suffers. We’d recommend playing with it plugged in if you want maximum performance without disappointment.

If you want better battery life though try these tips:

  1. In Windows open up Command Center
  2. Turn on AMD RSR
  3. Set the operating mode to 15-watt performance mode
  4. Change the resolution to 720p
  5. Set the refresh rate to 60Hz

Then when you load your game up:

  1. Head over to the video/graphics settings and set the resolution to 720p
  2. Limit the frame rate to 60 FPS
  3. Turn on AMD FSR or use Intel XeSS if these settings exist

We found that these settings help improve battery life in some of the more intensive games. If you’re playing indie games or less intensive games then you can try setting the operating mode to 9-watt silent mode. We found this can help the ROG Ally run for as much as two and a half hours when gaming, but it really hurts FPS on the more graphically intensive games, so it’s worth playing around with these settings.

Asus Rog Ally Microsd card-1

Upgrade your storage

The ROG Ally has a decent amount of internal storage. It’s also easily upgradable according to Asus. But with the size of modern games you might still find that you quickly fill up the storage and need more space.

Best microSD cards for Steam Deck photo 2

SanDisk 512GB Extreme MicroSDXC

This SanDisk drive is the perfect balance of speed and size. It’s a great choice for any Steam Deck owner.

No problems as you can always upgrade with the addition of a microSD card. Grab one of these and you can add some extra space for your games. It won’t be as fast as the built-in NVMe SSD, but it’s still fast enough to load games.

Asus Rog Ally controller buttons

Log in with your fingerprint

Did you know that the ROG Ally supports Windows Hello, which means that you can use your fingerprint to log in to your Ally. Windows allows you to assign a pin to log in, but you can also set it up so you can scan your finger on the power button to log in instead.

If you’re using your Ally while out and about it can pay to secure it so nothing untoward happens.

Asus Rog Ally Review 1-1

Tether your phone

The ROG Ally is a handy console for its portability. The battery life isn’t amazing, but you can still use it when you’re away from home.

Of course, you can use Steam in offline mode, but you can also tether to the Ally with your phone by creating a Wi-Fi hotspot so you can do more. Just turn on the tethering mode on your phone, then look for the Wi-Fi settings on the Ally and connect to the network to use your phone’s data when you need it. Just keep in mind your phone contract’s tethering limits as you’ll soon chew through the data caps if you’re downloading games while you’re away from home.

ROG charging dock

Get yourself a dock

If you don’t want to worry about battery problems and like the idea of going big screen then you might want to spend a little extra on the ROG Gaming Charger Dock. This dock has HDMI 2.0 support and comes with a USB-A port for a mouse and keyboard connection. It also has a 65 watt power adapter, so you can connect it to your TV and game for longer on a bigger screen with ease.

Other useful tips

Here are some other things worth knowing:

  • To enter the Asus ROG Ally BIOS settings press and hold the power button and the volume down button until you see the BIOS options
  • The right thumbstick doubles as a control for the mouse cursor when you’re in Windows. This can be handy for navigating things
  • Don’t rely on the 1080p/720p display resolution button. This only changes the desktop resolution and won’t generally adjust your game’s resolution. You have to do that manually.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.