Thanks to the rousing success of the Nintendo Switch and Valve’s Steam Deck, it’s safe to say that portable gaming is having a moment — something The Verge’s David Pierce discussed at length with the Polygon crew on a recent episode of The Vergecast. Asus also entered the handheld fray earlier this year with the ROG Ally, and now, thanks to an ongoing Asus promo, it’s available with an AMD Z1 Extreme chip for an all-time low of $599.99 ($100 off) with offer code NC100.
We had some serious reservations with the ROG Ally when we first reviewed the handheld gaming PC. Asus has since ironed out some of our initial concerns, but some remain, including the console’s mediocre battery life and a bizarre performance gap between the retail units and our original review units. However, it still outperforms the Steam Deck in several notable ways — which it should, given the loftier price tag.
The portable Windows machine is equipped with a quieter fan, for one, along with a larger 1080p display with a 120Hz variable refresh rate and beefier performance thanks to the Z1 Extreme. The said chip performs even better when plugged in and using the handheld’s apt-titled “Turbo” mode, which increases the power draw to 30 watts and results in markedly improved performance while gaming.
Just don’t expect a flawless Windows 11 experience, plugged in or not.
Daylight saving time is notorious for a lot of things. It has the potential to ruin scheduled plans and upset our circadian rhythms, for instance, though its most obvious impact is that it leads to shorter days and, by extension, cooler weather. Thankfully, if you find yourself loading up on more coffee or tea than usual during the dreary fall days, the Ember Mug 2 is on sale at Amazon, Best Buy, and Target right now in select colors for $109.99 ($40 off), nearly matching its best price to date.
Although it didn’t make our 2023 Holiday Gift Guide, Ember’s latest smart mug remains a favorite of multiple Verge staffers. The 14-ounce temperature-controlled vessel lets you choose your desired drinking temperature using an accompanying app, which the mug can then hold for up to 80 minutes thanks to its built-in battery. The mug can also hold that temperature indefinitely when resting on the included charging coaster, making it a handy — albeit, somewhat unnecessary — gadget for anyone who takes their sweet time getting their caffeine fix in the AM.
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Other deals and discounts of note
- Philips Hue’s 65-foot Festavia string lights are on sale for 15 percent off at Amazon for select customers, dropping the price to $186.99 ($33 off) at checkout. That’s the first discount we’ve seen to date on the excellent string lights, which offer 250 color-changing smart LEDs and work both indoors and outdoors. The same 15 percent discount can also be applied to the 130-foot string, which knocks the longer strand down to $305.99 ($54 off) at checkout.
- It’s been a banger of a year for video games, so much so that it’s easy to forget all the stellar PS5 titles that preceded it. Thankfully, if you missed Returnal when it first launched, you can now grab it at Amazon for $27.55 (about $42 off). The moody roguelike shooter remains one of the best PlayStation exclusives to this day, especially since it now offers online co-op and a survival mode courtesy of last year’s free Ascension update. Read our review.
- It still ain’t cheap, but Herman Miller’s Sayl Chair is on sale direct from Herman Miller starting at $588 ($147 off). The ergonomic office chair, which we recently highlighted in our 2023 PC Gift Guide, offers ample support, a unique look, and a webbed back that should keep you cool during the warmer months of the year.
- We flagged several Logitech deals in our roundup yesterday; however, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that you can also grab the Logitech G203 Lightsync on sale at Amazon, Best Buy, and Newegg for a paltry $19.99 ($20 off). The no-frills gaming mouse offers two side-mounted thumb buttons, an accurate sensor, and a scroll wheel for less than $20, along with some tasteful LEDs around the palm that don’t scream “gamer” the way most RGB accessories do.
- Now through November 27th, Costco members can pick up the Rachio 3 Smart Sprinkler Controller for just $129.99 ($70 off). The straightforward 12-zone smart timer is a good option if you’re looking to cut back on your water use and better manage your in-ground irrigation system, one that works well with Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and even Apple Home.