Gaming

8 PS4 multimedia features you must try out

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The PlayStation 4 is a sleek piece of gaming hardware. With its extensive library of blockbuster titles and indie darlings, it’s easy to overlook the console’s many cool features. Here’s what you can do with your PS4 that isn’t just playing a game.

Watch Netflix

Stream your favorite shows and movies through your Netflix subscription. Just hook up your PS4 online via cable or Wi-Fi, download the small Netflix app under the TV & Video tab, and sign in to your account. No need to get a smart TV or a digital media player! Your controller works just fine navigating Netflix’s simplified console menu.

View live broadcasts on YouTube and Twitch

Catch every second of fun that your beloved gaming streamers are broadcasting live on their Twitch or YouTube channel. Both apps are easily accessed on the PS4, and their interfaces are streamlined for navigation with your controller. You can watch the content in Full HD without choppy buffering, provided your internet connection is good!

Play Blu-rays and DVDs

Don’t have a Netflix subscription? Can’t connect to the internet for some reason but still want to watch something at home? Remember that your game discs are Blu-rays too, so the console has no problem playing Blu-ray shows and films. Your DVD collection also doesn’t have to gather dust, as the PS4 still supports this aged format smoothly.

Listen to music on Spotify

Enjoy the tunes you want to hear instead of being stuck with the same soundtracks of the games you’re playing through Spotify. Sony is in direct partnership with the music streaming service, so they made sure to integrate it with their gaming hardware for ease of use. The PS4 also picks up Bluetooth signals, so you can even control the app on the console through your smartphone or tablet if you have Spotify on your mobile device.

Capture in-game moments and share them through social media

Keep that SHARE button on your controller in mind when something beautiful or awesome happens on screen to take an HD picture so you always have something to remember that moment by. Show that screenshot off to your gamer friends on Facebook or Twitter. Go to the Capture Gallery where the images are saved, select the shots, and hold the SHARE button down to pull up the list of social media platforms you want to upload those images to.

Share your games with a friend or family member

Sometimes just sharing a screenshot of that game you love isn’t enough. For games you just downloaded on the PS Store and don’t have a disc to lend, you can get an interested friend or family member with their own PS4 to gain complete access to your game library. Just log on to your PlayStation Network account on their console, go to Settings, and select Activate as Your Primary PS4. This way any account on that unit can play all your games!

Swap out the default hard drive for a bigger one

The 500GB hard drive that the standard PS4 has might seem like enough, but with how huge games have become recently, commonly reaching 40 to 50GB in size with mandatory installation, it doesn’t take long to run out of space. Thankfully, you can easily switch the hard drive with a typical 2.5inch laptop drive of up to 4TB. You don’t need any expertise with hardware, just a Phillips screwdriver and a little time to spare to follow simple tutorials! Click this link for PlayStation’s official guide on upgrading the internal hard drive, or just watch the video above.

Use an external hard drive to store and run games

If replacing the internal hard drive is too much work, you can also just use an external hard drive for installing games. Any USB 3.0 storage device from 250GB to 8TB capacity will do. Just plug it in directly to one of the PS4’s USB ports and format it to work as the console’s extended storage. As long as you have it connected, you’ll be able to play the games installed on it. You can even move the games already installed on the internal hard drive to the external drive and vice versa. Click here for the official step-by-step instructions from Sony, or watch the video above.

SEE ALSO: 10 free-to-play mobile games for Android and iOS

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Features

What does the GPU Turbo do to your phone?

Is it more than just a marketing gimmick?

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It’s been two months since Huawei rolled out the GPU Turbo update to its smartphones. Promised with a 60 percent increase in performance and reducing 30 percent on power consumption, a lot of fans and users were excited after the announcement.

Back then, everyone (including me) was hyped about lag-free games and longer battery life while playing. However, upon receiving the update, I began to wonder: Has GPU Turbo delivered what it promised?

What’s inside the update?

GPU Turbo was originally marketed as an improved gameplay experience, available only to PUBG and Mobile Legends: Bang Bang.

The Game Suite app, which comes with the update, offers an uninterrupted gaming feature, hiding all notifications when enabled (except for calls, alarms, and low-battery alerts).

Mistouch prevention is another feature to avert users from clicking the back and home button while playing — perfect for when you want to focus on your game.

Screenshots by Miguel Pineda, Huawei Mate 10 user

To some older smartphones like the Huawei Mate 10, the Game Suite App offers three performance modes: Gaming mode, which improves game performance but increases power consumption; Smart mode, which balances performance and power consumption; and Power saving mode, which saves power but reduces game performance.

For the newer Huawei P20 Pro (which I’ve been using) and Honor Play, it only has a gaming acceleration mode to toggle on or off.

Thoughts on the reduced power consumption

Because I used the Mate 10 before and recently transitioned to the P20 Pro, I’ve experienced the GPU Turbo update in both phones and I can guarantee that they’ve delivered on lowered power consumption.

With Game Suite, I can put my phone on power saving mode to further save battery. For instance, I was only able to drain the Mate 10 down to 15 percent during a 12-hour road trip despite switching between the games I play and other apps, such as Messenger, Netflix, Spotify, and taking photos and videos every once in a while. The same goes for the P20 Pro.

As a power user, I already get a lot of things done with these highly efficient smartphones and GPU Turbo; these allowed me to do more on a single charge. However, it’s a different case for gaming.

Improved gaming experience, but there’s a catch…

When I started playing games on gaming mode (or game acceleration mode on the P20 Pro), I could run Mobile Legends: Bang Bang on a high frame rate with the highest graphics setting available. Compared to how the game stuttered and lagged during 5v5 clashes, with GPU Turbo, it now runs smoothly, as if I have a smartphone made for gaming.

System notice when enabling the high frame rate on Mobile Legends: Bang Bang and the effects it may have on your gameplay

As shown above, most mobile games will notify their users about the possible repercussions of higher frame rates and using the best settings available. To prove that a smartphone with GPU Turbo can handle this, I sought out to confirm my suspicions.

After asking fellow Huawei users, I found out that after installing GPU Turbo, energy consumption is a lot faster than before. Their smartphones also heat up more easily, especially when playing games with the game acceleration mode on. This isn’t part of what was promised, and it’s pretty disappointing.

It’s not yet perfect

In my experience, GPU Turbo tries to boost performance above a smartphone’s limit hoping that users can experience better gameplay.

GPU Turbo can’t choose when to perform its best. It’s an update that is constantly running in our smartphones without any way to switch it off. We can only hope that Huawei will address these issues for the next batch of updates.

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Gaming

ASUS ROG Phone receives US pricing

Last piece of the puzzle

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ASUS is certainly taking its time with the release of its one and only gaming phone. First announced at Computex 2018, the ROG Phone finally has an official price to go with its US release.

For the model with 128GB of storage, you’d have to shell out US$ 899. For the larger 512GB storage variant, the cost goes up to US$ 1,099. Both come with a high-end Snapdragon 845 processor and 8GB of memory.

Of course, there are accessories to go with it. First is the ROG Mobile Desktop Dock, which costs US$ 229; the ROG Phone Case retails for US$ 59; the ROG Professional Dock is valued at US$ 119; you can buy the ROG TwinView Dock for US$ 399; the ROG Gamevice Controller is at US$ 89; and lastly, the ROG WiGig Dock goes for US$ 329.

Those are a lot of accessories for one phone, but that’s what makes the ROG Phone a truly gamer-centric device.

As stated last week, the ROG Phone will hit US shores starting October 18, with other regions to follow soon after.

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Gaming

PlayStation’s PSN Online ID change coming soon

Full rollout coming early 2019!

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You’ll soon be able to retire your DarkWarrior1214 PlayStation ID. In a blog post, Sony PlayStation said they will soon begin testing the PSN Online ID change feature as part of their preview program.

Beta testers part of the preview program will be able to change their PSN ID as much as they want. However, once the feature rolls out to everyone, only the first name change will be free. Succeeding name changes will cost US$ 9.99 for regular users.

PS Plus users will be charged a smaller fee of US$ 4.99. The online ID can be changed through the profile page on your PS4 or at the Settings menu. There’s also an option to display your old PSN ID alongside your new one so your friends can recognize you right away.

Not for all games

The feature isn’t available for all games, though. Only PS4 games published after April 1, 2018 along with other most-played titles that were published before that date will have the feature. PlayStation also warns that changing the ID might cause some issues with some games that can be fixed by reverting to the old ID. Here’s to hoping PlayStation finds a way to address those issues some time down the line.

The planned full rollout of the feature is in early 2019. What will be your new PSN Online ID?

SEE ALSO: Sony unveils PlayStation Classic, comes pre-loaded with 20 games

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