Gaming

ASUS ROG Phone 3 launches, has 144Hz refresh rate

ROG refines its mobile gaming machine

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The ROG Phone has been top of mind in the past year whenever someone thinks about a mobile gaming device. ASUS wants a firm grip on that recognition with the launch of the ASUS ROG Phone 3.

As the third generation iteration of this product line, there aren’t any significant, jump out of your seat, wow levels of new things. Instead, the ROG Phone 3 is a refinement of their formula.

Let’s jump right into the specs. It was earlier announced that the phone will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus. It’s currently Qualcomm’s best and has an array feature geared towards “elite gaming.”

Elsewhere on the phone, it’s all about delivering the best. Naturally, the specs have been maxed out. Here’s a quick rundown:

  • 6.44-inch OLED display with a 144Hz refresh rate
  • Up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM
  • Up to 512GB of UFS 3.1 Storage
  • 6000mAh battery with a bundled 30W HyperCharge Adapter
  • Air Triggers with Enhanced Touch Gestures
  • Dual Front Facing Speakers

These are all par for the course and exactly the kind of specs we expected. In many ways, the ROG Phone 3 is a refresh of the ROG Phone 2 with minor noticeable changes — for good reason.

In terms of look, they toned the ASUS ROG Phone 3 down even more, getting rid of the cutouts that mimic the look of certain ROG laptops. The copper cooling vent has been replaced with a single sheet of glass with a transparent window to show off the AeroDynamic Cooling System.

The more understated, but still undeniably gaming look is in line, not only with their ROG line of laptops, but pretty much most gaming laptops of late. Gone are the bulky, over-the-top gaming look for something that looks a bit more subtle.

In terms of form factor and port placements, everything has largely remained the same. ASUS says this was intentional to make sure it remains compatible with existing accessories. That’s a really thoughtful approach.

Peripherals and accessories

Speaking of accessories, the ASUS ROG Phone 3 will come with the usual AeroActive Cooler 3 accessory. It’s a cooling device that now does more.

It now has a kicks stand so you can prop up the phone with the accessory on. ASUS also took away the 3.5mm audio jack from the phone — but this is still accessible with the AeroActive Cooler 3.

As mentioned, it will work with previous generations of peripherals. If you have the entire suite from either the ROG Phone or ROG Phone 2, it’ll work seamlessly with the ROG Phone 3.

The new accessory coming to the ROG Phone 3 is one that will let you connect your phone to any existing game controller you have lying round. It can be the Xbox Controller, DualShock 4 (PS4), or the Google Stadia controller — all will work with the phone with this new accessory.

Armory Crate, Game Genie

Also making an expected return are the gaming-related software baked into the phone. These are the Armory Crate and Game Genie.

Anyone who’s ever owned an ROG laptop should be familiar with this tool. With it you can customize how much power each core uses for certain tasks. You can also modify things like RGB lighthing, fan speed, as well as game controls.

Game Genie is like your mobile gaming assistant. Fire it up and it sends you into this interface where you can toggle all the games you have installed. It’s like having a console interface right on your phone.

It also lets you control the notifications you get while gaming and is also your tool in case you want to stream. You can stream directly on YouTube, but at the moment, Twitch is a no go. This is because there are still issues with Twitch’s API that need to be addressed first.

As for the UI, you can opt for the more stock Android experience, or you can embrace the whole gaming concept and go with the gaming skin. Like on the ROG Phone 2, it comes in two variations — one in black and one in white.

Again, like last year, if you have the Lightning Armor Case it’ll give you access to yet another variant of the gaming UI. Neat.

Solid cameras

From dual cameras, the ASUS ROG Phone 3 now sports a triple camera setup. They bumped the main sensor from 48MP to 64MP. And now it’s flanked by a 13MP ultra wide angle lens and a 5MP macro camera.

These likely won’t be competing against the likes of the Huawei P40 Pro/ P40 Pro+ or even the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, but unlike the very first iteration of the ROG Phone, these cameras should be capable. Not stellar, but pretty solid.

Pricing and availability

The ASUS ROG Phone 3 will come in three variants. They are as follows:

12GB + 512GB — EUR 999
16GB + 512GB — EUR 1099
8GB + 256GB (Strix Edition) — EUR 799

Pricing in other markets will be revealed as they launch on these respective markets.

Features

Dominate the game with the Lenovo Legion Y27gq-25 Gaming Monitor

Spectacular display with some color to boot

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A full gaming rig is never complete without the proper peripherals to match your system. If you want to stay ahead of the game, you need a monitor that responds to your call. Fret not, because Lenovo has the perfect monitor for you.

Meet the Lenovo Legion Y27-gq25, a unique gaming monitor for the more competitive gamer. It brings key features and extra hardware that fits any hardcore gamer setup. Here’s what you can do with the Lenovo Legion Y27 Gaming Monitor:

Compete to your heart’s content

The Lenovo Legion Y27gq-25 is a 27-inch QHD anti-glare display, with a NearEdgeless design. Its large bezel-less display affords you all the space to use for your applications. But obviously, where it truly shines is in using it for gaming purposes.

Apart from having as much space as possible, this monitor also comes with a whopping 240Hz refresh rate at a 0.5ms response rate. These, along with NVIDIA G-Sync support, allows you to play your games smoothly.

You don’t have to worry too much about elements rendering in too slow, or image tearing. In essence, this monitor fits the competitive scene of gaming quite well.

It even comes with full HDR color support and is TUV Rheinland Eye Comfort certified. Experience color accuracy with a 100% sRGB color gamut and marvel at your gorgeous gameplay. Also, the display promises to give you less eye strain the longer you play.

Form and function, with a little bit of multimedia

Apart from the gaming aspect, the Lenovo Legion Y27gq-25 also brings some handy features and hardware for any setup. The most prominent of which is the Lenovo Monitor Speaker certified by Harman/Kardon. The speaker is attached to the base of the monitor, blending in with the overall build. Also, it comes with RGB lighting while idle, which definitely adds color to your setup.

As far as port selection goes, this monitor covers a wide range of it. It comes with both an HDMI and a DisplayPort, both of which comes with cables in the box. Also, you got a range of three USB 3.0 ports and an audio combo jack at the side. For the most part, you can use these to attach more peripherals to your robust system.

All of these come in an ergonomic form factor fit for all use cases. You can lift, tilt, pivot and swivel the monitor, and there’s even an indication at the bottom of the display. In addition, it even comes with a headset hook at the side, and a cable management bracket at the back.

The Lenovo Legion Y27gq-25 Gaming Monitor is bundled with a 3-year Carry-in Service warranty, providing comprehensive software and hardware support. It’s part of Lenovo’s growing family of innovative PCs, smart devices, and accessories that enable it to provide customers all over the world with access to better opportunities, greater connectivity, and the ability to transcend historic and cultural limitations, especially at this time when competitive gaming is steadily gaining popularity.

Contact any Lenovo authorized retailer to get your hands on a Lenovo Legion Y27gq-25: http://lenovoph.com/authorizedresellers


This feature is collaboration between GadgetMatch and Lenovo Philippines

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Gaming

FarmVille is shutting down

Ending this year

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Whether you were an avid virtual farmer or not, you’ve heard of FarmVille. After its launch in 2009, the in-browser Facebook game’s popularity grew to astronomical proportions, earning fans from all demographics. Likewise, it sparked a renewed market for more in-browser, micromanagement games. However, after 11 years of success on the platform, the original FarmVille is shutting down.

Zynga, the game’s developers, announced the shutdown through FarmVille’s official support forums. The game will officially stop operating after December 31, 2020.

The shutdown stems from Adobe’s own termination of Flash. Several years ago, Adobe announced the official end date for its Flash plug-in — 2020. The announcement was a death knell for all Flash-based games and applications including FarmVille. Facebook similarly announced that they will stop supporting the game after the cutoff date.

In the meantime, FarmVille in-app purchases will remain open until November 17. After which, the game will shut down transactions. If you still happen to have a farm in the game, you must use any remaining credits by December 31. No one can play the original FarmVille after December 31.

Of course, Zynga still hasn’t abandoned the FarmVille franchise just yet. FarmVille 2: Tropic Escape is still playable after the December 31 cutoff. Likewise, Zynga is launching FarmVille 3 on mobile soon. (Alternatively, you can also go for Stardew Valley, one of the best farming simulators out there.)

Still, if you were one of the countless players whiling away the time on FarmVille’s virtual farms, you might want to log in a few more hours before the original classic finally rides away into the sunset this year.

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Computers

Armaggeddon Pixxel+ Pro PF24HD Super review: Cheap yet superb

A Singaporean brand that deserves more attention

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Armaggeddon Pixxel+ Pro PF24HD

Admit it, the pandemic is making us buy things we don’t need. At the same time, we also bought essentials to boost our productivity when working inside our rooms. In the past few months, a lot of us went under a WFH (work from home) setup — which also meant greater demands for consumer tech products such as laptops, PC rigs, keyboards, mouse, and even monitors.

As GadgetMatch’s Associate Creative Producer, I needed a large monitor that’s not too pricey yet delivers the top three features that I need: color accuracy, viewing angles, fast refresh rate.

After lending some of my time for thorough online shopping, comparing, and research, I went with Armaggeddon’s Pixxel+ Pro PF24HD monitor.

Armaggeddon may not be familiar to most of you. They’re a Singaporean brand that offers a wide array of computing products and gaming peripherals.

Ultra slim and bezel-less

What I first liked about Armaggeddon’s Pixxel+ Pro PF24HD is its design. The massive 23.8-inch display almost feels like it’s floating because of the zero bezel design or what they call the “Infinity Frame”. Other monitors of the same price look bland with their plastic black frame and stand.

Armaggeddon’s logo may not be as distinct from afar but the silver emblem is a nice complement to the monitor’s brushed metal bottom bezel.

Its sides are truly ultra thin. The only thick part is at the bottom, which houses the monitor’s internals and holds the hefty metal monitor stand in place. Side-tilting isn’t supported but it can be tilted upwards or downwards at around +15/-5-degrees.

To make it more reliable, this monitor also supports a 75×75 VESA mount for better desk setups.

Ports and cables

You get the usual port selections here. Out of the box, there’s an included 12V cable that powers the monitor through the DC port.

There’s also a bundled HDMI cable that you can connect via the HDMI port. This port is used for PC rigs, Playstation or Xbox consoles, and laptops that support it. There’s even an extra VGA port for older PC and laptops configurations with less fancy resolution output.

What you don’t get is a DisplayPort (DP) and an Optical Audio Output — which might be a dealbreaker for some of you. There’s also no room for USB-C port since having one would add more to its cost. For my part, I just use a Bluetooth speaker for loud music sessions or a pair of wireless earbuds when I’m editing.

Cable management is a little tricky though as it doesn’t include clips for fixing those cluttered cables behind the monitor.

Real IPS panel

Armaggeddon Pixxel+ Pro PF24HD

There are different types of monitors out there that are being sold around the same price. You may have heard of them before: TN and VA panels are the most common in the list. They’re cost-efficient especially because they feature less bright and desaturated panels. But what made me choose the Armaggeddon PF24HD is the inclusion of a real IPS panel.

Just like in your smartphones, IPS displays offer excellent colors, contrast, and viewing angles. These are display features I’ve said from the very beginning that I need for the type of work I do.

Armaggeddon Pixxel+ Pro PF24HD

Yes. I’m still not over Ko Mun Yeong and Moon Gang Tae

For what its worth, the display is excellent. Colors pop while there’s little to no degradation when you look at the monitor even at the narrowest viewing angle. Other advertised “IPS” monitors I found online were just re-configured TN/VA panels with poor viewing angles and color accuracy. It’s not a good thing to fool customers with product misinformation.

With my desk setup facing parallel to the window, screen glare is unavoidable. But with PF24HD’s bright panel, it wasn’t that big of a deal for me. I even adjusted the monitor’s brightness from 70 down to just 40 because it’s just too bright for me.

In my case, my IPS panel doesn’t suffer from severe “backlight bleeding” that shows brighter areas near the edges among most IPS panels. A built-in Anti blue-light filter also comes handy to protect your eyes when using it.

True 75Hz refresh rate

During my time of comparing, I noticed that other popularly-branded IPS panels of the same price only feature a modest 60Hz refresh rate. Meanwhile, faster refresh rates of 75Hz and 144Hz are available but they feature TN or VA panels — which is a deal breaker for me (and if you were paying attention earlier, you already know why they’re not advisable for creative tasks).

Armaggeddon Pixxel+ Pro PF24HD

Having Armaggeddon’s 75Hz IPS panel is a true feat. I first tried it on macOS Catalina and I haven’t experienced any hassle after connecting my MacBook through the HDMI port. It’s automatically set to the highest refresh rate available.

Armaggeddon Pixxel+ Pro PF24HD

I was also able to run both of my MacBook Pro and eGPU through Windows 10 Bootcamp. Although this one is more of a complicated process before it actually detects and runs the external GPUs, the monitor detection together with its higher refresh rate setting worked for my case.

If you have a PC setup or a Windows laptop, I think you shouldn’t worry as your device will automatically detect the monitor through HDMI port.

Photo and video editing

Armaggeddon Pixxel+ Pro PF24HD

The main reason why I bought an external monitor is to maximize my screen workspace. Even if my 15-inch MacBook Pro displays a higher resolution while this 24-inch monitor only supports 1080p Full HD, it significantly improved my workflow when editing our YouTube videos through the latest update of Final Cut Pro. That added space for color correction, transition, and effects tab as well as the inspector and nearby windows really helped me work faster.

Armaggeddon Pixxel+ Pro PF24HD

Other than that, I was able to post-process these shots for my Nike Air Max 720 review with ease. This is where color accuracy comes into play. Armaggeddon PF24HD’s IPS panel together with its 100% sRGB support helped in displaying the shot’s correct color information.

To maximize the monitor’s contrast ratio, I then changed the screen calibration. On macOS, I adjusted it through System Preferences > Displays > Color and set it to Apple RGB profile to show deeper grays and blacks and better red hues as well.

If that’s not enough, there’s also a contrast adjustment setting through the monitor’s native menu accessible via its joystick at the back.

Gaming

Armaggeddon Pixxel+ Pro PF24HD

Gaming on a Mac was possible thanks to this fast 75Hz monitor. As said a while ago, I was able to run the MacBook Pro and eGPU configuration through Windows 10 Bootcamp drive. That gave me the ability to play GTA V (Grand Theft Auto V) at high graphics settings without any stutters and lags.

The monitor’s 75Hz monitor also worked like a charm. Having an AMD Radeon graphics card helped a lot especially because the monitor features AMD Freesync without the need for a DisplayPort.

Armaggeddon Pixxel+ Pro PF24HD

“Why is he playing Call of Duty: Mobile with such gaming setup?” — well, I know what you’re thinking. By installing GameLoop, I was able to test out CoDM with max graphics settings available. I know it’s a smartphone game but trust me, running it on a large 75Hz monitor is a feast for the eyes.

Its 5ms response time might not be as responsive as other 1/2ms-rated monitors but it’s ultra responsive especially when aiming and hitting opponents in the game.

A lot of users are hyping up curved monitors for a “greater” playing experience, but I oppose. The flat display with a 178-degree viewing angle still does the job of keeping you immersed when playing.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

In a sea full of well-known monitor brands, it’s hard to tell which relatively unknown brand delivers a better display quality at a reasonable price. Armaggeddon, being Singapore-based, gave me a huge assurance and relief. Not that I don’t support Chinese products but it’s hard to rely on products with negative reviews about false advertisements.

I’ve been using this monitor for more than a month now and it’s definitely worth your hard-earned money. If you’re like me who’s a creative that needs a reliable 75Hz IPS monitor on a budget, this is definitely one of, if not the, best options out there.

If you’re someone who’s planning to build a gaming setup with a limited budget on peripherals, this is also a great purchase especially with its fast refresh rate and response time.

In Singapore, you can buy the Armaggeddon Pixxel+ Pro PF24HD with a discounted price of just SG$ 169 that comes with a free BT150 soundbar. If you live in the Philippines, it’s being sold for just PhP 5,990 through a local distributor‘s Shopee page.

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