Gaming

ASUS ROG Phone 5 Series now official

Yes. Series. There’s more than one.

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ROG Phone 5

ASUS ROG just keeps upping the ante on their gaming smartphone. On its fourth iteration, the ROG Phone 5 (yes, it’s the fourth on the series despite the name), is as powerful as ever and now there’s three of them: ROG Phone 5, ROG Phone 5 Pro, and ROG Phone 5 Ultimate. 

The upgrades mostly come in all the places that matter, but there’s also a new feature that takes inspiration from one of their gaming laptops. 😉

Still a specs beast

Let’s start with the things that all three members of the ROG Phone 5 series have in common — they’re all spec monsters. Here’s a quick and easy look at the kind of power and performance they’re packing:

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 5G processor

Snapdragon Elite Gaming allows for  ultra-smooth play at the highest possible HDR quality levels, with desktop-level capabilities. It also debuts Qualcomm Game Quick Touch that gives up to a 20 percent increase in touch responsiveness and lower latency.

There’s also a 35 percent increase in GPU performance and 25 percent in CPU performance. These are numbers based on ASUS ROG’s tests.

Upgraded GameCool 5 cooling system 

GameCool 5 now has an optimum thermal structure featuring a centered CPU with the battery split into two parts, one located on each side of the CPU. This ensures the heat generated by the CPU is transferred to all the edges and corners of the chassis simultaneously for higher thermal efficiency.

The reshaped 3D vapor chamber and extensive graphite sheets also help to spread the heat evenly across the device to reduce heat build-up in the middle.

The completely revamped AeroActive Cooler 5 now intakes and expels more air directly onto the center of the phone — right where the CPU is –to drop CPU temperature. A little bummer though, as this will no longer come as a default accessory unlike in past models.

Armoury Crate new performance manager 

The X Mode now has multiple system profiles to cater to a variety of settings and performance tuning tools. This lets users put to all of the phone’s RAM to good use. Speaking of RAM, the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate is seriously packing with its 18GB LPDDR5 RAM. Intense.

A performance display

The series has a 6.78” Samsung AMOLED display. For the refresh rate, it’s a whopping 144Hz and has a touch sampling rate of 300Hz. That’s super smooth and ultra-low touch latency.

The screen is also made with the toughest Corning Gorilla Glass Victus. It also has an always-on HDR tech that improves non-HDR visuals.

Battery king

The ROG Phone has always been a long-lasting device. That remains true with the ROG Phone 5. It has a 6,000mAh battery but now, ROG also made a few tweaks so it saves energy when it needs to.

These come in the form of software optimizations that limit the power consumption of inactive apps. ASUS says this gives up to 67 percent of power savings. There’s also charging improvements like a charging upper limit, steady charging, enhanced scheduled charging.

Speaking charging, there’s a bundled 65W HyperCharge adapter. They didn’t provide an estimate on how fast it goes from zero to 100 but 65W should be pretty fast even for a 6,000mAh battery.

ROG Phone 5

New to ROG Phone 5 Pro and Ultimate — ROG Vision

Do you remember the AniMe Matrix on the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14? The ROG Phone 5 Pro and Ultimate have something like that. It’s called the ROG Vision.

It functions similarly in that it gives another layer of personalization through an extra display at the back of the phone but this one isn’t built with mini-LED lights.

The ROG Phone 5 Pro features a color ROG Vision display, while the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate has a monochrome version.

Even more gaming centric features

ROG put extra care in making sure the ROG Phone 5 gives more control to the user. The AirTrigger 5 now gives the player four distinct ways to interact with the phone. Put the AeroActive Cooler 5 on and you get two extra physical buttons for a close-to-console gaming experience.

It also supports 10 different motion controls. ASUS cites a racing game as a scenario. Gamers can swivel the phone to steer or pull it towards them to brake. It might take a while to get used to but these seem like thoughtful additions.

Pro and Ultimate 

Naturally the Pro and Ultimate versions have more to offer. Both versions of the ROG Phone 5 have hidden rear touch sensors which provide L2/R2-like functions similar to most game controllers.

GameFX audio

Rounding up the gaming experience is the audio. The ROG Phone 5 series now incorporates symmetrical seven-magnet dual speakers for truly balanced stereo sound effects. There’s also a 3.5 mm headphone jack, and a hi-fi-grade ESS DAC for lossless audio processing.

The AudioWizard audio-tuning app has also been completely revamped to optimize sound for different audio styles, including Game, Cinema, and Music settings.

Themes and customization 

Like previous ROG Phones, you get the option to have the gamer-centric UI or the more toned down material design look. ASUS also partnered with some of the most popular game titles for different theme packs to give you more ways to spruce up the ROG Phone 5’s looks.

ROG Phone 5

Colors, Configurations, and Pricing

ROG Phone 5

  • Phantom Black and Storm White
  • Up to 16GB RAM/ 256GB ROM
  • Starts at EUR 799
  • March 2021

ROG Phone 5 Pro

  • Phantom Black
  • Up to 16GB RAM/ 512GB ROM
  • Starts at EUR 1199
  • April 2021

ROG Phone 5 Ultimate

  • Storm White
  • Up to 18GB RAM/ 512GB ROM
  • Starts at EUR 1299
  • May 2021

Gaming

NEO: The World Ends with You is launching in July

On multiple platforms

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After announcing that NEO: The World Ends with You is indeed coming, Square Enix has now confirmed the game’s release date — July 27, 2021.

Square Enix also released additional details about the game including characters, locations, and team battle details.

The colorful cast of characters is lead by Rindo along with Fret, Nagi, Minamimoto, and Shiba. These characters will interact in a cartoonized version of Shibuya, Tokyo and their communication will be presented with a comic-esque look.

As you go around exploring the city streets and sounds, you will uncover the secret behind everything. As Rindo, you and your group of friends must break the fate handed to you by this deadly game.

Platforms, Pre-order bonus

NEO: The World Ends with You will be available on the PlayStation 4 (PS4), Nintendo Switch, and PC on the Epic Games Store.

The PS4 digital pre-order bonus includes an avatar set that can be used on the PlayStation Network profile.

The PS4 and Nintendo Switch digital early purchase bonus are five equippable items once used by the legendary Neku. These items are normally unavailable until you proceed considerably far in the story, so they will give you a leg up in the early days of the game. These are:

  • Legendary Headphones — Drastically increases item drop rates from enemies.
  • Legendary Tank Top — Greatly increases Attack.
  • Legendary Shorts — Shortens the duration the wearer is knocked down.
  • Legendary Sneakers — Increases movement speed during combat.
  • Legendary Music Player — Enormously increases HP.

Early purchase bonus for the physical version are:

  • Pin: UFO Rescue — Hold the button to slowly restore your team’s HP.
  • Threads: Virupaksa Hoodie — Greatly increases HP.
  • CD: Twister (Neo Mix) — Adds ‘Twister -NEO MIX-‘ as a main menu music option.
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Gaming

Sony intends to bring popular PlayStation games to smartphones

Because mobile gaming is the future!

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PlayStation

PlayStation is an iconic brand that’s already testing many fans’ patience in countries like India due to the shortage of the latest consoles. While there’s no doubt that the console market is booming, it’s also a fact that mobile gaming is equally successful and considered the undisputed future.

In a job listing shared on the game forum ResetEra, PlayStation is looking for a new Head of Mobile. It’s a senior position that’ll be tasked to “promote the vision, mission, strategy for mobile game development within PlayStation Studios.”

“As Head of Mobile, you will own and develop the mobile game’s strategy for PlayStation Studios and help build a foundation for future growth opportunities,” the listing read.

PlayStation’s most popular franchises include Naughty Dog’s Uncharted and The Last of Us series, Polyphony’s Gran Turismo, Sony Santa Monica’s God of War, and Insomniac’s Ratchet & Clank.

We expect the company to develop mobile-centric adaptations since a direct port will be challenging. Smartphones can run a game like GTA: San Andreas today, which required a bulky computer not long ago. A similar anomaly is now visible with modern games like PUBG: Mobile, which is a slightly truncated version of the desktop game but still retains the infamous battle royale format, an open world, and optimized experience.

Nintendo also followed a similar path and has made a fortune out of its existing assets. Even third-party publishers like Activision have cashed in on the gaming title, taking on Tencent’s PUBG: Mobile.

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Gaming

ASUS ROG Strix Scar 17 review: A daring proposition

Bulky-sleek, with power you’ve relied on for years

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Strix Scar 17

Most gaming laptops these days are going for sleeker design options even with hefty internals inside. At first, you would think that it poses several issues with thermals and heat-filled components you can fry eggs on. Obviously, the benefit for it is a power-hungry machine for great gaming performance.

I’ve seen ASUS ROG’s previous STRIX SCAR laptops that follow a similar trend of producing sleek yet power-hungry devices. Unlike their other gaming laptops, these look and feel easy to bring around while equipped with the latest gaming-ready internal hardware. Again, with sleek form factors comes the thermal issues surrounding it.

So, when the latest version of the ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 17 (G733) was launched, I wondered “what are these guys going for this time?” It arrived at my doorstep in a rather hefty packaging, with lots of freebies inside. Right out of the box, it doesn’t seem like it’s anything different from the other STRIX SCAR laptops they’ve had.

Wait, why does it look sleek but it feels bulky?

When I first removed the device from the box, it felt a little bulkier physically. Don’t get me wrong, I looked at it from all angles and it’s still quite slim and sleek compared to most gaming laptops. However, I felt that this gaming laptop has some heft to it in its sleek form factor at about 2.7 kg.

While we’re on the form factor, ASUS ROG manages to retain the same design features with one key difference. The review unit I received came in a pristine black finish, with the LED ROG logo on the lid. Of course, you can’t really take any of the RGB LED strips away from the bottom of the laptop. For ergonomic reasons, most of the ports are at the back, which is a great touch.

Unlike the previous models, ASUS ROG’s main gimmick here is the customizable Armor Caps for added customization. Essentially, they’re just a part of the hinge mechanism for the display that you can customize with any color or logo. Plus, you can 3D print your own cap if you’re not really a fan of the ones they have in the box. Personally, it’s not something I’d completely rave about but it’s nice that they extended the customization to that level.

Gaming performance, as expected, delivers well

One thing I would completely rave about the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 is its gaming performance. See, the device comes with an AMD Ryzen 9 5900HX processor and an NVIDIA RTX 3080 inside the bulky-sleek form factor. Ideally, what you’re getting is, quite simply, a power-efficient gaming setup fit for the competitive scene.

Most of the games I played through this machine ran quite well, all things considered. Part of the reason is also because the FHD anti-glare display also came with a 300Hz refresh rate, which is pretty smooth. Although, it does come with a 3ms response rate so you may have a little bit of difficulty reacting to somebody one-tapping you.

Now, because this device came with a more modern RTX card, I figured that I should look at some games a bit separately. Hopefully, I’m painting a good whole picture here:

Standard, old-fashioned, high quality gameplay

Without even turning any RTX setting on, most games fared more than well on the ROG STRIX SCAR 17. Here’s just a bit of a run down of how some of the games I played ran with their respective game settings:

Title Graphics Settings Avg. FPS
VALORANT Max. Settings Agent Select: 367 FPS

In-Game: 210 FPS

Fortnite Battle Royale Epic Settings 119-133 FPS
Apex Legends Max. Settings using all 16GB of VRAM Lobby: 125-130 FPS

In-Game: 155-170 FPS

Call of Duty: Warzone Max. Settings 107-110 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 High Settings 67-74 FPS
Rocket League High Quality Settings 255-264 FPS
GTA V Max. Settings 91-103 FPS, depending on the environment
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Ultra Settings 91 FPS

Clearly, the RTX 3080 slayed in most competitive and casual games alike, while also providing accurate colors and details. There were some instances of momentary lag due to too many things happening — especially with intense gameplay. However, for the most part, it’s a gaming machine fit for every possible game you could throw at it.

Turn on the ray-tracing power

Admittedly, among all of the games I played, only four of them support any RTX functionality of any kind. Whether it was shadows or immense lighting effects, my assumption is that the RTX 3080 can simply handle all of it. My goal here was to, at the very least, achieve a playable frame rate given how beefy ray-tracing is:

Title RTX Compatible Graphics Settings Avg. FPS
Fortnite Battle Royale Yes Epic Settings

For RTX: set to Quality and all set to highest

50-57 FPS
Call of Duty: Warzone Yes Max. Settings 98-105 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 Yes High Settings

DLSS on Quality

For RTX: set to Ultra

54-58 FPS
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Yes Ultra Settings

For RTX: no option for it, but there is RTX for Shadow Quality

94 FPS

While I was playing these games, it was a pleasure just taking in all the visual enhancements ray-tracing brings. Reflections and shadows are present and in roughly full detail, and I still got close to 60 FPS on games with the ray-tracing turned up high. Then again, I’m playing on a FHD display so I still prefer replicating this on higher resolutions.

Pumping the brakes for a little bit

With an AMD chip inside this machine, I was expecting that it would last quite well under significant load. During my entire usage of it, I got about 6-7 hours using it for productivity purposes and a little bit of gaming. When you’re gaming full time at 60 FPS, I only got about 2 hours worth of juice on it — right around most gaming laptops.

Although, when you do need to fill it up again, it doesn’t take that long. In my tests, it took close to 2 hours for one full charge provided you’re not doing anything else. While you’re using it while charging, it takes just an hour and 45 minutes longer on average. It’s still quite fast, but it’s probably also a reminder for you to take a break from intense gameplay.

Now, the package also came with a 100W USB-C charger that you can use for both your phone and laptop. Although it doesn’t charge your bulky laptop that fast, it’s something quite nice to include as a multi-device charger. 

Staying cool under pressure

I touched on this earlier about how most sleek gaming laptops have some thermal issues with it. If it comes with heavy-duty components, the devices tend to get pretty warm and uncomfortable to use for a lengthy period of time. Sometimes, it would feel like you could fry eggs on your keyboard, but please don’t try to do that.

In the ROG STRIX SCAR 17’s case, it does feel warm around the sides and rear end — where most of the ports are found. When you’re playing for longer hours or under all that ray-tracing workload, it heats up significantly. I mean, just the air coming out of the heatsinks at the sides feels enough to burn my hand. Also, the fans tend to get quite loud at times, so prepare your headphones.

However, for some reason, it wasn’t uncomfortable, especially around the keyboard. See, ASUS used its patent Liquid Metal cooling technology for the powerful CPU and GPU inside. Even while boosting the GPU to push out better performance, the device remained warm enough not to make the keyboard an uncomfortable, hot piece of equipment.

About the other assets in the package

Apart from everything I’ve mentioned above, I feel there are a lot of other things to highlight for this device. First off, I thoroughly enjoyed using the mechanical keyboard of the ROG STRIX SCAR 17. It uses optical mechanical switches that act a level of clickiness with every key press, and they’re also quite accurate.

One other thing I liked was the inclusion of more ROG peripherals within the package itself. When I took everything out of the box, the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 came with the ROG Chakram Core, the ROG Delta RGB Headset, and the ROG Eye. All in all, it feels like a complete package that you can also give content creation or streaming a go for this device.

Also, inside the package is the Keystone II in a nifty keychain. Essentially, if you’ve had any of your Aura Sync settings or you just need a ghost drive, this is one of ASUS’s technologies that will surely be useful.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

At PhP 199,995, the ASUS ROG STRIX SCAR 17 has a daring proposition for the competitive gamer. On the outside, it’s a bulky-sleek gaming machine with a ton of RGB to go around and customization options galore. Inside, you will find one of the bulkiest and hottest sets of components assembled for competitive gaming performance.

Stream Like Water for better health!

It’s a package that ASUS ROG has delivered in many forms for years on end. Yes, they will come with the usual thermal issues and even a little too much RGB for others. Although it is at a hefty price point, it is still a device worth your hard-earned money in the long run.

Quite simply, the ROG STRIX SCAR 17 is a gaming laptop — to quote ASUS ROG on this — “for those who dare.” It’s something they’ve said for their ASUS ROG Phone 5, but I think it extends even further to their gaming laptops. 

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