Connect with us

Gaming

ASUS ROG Strix GL503 Review: Too little or too much?

Published

on

As much as we enjoy reviewing new-age, hyper-expensive gaming laptops, we have to go back down to earth and look at machines that regular consumers can actually afford.

For this round, we’re looking at the ROG Strix GL503. The name is a little daunting at first, but it’s quite memorable after what we’ve been through.

It’s one of ASUS’ midrange gaming laptops, armed with a sleek and solid body that gives it a premium feel beyond its price point, as well as a CPU and GPU pairing fit for certain types of AAA video games.

That’s the gist, but there’s a lot more to it.

What does it feel like?

Despite being on the more affordable side of gaming laptops, the brushed metal casing of this Strix takes some cues from the far more expensive Zephyrus of ASUS. That’s a good thing, because the Strix GL503 feels like it can take a beating but doesn’t feel that heavy at 2.3kg.

And since we’re dealing with a 15.6-inch model here, it fits perfectly in a backpack designed for slim 15-inch notebooks. Its power brick is on the heavy side though, adding weight to what could’ve been a more travel-friendly gaming machine.

How many peripherals can you connect?

This being a relatively standard-thickness gaming notebook at 23mm, input-output ports weren’t compromised:

  • 3x USB 3.0
  • 1x USB 2.0
  • 1x USB-C
  • 1x HDMI
  • 1x mini-DisplayPort
  • 1x Ethernet LAN
  • 3.5mm headphones/microphone port
  • SD/SDHC/SDXC card reader

That’s as complete as it gets for a mobile computer. ASUS labels the ROG Strix GL503 as VR-ready, but getting acceptable frame rates might be a stretch with this configuration.

What’s inside?

Here’s a quick rundown of the specifications:

  • 15.6-inch 1080p display (60Hz)
  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ processor (2.8GHz)
  • 8GB DDR4 memory (2400MHz)
  • 128GB M.2 SSD, 1TB HDD
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 (4GB)

Looking at the standard refresh rate of the display, high-speed Core i7 processor, and entry-level graphics chip, we already know what we’re in for: low to medium visual settings for graphics-intensive games, yet smooth frame rates for MOBA titles and first-person shooters.

You could also argue that the RAM is lacking. Fortunately, installing more is as simple as popping open the panel underneath and sliding in an additional stick.

How does it perform on benchmarks?

We ran our standard selection of synthetic and gaming benchmarks to see what the Strix GL503 could do. Here’s what we got:

  • Unigine Superposition: 4212 (1080p, Medium)
  • Cinebench R15: 85.74fps (OpenGL), 744cb (CPU)
  • Rise of the Tomb Raider: 59.4fps (1080p, Lowest)
  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided: 48.1fps (1080p, Low)

That’s close to what we expected even before running the stressful software. For the two games listed, you’d have to tone down every major graphics settings to achieve frame rates close to 60fps at a resolution of 1080p.

Clearly, gameplay is a lot smoother when playing titles such as Overwatch and CS:GO, which are what this laptop targets in the first place. The same goes for MOBA games like League of Legends and Dota 2, which demand more CPU power than graphics processing.

Can it stay cool?

One advantage of using a non-anorexic gaming notebook is the extra space allotted for a possibly better cooling system. Indeed, the Strix GL503 can keep itself cool for the output it delivers, though it’s still best left on top of a table rather than on a lap.

Not once did the CPU or GPU exceed 70 degrees Celsius during intense gameplay. Of course, fan speeds had to kick it up a notch to stay consistent, yet it was never really loud enough to fill up a room — something a Predator would do.

Are the keyboard and trackpad up to par?

Benchmarks give you a rough idea of what to expect performance-wise, but they don’t paint the entire picture. How you interact with the games plays a big part, and this is handled primarily by the keyboard and either the trackpad or bundled mouse.

My experience with the keyboard wasn’t so great. While I liked how I could customize the RGB lighting to nail certain keys more precisely, I found the buttons to be overly squishy because of the soft material. It didn’t gel well with the trackpad, which felt too tough to press in comparison to the keyboard.

ASUS must have anticipated these complaints and included a decent gaming mouse in the package. It’s mandatory to use even while you aren’t gaming. Its ergonomics are actually quite good for right-handed use and it never failed me while playing something as fast as Overwatch.

Anything else to know?

We don’t normally bother to extensively test a gaming laptop’s battery, although it’s worth noting that the Strix GL503 has satisfactory endurance for its class. When taking it to a coffee shop to get some writing done, I was always surprised to get almost four hours of life out of it. That’s double what gaming laptops this size used to get me, and nearly as much as what power-hungry convertibles do for me now.

On the downside, I was disappointed by how the speakers cracked at high volumes. It doesn’t just happen during explosive moments in video games, but also while watching YouTube videos at max volume. For something that has all this space for proper acoustics, having ample audio output to match the colorful display and keyboard would’ve only been fitting.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

It’s easy to get blinded by the glitzy designs and incredible thinness of higher-end gaming laptops, but it’s mobile machines like the Strix GL503 that are perfect for playing popular games at optimal settings.

With a starting price of US$ 1,199 — or PhP 69,995 for this particular model provided by ASUS Philippines — you definitely get what you pay for out of a sub-US$ 1,500 laptop. No design cues are going to wow you and there aren’t any special features that make this an instant buy.

There are configurations available to upgrade the graphics chip up to a GTX 1070, but that’ll make the price dangerously close to US$ 2,000 and would hamper the per-buck performance the lower-end models offer.

When it comes down to it, the ROG Strix GL503 is the gaming-optimized notebook you’d travel with for quick gaming sessions. Just don’t forget to bring a decent pair of headphones and mouse along.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ROG Strix GL702VM Review: Portable gaming powerhouse

Gaming

Nike, Paul George unveil PlayStation-themed shoes

Features extra goodies for PS4 owners

Published

on

Basketball shoes are a way for fans to show their love for the game. However, Nike’s new shoes show appreciation for a different kind of game — the video game.

Sporting a PlayStation logo and a load of other gamer goodies, the PG2 is Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George’s latest collaboration with Nike. His second signature shoe with the sneaker company boasts both his twin loves — basketball and video games.

George, who previously played for the Indiana Pacers, is no stranger to collaborations with the gaming world. Last year, the star was featured on the cover of NBA 2K17, when he was still donning the blue and gold. In the same year, he also launched his first shoe, the PG1, which sported a cameo of his 2K17 render.

The PG2 shares a similar design with the PG1, particularly its traditional look compared to the standard bootie design today.

The shoe exudes a dark blue with black accents look. It shows off the PG brand and PlayStation logos on the right and left tongues, respectively. Mimicking the PS4’s DualShock controllers, both logos light up and pulse when activated by buttons. The lighting mechanism contains a 150-hour non-removable battery.

The shoe’s lace locks are painted red, green, blue, and pink to look like the iconic PlayStation symbols. The actual symbols themselves highlight the patented leather on the shoes’ sides.

Also, Sony lent its PlayStation Galaxy theme to the shoes’ sock liner and midsole. Splotches of red, purple, and blue accompany the Nike swoosh on the midsole. Meanwhile, the sock liner dons the stellar theme.

PlayStation gamers will also enjoy a digital goodie bag after purchasing the shoe. A PlayStation Network barcode on the right shoe unlocks access to a dynamic Paul George theme on the PS4. It will also unlock a surprise that George and designer Tony Hardman are keeping under wraps until its launch.

The PG2 PlayStation shoes will hit stores on February 10 at a modest US$ 110. Paul George himself debuted the shoes at the Thunder’s 24-point blowout win against the Cleveland Cavaliers last January 20.

Continue Reading

Gaming

Nintendo Labo transforms Switch using cardboard and creativity

Fun for kids and adults alike!

Published

on

You really have to hand it to Nintendo for truly maximizing the capabilities of their consoles. The latest creation comes in the form of Labo, which can make your Switch even more fun to play with using just cardboard.

Set to become available by April 20, Nintendo Labo is a DIY set that lets you build everyday tools that are fully compatible with the Switch’s main body and Joy-Con controllers. There are two sets to choose from: a Variety Kit that’ll retail for US$ 70 and a Robot Kit that’ll cost US$ 80.

Those may seem a little pricey and too close to the cost of an actual Switch when combined, but wait till you see Nintendo’s first trailer for Labo:

It’s a dream come true for fans of the Switch and DIY enthusiasts! The video shows off some of the creations you can make, including a functional 13-key piano, fishing rod, and motorbike. Those and more are part of the Variety Kit.

For those who want to unleash their inner mecha, the Robot Kit looks even more appealing. If the trailer turns out to be accurate, you can place yourself right into the action with a backpack mount, visor, and straps for your hands and feet. Again, these are mostly made of cardboard, making it all the more appealing and fun to play with.

Of course, paper alone isn’t enough to get these new games to run. Software will be bundled to complete the experience, as well as step-by-step instructions that are child-friendly and allow kids to learn how to build on their own.

Those lucky enough to reside in New York City or San Francisco can attend a three-hour Nintendo Labo Studio hands-on event on February 2 to 3 or March 2 to 4, respectively. You’re gonna have to bring a kid aged six to 12 to participate, however, according to the website’s rules.

For an additional US$ 20, you can also purchase a customization set loaded with sticker sheets, stencil sheets, and cutesy tape to modify your designs. All these seem like only the start of what Nintendo has planned for the future of the Switch, and we can’t wait to see more!

Continue Reading

CES 2018

Hyperkin remakes the Game Boy for 2018

Will cost less than $100

Published

on

The hunt for nostalgia drives a lot of the new releases in the gaming industry. Years to decades after their launch, beloved games and consoles are getting remasters and rereleases. The Game Boy will be the latest blast from the past to hop on the nostalgia train.

Nintendo, however, isn’t responsible for this trip down memory lane. Gaming peripherals company Hyperkin takes on the challenge of bringing the classic portable gaming machine back to life.

The very first Game Boy was released back in 1989. The handheld console would go through several versions until the Game Boy Micro in 2005, when it would bow out to the Nintendo DS. Because of its proficiency, the DS (and recently, the Switch) overshadowed the legacy created by the GB family.

Last year, the company has remade the NES, SNES, and Famicom home consoles into repackaged Classic Editions. The new editions would usher in a clamor for more retro consoles. It was only a matter of time before Nintendo got around to the Game Boy once again.

Hyperkin beat them to it. At CES 2018, they announced plans to release an updated version of the Game Boy that features optimized hardware and compatibility with the original games from before.

Called the Ultra Game Boy, the new console is made from aluminum, allowing for more durability than the original. The layout mimics that of the first, but includes an additional dial for backlight brightness. (Until the Advance SP, the original GB family had no backlighting.)

The Ultra GB also features a built-in rechargeable battery that boasts six hours of usage. Connectivity includes a USB Type-C port for charging and audio-out ones.

The catch? Unlike Nintendo’s re-released consoles, Hyperkin’s Ultra GB won’t come with a built-in suite of games. Owners will have to blow into their old collection of cartridges to play anything on the console.

Hyperkin hopes to launch the Ultra Game Boy by this year. It will come with a price tag that runs around the US$ 100 margin.

SEE ALSO: 5 must-have Nintendo Switch games that aren’t Zelda

Continue Reading

Trending