Gaming

ASUS ROG Strix GL702VM Review: Portable gaming powerhouse

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ASUS’ ROG line of gaming laptops has an updated entry to the fast-growing gaming market. Let’s a take a look at the ROG Strix GL702VM with its NVIDIA GTX 1060 graphics unit.

We recently reviewed the ROG Zephyrus, and it set the bar for a true portable gaming laptop. It doesn’t cut corners with its high-end specs, but it has a ridiculously high price tag at the same time. The laptop we have now wants to set the right balance.

At first glance, the laptop already shows its gaming characteristics. Let’s first have a tour of the laptop’s body.

It’s no doubt an ROG laptop with its design and colors

The lid lights up!

Like most gaming laptops, it has striking red accents

It’s gray overall with red accents

We have red backlit chiclet keys with a relatively small trackpad

No mechanical keys here

There is a plethora of I/O ports for your convenience

USB 3.0, USB-C with Thunderbolt 3, HDMI, Ethernet, SD card reader, and DisplayPort

Even its bottom bestows its gaming characteristics

Modern patterns on the bottom plate

Great gaming performance on the go

The 17.3-inch display of the ROG Strix GL702VM doesn’t make it a portable PC, but by gaming laptop standards, its size packs in a lot of power. For one, the display is a 4K anti-glare panel which has great saturation levels and wide viewing angles. It makes all kinds of content pop, from high-resolution videos to colorful gaming titles. The processor inside is a quad-core Intel Core i7-7700HQ with 16GB of DDR4 memory. As for storage, it gets a combo drive: 1TB HDD and 128GB SSD.

To pump up its gaming prowess, ASUS put in an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 chip with 6GB memory as its dedicated graphics processing unit — the lightweight member of the NVIDIA 10-series graphics card. Both the latest and future titles will be playable on the laptop, plus it has support for virtual reality. During the course of our time with it, we were able to enjoy Grand Theft Auto V with smooth frame rates of around 80fps on high settings and 1080p resolution. Bumping things to 4K consumed a lot of power and memory, but it’s still manageable when you tone down some of the graphics settings like shadows and anti-aliasing.

It also doubles as an everyday multimedia laptop

Gaming aside, the laptop is a beast for everyday tasks. It would be overkill to turn it into an everyday work laptop, but it can handle processing really well, thanks to its compelling specs. Multimedia consumption is also something you can enjoy with its 4K display and powerful speakers.

Without mechanical keys, hitting the keyboard (whether for typing or gaming) didn’t feel as tactile as I’d want. ASUS promotes 1.6mm travel on the laptop, which I found a bit mushy during actual usage. What I enjoyed about the keyboard is the space between each key. The trackpad is a different story, as it’s kinda small but very responsive.

Not exactly super portable, but it’s not that bulky

The king of portable gaming laptops is still the ROG Zephyrus, but the ROG Strix GL702VM could be a good runner-up. It may not have the slim waistline of an Ultrabook (thin but definitely not for gaming) or the average size of an everyday 14-inch laptop, yet it has the power of a dedicated gaming machine. The term “laptop” is still applicable.

Keep in mind that it doesn’t have an optical disc drive. That shouldn’t pose a problem, since we download our games online nowadays. Too bad, though, since you’ll need to find a spare external DVD drive if you want to play the classic games you already purchased.

Is this your GadgetMatch?

It won’t be an easy choice to go for a 17.3-inch laptop when you’re just looking for a laptop that can do more. The ROG Strix GL702VM is targeted at those who want a gaming laptop that isn’t ridiculously heavy. For wallets, however, it’s quite hefty.

This gaming machine retails in the Philippines for PhP 119,995 (US$ 2,335) with the configuration we reviewed. With this amount of cash, you can already build a good desktop rig with even more power, but it won’t give the portability a laptop like this can offer. The 4K display is also a good selling point; however, it’s not necessary for gaming, since we stick to 1080p most of the time.

SEE ALSO: ASUS ROG Zephyrus Review: So thin, so powerful

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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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