Gaming

ASUS ROG Strix Scar III: Falling in love with a gaming laptop

This, coming from a Mac user

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I haven’t used a Windows laptop for an extended period in close to a decade now. And in recent years, I’ve done most of my gaming on a PS4. This is why getting the chance to use the ROG Strix Scar III was a welcome experience.

I’m reluctant to call this an actual review because of my inexperience in using gaming laptops. But I’ll try anyway. Let’s begin by taking a quick look at the design.

Sleeker but still very much ROG

First thing that jumped out at me is how much sleeker the Strix Scar III looked compared to the previous ROG gaming laptops I’ve seen. Instead of screaming GAMING at you, it feels more subdued but definitely still has a lot of that gaming vibe.

Behind it you’ll find these ports: ethernet, HDMI, power adaptor

The rest of the ports are on the right: All USB 2.0

It’s worth noting that this comes with a wired mouse. Very useful 

And it’s hard to see here but the carbon-patterned interior is sexy AF

The trackpad doubles as the numpad but I didn’t really use it much

And there’s this nice subtle branding just right underneath the bottom left of the display

In terms of how it looks, it’s not as loud as previous ROG laptops, but it is still unmistakably ROG. One time, I whipped it out during a meeting and got WOAH reactions.

However, that’s probably because the people I met with were also into gaming. For its size — 36(W) x 27.5(D) x 2.6 (H) cm | 14.19(W) x 10.83(D) x 1.02(H) inch — it’s probably not the laptop you would want to be carrying around for meetings.

I also think the way it’s built lends itself nicely to cooling. It has what ASUS ROG calls an enhanced air intake from a wide, ventilated 3D Flow Zone. All that matters to me, is that works the way it’s supposed to.

Adjusting to a Windows laptop 

I work a lot. On any given weekday, if I’m not sleeping or daydreaming about TWICE’s Momo, I’m usually in front of a laptop writing, copy editing, or video editing.

In terms of writing and copy editing, I didn’t have much of a problem. In fact, I would dare say I enjoyed the Backlit Chiclet keyboard of the ROG Strix Scar III more than I ever did my near five-year old MacBook Pro.

It’s an absolute joy typing on this thing. And those keys that had plenty of travel translated to whatever task I was doing, even on gaming. We’ll get to more of that later on.

Quick note, I also blasted music on this while writing. My holding-on-to-dear-life MacBook Pro has a busted right speaker so it was such a pleasure having a laptop with speakers that actually work.

The bigger adjustments came when dealing with photos, videos, and just Windows overall.

Working with images and videos

I take a lot of screenshots. On Mac, it feels easy and natural. I can’t say the same for Windows. It feels like I have to go through more steps than necessary just to get a screenshot.

Video editing was another thing, too. I’ve been editing on Final Cut Pro ever since I started video editing professionally. I wanted to try Davinci Resolve but some of the work I had to do required the edits to be done quickly — something I could only do on FCP.

But that speaks more to my comfort level on the software more than anything else. I did try editing something and the laptop had no trouble whatsoever with it. Same thing with the light photo editing I usually do. It’s like child’s play for the ROG Strix Scar III.

Other than that, Windows 10 has been a pleasant surprise. I can’t even remember the last iteration of Windows I used, but this was clean and functional. However, 11 out of 10 times I would still choose macOS. 🤷🏻‍♂️

The gaming part blew my mind

One of my biggest regrets is that I worked on the ROG Strix Scar III more than I gamed on it. I only got to play one game — Devil May Cry 5 — and it was more than enough to convince me that this laptop delivers where it should.

It wasn’t something I was totally expecting since I thought, while working, that the display on my MacBook Pro looked… crispier. But when I fired up Devil May Cry 5, boy oh boy it was such a visual spectacle.

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 was really doing its job. I was hooked at how good it looked I played well into the wee hours of the morning despite knowing I needed to wake up early the following day.

While I’m used to holding a controller while playing, I did play my fair share of Counter-Strike and NBA Live waaaaay back in the day. So the mouse and keyboard setup wasn’t too much of an adjustment.

The keyboard was just truly a dream. I’ll go as far as saying this is probably the best keyboard I’ve ever used on any laptop.

And then you have that display. With an 81.5 percent screen-to-body ratio, it’s hard not to feel like you’re so much closer to the game than you actually are.

Is the ROG Strix Scar III your GadgetMatch? 

From a Mac user, my gaming and working habits are pretty far off from who this gaming laptop might target. Despite that, I had a grand time with the ROG Strix Scar III. If you asked me to completely switch to this I wouldn’t be totally opposed to the idea.

It has more tricks that I wasn’t able to dig deep into. There’s plenty of customization to make your gaming experience more tailored to your preferences. I’m inclined to say that if you’re out on the market for a gaming laptop that has all the oomph you could possibly want, then this is the one for you.

The variant we reviewed (i9, 240hz screen) retails for PhP 169,995 (US$ 3,252). It’s available at ROG Mall of Asia and other ROG concept stores in the Philippines. For more information on other variants visit the ROG Strix Scar III product page.

If that’s well within your budget, you won’t regret getting the ROG Strix Scar III. It’s a perfect blend of sleek and power without being overbearing. It’s a gaming laptop that’s easy to fall in love with.

Gaming

Ubisoft lays down post-launch plans for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Comes with a Season Pass with two major expansions and an exclusive quest

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Assassin's Creed Valhalla

While the game hasn’t been released yet, Ubisoft already has big plans for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla post launch. Set to release on November 10, Valhalla takes you back to England’s Dark Ages as Eivor. The game offers exciting new features as you forge alliances to establish your Viking kingdom.

Now, Ubisoft bares its plans for all of its Assassin’s Creed players a month into picking up Valhalla. This new string of exciting content includes a Season Pass and frequent seasonal content. Through this Season Pass, players will discover new territories and stories surrounding the lore of Valhalla.

The Season Pass comes with two major expansions, the Wrath of the Druids and The Siege of Paris. In The Wrath of the Druids, players unravel the mysteries of ancient Ireland. Most of the worlds here consist of haunted forests and Gaelic kingdoms.

In The Siege of Paris, players relive the most ambitious battle in Viking history. You will take part in a prolonged siege of Frankia through Paris and the River Seine. In the end, what awaits players are secrets to unfold and alliances to forge.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla will launch on November 10 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC. It will also be available for the PlayStation 5 when the console comes out on November 12.

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Computers

Acer has 6 new Predator and Nitro gaming monitors

Which one to pick???

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Predator Nitro

Just like Michael Jordan’s six trips to the NBA Finals, Acer is giving us SIX Predator and Nitro gaming monitor options that are all winners.

We’re just going to run this down real quick.

Predator XB3 Series for Pros and Avid Enthusiasts

The new Predator XB3 series monitors are a line of FHD (1920×1080) or QHD (2560×1440) displays that feature high refresh rates and VESA DisplayHDR certifications.

From there, each monitor has been optimized around different criteria: The XB273U NV is Eyesafe-certified, the XB253Q GW boasts an 280Hz refresh rate (overclockable) and 0.5ms (G to G) response time, and the XB323U GX is color-accurate with 99% Adobe RGB coverage.

Predator XB273U NV – Easy On the Eyes

Predator

The Predator XB273U NV, part of the XB3 VisionCare series, has been designed to give players as comfortable a gaming experience as possible. One of the first gaming monitors to be certified by Eyesafe. The Predator XB273U NV manages high-energy wavelengths in order to selectively filter out blue light while maintaining crisp and vivid color quality.

Additionally, Acer VisionCare 4.0 incorporates a range of technologies — LightSense, AdaptiveLight, ColorSense and ProxiSense — that measure environmental and ambient light and then automatically adjust the monitor’s brightness and color-temperature to match it, helping reduce eye strain.

The monitor’s crystal-clear 27-inch QHD (2560×1440) Agile-Splendor IPS1 display features wide viewing angles, a fast 1ms response time and up to an overclocked 170Hz refresh rate, while 95% DCI-P3 color spectrum coverage and a Delta E<1 rating.

VESA DisplayHDR 400 certified, the XB273U NV has true 8-bit image quality and dynamically adjusts screen brightness to suit the displayed scene for noticeably darker darks.

This model has RGB LightSense for synchronizing the screen’s colors to music, media and eSports tournaments. A built-in TX transmitter can wirelessly sync lighting colors and rhythm to additional networked monitors for an even more dramatic effect.

An ergonomic stand helps users find just the right angle by letting them adjust the monitor’s tilt, swivel, height and pivot.

Predator XB253Q GW — High FPS for Smooth Gameplay

Predator

The Predator XB253Q GW’s 24.5-inch NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible FHD (1920×1080) IPS panel can be overclocked to an incredibly fast 280Hz refresh rate (overclockable) with up to a 0.5ms (G to G) response time to keep up with even the fastest-paced action scenes, making it ideal for first-person shooter and racing games where precision is paramount.

Integrated RGB LightSense with nine different special effects synchronizes RGB to the beat of the music, games and more. The monitor has also been ergonomically designed, allowing users to adjust its tilt, swivel, height and pivot.

Predator XB323U GX – Stunning, Vivid Visuals

Predator

NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible and featuring a 32-inch QHD (2560×1440) panel with a speedy 270 Hz refresh rate (overclockable) and up to a 0.5ms (G to G) response time, the Predator XB323U GX’s fluidity and low latency serve to drastically reduce motion blur during fast-paced gameplay.

The 99% AdobeRGB coverage makes this an excellent choice for players who create videos of their gameplay, and a VESA DisplayHDR 600 certification indicates that the XB323U GX features 8-bit image processing and local-dimming, enabling the screen to adjust dynamically to what’s happening on the scene for deep blacks and impressive highlights.

To optimize comfort during long gaming sessions, the Predator XB323U GX provides users with the ability to adjust its tilt, swivel, height and pivot.

Predator X34 GS for Gamers Desiring Curved Immersion

Predator

The Predator X34 GS extends users’ peripheral view with a giant 34-inch curved UWQHD (3440×1440) screen, working in tandem with an Agile-Splendor IPS panel that delivers clear images even at wide viewing angles.

NVIDIA G-SYNC Compatible, it renders smooth action with up to a 180 Hz refresh rate (overclockable) and an ultra-fast 0.5ms (G to G) response time. VESA DisplayHDR 400 illuminates the finer details to create sharper images, so no important targets or details are missed, while 98% DCI-P3 spectrum coverage brings images to life in vivid color.

The flexible stand provides a multitude of viewing options, giving users the ability to adjust its tilt, swivel and height. Two integrated 7 watt speakers eliminate the need for external speakers.

Nitro Series Monitors — Get Into the Game

Two new 27-inch Nitro series models, the Acer Nitro XV272U KV and Nitro XV272 LV, are ideal for casual gamers that want to get as much value out of their devices as possible.

Both are Eyesafe-certified to help prevent eye fatigue and further viewing comfort, and an ergonomic stand lets gamers find just the right viewing angle by adjusting the monitors’ tilt, swivel, height and pivot.

The Acer Nitro XV272U KV offers stunningly clear QHD (2560×1440) gameplay with a low Delta E<1 rating and 95% coverage of the DCI-P3 color spectrum. Performance is fast and fluid with up to 170 Hz (overclocked) and a 1ms (G to G) response time on an Agile-Splendor IPS panel that also provides wide viewing angles to maximize the view.

Nitro

Beyond just looking great, the monitor is also equipped with LightSense, ColorSense and ProxiSense technologies, giving users a more comfortable experience by automatically adjusting the monitor’s settings based on ambient lighting in the environment.

The Nitro XV272 LV sports an FHD (1920×1080) Agile-Splendor IPS panel and offers up to 165Hz (overclocked) for smooth visuals even in busy action scenes. With 90% DCI-P3 color coverage and a low Delta E<1 rating.

Nitro

Pricing and Availability

The Predator XB273U NV will be available in North America in January 2021 starting at US$ 549.99; in EMEA in January 2021 starting at EUR 549; and in China in November 2020, starting at CNY 3,999.

The Predator XB253Q GW will be available in North America in January 2021 starting at US$ 429.99; in EMEA in January 2021 starting at EUR 449; and in China in December 2020, starting at CNY 2,999.

The Predator XB323U GX will be available in North America in January 2021 starting at US$ 899.99; in EMEA in December 2020 starting at EUR 999; and in China in November 2020, starting at CNY 6,999.

The Predator X34 GS will be available in North America in December starting at US$ 999.99; in EMEA in December starting at EUR 1,099; and in China in November, starting at CNY 7,999.

The Nitro XV272U KV will be available in North America in December starting at US$ 399.99; in EMEA in December starting at EUR 469; and in China in November, starting at CNY 2,999.

The Nitro XV272 LV will be available in North America in December starting at US$ 279.99; in EMEA in December starting at EUR 319; and in China in December, starting at CNY 1,999.

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Apps

Acer has an In-Game Live AI Translator on their own esports platform

It’s called SigridWave and the platform is Planet9

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SigridWave

Acer introduces SigridWave — an In-Game Live AI Translator for Planet9 which is the company’s next-generation esports platform. There’s a lot to unpack here so try to digest the information slowly.

SigridWave: In-Game Live AI Translator

SigridWave aims to break language barriers and facilitate communication among gamers around the world. It leverages deep learning tech and is especially trained in gaming jargon.

When in-game, SigridWave employs Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) technology to recognize utterances and convert them into strings of text. This text is then run through a Neural Machine Translation (NMT) technology. The NMT Tech has so far been trained with over 10 million bilingual sentence pairs, enabling it to understand the terminology associated with specific games (such as “ADS” or “camping”) and learn how players express themselves.

If your nose is bleeding after reading all of that, don’t worry. Same.

Intended specifically for gaming, SigridWave’s AI has so far been trained with over 1,000 hours of game-centric speech (voice + transcript), enabling it to accurately relay detected messages back to users in a language that they can understand.

Being game-centric is key. Acer points out that the biggest hurdle in machine translation is context. Many words can carry multiple meanings and computers struggle to discern the most suitable translation for the situation, that’s why being focused on gaming is essential.

SigridWave will have a closed beta in Q4 2020, during which time it will be available for two-way translation between English and Mandarin in a number of major FPS titles such as Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege.

Planet9 — Acer’s next gen esports platform

SigridWave will work in tandem with Planet9 — a next gen esports platform. The AI Translator is booted up while in a game lobby on Planet9’s desktop client. It’ll appear as a customizable in-game overlay.

The platform itself is meant to be partly competitive and partly social. It’s designed to provide an open community for casual and amateur players who want to improve their skills and take steps towards going pro.

The platform helps players connect with others via teams and social clubs; to improve their skills, via in-depth feedback on gameplay in the form of statistics and coaching; and to experience organized gameplay, via casual or ranked scrimmages and competitive tournaments for most games.

In-game overlays will be supported for League of Legends on launch in late 2020 or early 2021, and support will be made available for additional titles in the future.

Teams

Planet9 strives to help gamers connect with others who have similar skill levels and aspirations. From there, players can create a team to be registered on the website or search for one to join.

Planet9 will also help recruiting teams to fill their rosters, considering factors such as game played, rank, region and language in order to identify potential teammates.

Once a team is established, a private team page is created on the platform to function as a central hub for all involved. In addition to keeping track of match history and statistics for later review and discussion, the team hub includes a number of features to help keep everything organized: a board for discussion and polls, a group calendar for scheduling scrimmages, a tab to keep track of team funding and a directory with basic stats on all members.

Clubs

Planet9’s Club feature is intended to help players keep up with groups they like or admire, whether they’re major names in the industry or a local university team. Clubs consist of two parts, a public “home” page for followers and a private “lounge” for members.

The home page is a place to share content (posts, polls, videos, etc) in order to engage with the community, whereas the lounge is a place to relax and discuss club-related content with a smaller circle of more dedicated members.

Businesses, influencers and public figures are also capable of forming a club on Planet9, creating a unique new touchpoint for brands that wish to connect with gamers. Whether professional or amateur, each club is granted access to a variety of tools to host tournaments in order to grow their own community.

Planet9 recently partnered with Currys PC World to feature Planet9 in its stores in order to enhance esports initiatives in the UK and Ireland. This includes an in-house designed arena to give players a chance to see what it’s like being part of a local gaming club, practicing with teammates and learning from coaches.

These in-house arenas will launch soon with a rapid expansion to 30 stores throughout 2021. Each of the stores will open its own club on Planet9 to grow its gamer community as well as to host tournaments, creating a pipeline for players to show off their talent.

Tournaments

Planet9 includes a significant amount of infrastructure designed to make the process of organizing and hosting tournaments as seamless as possible.

An extensive UI ensures that a successful tournament can be put together even by those with no experience, while a number of automation features (registration, bracket mastering, etc.) enable experienced hosts to minimize time spent on tedious activities and focus on providing as enjoyable an event as possible.

Tournaments are highly customizable, featuring a number of preset brackets and privacy modes, opportunities for sponsored branding and club-determined rewards. Come game day, an all-in-one “Bracket Master” console makes it easy for judges and organizers to communicate, configure matches, broadcast to an audience and more.

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