Gaming

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M (GM501) hands-on review

Still thin and powerful

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ASUS definitely set standards last year when it came to gaming laptops with really thin profiles. Being one of the first to use NVIDIA’s Max-Q design to squeeze a top-tier GeForce GTX 1080 graphics chip into the ROG Zephyrus was a feat in itself, but it came with certain drawbacks.

Earlier this year, the Taiwanese company announced an update to its high-end gaming laptop, and it’s called the ASUS ROG Zephyrus M (GM 501). It seems like they heard the collective groans of gamers so they shuffled things around, while still keeping the Zephyrus DNA intact.

Starting from its lid, the new Zephyrus M has that brushed metal finish previously seen on its predecessor. Even the segmented design has made its way here to clearly convey it’s from the same series.

Even the chassis is built with the same polycarbonate material with a familiar Active Aerodynamic System. More on that later.

Just like the first model, there’s no mistaking you’re wielding a Republic of Gamers laptop with this glowing emblem slapped on its lid.

While the new Zephyrus M is thinner than most laptops at 19.9mm, the sizable bezels are still there and could use some trimming.

More branding is seen just below the display.

Connectivity-wise, it has a 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack, four USB-A 3.1 ports, an HDMI 2.0 port, and one USB-C 3.1 port. We’re not fans of the power port situated in the middle of the rear chassis, but one thing that has been conveniently relocated is the entire keyboard.

Last year’s ROG Zephyrus

With the first Zephyrus packing most of its internals at the top part of the chassis, the keyboard was squeezed at the bottom and had to sit side-by-side with the trackpad. This presented a steep learning curve, so we’re glad things are more traditional now.

The trackpad is now back to where we’re used to. It’s a bit small for our liking, but if you’re using it to play games, you’d end up using a mouse either way.

It’s a lot easier to type on the Zephyrus M, not only because of its more comfortable relocation, but also due to the backlit keys having more travel in them than the previous model.

As mentioned earlier, it keeps the same Active Aerodynamic System that aids in keeping the laptop well-ventilated. This works by using a special mechanism which lifts a portion of the chassis up once the lid is opened.

Since there’s better air flow than on other gaming laptops, the temperature is reduced during long usage and demanding tasks. And yes, the mechanism still looks cool in motion.

Edges are chamfered and accented by a colored strip to break the monochromatic approach of the body.

The 15.6-inch Full HD screen of the Zephyrus M is backed by a 144Hz refresh rate and 3ms response time, which is an upgrade from last year’s model. It should display faster and smoother movement, especially in intense games. Additionally, since G-Sync is also supported, screen tearing and freezing are kept to a minimum.

Inside, an Intel Core i7-8750H runs the show with up to 32GB RAM. Its software also allows users to switch between two different GPU modes depending on the situation. There’s the Optimus power-saving mode if you don’t have your charger around, while its G-Sync mode unleashes all the capabilities of your graphics unit.

Buyers now have the option to choose a variant with either NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1060 or 1070 GPU depending on their budget and needs, whereas the first Zephyrus only came with a GTX 1080.

This means the Zephyrus M is a more affordable option that doesn’t skimp on features and still packs a punch (in addition to being more ergonomically sound). The variant with a GTX 1060 is priced at US$ 1,899 while the GTX 1070 option will go for US$ 2,199. For comparison, the Zephyrus last year started at a heftier US$ 2,700.

Gaming

We’re getting a Star Wars game from Ubisoft

It’s a story-driven open-world adventure

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Star Wars Ubisoft
Photo by Brian McGowan on Unsplash

May The Force be with Ubisoft! The company just announced that it is collaborating with Lucasfilm Games on a new story-driven open-world video game set in the beloved Star Wars galaxy.

The game will be developed using next gen tech including the Snowdrop engine. There aren’t any specific details yet as to what the game will be about exactly. The companies involved — Ubisoft and Lucasfilm Games — have expressed excitement over the project.

“The vast Star Wars lore is an incredible source of inspiration for our teams,” said Yves Guillemot, co-founder and CEO of Ubisoft. “This is the beginning of a long-term collaboration with Disney and Lucasfilm Games, and we are pleased to be working hand-in-hand to build upon the incredible legacy of Lucasfilm to create a game that we know Star Wars fans will love.”

“We are inspired by the passion and talent of the team at Massive, and together we share a vision for the type of original stories we want to tell with our players in this expansive galaxy. They have the creativity, experience, and community understanding to bring awe-inspiring authenticity, depth and innovation to this new Star Wars game,” said Douglas Reilly, VP, Lucasfilm Games.

More information about the game and the release date will be shared at a later stage.

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Gaming

CD Projekt Red publicly apologizes for Cyberpunk 2077

Promises fixes for 2021

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Though it was one of the most hyped video games in recent history, Cyberpunk 2077 became the most polarizing game of 2020. Especially on older consoles and lower-end PCs, the game suffered endless bugs — some of which were game-breaking. So far, CD Projekt Red, the game’s developers, released three hotfixes to fix the most outstanding bugs. Now, Marcin Iwiński, CD Projekt Red’s founder released an apology video for Cyberpunk 2077.

In the video, Iwiński personally accepted all responsibility for the fumbled launch. The launch unsurprisingly didn’t meet the developer’s expectations. Game stores like Sony and Xbox have offered full refunds for dissatisfied customers. According to the founder, CD Projekt Red focused too much on high-end PCs, causing errors to go undetected on other consoles.

As such, besides the apology video, CD Projekt Red released a timeline for upcoming updates. Later this year, the game will get two definitive patches — 1.1 and 1.2 — for major improvements and fixes. After which, the developer will keep outing “multiple updates and improvements” including free DLCs and a free next-gen console update.

Though the game is already out on Xbox Series S/X, the PlayStation 5 is still expecting to get Cyberpunk 2077 sometime this year.

SEE ALSO: Cyberpunk 2077 PC review: Looks can be deceiving

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CES 2021

New Legion laptops, accessories announced at CES 2021

Plenty of gaming goodies to look forward to!

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Legion

Lenovo Legion is going all out for gamers at CES 2021. They’re coming out with the latest in AMD and NVIDIA processors, high-resolution 16-inch displays, AI-driven frame rates and exciting upgrades.

Lenovo Legion 7

The Lenovo Legion 7 sports the latest mobile processors for PC gamers — up to the latest AMD Ryzen 9 5900H Mobile Processors and up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 GPUs.

It comes with the new 16-inch 165Hz IPS display with 16:10 aspect ratio, 2560 x 1600 resolution, NVIDIA G-SYNC, 100 percent sRGB color accuracy, 90% screen-to-body ratio, 11% more screen estate (vs conventional 15.6-inch screens), and Dolby Vision.

The Lenovo Legion AI Engine optimizes system performance via machine learning to deliver the highest possible framerates whether your game is CPU or GPU-intensive. For 16 of the most popular triple-A gaming titles, the Lenovo AI Engine will run them at finely-tuned settings for maximum frame rates.

Legion TrueStrike Keyboard

The Legion TrueStrike Keyboard features innovative soft-landing switches that deliver deeper strokes with equal force on every strike. This enables you to strike enemies with extreme precision, hair-trigger speeds and satisfying keystrokes.

The full-sized keyboard with number pad is also illuminated in over 16 million colors via Corsair iCUE support with a glass trackpad that is 23% larger than previous generations. You can easily launch the Lenovo Vantage software with the dedicated Super Key to custom-calibrate your system.

The Coldfront 3.0 thermal management system packs an intelligent intake system that features turbo-charged dual-fans and quad-channel exhausts with vapor chamber technology.

Nahimic Audio drastically improves your gaming experience with its immersive 3D audio. Experience crystal-clear communication with teammates with background noise suppression. If you have additional Bluetooth speakers, you can connect them to your Legion laptop to create a surround sound field.

For privacy, the Legion 7 offers a 720p integrated webcam with E-shutter which allows you to cut off power to the webcam and prevent camera hacking with the switch located on the side of the laptop.

Available from Q1 2021.

Lenovo Legion Slim 7

The Legion Slim 7 is the successor to the world’s lightest 15-inch gaming laptop with NVIDIA RTX graphics released in 2020, and now comes with AMD’s latest processors.

At under 1.9kg, this ultra-svelte beauty is a perfect fit for any boardroom or tournament setting with unbridled performance under its magnesium cum aluminum chassis in the Shadow Black hue.

It is powered by up to the latest AMD Ryzen 9 5900H Mobile Processors and up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 with Max-Q Design GPUs. Its key features include: Legion TrueStrike Keyboard, Nahimic Audio, Webcam physical shutter, among others.

Available from Q1 2021.

Lenovo Legion 5 Pro

The Legion 5 Pro offers the same 16-inch 16:10 QHD display as the Legion 7 and is powered by up to the latest AMD Ryzen 9 5800H Mobile Processors and up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPUs.

Its key features include: Legion TrueStrike Keyboard, Nahimic Audio, Webcam physical shutter, among others.

Available from Q1 2021.

Lenovo Legion 5

The Legion 5 brings the balance of style and savage power to gamers in 15” or 17” sizes. It will also be available in two hues — Phantom Blue or Stingray White.

It is powered by up to the latest AMD Ryzen 9 5800H Mobile Processors and up to NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 GPUs. Its top features include: rueStrike Keyboard, Nahimic Audio, Webcam physical shutter, among others.

Available from Q1 2021.

Microsoft Xbox Game Pass for PC

Every Lenovo Legion gaming laptop comes with a complimentary one-month Microsoft Xbox Game Pass for PC, unlocking hundreds of great games for non-stop gaming. Play over 100 high-quality PC games for one low monthly price with XBOX Game Pass.

Lenovo Legion S600 Gaming Station and H600 Wireless Gaming Headset

The new Lenovo Legion S600 Gaming Station has an always-on charging capability that solves multiple power problems at once.

It features hang-to-charge technology for the new Lenovo Legion H600 Wireless Gaming Headset and a Qi-enabled base that charges compatible smartphones (up to 10W output) and other supported devices such as wireless gaming mice.

The station’s modern-looking stand is lightweight at just 919 grams and features two USB-A pass-through ports on the bottom for high-speed connectivity and device charging.

Available from Q1 2021

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