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

Trials of Mana now available on mobile

Mobile gamers might want to try this!

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Since its release in 1995, the Trials of Mana has come a long way. From the 16-bit era to the mobile gaming platform, this game is rich in history spanning 26 years. Now, the 3D remake of the JRPG classic Trials of Mana is now available on mobile.

The mobile version of the game includes many features, including new touch controls,  adjustable graphics settings and cloud save capabilities. Players can also receive two pieces of starting gear to help jumpstart their quest. The starting items are the Rabite Adornment and Silktail Adornment. 

Originally released in Japan as Seiken Densetsu 3 in 1995, Trials of Mana is a remake of the third entry in the classic Mana series. The game features a selectable main cast  with upgradable classes and over 300 different abilities to learn as they discover a world of secrets and mysteries. The series’ action battle system will put players to the test as they encounter enemies. The game was received well by its release on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Steam platforms.

Price and Availability

Trials of Mana is available on iOS and Android devices via the App Store or Google Play Store. The game is priced at US$ 23.99. 

SEE ALSO: Trials of Mana review: A nice glow up

 

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Gaming

Horizon Zero Dawn’s Aloy is coming to Genshin Impact

Will be available for all players… eventually

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Aloy

Turns out the PlayStation and Genshin Impact collaboration goes beyond PlayStation 5 specific updates. Aloy from the PlayStation game Horizon Zero Dawn will be a playable character on Genshin Impact.

Aloy — a five-star character — will be playable for PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 players via in-game mail when Version 2.1 drops. The character can then be played on any platform thanks to the cross-save feature after being claimed from the PS5 or PS4.

Not a PlayStation player? Fret not. Aloy, will arrive to all players who have reached Adventure Rank 20 on Version 2.2. Her weapon, unfortunately, is a PlayStation exclusive.

Version 2.1 and Version 2.2 will also bring other updates that MiHoyo promised to release in detail shortly. Version 2.1 is coming on October 13, 2021 while version 2.2 will arrive on November 24, 2021. Could these also be clues on when the Horizon Zero Dawn sequel will release? We’ll have to wait and see.

Genshin Impact is a free-to-play open-world action RPG that brings players to the world of Teyvat. The player takes on the role of the mysterious “Traveler,” who sets off on a journey to discover the fate of their lost sibling.

Horizon Zero Dawn was a PlayStation exclusive game that launched in 2017. It received plenty of critical and commercial success. Its sequel — Horizon Forbidden West — is set to arrive in late 2021.

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Accessories

Steelseries unveils new Prime lineup of gaming peripherals

Get your head, and hands, in the game

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Steelseries Prime

Steelseries has a knack for creating some of the best peripherals in Esports. This time around, they’re looking to expand their growing library of Esports peripherals with some “pro” help. After collaborating with over 100 competitive professional players, the company unveils its new Steelseries Prime lineup of gaming peripherals.

Within the Prime lineup, Steelseries introduces three new gaming mice: the Steelseries Prime, Steelseries Prime+, and Steelseries Prime Wireless. For the company, these three gaming mice bring their own set of features and customization depending on the user’s style of play. Although, all three mice come with a TrueMove sensor that provides proper tracking performance fit for competition.

Along with these, Steelseries also introduces the Steelseries Arctis Prime gaming headset. Built on the heritage of the Arctis franchise, this headset provides great sound quality in a comfortable and lightweight package. Also, the Arctis Prime comes with new noise-isolating ear cushions to eliminate background noise during playback.

The Steelseries Prime lineup is currently available in Steelseries’ official stores on Shopee and Lazada and select authorized dealers. For the SRPs, the gaming mice are priced at SG$ 119 (Prime Gaming Mouse), SG$ 149 (Prime+ Gaming Mouse), and SG$ 299 (Prime Wireless Gaming Mouse). Meanwhile, the Steelseries Arctis Pro retails for SG$ 179.

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