Gaming

ASUS ROG Zephyrus M (GM501) hands-on review

Still thin and powerful

Published

on

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.

Entertainment

TWICE, BLACKPINK part of Just Dance 2020 lineup

Dance to Fancy and Kill This Love!

Published

on

To celebrate 10 years of making gamers move, Just Dance 2020 is adding some popular asian music to their lineup. In particular, hit songs from two of the most popular K-Pop girl groups today made the lineup — TWICE’s Fancy and BLACKPINK’s Kill This Love.

Joining those two tracks are these other chart toppers:

God Is a Woman — Ariana Grande
Skibidi — Little Big
Vodovorot — XS Project
Bangarang — Skrillex Ft. Sirah
Con Calma — Daddy Yankee Ft. Snow
Bad Boy – Riton & Kah-Lo
High Hopes — Panic! At The Disco
Sushi — Merk & Kremont
I Like It — Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin
Policeman — Eva Simons Ft. Konshens
Rain Over Me — Pitbull Ft. Marc Anthony
365 — Zedd & Katy Perry
Con Altura — ROSALÍA & J Balvin Ft. El Guincho
Fit But You Know It — The Streets
I Am The Best (내가 제일 잘 나가) — 2NE1
Old Town Road (Remix) — Lil Nas X Ft. Billy Ray Cyrus
Só Depois Do Carnaval — Lexa
Taki Taki — DJ Snake Ft. Selena Gomez, Ozuna, Cardi B
The Time (Dirty Bit) — Black Eyed Peas
Just An Illusion — Equinox Stars
Baby Shark — Pinkfong
Bassa Sababa — Netta
My New Swag (我的新衣) — VAVA Ft. Ty. & Nina Wang
Tel Aviv — Omer Adam Ft. Arisa
Ugly Beauty (怪美的) — Jolin Tsai

New and returning game modes

The new mode recently announced is the All-Stars Mode. This will allow the players to rediscover and progress through 10 iconic songs from 10 years of Just Dance, to unlock an exclusive song at the end.

Making a return is the Co-op mode which will let players to team-up to combine their scores. There’s also an enhanced recommendation system enables players to choose among a personalized offering of their most loved Just Dance content. In addition, players can create their own playlists to customize their Just Dance parties.

The other modes are as follows:

Sweat Mode: Players can exercise while having fun with the Sweat Mode! They can track their calories burned, time spent dancing, and keep themselves motivated with their dedicated sweat playlists.

Kids Mode: The dedicated Kids Mode allows the youngest players to enjoy it in full with 8 new kid-friendly curated songs, accompanying a fun dance experience tailored to kids’ needs.

Just Dance Unlimited: The Dance-on-demand subscription streaming service gives access to 500+ songs and more! Every copy of the game comes with one month’s access.

To make the game more accessible, there’s also the Just Dance Controller app. Players can use their smartphone to navigate in game, track and score their moves. Up to six players can play with their phones simultaneously. The application is available for free on iOS and Android.

If you’ve been looking for a game that you can play with friends and family this holidays, look no further than Just Dance 2020. The game will be available on PS4 Pro, PSR and the Xbox One family of devices on November 5, 2019.

Continue Reading

Gaming

PUBG Mobile has a host of surprise gifts this Diwali

Burst in-game crackers!

Published

on

Diwali is a very auspicious festival in the Hindu calendar and is comparable to Christmas in India. With the onset of the festive season, everyone is on a shopping spree. Companies are gearing up to send out gifts and streets will be lit up with diyas and lanterns.

The country is also one of the largest markets for PUBG Mobile, and the brand intends to leverage the festive season this year. The game has announced a plethora of in-game offerings as well as physical gifts.

Starting October 19, ‘Diwali Dhamaka Event’ will go live in the game and players need to complete daily missions to collect ‘Diwali Sparklers,’ which can be used to ‘Burst Crackers.’ Bursting these crackers will get you ‘Gift Tokens’ that can be redeemed for exclusive in-game items.

For reference, bursting crackers has been a tradition during Diwali. However, everyone is urged to refrain from bursting actual crackers because it leads to massive air pollution. A virtual celebration is best for everyone.

Progressing up the ladder, there will be three levels and each will offer you up to 25 tokens. Once all the Gift Tokens are collected, players will get a Diwali special in-game item for free. Additionally, few lucky winners will also stand a chance to win physical rewards like TVS Apache Bike, OPPO Phones, gold coins, and more.

In-game offering currently includes a Kurta Pajama Set (traditional clothes worn during Diwali), Cricket Costume, Future Policewoman set, Lobster Set, AWM/M416 gun skins, Crate Coupons, and more. The festivities will be available in-game till November 4.

Continue Reading

Gaming

Blizzard is banning pro-HK Twitch viewers

Don’t say “Free Hong Kong”

Published

on

Image source: Twitch

The war against Chinese favoritism continues. Following a massive controversy a few weeks ago, Blizzard shows that it has not learned its lesson at all. The video game publisher is reportedly banning pro-Hong Kong viewers from its Twitch channel.

Blizzard’s games are particularly popular on the streaming platform. Thousands of streamers play World of Warcraft, Overwatch, and Hearthstone on Twitch daily. Naturally, Blizzard has capitalized on this trend. Blizzard’s official Twitch accounts broadcast sanctioned tournaments regularly.

This year, Hearthstone’s official account (PlayHearthstone) broadcasted the Master Tour, an international Hearthstone tournament. The most recent European leg is currently ongoing on the platform. That said, the stream’s chatroom was (and is) a huge minefield. Thousands of viewers typed in pro-Hong Kong messages in chat. The outpouring comes from both Hong Kong supporters and dissenters against Blizzard’s blatant pro-China stance.

However, Blizzard already has Twitch on lockdown. As reported by Dot Esports, anyone who typed “Free Hong Kong” automatically received a 24-hour ban from the chatroom. (Though they can still watch, banned users cannot participate in the chatroom for the allotted time.) Moderators also instantly deleted the “offensive” messages.

Image source: Twitch

At the very least, Blizzard isn’t using an automated program to control the chat’s speech. Days after a live match, PlayHearthstone rebroadcasted the same match on the channel. Apparently, a rerun did not warrant enough moderation from Blizzard. During the rerun, thousands of pro-Hong Kong messages flashed in the chatroom without deletion or banning. Blizzard is still taking things manually.

Regardless, the company’s recent censorship is another nail in Blizzard’s made-in-China coffin. Previously, Blizzard penalized the winner of a Hearthstone tournament for including pro-Hong Kong protests in his victory speech. After an ambiguous apology note, the company eased on the punishment and reiterated that China was not involved in the decision.

SEE ALSO: Blizzard is taking their other titles to your mobile

Continue Reading

Trending