Gaming

Is the Huawei Mate 20 X an underrated gaming phone?

A deeper look at the Mate 20 X

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It’s easy to forget that there are a total of four members in this year’s Huawei Mate lineup. We have the Mate 20, Mate 20 Pro, Porsche Edition Huawei Mate 20 RS, and finally, the Mate 20 X.

While we more or less have a grasp of what the first three can do based on our reviews, the last one — unassumingly considered the gaming choice of the bunch — is definitely the most peculiar.

For one, it’s priced between the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro, while having the notch design and audio port of the former and class-leading rear cameras of the latter. At the same time, the Mate 20 X has the biggest screen and battery of the series, pegged at 7.2 inches and 5000mAh, respectively.

It’s massive in every sense of the word, and is practically a tablet compared to every other phone in the market. To make it stand out even more, Huawei equipped it with the world’s first liquid multi-dimensional cooling system that has a vapor chamber and graphene film in a smartphone, as well as powerful Dolby Atmos speakers.

So, how exactly is this positioned below the Mate 20 Pro? Well, it doesn’t have the sought-after under-display fingerprint scanner — instead going for a rear-mounted placement — and the OLED panel’s edges aren’t curved. Plus, the Mate 20 X settles for a slower 22.5W SuperCharge adapter and can’t do wireless reverse charging.

Mate 20 X (left) and Mate 20 Pro (right)

It’s confusing, but at the same time exciting. This is Huawei’s first high-end gaming smartphone, even though it doesn’t really look like one. The ROG Phone and Razer Phone 2 share that crown. Instead, the Mate 20 X is simply big… and I mean really big.

I can’t overstate enough how massive this is in my hand. I’ve used huge phones before like the Lenovo Phab series and whatever Galaxy Note I had at the time, but nothing matches the sheer mass this adds to my young wrists. It’s hefty too at 232 grams or about 50 grams more than the smaller Mate 20 phones.

This is, however, offset by the excellent multimedia experience. Not only are these stereo speakers the loudest I’ve ever listened to on a smartphone — even beating the power of the Razer Phone 2’s output — the Mate 20 X comes with an audio port on top, something the Mate 20 Pro misses out on completely.

It also helps that the notch is much smaller. It’s so negligible on this large panel that I don’t really notice it while watching videos or playing games. Again, this is something the Mate 20 Pro and its obtrusive notch can’t offer.

My only complaint pertains to the screen’s pixel density. While I normally prefer the 1080p standard for its sweet spot between sharpness and energy consumption, certain games don’t look that good when pixel peaking on such a wide display — more on this later.

Helping users grip the phone is a textured back similar to the regular Mate 20’s. The Mate 20 X comes in only Midnight Blue and Phantom Silver, the latter being exclusive to this specific model. Fortunately, a jelly case is part of the package for more grip at the expense of added bulk.

With all these details and differences out of the way, we go back to the question our title asks: Is this an underrated gaming phone? The short answer is yes. Longer answer: It depends on which games you play and how long you can handle such a large handset.

I played numerous games on the Mate 20 X, and the experience varied for each one, ranging from excellent to okay. Each title exposed the strengths and weaknesses of the phone’s gaming prowess.

Asphalt 9 is a perfect example of how ideal the Mate 20 X is for gaming. The 7.2-inch OLED makes each track feel so immersive, and the stereo speakers can cover an entire room when set to maximum volume, just as long as you don’t cover them accidentally with your palms. Since the phone is so wide in landscape orientation, it’s easier to press virtual buttons that are farther apart.

One of the challenges of Ragnarok M: Eternal Love is finding a phone that won’t skip frames while in crowded areas with lots of action, and making sure it won’t overheat at the same time. The Mate 20 X does this better than the Razer Phone 2 thanks to its cooling system and more efficient Kirin 980 chipset. I also liked how this Huawei phone got warm only in one small portion of the rear, to the left of the camera module.

Alto’s Odyssey is nowhere near as resource-intensive as the previous two games, but it definitely demands a strong audio-visual phone to look good. However, one thing that prevents the Mate 20 X from offering the best-possible experience is its lack of a faster screen refresh rate. Unlike the ROG and Razer Phones, Huawei settled for 60Hz here, which is pedestrian for gamer standards. It’s apparent in games like Alto’s Odyssey, which benefit greatly from refresh rates of 90Hz or above.

Here’s another game that would’ve benefited from a faster refresh rate, as well as greater pixel density. Because the display is so large and there are only 2244 x 1080 pixels, I could see lots of jagged edges on Pokémon Go. You could also blame the developer for not optimizing it on larger screens, but this is something the Mate 20 X should’ve anticipated, as well.

Another minor quibble happens while playing in vertical orientation. When doing so, I often cover the speaker on the bottom with my pinkie finger, as shown above. If I avoid placing any part of my hand underneath, I then have a tough time keeping the phone stable for games like Dragon Ball Legends, which require lots of tapping action.

As for battery life — a vital factor for any situation — the Mate 20 X lasts like it’s made out of batteries. The 5000mAh capacity is plenty and goes for over a day even with lots of video watching and gaming. I could play ten hours straight on this thing and it’ll still have over 20 percent left to call my mom and send that last Slack message of the day.

Does it take forever to charge, though? Not at all. Despite having a slower 22.5W SuperCharge adapter compared to the Pro’s 40W charger, I could still take the Mate 20 X from zero to full in one hour and 50 minutes, with the first 80 percent happening in the first hour alone. It’s just that last 20 percent that takes an additional 50 minutes.

From here on, everything else is pretty much like the Mate 20 and its Pro variant, from the processing power of the brand-new Kirin 980 chip to the class-leading cameras. You can read all about them in our dedicated Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro reviews.

Here are some photos I took in between my gaming sessions. As you can see, they’re easily on the level of the more expensive Mate 20 Pro:

Is this your GadgetMatch?

As great as the Mate 20 X is in multiple aspects, its sheer size is enough of a deal-breaker to deter potential customers. I have relatively large hands but I literally can’t fully grasp this smartphone. Bigger isn’t always better.

However, if you must have the closest thing to a tablet that can handle any game with ease and kinda fit in your pocket, it doesn’t get much better than this. The loud speakers alone are worth the effort of carrying this beast around.

At the same time, the Mate 20 X squeezes itself into a tight spot. At SG$ 1,148, you may be better off getting the cheaper Mate 20 for its more pocketable dimensions; you could also add a little more for the curvier goodness of the Mate 20 Pro along with its faster charging and more convenient under-display fingerprint scanner.

Comparing it to other gamer-centric smartphones, the Mate 20 X has the clear advantage of having the best cameras of them all. Nothing else comes close, making this the best all-around device for both gaming and photography — a rare feat in the current market.


Editor’s note: Not mentioned in this review is Huawei’s newly released M-Pen. It turns this phone into a Galaxy Note competitor, although you’d have to carry the stylus with you since the Mate 20 X doesn’t have a dedicated slot for it. We didn’t get to test this, however.

Gaming

PS4 controllers will still work with the PS5

But not really

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Second only to the PlayStation itself, the DualShock controller is the most iconic part of the current generation system. While discussions will always swirl around performance ratings and gaming varieties, the controller defines the user’s seamless experience with the console. Naturally, when the next generation debuted, another spotlight shone on the upcoming DualSense controller. That said, what will become of our old DualShock 4 controllers? Revealed today, the PS4 controllers will still work with the PS5, but not really.

In an official PlayStation blog, Sony answered a few lingering questions surrounding peripherals and accessories for the next generation. As mentioned, yes, the DualShock 4 controller will still work with the PlayStation 5. However, it will only work with PlayStation 4 games. As noted in the initial announcement, the PlayStation 5 is backwards compatible with the PlayStation 4. Meaning, you can still play PlayStation 4 games on the new console.

That said, the DualShock controller will not work with the upcoming PlayStation 5 exclusives. “We believe that PS5 games should take advantage of the new capabilities and features we’re bringing to the platform, including the features of DualSense wireless controller,” Sony said.

However, Sony’s more specialized controllers are getting a free pass. Old official racing wheels, arcade sticks, and flight sticks will still work with PlayStation 5 games. A few headsets, the PlayStation Camera, the PS Move, and the PSVR Aim Controller will likewise work.

The new console and supporting peripherals will reportedly launch sometime during the holidays. Currently, we are still missing a few details for the system’s launch, including price and any promoted bundles.

SEE ALSO: Will PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X games be more expensive?

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Gaming

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Soundtrack adds 37 new tracks

Get hyped for the remaster as you listen to this diverse set of tracks

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Activision has an exciting addition to its anticipated remaster of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 for new and longtime fans. Even though just a simple release trailer would’ve been great, they decided to take it one step further. In a 14-minute YouTube virtual concert, the developers showcased what is essentially the music behind the remastered classic.

The Noisey YouTube channel hosted this virtual concert, which featured a stellar list of rap, punk, and indie artists. These artists are behind a whopping 37 new tracks added to the remaster’s official soundtrack. Coupled with some of the classic tunes from the original, this soundtrack echoes the sounds of skateboarding. During the concert, artists like CHAII, Merkules, and Machine Gun Kelly even gave us a taste of the new music.

Apart from these, the concert also showcased previews of gameplay from the remaster itself. In between performances, you will just see clips of players doing all sorts of skateboarding tricks across the park. Also, some of the footage even features real-life skaters — or, at least character models of them.

If you want to watch the whole concert, you can watch it here.

Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 arrives on September 4, 2020 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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Enterprise

Smart unveils first 5G gaming hub, speed peaks at 1Gbps

Ready for cloud gaming!

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Smart Communications has unveiled its first 5G-powered gaming hub in the Philippines. Situated at Gariath Concepts sports venue in Quezon City, the deployed 5G connection’s speed peaks at 1Gbps.

An important milestone

To test its speed, Smart hosted the country’s first crossplay match via cloud gaming and gathered esports athletes to partake in the competition.

PLDT-Smart Omega armed its players with 5G-certified handsets and competed with Team LuponWxC playing through their gaming PCs. The athletes played a DoTA 2 match via cloud gaming, where PLDT-Smart Omega was victorious with a score of 34-6.

Cloud Gaming

In Europe and America, Cloud gaming is becoming popular. Cloud gaming streams a game through cloud services letting you play a multitude of gaming titles no matter what device you’re on.

People can play their favorite games even with just a smartphone, as long as they’re using a fast and stable internet connection. No more relying on a gaming console or desktop computers.

Google’s Stadia, Microsoft’s XCloud, and NVIDIA’s GeForce Now are prime examples of game streaming services that offer cloud gaming.

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