When I was a kid, my PlayStation Portable was my whole life. I didn’t have the most advanced PC or the latest console, so the small (but gigantic in my early teen hands) device was a godsend. Time eventually ravaged my PSP, which was already clinging to a mile of duct tape to keep everything together. You can imagine my delight when a new generation of handheld consoles suddenly and emphatically broke into the scene.
You’ve already heard of the Nintendo Switch and the Steam Deck. Now, a new breed of handheld consoles aims to blend the convenience of the aforementioned two and the nostalgia of having everything in the palm of your hand. Enter: the Lenovo Legion Go.
A powerhouse just by looking at it
The Legion Go takes a few design elements from its contemporaries and predecessors. At first glance, the console shares the most similarities to the Steam Deck: a minimalist black design complemented by a handy trackpad. However, it also takes some inspiration from the Nintendo Switch: removable controllers and diagonally opposed joysticks.
Overall, the Legion Go relies mostly on the Steam Deck’s simplicity to convey a more premium feel. It’s an absolute looker guaranteed to turn heads.
Layout laid out
Now, let’s look at the console’s layout. If you’ve held a portable console recently, the Legion Go should feel familiar to you. You’ll find the standard fare of diagonally opposed sticks, a D-pad, the XYAB buttons, bumpers, and triggers. With the familiar out of the way, let’s go through what’s different.
Much like the Deck and the ROG Ally, the Go has additional buttons at the back: Y1, Y2, and Y3 buttons to add some convenient hotkeys for more elaborate games. It also has M1, M2, and M3 buttons for its FPS mode (but more on that later).
At the top of the left controller, the Go has the Legion Space button which opens the dedicated hub for gaming. The right controller has a Quick Settings button which opens a convenient panel for settings to optimize your setup. Unfortunately, these two buttons pushed the traditional Start/Select buttons to the bottom of the left controller. It took some time to get used to the new layout.
At the back, the console also has a sizable built-in kickstand. It eliminates the need for an external dock which other consoles require. Plus, it works better than the Switch’s tiny kickstand. I felt secure using the console on tabletop mode.
As for the console’s feel, the Go is remarkably tactile with grooves right where my hand should be. The controllers are also textured to provide better grip. My only gripe is the feel of the D-pad. Unlike the more pronounced pads of other controllers, the Go has a flatter pad. If, like me, you use the D-pad for navigation (which is the best way for 2D side-scrollers), your thumb might get a little sore after some use.
A brilliant display
The Legion Go has a brilliant 8.8-inch screen — touting QHD (2560 x 1600) resolution, 500 nits of brightness, and 144Hz refresh rate. On paper, Lenovo’s console is already ahead of the competition, eclipsed only by the new Steam Deck OLED.
In practice, the Go offers an impressive display, capable of handling gaming and other entertainment. Movies, via Netflix and my own files, were crystal clear on the Go. It’s so good that I’m also using the console as a secondary screen to watch videos while I work.
To test color reproduction, I booted up Shovel Knight, a retro-style platformer that consistently puts out static colors. The game was exceptionally bright, proving how much the Go can reproduce. No color was washed out. Even the blacks were deep and accurately reproduced.
Now, as most budget gamers can attest to, the largest resolution isn’t always the best solution to maximize framerate. Thankfully, the Go can perform even if you play on the lowest available setting (1280 x 800). The difference is palpable at first, but it’s incredibly decent for a lower resolution. The screen compensates well for the pixelation. Graphics still look smooth at the lower setting.
Power from retro to AAA
Time for the actual meat of the matter. How well does the Legion Go and its AMD Z1 Extreme chipset perform for your games? Surprisingly well, actually.
As mentioned above, Shovel Knight performs well on the console at maximum resolution. If indie games are your thing, the Go is more than capable. That said, a retro-style indie game isn’t the best indicator of performance. Let’s put the Legion Go through one of the most demanding games today: Cyberpunk 2077.
And… it works! As expected, you still need to experiment with the graphics settings to find a decent framerate. It took a while but playing Cyberpunk 2077 on low/medium settings and at 1280 x 800 resolution will net a viable framerate (around 40 to 50fps) to get through Night City smoothly.
The same experimenting goes for other modern games including Baldur’s Gate 3, Doom Eternal, and Forza Horizon 5. Now, I found that some modern games are already automatically optimized for the console. For example, I didn’t need to fiddle around with Doom Eternal’s settings to get a smooth framerate.
If you’re looking for graphical fidelity, a dedicated PC rig is still for you. However, the Legion Go is capable of going through the ringer of demanding video games. If you’re traveling or stuck in bed, it performs more than adequately.
The software underneath
Power isn’t the only remarkable aspect of the Legion Go. It’s also a PC. Right from opening the device, you’ll notice the familiar trills of the Windows setup screen. Unlike the Switch and the Deck, the Go comes with Windows 11 right out of the box, allowing for a lot of flexibility. You also get up to 1TB of internal storage and expandability via a microSD card.
Theoretically, you can use the Go to work. And I’ve tried. With a multiport adapter for a keyboard and mouse, the Go can act just like a laptop. If you’re in a pinch, the Go is an amazing backup device.
That said, the Go by itself can lack a bit of versatility for control without an external keyboard and mouse. The display is touchscreen, yes, but if you need to right-click on anything, you have to touch-and-hold on the screen. Scrubbing through a video (and other times you need to hold your finger on the screen) can be a nightmare as the console gets confused on whether you’re dragging or attempting to right-click. Additionally, the on-screen keyboard is also finicky on when it comes out. There are times when the keyboard doesn’t automatically come out when prompted with a text box.
Thankfully, the Go has a unique solution to the lack of a mouse, at least. The built-in FPS mode turns the right controller into a de-facto mouse. Just detach the controller, toggle the FPS switch on, and connect it to the magnetic disk (which comes with the package). The controller uses a sensor at the bottom to control the mouse. It’s a unique solution to the mouse problem. In practice, it works but will take some getting used to, especially because of the prongs digging into your thumb.
Outside of functioning as a PC, the Go also comes with Legion Space, a hub for gaming. It collates all the software you have from different platforms. It’s not much to write about, but if you want to launch games immediately, Legion Space is a helpful tool.
A decent battery
The Go packs a 49.2WHr battery under the hood. Naturally, your mileage may vary depending on how you use the device.
Smaller games, such as Shovel Knight and Blasphemous, eked out approximately two hours of gameplay on maximum settings and resolution. More demanding games (with reduced settings and the lowest resolution), such as Doom Eternal, got to only 90 minutes before I needed to charge. Unfortunately, the most intensive games — Cyberpunk 2077, especially — struggled on battery power. If you really want to play the biggest games on the Go, you’re better off plugging it in.
Now, for more PC-oriented usage, the Go lasts a lot longer. A video test — playing a video through VLC until the battery runs out — nets approximately three hours and 30 minutes. After two hours, the battery was at 45 percent. At two hours and 45 minutes, it automatically switched battery saving mode on after reaching 20 percent.
Regardless of usage, heat wasn’t a big issue. Since the controllers are detachable, most of the heat centers around the main chassis, rather than on where your hands are. Likewise, the fan wasn’t too noisy even without silent mode turned on.
From empty, it took approximately 90 to 100 minutes for the battery to recharge on normal settings. It reached 45 percent in an hour. If you need more speed, it also comes with Super Rapid Charging support, which greatly reduces the charging time. Unfortunately, the console doesn’t have an indicator on when the battery is full, so you’ll have to check manually.
Is the Legion Go your GadgetMatch?
At US$ 699.99/ PhP 49,995, the Legion Go is at par with the ROG Ally. It’s also more expensive than the most premium trim of the Steam Deck OLED. However, the Go has detachable controllers, a larger screen, a built-in kickstand, and a unique FPS mode. Despite how pricey the segment is, the Legion Go offers more than its competitors.
Is this your GadgetMatch? If you’re new to the handheld console market, absolutely. For its price point, you’re getting more than your money’s worth. While Sony is currently struggling with its return to handheld gaming, the Lenovo Legion Go offers an all-around, powerful solution for mobile entertainment.
Netflix is getting three classic Grand Theft Auto games next month
All three in remastered glory
If you need something light to play amid the bushel of bigger games released this year, you might be sleeping on Netflix’s growing library of games. After packing a significant amount of indie classics on the platform, Netflix is now adding more mainstream hits starting next month. Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition will arrive on the platform in December.
While it’s no Grand Theft Auto V, the trilogy collection three of the most iconic titles in the series: Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, and San Andreas. The three games represent an era when Rockstar Games had unparalleled dominance in the open-world genre. Released in 2021, the collection releases the trilogy for modern systems, complete with upgraded (albeit controversial) graphics.
The trilogy is a big get for Netflix. Though the platform’s games catalog already has certified hits (such as Spiritfarer and Into the Breach), Netflix’s new feature hasn’t taken off as much as the company would want. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy might be its most iconic addition yet, potentially boosting its value for subscribers (especially those who don’t want to pay full price for old games).
For Rockstar Games, the addition couldn’t have come at a better time. The studio has already confirmed that it will release the first trailer for the much-awaited Grand Theft Auto VI next month. The series is about to get a big boost.
If you want to play Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, the three games will drop on Netflix starting December 14. As with all of Netflix’s other games, the trilogy is available for free for all subscribers through a mobile device.
Ubisoft is giving away an Assassin’s Creed game for free
Through Ubisoft Connect
There’s still some time to grab some savory deals from Cyber Monday. Now, if you’re looking for the hottest deals coming from the holidays, nothing can beat anything free. For a little more than a week, Ubisoft is offering Assassin’s Creed Syndicate for absolutely free.
As with every holiday season, a lot of games are on sale, especially on Steam for their annual Autumn Sale. Ubisoft is joining the fun by adding most of its catalog in the list of must-gets this weekend. If you check Steam, the Assassin’s Creed series is heavily discounted.
However, if you check Ubisoft Connect, you’re in for a delightful surprise. Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, the franchise’s London-based historical romper, is available for free from now until December 6.
Except for the new Mirage, the franchise is currently known for the RPG trilogy, spanning from Origins to Odyssey to Valhalla. Prior to the current era, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate represents the last of the old guard. For the first time, the franchise featured the ability to freely switch between two characters: Jacob and Evie Frye. Players took control of the twins during 19th-century London.
While the title eventually got decent ratings on launch, it was ultimately overshadowed by Ubisoft’s shift to a more RPG-centric experience starting with Origins. Now, the 2015 title is reclaiming some of the spotlight, thanks to Ubisoft’s ongoing giveaway.
SEE ALSO: Assassin’s Creed Mirage review
The ROG Zephyrus G14 (2023) is my top choice
If I HAD TO switch to Windows
Where do I even begin? ASUS ROG’s Zephyrus G14 has been one of my personal favorite gaming laptops ever since it first came out. And a few years later, it just keeps on getting better.
If I absolutely had to switch to a Windows laptop, the ROG Zephyrus G14 is easily my top choice. It’s an all-eggs-in-one-basket machine that can keep up with you in play, work, and everything else in between.
In a nutshell, here are the top specs and features you’re getting, taken straight from ASUS ROG’s product page:
- Up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU with 125W max TGP, NVIDIA Advanced Optimus, and DLSS 3.
- ROG Nebula HDR. Up to 16:10 Mini LED QHD 165Hz Display, Pantone® Validation, 100% DCI-P3, & Dolby Vision.
- ROG Intelligent Cooling. A custom vapor chamber and liquid metal support 0dB Ambient Cooling.
- Fast charging up to 50% in 30 minutes, 100W USB Type-C charging, and Wi-Fi 6E support.
- Windows 11 Home. Up to an AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS CPU.
- AniMe Matrix, 14,969 CNC milled holes, 1,449 LEDs, and custom animations.
Signature Zephyrus G look
Looks-wise, the ROG Zephyrus G14 hasn’t changed much. That’s great because you don’t touch perfection. The Moonlight White variant that we reviewed looks as immaculate as ever. If you’re not feeling it, it also comes in Eclipse Gray.
The Zephyrus name looks bad-ass on the back side.
The left side is home to the power adapter port, HDMI port, a UBS-C port, and the 3.5mm audio jack.
Meanwhile, the ride has the microUSB slot, another UBS-C port, and a pair of USB-A ports.
The ErgoLift Hinge, which has largely been an afterthought, is present and is still as sleek as ever.
And you can personalize it with the AniMe Matrix feature which we didn’t really bother with during our time with the laptop.
Beyond console-level graphics for gaming
Perhaps the biggest draw of the ROG Zephyrus G14 (2023), in combination with its looks, is the beyond console-level gaming visuals.
We ran Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart PC on this thing and the visual fidelity nearly looks better than the one on the PS5. Let’s face it, graphics is definitely one of the things a lot of gamers consider when choosing what to play.
We tried many other titles just to see how they would look on the laptop and everything looked absolutely divine. Starfield was immersive, Lies of P looked fantastic, and even NBA 2K22 looked amazing.
In terms of the overall gaming experience, it’s also console-level and even beyond depending on what you’re playing. Going back to Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart PC, this game was made specifically for the PS5. And one of its flexes is the loading speed going from one rift to another. While the PS5 still feels faster, the ROG Zephyrus G14 wasn’t too far behind.
In other games that weren’t specifically optimized for console, the difference in performance is negligible. Third party titles like Lies of P, NBA 2K22, and even the recently released Like A Dragon: The Man Who Erased His Name played absolutely amazing.
Take note, this is without much tweaking done on our part. One of the advantages of PC gaming is how you can have specific configurations for whatever game you’re playing. But as primarily a busy console player, tweaking settings isn’t exactly something I personally enjoy. Despite that, I absolutely enjoyed playing using my GameSir T4 Cyclone Pro controller seamlessly paired with the quick launch capabilities and steady high performance of the ROG Zephyrus G14 (2023).
Most of my gameplay sessions were with the laptop hooked up via HDMI to my LG C2 TV. When I took it out and gamed outside of my place, that’s where the laptop showed its one weak link. The speakers just aren’t loud enough for what I’m used to with laptops (I daily drive a MacBook Pro 13” M1). It’s best used with headphones or a speaker whether connected via bluetooth or the 3.5mm audio jack.
Workhorse even for your multimedia needs
I wasn’t able to push the ROG Zephyrus G14 to the limit work-wise. I mostly did the usual stuff here like answering emails, writing parts of this review among other articles, and just casual social media browsing.
Thankfully, my colleague MJ served as photographer in one of the races he usually participates in. He used the laptop to process the hundreds of photos he took (some of which you can view here).
All of the post-processing of the photos he took, he did on the ROG Zephyrus G14. The laptop handled all of it with ease. If I’m not mistaken, I believe he used the Adobe Suite in touching up the images.
So, if you work as a creative and a AAA gamer outside of it, this laptop is built to handle your needs.
Everything else in between
Naturally, you can do more than just play and work on this machine. The display is so damn good I used it a lot to get my steady dose of K-Pop content. Everything from TWICE Ready To Be Tour fancams, MISAMO showcase videos, and LE SSERAFIM Perfect Night videos. If you’re a K-Pop enjoyer, the bursts of color is something you will definitely enjoy.
I also had fun catching up on a handful of shows using this laptop. Naturally, I did so using my Sony Headphones to get better audio.
Clearly, I enjoyed my time with the ROG Zephyrus G14. And while this will get a glowing recommendation from me, the laptop isn’t exactly perfect.
I’ve already mentioned the audio as a clear weak link. The laptop is best enjoyed with headphones on or paired with nice external speakers.
Another gripe I have with it, and this is true for most gaming laptops, is the HUGE power brick. It really does feel like a BRICK and adds to the already hefty weight you have to take on. The laptop is light for what you’re getting but it is by no means an easy carry.
But these are good things still. That means this laptop line still has room to grow. For instance, its first iteration didn’t even have its own webcam. But this 2023 version is now equipped with one. I’m fairly confident that over the years, we will see improvements in these areas ℅ ASUS ROG.
Is the ROG Zephyrus G14 (2023) your GadgetMatch?
I have already said this at the start of the article, but it bears repeating. The ROG Zephyrus G14 is an all-eggs-in-one-basket machine that can keep up with you in play, work, and everything else in between.
What I mean by that is if you absolutely had to invest in a single machine to handle your work, gaming, and general entertainment needs, this is a great value pick-up. I say that considering that some of its top-specced variants retail for PhP 122,000 (around US$ 2,195). That’s fantastic value considering some of the truly top-of-the-line laptops now cost north of PhP 200,000 (around US$ 3,600).
That’s a significant difference price-wise while still offering a more than competitive gaming graphics and performance, ease-of-use for work things, and considerably good entertainment presentation.
If I, a long-time Mac user, absolutely HAD TO switch to Windows, this is the laptop that I will go for.
More info and where to buy links here: https://ph.rog.gg/ZephyrusG14xGadgetMatch
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