Gaming

Lenovo’s Star Wars: Jedi Challenges gets a Dark Side Expansion

Join the dark side of the Force

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Last year, Lenovo made a surprise announcement. Apart from the usual notebooks, desktops, and workstations, the company unveiled an augmented reality game kit that got us excited — Star Wars: Jedi Challenges. Thankfully, Lenovo is continuing the fun with a new expansion pack to let players use the dark side of the Force.

The Lenovo AR experience Star Wars: Jedi Challengers will soon have a Dark Side Expansion which is coming as a content update. It’ll allow players to use Kylo Ren as their character and duel new and familiar faces in the Star Wars franchise including Master Yoda and Rey.


The multiplayer mode of Jedi Challenges is also expanded in the update with a new local multiplayer experience called Ship Battles. It’s a player-versus-player (PvP) real-time strategy game wherein players command Empire and Rebel fleets in epic space combat.

To fully embrace the power of the dark side, a limited edition Lightsaber Controller modeled after Kylo Ren’s iconic crossguard lightsaber is coming to select markets, as well.

The Dark Side Expansion is coming as a free software update to all Star Wars: Jedi Challenges users, while the Limited Edition Kylo Ren Lightsaber will be available by the end of the year for US$ 100.

Gaming

ASUS ROG Phone in China comes in many variants

So many options!

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ASUS made quite a splash after releasing the update to their gaming phone — the ROG Phone 2. While the rest of the world waits for pricing details, China is getting it ahead of everyone else.

In case you missed the initial reveal, the ASUS ROG Phone 2 retains most of the design of its predecessor. Why fix what’s not broken, right? The improvements, though, are easily noticeable.


You’re getting the world’s first 120Hz AMOLED display on a smartphone. It’s also the first phone to take advantage of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus processor.

The accessories have also been improved. Specifically, there’s the Kunai gamepad that makes the ROG Phone 2 look like a Nintendo Switch. You can also attach the controllers to the Kunai Holder and use them as you would a gamepad.

For more details on what is shaping up to be the ultimate mobile gaming device, make sure to watch our Hands-On video.

Pricing and availability in China

The ROG Phone 2 will come in different variants.

It starts with the Tencent Depth Customisation which has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage that will retail for CNY 3,499 (US$ 509). The next variant is called Enjoy Peace in Beijing which has the same configuration but is priced at CNY 3,699 (US$ 538). The 12GB RAM and 128GB Storage for the same variants are priced CNY 5,999 (US$ 872) and CNY 6,199 (US$ 901) respectively. These are now available for pre-orders.

In a Weibo post, ASUS revealed that there are two more variants: A Zhizun version priced at CNY 7,999 (US$ 1173) and an Esports Armour version priced at CNY 12,999 (US$ 1890). Configurations weren’t revealed but some are speculating these will have 12GB RAM and 512GB of storage.

 

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Gaming

ROG Phone II Hands-on

Console replacement?

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Is there a place for gaming phones in 2019? ASUS believes so. In fact they’re so bullish about the mobile gaming industry that they’re giving their gaming phone an update!

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Special thanks to The Unlockr David Cogen for helping create this video.

If you are having trouble watching this video, click here.

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Gaming

ASUS ROG Phone II Hands-On: The ultimate in mobile gaming

With new and improved accessories too

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Is there a place for gaming phones in 2019? ASUS believes so. In fact they’re so bullish about the mobile gaming industry that they’re giving their gaming phone an update. This is our ROG Phone II hands-on.

At first glance, it’s not very different from last year’s model and that’s intentional. Their focus hasn’t been to rework the wheel but to make the original even better.


The phone is now taller, giving it that now popular 19.5: 9 aspect ratio. It’s built tough with a Gorilla Glass 6 display and is intentionally flashy with RGB lighting baked into the logo on its back with ROG’s trademark styling.

Best display on a smartphone today

The flat all screen display is edge-to-edge except for its top and bottom. ASUS said this is a design decision so that gripping the phone doesn’t get in the way of gameplay.

It also leaves room for the dual front firing speakers and a selfie camera. It’s strategically placed so game streamers can play and stream at the same time.

The panel itself is impressive possibly the best we’ve seen on a smartphone today. It’s the world’s first 120Hz AMOLED display on a smartphone with a super fast one millisecond response time.

It not only gives you buttery smooth transitions, but combined with ultra low touch latency, it’s supposedly also going to give you an advantage when pulling the trigger in a head-to-head shooting game. This HDR display is glorious. Colors pop and images are rich and vibrant. It’s my new favorite display and is perfect whether you’re watching videos or playing games.

Baked into the display is a fingerprint scanner which, based on our initial tests, is quick and snappy.

Performance fit for the most competitive gamers

When it launches, the ROG Phone II will also be one of the most powerful smartphones in the market today. Topping early benchmark tests versus other flagships including the Galaxy S10+ from Samsung and the OnePlus 7 Pro.

It’s powered by an updated version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 — the 855 Plus which is even faster. Coupled with an updated Adreno 640, it’s promising a 15 percent GPU performance.

A completely souped up model will have 12GB of RAM and 512GB of storage. The phone promises to handle any power intensive game you throw at it with not only fast frame rates but also a commitment to sustained performance across long gaming sessions.

To keep its internals running at optimal condition the phone offers three steps of cooling: First with a 3D Vapor Chamber, second with a built-in heat sink and vents on its back cover, and third via an attachment called the Aero Active Cooler II. With all of these working together, ASUS promises unbeatable performance.

A battery that can handle all that power

So what about battery life? Surely all of this performance power will take a toll on battery life? Nope. The ROG Phone 2 will come with a massive 6000mAh battery. That’s 2000mAh more than most flagships these days.

ASUS is promising 7.1 hours of battery life when playing something like PUBG. What excites me the most is that non-gamers could potentially get two days of more than average use.

The phone also comes with fast charging support built in. A full charge will take one hour and 21 minutes.

More love for gamers

There is much more gamers will love about the new ROG Phone II. ASUS kept the Dual USB-C ports — one on the bottom of the phone and one on its side. This means you can charge the device and continue playing any which way you like.

I also particularly like the improved air triggers that let you control your game by tapping either top side of your phone in landscape mode. Along with an improved vibration motor, the phone feels more like a game controller than ever before.

It’s clear that this isn’t your average phone. It’s one built specifically for gamers. But having said all that ASUS says it’s not just the best gaming phone. It’s a great flagship too!

To ensure the experience is top notch. They gave the ROG Phone II the same impressive camera that’s on the Zenfone 6. Except for its flipping mechanism of course.

A 48MP main camera and a 13MP ultra wide secondary camera. Take a look at some sample photos.

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On the front of the phone is a 24MP selfie camera. Here are some selfie samples.

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The ROG Phone Ecosystem

Depending on how you like to play, ASUS attempted to cater to every game style with a range of accessories made specifically for the ROG Phone II.

The new Kunai gamepad comes with controllers that snap on to a bumper reminiscent of the Nintendo Switch. You can also attach the controllers to the Kunai Holder and use them as you would a gamepad.

The Twin View Dock from last year has also been updated making it lighter and easier to use. It can also be used in conjunction with the GamePad.

Other accessories include the Aero Active Cooler II, Aero Case, and the Lighting Armor Case. Older accessories like the desktop dock, Pro Dock, and the WiGig Display Dock Plus also support this new model.

Is the ROG Phone II your GadgetMatch?

Let me start by saying this phone isn’t for everyone. From the way it looks, to some of its standout feature, these are things that appeal to a very special kind of user.

If you’re the type who is serious about mobile gaming then it definitely is going to be a good investment. If you’re not a gamer but care about things like a great display and ultra long battery life this might be a phone worth considering also.

Representatives from ASUS tell me that once the phone rolls out globally this September there will also be an option to change its interface to the stock-like ZenUI for a more everyday smartphone feel. That’s good news too.

The ROG Phone II launches in China this week. The Global Version is coming first week of September – our review video will drop around the same time.

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