Gaming

A long-time PlayStation fanboy switches to the Xbox Series X

Everything is much greener on the other side

Illustration by Migs Buera

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Since the start of 2021, I’ve been eyeing a PlayStation 5 because I had hoped that more units would be available this time. Honestly, it made the most sense to get one considering I currently own a PlayStation 4 with a huge game library to boot. Along the way, though, I realized that maybe it was time for a shift.

One afternoon in May, I decided to order an Xbox Series X from an official online retailer. At the time, it was the most I had spent getting everything together. For a good two weeks, I kept mulling it over, especially since I’ve never owned an Xbox in my entire life. Why make the switch now, when I could just wait for a PS5 like everyone else?

The important factors to consider

In those two weeks, I did some of my own research and reflection on why I would choose an Xbox Series X over a PlayStation 5. At first glance, you wouldn’t really think about it too much considering they offer the same thing: next-gen console gaming. Although, if you have a PS4 or an Xbox One and you’re contemplating a switch, here’s how I thought about it.

Xbox Series X

How much you’re actually spending

I know what you’re thinking, “don’t they cost the same at US$ 499.99? Why is it a factor in the process?” If you live in any of the major markets, this isn’t an entirely big issue; here in the Philippines, however, pricing is a bit different.

See, official retailers initially sold the PlayStation 5 at PhP 27,995, and the Xbox Series X at PhP 35,995. If you did the math, that’s a difference of a whopping PhP 8,000, literally the price of two controllers for either console. From the price alone, you will go for the more “budget-friendly” option, especially if you factor in everything else you’re spending for.

However, at the time I placed the order for my Xbox Series X, it was on sale for PhP 31,995. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a bit pricier than the disc version of the PlayStation 5, but it was enticing enough to consider. Also, this is particularly important considering:

What you’re actually getting from the console

Before you decide on which console to get, you have to consider what you’re getting out of each. This entails looking at the specifications for each console, game libraries, accessories, and even the online subscription services. Obviously, it’s a lot to take in so let me break down the key components: 

Storage: The Xbox Series X comes with a 1TB SSD, with 802GB usable storage for games, applications, and media. If you want more space, Xbox has a pricey 1TB storage expansion card available. In comparison, the PlayStation 5 comes with a 825GB SSD, but only 667GB is usable and has no support for storage expansion (not yet, anyway). Given the size of the games you’ll be playing, the Series X looks like a no-brainer.

Fortnite Battle Royale, optimized for the Xbox Series X; 120 FPS mode turned on

Next-gen Game Library: At launch, the PlayStation 5 already had several console exclusives that fully take advantage of the next-gen features. Meanwhile, the Xbox Series X didn’t have a console exclusive at all; instead, they opted to optimize titles to run on their console. However, this year’s E3 showcase changes all of that.

Online Subscriptions: The Xbox Game Pass provides you with a massive game library spanning generations of Xbox consoles and even recent releases. I wish I could say the same for my current PlayStation Plus subscription, because it’s not the same at all. Although, both subscriptions aren’t available if you set your account region to the Philippines.

How easy you could “legitimately” get one

This was, in my opinion, the ultimate reason why I eventually decided to go for an Xbox Series X. I emphasized the word “legitimately” because I only wanted to buy from an official retailer after an incident with a scalper earlier this year. The thing is, scalpers will supply you a PlayStation 5 but for a head-scratching price that even building a gaming PC is a better deal.

SEE: I’ve lost hope in getting a next-gen console for the foreseeable future

At the time of writing, the PlayStation 5 is currently on a pre-order selling model due to limited supply. Don’t get me wrong, it makes sense for Sony to do this considering the circumstances. However, it doesn’t change the fact that it isn’t that easy to get one. On the other hand, the Xbox Series X was as simple as placing an order, and it will arrive a few days later.

See, the same official retailers handling pre-orders for the PlayStation 5 are also selling the Xbox Series X. You can practically get one from their official e-commerce websites, or either from their Lazada or Shopee pages if they have one. For this console, there are no pre-orders so there’s a good chance you’ll snag one when it’s available.

Xbox Series X

Was it all worth it in the end?

My short answer to this is a 100 percent yes. The long answer: switching to the Xbox Series X as a PlayStation player for years was money well spent. I’ve been using it for a month, and I could honestly recommend others doing this if you’ve saved up enough. Although, I felt that you would need a bit more to fully maximize its power.

For starters, for full immersion, a 4K TV or gaming monitor with a 120Hz refresh rate feels like a must. I mean, you can plug any monitor or TV to your next-gen console and it won’t necessarily dampen graphical performance. However, I noticed that on a 4K TV, in-game details are more complete compared to a FHD TV. Of course, it’s going to cost you more money to get one.

Also, if you’re a first time Xbox owner like I am, Xbox Game Pass is a must-have. Honestly, it saved me a ton of money I would have spent getting some of the games I have on the PS4, but for the Xbox. Plus, if you go for Game Pass Ultimate, you also get an EA Play subscription that offers you games like FIFA 21 or Madden NFL 21 for free. Just note, however, that it isn’t available here in the Philippines but there are ways to get it.

Madden NFL 21, optimized for the Xbox Series X; available on Game Pass Ultimate through EA Play

Are you contemplating a switch, too?

One month in, and I could definitely say that it’s a good choice to make a switch from the PlayStation to the Xbox. Don’t get me wrong, both consoles provide the next-level console gaming experience as advertised. In choosing one over the other, you won’t really miss out on much.

Xbox Series X

Everything I pointed out also makes sense if you’re contemplating on buying your first PlayStation console after owning an Xbox. From the spec sheet to the hardware and game library, both Sony and Microsoft gave us major improvements over the current generation.

Should the circumstances of getting the next-gen console you wanted persuade you to switch up when it’s possible? Honestly, it depends on which factors I mentioned matter to you the most. I mean if you want both consoles, why not, right?

Gaming

ROG Zephyrus G15: Lean, mean, gaming machine

And it’s a looker too

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Zephyrus G15

One of my favorite things about getting to try many new gadgets is that I learn more about myself and my preferences. The ROG Zephyrus G15 (2022) GA503 – which henceforth will just be referred to as just Zephyrus G15 – did just that for me and what I want in gaming laptops. 

For context, I have been sparingly using my ROG Flow X13 for most of my general Windows and PC gaming needs. It’s a great device, don’t get me wrong. But having to prop up the laptop itself along with the XG Mobile to reach its full potential can be quite cumbersome.

It’s a huge contrast to the Zephyrus G15 where I simply fire it up and it just works in a jiffy. And all the ports I normally use are right there, ready to use. I’m a big fan of convenience so I absolutely love it when gadgets just work without much friction. 

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Based on this introduction, I’m sure you already have some idea on what I generally think about the Zephyrus G15. But allow me to discuss it further. 

Tale of the tape

Zephyrus G15

Specs and benchmarks never tell the whole story. But specs are a good place to start. Here’s what our review unit is packing: 

  • AMD Ryzen 9 6900HS
  • 15″ WQHD (2560 x 1440) 16:9 240hz Pantone Validated 100% DCI-P
  • RTX 3070 TI 8GB GDDR6
  • 16GB DDR5 on board  + 16GB DDR5-4800 SO-DIMM
  • 1TB M.2 NVM PCIe 4.0 SSD
  • Moonlight White

Some standout stuff from the information provided above are the new processor, the Pantone Validated display as well as the RAM available. This isn’t even its highest configuration. There’s a variant that runs RTX 3080. You can upgrade your RAM up to 48GB and there’s another SSD slot so you can expand your storage. 

Zephyrus G15

That means there’s plenty of room to up the ante down the line should you choose to do so. That’s not something that you can say for every gaming laptop. 

Immaculate look and design

I love that ROG sent over the Moonlight White version for us to try. Black is great, don’t get me wrong. But it’s refreshing to see gaming laptops brimming with power come in other colorways that could appeal to people that are kind of just over with black. 

The magnesium-aluminum lid and chassis also maintain the Zephyrus look giving it a sleek and tough exterior, while keeping the ROG Zephyrus identity. And you don’t have to worry too much about it picking up dust and dirt. In the few weeks I spent with it, it stayed pristine looking despite little to no wiping maintenance. That’s thanks largely to the wear-resistant coating which works exactly as advertised. 

Zephyrus G15

Adding to the overall functional design is the ErgoLift Hinge. This is one of my favorite things about ASUS laptops. The ergolift hinge not only allows a 180° for more flexibility, it’s also just ultra satisfying to move and look at. 

It looks fresh, feels tough, and is relatively compact making it easy to carry around. It’s a looker with some bells and whistles in the right places.

Ports, keyboard, and trackpad

Zephyrus G15

Speaking of those bells and whistles, the Zephyrus G15 is packed with possibly all the ports you’ll need. Whether that’s for a remote setup or one that’s neatly tucked into a home office desk. 

Zephyrus G15

Here’s everything it has to offer: 

  • USB3.2 Gen 2 Type-A (2x)
  • USB3.2 Gen 2 Type-C(supports DP 1.4 & 100W PD Charger), (2x)
  • LAN RJ-45 jack (1x)
  • HDMI 2.0b (1x)
  • Micro SD Card Reader (UHS-II), (1x)
  • 3.5mm Audio combo jack (1x)
  • Kensington Lock (1x)

 

Zephyrus G15

The Stealth Type keyboard was a curious choice but one that I welcome. I was of the impression that the gaming demographic skews more towards the clickity clack of mechanical keyboards. But the one equipped on the Zephyrus G15 is about as quiet as they come. No complaints here though, as it didn’t distract my at-the-moment entanglement in slumber as I toiled away over late night labor. 

Zephyrus G15

One of the best trackpad experiences on a Windows Gaming laptop.

The trackpad, too, was such a pleasant surprise. Perhaps it’s also in conjunction with Windows 11 but using a trackpad on Windows now doesn’t feel as laggy as it used to. On days that I only worked using the Zephyrus G15, I never felt the need to connect a mouse. That feels like a breakthrough as I have never been able to say that for any of the Windows laptops I’ve reviewed in the past. 

Plays like a console

Yes, I paired a DualSense controller with the Zephyrus G15

Alright, before any PC gaming enthusiasts come at my throat, what I mean here is mostly the quality of life things. When I got the Zephyrus G15, I didn’t tweak it very much. Heck, I even opened Armoury Crate less than five times during my time with it. Despite this, it had no trouble running the games I attempted to play. Some of which are even very demanding AAA titles. 

Zephyrus G15

I’m a big fan of tech that just works. Especially with my current workload, the less time I have to figure something out, the better. And that’s the case with this gaming laptop. I simply fired up Steam, downloaded the games, and played to my heart’s content. 

Zephyrus G15

Teen Gohan vs Cell is a classic.

Naturally, I checked the settings on some of the first few games I tried like Control, Genshin Impact, and Dragon Ball FighterZ. Everything was consistently on the highest settings right off the bat. Lags and stutters? I don’t know them. Not with the Zephyrus G15 in tow. 

To better understand where I’m coming from, I own an ROG Flow X13. The one that comes with the ROG XG Mobile. It’s a great machine, no doubt. But to get the most out of it, I still have to hook up the XG Mobile to the Flow X13. Whereas with the Zephyrus G15, I simply have to turn the laptop on. That’s an underrated level of convenience that may or may not mean much for some of you. 

You still have Armoury Crate but I didn’t feel the need to touch it as much.

It’s seriously making me consider trading up for the Zephyrus G15. And that’s just with the raw performance of games. I haven’t even talked about how good the display and speakers are. 

Eyes and ears candy 

Zephyrus G15

Its high-level performance is of course complemented by a stellar audio-visual experience. As indicated in the specs section earlier, this laptop sports a 15” WQHD 16:9 display with a 240Hz refresh rate. It’s also Pantone Validated which is great for color accuracy if you’re working on anything that involves visual media.

But all you really need to know is that it’s an absolute treat to the eyes. The 240Hz refresh rate on the panel is great for first-person shooters. Unfortunately, I am not great at first person shooters. I’d like to take this opportunity to whoever I played Valorant with because I totally dragged the team down. 

Zephyrus G15

This is a “Tomboy” fancam but listen to her album “MY” too!

 

It is a visual treat, no doubt. But like (G)-IDLE’s Miyeon, the Zephyrus G15 isn’t just a treat for the eyes. It also sounds hella good. I spent a good chunk of time watching Miyeon’s fancams on this thing and it’s just a fantastic overall experience. 

I also watched a few episodes of Netflix’s Business Proposal at the time of writing. Really, whatever type of content you consume, it’s bound to look and sound great on this thing. 

Zephyrus G15

Kim SeJeong is just adorable

One thing we did learn is that the display struggles a bit under really bright environments. When taking photos of the device, we opted to step out for natural light. But if you’re using this to work or play remotely, I recommend you find some place that isn’t too bright. 

Is this your GadgetMatch?

Zephyrus G15

The ROG Zephyrus G15 (2022) GA503 is easily one of my personal favorite devices that I’ve reviewed so far in 2022. It’s about as close as it can get to a plug and play PC gaming experience. And that’s not something you can say for many laptops and/or PCs. 

The Zephyrus G15 (2022) brings with it a distinct look, top-notch gaming performance, and a really solid audio-visual experience. As a gaming laptop, this is about as perfect as it gets and is something I can easily recommend especially if you’re willing to splurge for it.

Official pricing will be announced soon. We’ll update this space when it’s out.

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Gaming

Genshin Impact Version 2.7 arrives on May 31

With two new characters!

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Genshin Impact Version 2.7

The latest update to HoYoverse’s Genshin Impact is coming on May 31. Version 2.7 comes with new challenges in The Chasm, Liyue’s historical mysteries, and new characters Yelan and Kuki Shinobu.

Checkout version 2.7’s trailer here:

Perilous Trail

Front and center in Version 2.7 is the “Perilous Trail” event. This will bring players back to The Chasm with a new Archon Quest story and a series of rewarding challenges. It is where where players will also encounter the two new playable characters Yelan and Kuki Shinobu. Joining them are Yanfei and Arataki Itto.

Genshin Impact Version 2.7

Meanwhile, danger also lurks ahead for Xiao, the “Vigilant Yaksha” who is on an investigation of his own. As the story progresses, the buried past, including how the people of Liyue fought off monsters 500 years ago, as well as the yakshas’ role in the history, will eventually be revealed to this diverse party.

Yelan and Kuki Shinobu

Genshin Impact Version 2.7

The new five-star character Yelan is a mysterious figure with many faces and identities, which includes the owner of the Yanshang Teahouse and the special intelligence officer of Liyue. Wielding the bow as her weapon, Yelan is a Hydro DPS character that combines rapid attacks with agile mobility.

Genshin Impact Version 2.7

Four-star character, Kuki Shinobu, is the surprisingly reliable and capable deputy leader of the Arataki Gang. Shinobu is a support character who wields a sword and manipulates the Electro element. She can consume her own HP to heal other party members while dealing periodical Electro DMG to nearby opponents.

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Gaming

ASUS ROG launches new gaming laptop in tandem with SCAR Runner

Announced at For Those Who Dare: Boundless event

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During their For Those Who Dare: Boundless event, ASUS ROG announced the launch of their latest gaming laptops, accessories, and SCAR Runner for the ROG Citadel Game on Steam.

The launch covers the following:

  • ROG Strix SCAR 17 Special Edition
  • ROG Flow X16
  • SCAR Runner first-person parkour game
  • Expanded ROG Slash Fashion Line
  • Team ROG partnerships

Pricing and availability of the models announced during the event are yet to be known.

ROG Strix SCAR 17 Special Edition

With more powerful specs than its predecessor, the Strix SCAR 17 SE is poised to be a class-leading gaming laptop.

It is powered by the new Intel Core i9-12950HX processor and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Ti GPU, on top of advanced features such as:

  • Maximum GPU TGP of 175W with Dynamic Boost
  • Maximum CPU TDP of 65W
  • Boost frequency of 5.2GHz
  • Up to 64GB DDR5 memory and PCIe Gen 4 storage
  • ROG’s Conductonaut Extreme liquid metal

SCAR Runner: Vault to new heights

Available as an expansion of the ROG Citadel XV game, SCAR Runner is a first-person parkour game set in the world of ROG SAGA.

The protagonist, X, is in a race against time in Goemon City and needs to recover critical information while solving puzzles and challenges.

It’s no coincidence that the new Strix SCAR laptop and new game have same name, as they were released as a tandem.

Gamers can in fact find clues hidden on the laptop chassis itself, that will allow them to solve in-game puzzles.

SCAR Runner is launching with a giveaway campaign with over US$ 20,000 worth of prizes to be won from May 17 to June 30, 2022.

ROG Flow X16

In addition to the Strix SCAR 17 SE, the Flow X16 has been added to the ROG Flow series, the most powerful yet from the line.

It has a Ryzen 9 6900HS processor and an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti GPU. It likewise supports up to 64GB of memory and up to 2TB of SSD storage.

The Flow X16 features ROG’s Nebula HDR Display, a 165Hz Mini LED panel with 1100 nits peak brightness and 100 percent DCI-P3 gamut.

These are all complemented by Frost Force Technology and Pulsar Heatsink to ensure high performance but low temperatures.

ROG Slash accessories

Aside from the two new gaming laptops, ROG also introduced new apparels:

  • Crossbody Bag
  • Backpack
  • Hip Bag
  • Protective Laptop Bag
  • Cobra Buckle Cap
  • Bucket Hat

All these items are built with durable quality and have features like adjustable straps, multiple compartments, and water-repellent TPU materials.

Some of these items are also included in the SCAR Runner giveaway campaign.

The Team ROG initiative

Lastly, Team ROG is expanding its 2022 roster, pairing high-end ROG products with influencers, professional gamers, content creators, and athletes around the world.

A new partnership with ReKT Gaming has been announced while the current partnership with esports team Misfits Gaming has likewise been extended.

 

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