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.
On the front of the phone is a 24MP selfie camera. Here are some selfie samples.
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.
ROG Zephyrus G15: Lean, mean, gaming machine
And it’s a looker too
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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)
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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?
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.
Genshin Impact Version 2.7 arrives on May 31
With two new characters!
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:
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.
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
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.
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.
ASUS ROG launches new gaming laptop in tandem with SCAR Runner
Announced at For Those Who Dare: Boundless event
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
- 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.
ROG Zephyrus G15: Lean, mean, gaming machine
Stranger Things 4: 4 Big Things To Expect
Xiaomi X Leica partner for ‘Imagery Technology’
Genshin Impact Version 2.7 arrives on May 31
Save with Honda’s fuel-efficient vehicles, PMS
Mercury in retrograde: When technology and communications go haywire
Latest ‘PC-like’ Huawei MatePad 10.4 now available
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: Camera Shootout
All-new PlayStation Plus coming to Asia on May 23
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra review: Smashing, superb, splendid
Smartphones2 weeks ago
The Pixel 6a is now official
Philippines5 days ago
13 Reasons Why I keep coming back to an iPhone
Apps2 weeks ago
Here’s what’s coming in Android 13
Wearables5 days ago
Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro melds elegance with fitness
Videos2 weeks ago
Sundar Pichai – Up Close & Personal at Google I/O 2022
Reviews2 weeks ago
Samsung Galaxy S22+ review: Love at first touch
Smartphones7 days ago
Sony Xperia 10 IV is just as impressive as a flagship
Gaming2 weeks ago
Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising Review