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.

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.

Gaming

Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s new console

Formerly known as Project Scarlett

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With millions of eyes glued to the Game Awards, Microsoft took the opportunity to unveil their latest console. Formerly known as Project Scarlett, the gaming console now has an official name — Xbox Series X.

The Xbox Series X has a custom-designed CPU that’s based on AMD’s Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA Architecture. Speaking of CPU, that’s exactly what the console looks like. Despite it looking like most CPU Towers, the console can be positioned both vertically and horizontally.

Microsoft Xbox chief Phil Spencer claims the new console it will “deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way.” It’s also using an SSD which should boost load times. It’s also capable of 8K gaming with frame rates of up to 120 FPS as well as ray tracing.

Spencer confirmed with GameSpot that it the Xbox Series X is backwards compatible. It will support games you can play on the Xbox One and will also have support for accessories sold for earlier versions of the console.

There’s no word yet on exact pricing and availabilty but they did say it will come just ahead of the holiday shopping season in 2020. This puts it squarely around the time of the PlayStation 5’s release date. Exciting times ahead for console gamers!

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Gaming

Black Shark 2 Pro: Price and availability in the Philippines

It’s finally here!

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It’s finally here! The much anticipated Black Shark 2 and Black Shark 2 Pro are finally in the Philippines.

First announced back in July, the Black Shark 2 is a much anticipated gaming smartphone. Powering the phone is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus.

The device also comes with an AMOLED display with a 240Hz touch report rate. However, is that the display still retains a 60Hz refresh rate that lags behind its major competitor — the ASUS ROG Phone 2 — which has a display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The display’s response speed was reduced to 34.7 ms, promising faster response times during high pressure gameplay.

Price and availability

The Black Shark 2 comes in three variants: 6GB/128GB (PhP 22,990), 8GB/128GB (23,990), and 12GB/256GB (PhP 28,990).

Meanwhile, the Black Shark 2 Pro comes in two variants: 8GB/128GB (PhP 27,990), and 12GB/256GB (PhP 33,490).

The phones will be available in select Mi Stores: SM Megamall, SM North EDSA, and SM Mall of Asia starting December 13.

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Gaming

Resident Evil 3 gets its remake, available Q2 2020

Remade into horror and glory

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PlayStation saved the best announcement as its second to the last for its final State of Play. One of the most popular survival horror franchises gets another remake since its release 20 years ago. Capcom wants to take everyone back to Raccoon City in its full, high definition glory in Resident Evil 3.

Revisit the story of Jill Valentine as you venture through the virus-infected city in this modern remake. Avid followers of the multitude of Resident Evil games will enjoy the improved visuals while enjoying the same style of shoulder-perspective gameplay. Capcom programmed the entire remake on their own RE Engine, the engine responsible for Devil May Cry 5.

Apart from that, Capcom also announced Resident Evil: Project Resistance – a 4v1 multiplayer mode within Resident Evil 3. It features similar gameplay to that of Resident Evil 2, as players turn into survivors at the mercy of a Mastermind. Early talks suggested that it would be a separate title, but will now be part of the Resident Evil 3 remake.

The game will be available for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and the PC on April 3, 2020. PlayStation is already taking in pre-orders for the game as early as now.

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