Gaming

Now Playing ROG Phone 5: Two player co-op review

Two gamers. One Gaming smartphone.

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Two gamers. One Gaming smartphone. We put the ROG Phone 5 on the hands of our two resident gamers Gab and Leez. Here, the two share their takes and overall experience using the latest and greatest in mobile gaming from ASUS ROG.

Thoughts on how the ROG Phone 5 looks and overall packaging

Gab: It’s sleek, and the interactive packaging was a nice touch. Essentially, you can create your own AR selfie from the little comic strip in the box. It’s pretty cool that they were able to incorporate something like this into the unboxing experience, plus the visual effects show off some of the camera’s capabilities to some extent.

For the most part, this is a wide gaming phone and the screen covers most of the front space. The ROG logo at the back lights up, and it’s customizable too so it gives you that bit of personalization similar to their ROG laptops and desktops. They retained the headphone jack and placed it in a position that doesn’t get in the way of your hands when you’re playing, so that’s considerate of them.

Leez: The packaging screamed gaming phone without doubling down on being obscenely gimmicky. It was good, sleek, and simple with instant feature brags. This isn’t the first iteration of the ROG Phone (obviously from the name alone) but it stuck to the line-up’s fundamental design–just with a little bit more bells and whistles.

There’s a lot of thought in the phone’s design besides just showing off being part of the Republic of Gamers with its flashy customizable logo. From the headphone jack’s placement to it’s improved Aero Active Cooler, the ROG Phone 5 feels pragmatically designed. It does get rid of miniscule discomforts when playing on an average phone.

What mobile games do you usually play? 

Gab: League of Legends: Wild Rift, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, PUBG Mobile, Call of Duty Mobile, Fortnite BR Mobile, NBA Live Mobile, Superstar (JYP, SM)

Leez: I usually play League of Legends: Wild Rift, Mobile Legends: Bang Bang, DOTA Underlords, Call of Duty Mobile, Cat Bird, and whatever indie game is available on mobile. Very Little Nightmares is the newest addition to my list of mobile game installs and play.

What game were you most excited to play on the ROG Phone 5?

Gab: Fortnite BR Mobile (to see what the experience would be), Asphalt 9, NBA 2K21.

Leez: The Gardens Between, Black Desert Mobile, and Sky. As you can probably tell, I love plot-driven games and stunning graphics. I can handle the usual mobile moba but, I sometimes like sticking to gripping graphics from indie games instead of fostering toxic team blaming.

Did you play any game that you normally wouldn’t be able to play because of your current phone’s specs? If yes, did that game make you want to secure an ROG Phone 5 for yourself? 

Gab: On some of my devices, I normally can’t play the Superstar games, Fortnite, NBA 2K, and even PUBG Mobile. For the Superstar ones, it’s mostly on the delayed responsiveness of my inputs, especially when hitting the notes properly. For Fortnite and even PUBG, graphics settings are low on my devices so I was hoping that using the ROG Phone 5 would improve the experience.

When I played these on the ROG Phone 5, with the Cooler attached because of how hot the phone gets when trying to play at the best quality, I see the improvement. Sure, some of the delays I had were just because of me (lol haha) but I’ve seen the improvements in graphic quality and responsiveness. Although, for Fortnite it still capped everything at 30 FPS despite running at a 144Hz refresh rate display but it didn’t feel as jittery as it does on my own phone. At the very least, it made me consider getting the ROG Phone 5.

Leez: When I got the phone, I already had a list of graphics-heavy mobile games I wanted to play on it. My everyday phone conks out alot when I try to play Sky or The Gardens Between so, I was looking forward to a whole new clarity and detail on the ROG Phone 5 when it came to gaming.

I think graphics-heavy games aside, another component that gives me a bit more breathing space is storage. In the series line-up, you get to pick from 128GB with 8GB RAM, 256GB with 12GB RAM, or 256GB with 16GB RAM. All of which is more than enough and way beyond the storage I have on my regular phone.

Does this make me want an ROG Phone 5 of my own? yes and no. Yes, because I’d end up having a bunch of games on my phone like a regular Steam account. And, no because homegirl doesn’t have that kind of expendable money. With everything going on in the world, I’m more than likely to stick to subpar phones playing at the lowest setting unless I decide to dedicate my life to competitive mobile gaming.

Do you think having the ROG Phone 5 gives you a competitive advantage for MOBAs and Shooters? 

Gab: Personally, I felt that it does give me a little advantage for both MOBAs and shooters. Particularly for shooter games, increasing the detail to the maximum allowable quality settings allows you to see some enemy silhouettes from a mile away. It gives you that extra level of detail that will influence your decision to attack or avoid the fights. With MOBAs, there is just that added detail given to make the experience a bit better, plus less lag when the fights are intense in one lane of action.

Leez: Yes. Hands down; no cap; yes. The ROG Phone 5 delivers on details and specs that don’t necessarily improve your gaming capacity but gives you all the more leverage to play better.

This is going to be out of left field but hang tight. Gaming phones are like F1 cars. A better car gives you an advantage in a race but it doesn’t account for a bad driver. It’s like a balancing act. It’s the same for gaming phones. A gaming phone that delivers on no stutters, delays, and sharp smooth graphics won’t account for garbage gameplay. When you optimize non-human elements, it isolates and highlights both human skill and error. Basically, you have less excuse to blame the phone or your teammates with the ROG Phone 5–even if it won’t stop you from being toxic by finding other things to blame.

What do you think of the Air Triggers? Does it really elevate the mobile gaming experience?

Gab: The AirTriggers are pretty great and responsive, plus fairly easy to set up but I usually did it in game so I can map the controls out properly. I tried doing it across all the games I played — casually or competitively — and the AirTriggers elevate the shooter experience the best out of all of them. It actually frees your other fingers to either reload, jump, or crouch while you use the triggers to aim and shoot. Although, it takes a bit of a while to get used to the feel of using the triggers when you’re already used to touching the controls yourself.

With MOBAs, honestly it really depends on your play style and the champions you pick. I usually pick either ranged champions or those with blades, so the AirTriggers only really helped in me spamming the primary attacks. Same goes for some sports games that don’t have dedicated buttons for sprinting or dribble moves. You’re somewhat better off pressing and swiping.

Leez: Air Triggers are extremely useful for shooters but can be a bit of a strange feature to add to other mobile games. There’s not much use for it outside the first-person shooter (fps) genre since the air triggers are basically for quick and easy aim and shoot.

For mobile mobas, it’s a good second trigger for main attacks and gives you a quick view of the map. For League of Legends: Wild Rift specifically, the left trigger is your ultimate and the right, for your regular attacks. For mobile platformers like Dadish or Cat Bird, the Air Triggers are absolutely useless. They don’t work. Like, at all–which made me giggle in disappointment but, it is what it is.

The Air Triggers are built for competitive play but especially so for competitive mobile fps. I don’t see much use for it with a mobile moba since most people are used to having their index finger rest on that corner of the phone. It would just take a lot of getting used to. Whereas, for mobile fps, it mimics a console controller.

Did you experience any heating during your time with the device? 

Gab: As with any gaming device, this also heats up. Sometimes, it heats up faster than the usual smartphone would when you’re playing games at such high quality. It mostly has something to do with the gaming profile you set in Armoury Crate when you’re playing games, and this is something you normally expect anyway.

Leez: Yes. But, it’s good to note that most phones heat up when you’re optimizing gameplay. And, while the ROG Phone 5 has separate peripherals dedicated for that, heating just comes with every gaming phone in existence.

Since the AeroActive Cooler 5 is now a separate purchase, would you consider it a must-buy to go along with the phone itself?

Gab: Given my sentiments on the previous question, I felt that the AeroActive Cooler 5 is indeed a must-buy to fully maximize your experience with the phone. Apart from the cooling it brings, it also comes with standard triggers at the bottom that you can also use in-game if you really want your thumbs to focus on other things. Plus, it comes with a headphone jack as well at the bottom, so nothing will get in the way of your hands at the side of the phone.

But obviously, you need this to keep the device relatively cooler and using up less battery power than usual. Without the cooler, the device uses up a ton of your battery power to keep games at the highest quality, so it depletes much faster. With the cooler, and based on my usage of it, the battery still depletes quite fast but doesn’t deplete at the same right without it. Like without the cooler, going from 80 to 20 percent while playing at the highest settings happened in a matter of an hour. With the cooler, 80 to 20 percent took an average of an hour and 45 minutes — still fast, but it still affords you another round before reaching for the charger.

Leez: What Gab said. Also, unless you want to buy baking gloves that work while you play, the answer is an obvious yes. It’ll help keep your ROG Phone 5 from literally imploding and frying itself while keeping your gamer fingertips from chafing.

On days you weren’t playing, how did the ROG Phone handle other tasks you did on the phone?

Gab: Truth be told, I used this phone for 80 percent gaming, 5 percent social media, 5 percent Netflix, and 5 percent YouTube, 5 percent waiting for Wendy’s solo stuff to drop (hehe). On the times I wasn’t gaming, it handled all of those quite well and I made sure to use a different gaming profile in Armoury Crate to maximize battery life. I did this mostly because if you plan on using this as a more all-around device, treat it like a gaming laptop: only go full throttle when you’re playing. You don’t need to go full throttle on tasks like browsing social media or watching YouTube or Netflix, so you’re better off preserving your battery life.

Leez: The phone managed well with everyday use. But to be fair, everyday phone use for me is mostly playing games, watching Netflix, and keeping up with friends and family. Gaming aside, the ROG Phone 5 is a great phone to watch Netflix on and have podcasts on speaker. It delivers on stunning graphics and speaker quality, giving you the best immersive experience in-game and out.

Otherwise, there’s just really no point in overclocking the phone when you’re doing little to nothing that requires the phone’s full potential.

Cameras were largely unchanged, but do you think they’re good enough for quick snaps and daily use? 

Gab: The cameras were pretty great in terms of producing high image quality without sacrificing details too much. Although, I don’t recommend this for macro images because for some reason, the images ended up completely grainy. But, for quick selfies or just images of your set ups, rooms, pets, or even the abundance of nature in the garden, it’s great!

Leez: The triple rear camera set-up and 24MP selfie camera deliver on quality photos. It’s good to note that you will struggle to capture stunning shots if you don’t have consistent and quality lighting. But, that should go without saying for most mobile phone photography.

Seeing as camera quality isn’t one of the main features mobile gamers necessarily gravitate towards, this is a decent set of lenses.

Any other thoughts on the ROG Phone 5 you’d like to share?

Gab: Honestly, if you want to have this much gaming power for you to be at your very best in mobile games, this phone suits you. As a semi-casual player, I often asked myself “Why would I need this much power if I’m not going to try and compete in the games I want to play?” I feel like this is what the ROG Phone 5 is all about: giving you the kind of gaming power to compete at such a high level. You can game on any smartphone out there, even the one you currently own; but if you want the full competitive experience and power, this phone changes the way you play, for real.

Plus, it is a gaming phone so don’t expect it to have long-lasting battery power when you’re in full-gamer mode. But, whenever you charge it for 30 minutes from 0 percent, it does give you about 45-48 percent back. It isn’t much when you have the device on X/X+ Mode when you use it, but it is enough to keep you playing for just a little longer.

Also, quick side note: if you have any ROG peripherals (headsets mostly) that connect via USB-C and are Aura Sync compatible, you can pretty much sync the lighting on X/X+ Mode. It’s a neat aesthetic that they brought in from their gaming PCs and laptops that some of you will enjoy — especially the RGB enthusiasts hehe

Leez: The ROG Phone 5 won’t save you from feeding or being bad at a game. It’ll help you get better at games but, it can only optimize the game for you. You still need to put in the work for it. So if you’re a competitive gamer or one who’s pursuing taking on mobile esports, this is a must-buy for you. If you’re a casual gamer who dabbles into try-hard plays now and again or just has expendable cash for a gaming phone, this is definitely something to mull over buying.

The phone delivers on all fronts and is the best buddy to help you get good. But, if you want a phone that captures stunning photos in low-lighting on top of everything else the ROG Phone 5 hits the nail on, you’ll be looking elsewhere.


WATCH:ASUS ROG Phone 5 Review

Gaming

Ubisoft will focus on delivering a more free-to-play experience

A business decision to boost their popular franchises

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Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Have you ever wanted to play Assassin’s Creed for free if you’re new to it? Or, any popular franchise from Ubisoft for that matter? Well, they’ve been talking about it and their latest “announcement” will shed some light on it.

In a recent earnings call, Ubisoft CFO Frederick Duguet noted a couple of things about their beloved “triple-A/AAA” franchises. He mentioned that their strategy of releasing three to four premium titles each year isn’t a proper indicator of company value. Furthermore, he even said that the company earns more from in-game purchases on free-to-play titles.

Moving forward, he said that Ubisoft will focus on widening the audience for their existing titles by “making them free at the entry level.” In essence, the company could possibly offer newer games within those franchises as “free-to-play.” However, it doesn’t mean that they won’t produce single-purchase premium titles.

It’s a good thing to note that they’ve already done this for their latest Tom Clancy’s The Division title, Heartland. Who knows, maybe the next Assassin’s Creed or Watch Dogs title could follow suit.

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Gaming

The realme 8 dares to be more

You’re in for a treat

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realme 8

realme has been bringing in the big guns with their smartphone releases. But, it doesn’t come unwarranted when they’ve been stacking good specs instead of just gaming features. They get it: you want to do more than just play games with their phone line-up. Which is why, they released the realme 8 series.

The realme 8 is pretty much the little bro of the realme 8 Pro. It’s got most of the bells and whistles without the big bro powers. So, how does the realme still stack up to be the best all-around smartphone out there for you?

realme 8

Stunning looks that might fool you

The realme 8 has a 6.5-inch AMOLED display with 180Hz Touch Sampling rate. If touch sampling rate isn’t a metric you’re familiar with, it’s your display’s responsiveness to touch. Refresh rate is a whole different metric; it measures how well your display renders frames per second. Both are tangent features of the display. So, they’re different but, equally as important for gaming on your phone.

If you like strutting in style with your phone, the realme 8 teeters into keeping it flashy yet low-key. The phone features a reflective panel with “DARE TO LEAP” across its logo corner. Plus, realme sticks to classy colors with either Cyber Silver or Cyber Black available for the realme 8.

realme 8

The feelsgoodman specs

Let’s cut to the chase. The realme 8 is a great phone. The phone is decked out with an MTK Helio G95 octa-core processor, which pretty much grants the phone its unapologetic great performance. Whether I was browsing social media, binge-watching videos, or playing games, this phone didn’t stutter once.

realme 8

The phone delivers on buttery-smooth graphics. And, games like League of Legends: Wild Rift, Mobile Legend: Bang Bang, PUBG Mobile, and Sky run smoothly on the realme 8. But, are we really meant to be surprised by that? With the phone’s 8G RAM and 128G internal storage, lags just don’t exist in the same sentence. On top of all that, it manages to stay lightweight. The realme 8 weighs only 177g which is pretty impressive with all the features it packs.

realme 8

Battery can take a beating

Yes, it’s almost criminal. The realme 8 comes with a 30W Dart Charge brick. Which ideally charges the phone up to 50 percent within a matter of 26 minutes. I know what you’re thinking. This sounds too good to be true. Well, unlike the stacked disappointments of the past year, the realme 8 pulls through. It went from zero to 20 percent within 10 minutes which is pretty quick.

realme 8

With a 5,000mAh battery inside, the realme 8 can survive well over a day. It came in handy when I’d accidentally left it out uncharged overnight and still used it the next day. But, I’m guessing it would have been a whole different story had I thrown it into ungodly playing and binge-watching hours.

After a full day of gameplay, binge-watching, podcasts, music, and social media shenanigans, the phone gets close to 15 percent at the end of the day. This is impressive with most phones tossed my way with charging alerts by the tail end of my day.

So, if you’re like me, this phone is pretty reliable. It can take a beating and then some. And, when it does need charging, it won’t take long before you get enough juice in to use it again. It’s good to note that it also supports 15W PD charge, lending versatility on its side.

realme 8

Not just a gaming phone

The realme 8 is decked out with all the features you want from a gaming phone but rounds it all out with amazing smartphone features. So, calling this a gaming phone doesn’t feel fair considering it does well even outside the gaming-perfect specs.

One feature that often gets left out with your typical gaming-centric phone, would be the camera. As for this phone, it’s got an AI Quad camera setup. It’s got a 64MP wide-angle lens, an 8MP ultra-wide lens, a 2MP macro lens, and a second 2MP depth sensor. On the front, the realme 8 has a 16MP shooter with panorama capabilities.

Panorama on the realme 8

Low lighting is just the bane of every mobile phone photography’s existence. If lighting isn’t on your side, most phones will struggle. The realme 8 is sadly not an exception. But, when the sun’s on your side, the photos are pretty good.

The macro looks decent. Just make sure you flood the room with good lighting!

 

The night mode is good too! Stable hands for this mode is key.

The bokeh mode and wide shots on the phone are detailed. Recording videos doesn’t skimp on the 4k experience which is good too. Overall, the phone delivers on all fronts including its camera features. But if you’re looking for big bro camera stats, you should check out the realme 8 Pro.

realme 8

Is this your GadgetMatch?

The realme 8 ticks all the boxes of a quality smartphone. Its got great performance across the board takes really great pictures, has a smooth and responsive display, and lasts for quite some time. And, even if you run out of battery life, its Dart Charge won’t have you away for long.

Overall, this smartphone offers a daring deal. It gives you everything you need and want–and then some more. And, with its PhP 13,990 price tag, it’s the smartphone to beat. Better yet, you can avail of the PhP 1,000 worth of discount on the realme 8 during the flash sale on Lazada starting May 12!

Buy from Lazada

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Gaming

Sony warns PlayStation 5 shortage will continue into 2022

The chip shortage is affecting everyone

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Sony has already sold almost 7.8 million units of PlayStation 5 and estimates the sale of another 14.8 million this year. Despite the big numbers, the gaming console will continue to be in short supply as the demand is outrageously high.

According to a Bloomberg report, Sony told analysts it is challenging to keep up with strong demand. Earlier, Sony had predicted that supply would pick up in the second half of this year, but it no longer believes that. It didn’t set a new estimate for when supply will improve.

The global semiconductor shortage has severely affected production, and the delay is expected to last till 2022. “I don’t think demand is calming down this year, and even if we secure a lot more devices and produce many more units of the PlayStation 5 next year, our supply wouldn’t be able to catch up with demand,” Chief Financial Officer Hiroki Totoki said at the briefing.

Although, analysts are worried that with lockdown over in most major markets, the surge in demand for home entertainment might already have peaked. Sony isn’t the only one facing issues, though. Microsoft’s Xbox lineup is equally affected, and so is Nintendo’s.

Nintendo warned last week that component shortages could affect production. It’s officially targeting sales of 25.5 million consoles in the year ending March 2022, down slightly from the previous year.

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