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

Accessories

Razer now has its own gaming finger sleeves

Keeping your thumbs dry

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Razer has somehow transformed into the ruler of gaming lifestyle accessories. After releasing treasure troves of peripherals and devices, the company has slowly branched off into stranger and stranger niches including toasters and SUVs. Razer is now blending peripheral with accessory in its latest product: Razer Gaming Finger Sleeves.

If you haven’t heard of finger sleeves before, think gloves but only for your fingers — or, in this case, finger. The Razer Gaming Finger Sleeves are meant to be worn on your thumbs. It’s specifically made for mobile gamers.

Made with a mixture of sliver fiber fabric, nylon, and spandex, the sleeves can keep your thumbs dry for serious gaming on your phone. Despite wrapping your thumbs, Razer says that the fabric is still breathable at 0.8 millimeters. They’re also a universal fit for any type of thumb.

Mobile gaming is one of the most popular forms of entertainment especially in Asian countries like the Philippines. Playing on your phone can easily whittle away the time spent in traffic or outdoors. However, since some countries are too warm and humid, sweat can just as easily accumulate and create an unsightly portrait on our otherwise pristine phone screens.

The Razer Gaming Finger Sleeves are out now and retails for US$ 9.99.

SEE ALSO: Razer unveils its Phantom Keycap Upgrade Set

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Accessories

The Pulse 3D Wireless Headset now sports Midnight Black

Nicely paired with the DualSense controller and your “Midnight Black” PS5

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Pulse 3D Wireless

Back in June, Sony announced two additional colorways for its next-generation DualSense controller. Apart from the classic white, the PlayStation 5’s newest controller also received a Midnight Black and Cosmic Red. This time around, they’ve extended the invitation to another PS5 peripheral, the Pulse 3D Wireless Headset.

Much like the DualSense controller, the headset will also come in Midnight Black. Other than this, everything else is pretty much the same for the Pulse 3D Headset. In essence, it still gives you deeper, more immersive 3D sounds to games that fully take advantage of this. It’s just that now, you have other color options to choose from. Whether or not this also comes in Cosmic Red, Sony has yet to announce that.

It’s worth noting that included in the PS5’s second major update is an equalizer for the 3D Pulse. It adds another layer of control for players. This lets them enjoy the game precisely the way they want to. But if tweaking isn’t your thing, there are also three presets: Standard, Bass Boost, or Shooter.

The Pulse 3D Wireless Headset in Midnight Black will be available on October 29 for PhP 5,590/ SG$ 149 / MYR 469/ DR1,699,000 / THB3,490 / VND2,699,000.

SEE ALSO: How to use the DualSense controller with PC, Mac

 

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Gaming

Nintendo Switch gets Bluetooth audio compatibility

Update rolling out today

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The Nintendo Switch is one of the most versatile consoles available today. Besides being a home console, commuters and travelers can easily take their favorite games with them. However, for all its bells and whistles, the console lacks a key feature present in today’s traveling tech: Bluetooth audio support. In a surprise move, Nintendo is finally bringing the Switch into the wireless fold.

Today, an official software update is rolling out to Switches everywhere. The update adds in support for Bluetooth audio output. Gamers can now play their favorite games through the wireless earbud of their choice. The system’s settings screen now has a Bluetooth Audio setting to pair the console with wireless audio devices.

There are some caveats, though. The new feature is a single-player one. Users can’t attach Bluetooth microphones using the update. Though some games thrive in multiplayer, Nintendo won’t allow the feature yet.

Further, only on audio device can be paired at a single time, adding more complications for local multiplayer. Likewise, pairing an audio device will limit the console’s wireless controller connections to just two at a time. There might be some latency issues as well, according to the official support page.

The update is already rolling out now. Switch users should have access to the feature as soon as they get it.

SEE ALSO: Is the Nintendo Switch (OLED) worth the upgrade?

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