Do you really NEED high-end specs for mobile gaming?
With mobile gaming on the rise, it isn’t surprising that brands have been creating smartphones targeted for mobile gamers.
We have here the vivo Y21T which is touted by vivo as the budget smartphone built for all your mobile gaming needs. Then, there’s the ROG Phone 5s Pro which ASUS claims as a gadget that will take your mobile gaming experience into the next dimension.
It’s a lopsided match on paper, for sure. But what we’re really trying to find out here is if the you absolutely NEED high-ends specs for mobile gaming. Let’s go!
Apple, will make the case for the vivo Y21T while Andre wields the overpowered ROG Phone 5S Pro.
Let’s first look into how these devices compare with their looks.
Apple: Sleek and easy to hold
Even being a budget smartphone, I find it impressive how vivo was still able to create a premium design for the Y21T.
Its Pearl White variant can really catch your attention. It has a glossy back with light crystal coating that changes its hue when hit by light.
And despite not having an aggressive looking aesthetic that screams gaming, I find its size really convenient. It fits perfectly in my hand and its design looks more versatile for day-to-day use.
Andre: Aesthetic perfect for gamers
Having gaming as its primary focus, the ROG Phone 5s Pro looks and feels the part. Unlike the vivo Y21T, everything about it screams gaming. Punchy red accents, geometric lines, and the flashy ROG Vision display at the back. This design would have any gaming enthusiast drooling.
Measuring 6.80-inches long, it doesn’t just look good, but it feels comfortable to play on. It also sports the Ultrasonic sensors and AirTriggers that a lot of ROG Phones are known for. The aforementioned seriously elevates the gaming experience. You do kind of feel that you are playing on a legit gaming console.
So if you’re into the way it looks and its size, you won’t be disappointed, this will surely catch the eyes of gamer peeps around you.
Moving onto the display department, these are two very different devices. Both are pretty capable in providing us with an enjoyable gaming experience.
Apple: Just the right display
The vivo Y21T has a 6.51-inch, 1600×720 HD+ IPS Display. It may have been a bit disappointing since it still has a 720p resolution despite being launched this year. But in reality, after playing for a while, you’ll get over it. You’ll barely mind the difference once you’re already in the gaming zone.
I still enjoyed playing games such as Genshin Impact and Call of Duty: Mobile as the display still delivers vibrant colors and vivid details. It also still gives you a smooth and delightful visual experience despite its refresh rate being just at 60Hz.
It may not be as bright, but who plays games under direct sunlight anyways?
Andre: Display and responsiveness at its best
On the ROG Phone 5s Pro, we are getting a feature packed 6.78-inch, AMOLED display. With a whopping 144Hz refresh rate, 800 nits of brightness and a peak rating of 1,200 nits, this is one of the most intense displays made for gaming on a smartphone.
As you have guessed, it is a feast for our eyes. Extremely smooth, exhilaratingly vibrant and elegantly beautiful.
It has a chin and forehead though…
Now onto the heart of this comparison. Let’s talk about the actual gaming performance we can get out of these phones.
Apple: Optimized gaming
One factor that vivo can really boast about the Y21T is its chipset. Equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 680 with Adreno 610 GPU, legit gamers would be happy seeing that Snapdragon branding. This means a lot of games are optimized to run on this chipset.
And true enough, despite its highly intensive graphics, Genshin Impact was very playable at medium settings.
Getting my game on Call of Duty: Mobile, this even manages to play it at maxed out settings on medium FPS. This means all graphical detail will be displayed just the same as how they would be on all other more expensive smartphones.
It was really great to know that an experience like this was even possible with a smartphone at this price range.
ROG Phones are always packed with the finest specs around. The Phone 5s Pro is no different. A Snapdragon 888+ with 18GB of RAM and 512GB of internal storage is what’s running this beast. That’s even more RAM than most gaming laptops I’ve reviewed.
As expected, all games we’ve played ran at the highest available settings at the fastest possible speeds. And the experience is no less than amazing. As I’ve mentioned in my review, this is even the first time I have maxed out all graphic settings on Genshin Impact on a smartphone that ran this well.
Another aspect that contributes to the gaming experience in these phones could be found in their software. Both devices come with their own game mode to compliment their gaming capabilities.
Apple: Enhanced experience
The vivo Y21T has its Ultra Gaming Mode which allows gamers to choose modes and adjust the phones performance on specific games. It grants us the ability to monitor our resource usage, battery percentage, game FPS, brightness adjustment and notification settings while in game.
It also has been loaded with vivo’s Multi-Turbo 5.0 which automatically kicks in upon entering a game. This enhances its network connection, processing speed and power-saving performance ensuring that the phone is at its optimal state for playing games.
Also, one notable difference of the Y21T on the ROG Phone 5s Pro is that we have received the latest Android 12 update on the Y21T while the Phone 5s Pro still hasn’t and is still left on Android 11.
Andre: Monitor and tweak everything in this software
On the other hand, the ROG Phone 5s Pro has a more complex console in its Armoury Crate app. Not only can you monitor and choose between preset settings but micromanage your own settings based on what you prefer.
If you feel like adjusting the vibration strength on intense actions or the sensitivity of your movement, you’re free to do so in this console.
It even suggests games for you to try out which is handy for when you’re thinking of what to play next.
Enjoying your games would not be possible without capable batteries. And both of these phones are equipped with ones that let you get in the game for hours.
Apple: Battery that keeps you going
One thing that’s commendable with the vivo Y21T is its robust 5000 mAh battery. This may already be a standard battery for budget smartphones but it definitely doesn’t disappoint.
It lasts me for a day and a half or up to two days doing my daily tasks. I even managed to squeeze in viewing some Netflix episodes. And when I also sneaked in some game time, I thought my battery percentage would deplete quickly but surprisingly, only two percent was deducted from it.
Andre: Massive capacity that charges incredibly fast
For battery performance, the ROG Phone 5s Pro is rated with a 6,000 mAh battery in two 3,000 mAh configurations. This resulted in one of the fastest charging speeds I’ve experienced in this rated capacity. At its peak 65W charging speed, a ten minute charge took us to 25 percent capacity and only took just under one hour to get a full charge.
Battery life does get us about a day on normal use but does run out more quickly when gaming. Pretty okay results especially if we consider that this is fueling a lot of power hungry specs. But in case it does run out on you, at least it won’t take long to get all juiced up.
Is the vivo Y21T or the ROG Phone 5s Pro your Gaming GadgetMatch?
Bottomline is, the vivo Y21T and the ROG Phone 5s Pro are both amazing and more than capable gaming smartphone. However, the choice will come down to your budget and preferred gaming experience.
If you still want to enjoy casually playing your games, you don’t actually need to spend a ton of cash and could still get by with a budget smartphone. Still optimized for gaming but also versatile enough to serve as daily driver, the vivo Y21T is a great match for budget gamers.
But for big budget gamers, if you’re after the complete all-out gaming experience that can even be further enhanced with all of its other features in case you still have some extra cash, then the ASUS ROG Phone 5s Pro is hands down an outstanding piece of gaming machinery.
The vivo Y21T is priced at PhP 10,000 and is available in Midnight Blue and Pearl White while the ASUS ROG Phone 5s Pro with 18GB LPDDR5 RAM and 512GB storage is currently available for PhP 59,995 / SG$ 1,799.
moto razr+ Hands-on: Flip Phone Done Right!
Or moto razr 40 ultra globally
Meet the newest moto razr+ — or moto razr 40 ultra globally. It has all the flagship-grade hardware in a thin and compact form.
But its biggest upgrade has got to be its new full-on cover screen — and it might just be the best one yet!
Can’t wait to see how the new razr looks and feels?
Here’s our hands-on with the new moto razr+.
If you haven’t kept track of the record, motorola released two razr flip phones globally. Those are the motorola razr back in 2019, and the motorola razr 5G in 2020.
motorola (or Lenovo) then skipped the year 2021 and brought us the motorola razr 2022 — only to be sold exclusively to China.
Fast track to 2023, motorola is coming back with a whole new flip phone for the international markets! Say hello to the 2023 motorola razr family
Horizon Forbidden West: Burning Shores sways both ways
And why shouldn’t it?
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
It’s been more than a month since the release of Horizon: Forbidden West’s DLC, Burning Shores and the reviews came in hot. There were plenty of raves that the game is a treat as are the visuals. But what really made the most waves on the is that the fiery redhead heroine gets a partner. In more ways than one.
Aloy was first introduced in Horizon Zero Dawn as an outcast, so being on her own was expected. Understandably, when you’re treated like a pariah since childhood, warming up to people isn’t exactly second nature.
The burden of being The One
She picks up new friends, even some potentially interested parties along the way but the game steers us from expecting that they’ll be tagging along for the long run. By the game’s sequel, she is still Ms. Independent, but with blossoming character development in terms of her interpersonal relationships
While there’s a bit of attraction and tension with men and women alike thrown in-game, Aloy never gets into anything no matter how hard you try to flirt. (Yes, we tried). Horizon clearly didn’t focus on finding her mate, given that there is indeed a lot on Aloy’s plate.
She even admits in dialogue that her mission as The One created to save the world, is a full-time occupation that she can’t think of anything else. Fair enough, you go do what you gotta do, girl.
Along came Seyka
With the introduction of Seyka in Burning Shores, it would’ve been easy to dismiss that sure, they have chemistry but nothing’s going to happen. We’ve gone so far with Aloy embracing singlehood by choice, why would it change now?
That’s probably what made this DLC stand out. After becoming partners in crime, the pair share an intimate conversation where they first met to consider pursuing something more. The player option to engage in a romance probably has the audience saying “finally” or asking, “why now?”, and those who appear to take issue in Seyka’s sex are asking “why?”
But the better question is, WHY NOT?
Seyka is no stranger to duty and purpose, being intent in rescuing her sister and tribespeople from Burning Shore’s main villain, Walter Londra. She is headstrong, agile, and fierce — qualities she shares with our main girl. Aloy also learns to rely on someone for help, which is a big deal.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise either that Aloy would take on a lady love: Forbidden West final boss Tilda did express that she loved Elizabet Sobeck — Aloy’s clone source or “mother” — more than we know. Who’s to say that the genetic copy of the apple would fall far from the tree? Ultimately, should the player to decide to let Aloy initiate a romance, it’s not the end of the world if it’s a girl. Actually, they even saved it together.
SEE ALSO: Horizon Forbidden West Review: Back to save us from machines
The story of Burning Shores picks up directly where Horizon Forbidden West left off. It contains additional content for Horizon Forbidden West, including new characters and experiences in a stunning yet hazardous new area.
To enter the Burning Shores, you must complete the main quest (up to and including Singularity) in the PS5 version of Horizon Forbidden West. Following the main quest, the player will receive a call over Aloy’s Focus, beginning the DLC.
How well do PlayStation games run on the ROG Ally?
Spoiler: Pretty good
The ROG Ally has caused quite a buzz in the gaming community at large. Personally, I’m thrilled at the prospect of owning a handheld gaming PC/console to play games I otherwise would not have access to. I mainly play on my PlayStation 5 (PS5). Naturally, I was curious how some of my favorite games will run on the ROG Ally.
Things are promising on paper. The ROG Ally is built to be able to run AAA titles. Here’s a quick look at the specs of the unit we had for recap:
|CPU||AMD Ryzen™ Z1 Extreme Processor
|GPU||With AMD Ryzen Z1 Extreme Config:
|Panel||Full HD (1920 x 1080), 120 Hz / 7 ms eDP1.4b, 500 nits, IPS-panel, 100% sRGB, FreeSync™ Premium, Gorilla® Glass Victus™ and Gorilla® Glass DXC, 10-point Touchscreen
|Memory||16GB (LPDDR5 6400Mhz) dual channel LPDDR5 8GBx2 on board memory|
|Audio||2 x 1W speakers with smart amp technology, Dolby Atmos®, Hi-Res Audio, AI Noise Cancellation|
|Wi-Fi / Bluetooth||WiFi 6E (802.11ax) / Bluetooth® v5.2|
|Storage||512GB (for Z1 Extreme config)
+SD card slot UHS-2
|I/O PORT||ROG XG Mobile interface (8PCI express lanes) and USB Type-C combo port (with USB 3.2 Gen2, DP 1.4 support) — (1x)
3.5mm Audio jack — (1x)
Micro SD slot (UHS-II, Micro SD 4.0) — (1x)
|Adapter||65W PD adapter, supports pass through charging|
|Dimensions||280.44 * 111.18 * 21.22 mm
PlayStation Studios on PC
PlayStation, in the past couple of years, has decided to spread the love and let PC players experience some of the best they have to offer. Currently, there are 12 PlayStation exclusive titles playable on PC. And they’re available on either Steam or the Epic Games Store.
In case you’re curious the available games are as follows:
- Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered
- Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
- God of War (2018)
- Uncharted: The Legacy of Thieves Collection
- Destiny 2: Lightfall
- Horizon: Zero Dawn
- Days Gone
- Predator Hunting Grounds
- Sackboy: A big Adventure
- The Last of Us Part 1
PlayStation Asia was kind enough to give us codes for three of the 12 titles now available on PC. Here’s how they ran on the ROG Ally.
Quick note: I played on Performance mode with brightness hovering at around 50-55% indoors in an air conditioned room.
Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered
Marvel’s Spider-Man, along with NBA 2K, is my comfort game. Whenever I feel frustrated or just having a bad day, I fire up either game. On Spider-Man, I just swing aimlessly around the digital Manhattan that Insomniac built.
It was such a delight to learn that I can do this on the go now too with Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered playing pretty darn well on the ROG Ally.
I had the framerate limiter turned on, maxing out at 60. Despite that, I only reached a max of 31 fps with dips to as low as 15. It looks bad on paper, but is much more tolerable during actual gameplay. The dips usually happened during cutscenes. Majority of the gameplay hovered around 25-30 fps.
I knew it was never gonna reach the level of detail and smoothness that I get on the PS5 and LG C2 combo that I usually play on. There was plenty of noticeable stuttering especially during the busier sections of the game. But I didn’t think any of it was game breaking.
Audio wasn’t as loud as I hoped it would be despite me playing in a pretty quiet room. I opted to pair it with Bluetooth earbuds (OnePlus Buds Pro 2) to get the most of the audio. There were no audio delays whatsoever which was a very welcome development.
My average play time was about one hour and 20 minutes. That’s with the battery going from 100% to 20% each time.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales
Coming from the same Studio and pretty much being essentially the same game, Spider-Man: Miles Morales didn’t run too differently from Spider-Man Remastered.
I played in the exact same conditions: Indoor room, AC on, started at 100%, performance mode, and medium brightness settings. Curiously, the frame dips happened more during open-world swinging and not as much during cutscenes. This could be because of the busier version of New York due to the events of the game being set during the Christmas season.
But the numbers weren’t too different. I still maxed at 31 fps, with most of the gameplay hovering around 25-30 fps, and the lowest dip coming in at 16fps.
Again, nothing game breaking and it is much more tolerable during gameplay. Naturally, you have to have your expectations set properly. The ROG Ally is, after all, a handheld gaming PC.
Average play time is around one hour and 25 minutes with about 75% to 80% of the battery life being consumed.
Returnal is one of the titles I was most excited to try. I was curious about how the audio and controller rumble would translate to the ROG Ally. On the PS5, Audio and DualSense implementation are two of the game’s many strengths.
Due to audio cues on enemies’ locations, this game is best played with earbuds/headphones on. The experience on the ROG Ally isn’t quite 3D Audio on PS5 levels, but it’s as close as it gets.
The same can be said for the controller rumble. It’s not as precise nor finely implemented as the DualSense – that’s a unique feature after all. However, I was still thoroughly impressed with how the ROG Ally implemented rumble in certain sections of the game. The rumble effect is also a testament to how well-built the Ally is. Despite the internals shaking, the Ally never felt brittle nor that it would suddenly come apart.
Knowing this is a shooter game, I turned the framerate limiter off and reached highs of 115 fps. The framerate did dip to as low as 15 fps which is about the widest variance I got from any game I played using the Ally. This did affect gameplay especially during sections where I had to deal with multiple enemies.
I did experience plenty of crashes which isn’t ideal for a game like Returnal whose progress relies on you surviving as long as you can on a single run through. But this only happened during the first few minutes. After a while, it seemed like the ROG Ally had adjusted to the performance-demands of the game.
It took about an hour and 10 minutes before I had to plug-in the Ally to not lose a playthrough.
Since the ROG Ally is essentially a handheld gaming PC, you can certainly install the Remote Play app on it. However, you can’t just immediately use the gamepad. To play Horizon: Forbidden West, and generally just run the app, I had to pair the Ally with my DualSense controller.
You can map the gamepad so that it works but mapping isn’t an activity I enjoy nor did I have the time (I had to return the review unit) to do it. Other reviewers pointed to using a third-party app called Chiaki. But again, I didn’t have time to test it. I did see gameplay of it though so it seems to be working just fine.
Knowing that you can do all these on the Ally actually makes you question the upcoming PlayStation Q handheld. Sure, the integration will likely be seamless. But its core function can already be replicated on other handhelds and handheld-like devices. I digress.
It’s worth noting that the relatively smooth experience I had with the ROG Ally was also aided by an internet connection that constantly hovers in the 250+ mbps range along with a Wi-Fi 6 router.
The ROG Ally is PlayStation friendly
If you want to know what it’s like playing PlayStation 5 games on a handheld device, the ROG Ally is easily one of the best devices to play with. The gameplay isn’t quite as smooth but you shouldn’t expect it to be. And yes, you’ll find yourself reaching for the power adapter after a little over an hour of playthrough. But being able to play AAA titles on a handheld device still feels crazy to me.
Having started gaming on a family computer and covering tech for a living, it’s still mind-blowing to me how far technology has come. The stuff I only dreamed of as a little fat gamer is coming true thanks to the ROG Ally and its contemporaries.
The ROG Ally Z1 Extreme retails for US$ 699. The ROG Ally Z1 variant retails for US$ 599. Pre-orders begin on May 11. It will be available for sale worldwide on June 13, 2023.
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