Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Thursday, July 22.
1. ASUS ROG Phone 3: Reviews are glowing
The Asus ROG Phone 3 launched yesterday and once again I think many people wondered what exactly a gaming smartphone could really offer.
High-end phones sport many of the same specs; gaming on a small device is still not ideal, and just using a Bluetooth controller swiped from your Xbox or Playstation is much better than handheld phone gaming. Right?
- It’s really easy to make fun of these overpowered gaming phones that exist in a small niche and look like they appeal to teenagers.
- But the reason ASUS has persisted with a new third-gen gaming phone in the ROG Phone 3 is that it really is a complete package.
- Aside from the design, this is now a device for everyone: it takes surprisingly great photos, it’s powerful, it has a long-lasting battery, and just as phones are heading to 90Hz or 120Hz refresh rate displays, this has a 144Hz refresh rate.
- Plus, dedicated vents for keeping it cool, two USB-C ports for optimal charging angles, improved speakers, and it’s the first phone with the overclocked Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset which makes it long-term speedy.
- There are also gaming air triggers, touch-sensitive spots on the chassis that allow you to map touch inputs to the sides of your device. More inputs, more/faster combos in games, or quick building in Fortnite.
- The major downside is no real water resistance, given its approach to cooling, and it’s not cheap, starting at €799, which might price it at around $800-$850 in the US, should it be released in North America. Oh, and if you haven’t seen one of these before, they’re thicker, chunky guys too, none too svelte.
- There’s also an ‘AeroActive Cooler 3’ module which can be clicked into place during longer gaming sessions to keep the device performing without heat limitations.
- It still looks like a gaming phone with accents and RGB lights and a certain gamer dude vibe:
Still some problems:
- Leaving aside the price sticker, which goes up to €799, ASUS has a few software problems. Not so much what comes when you open the box, which may have a few small kinks but does allow for loads of customizations including even CPU clock speed changes.
- The problems include slower than best-practice Android updates, and while the camera is good it’s not a particularly great UI setup. Gaming first, camera second.
- Also no headphone jack or microSD ports.
- Gaming wise, too, a standard iPhone is always going to appeal: iOS has a bigger game library, that all iPhones offer the same hardware setup means easier standardization for developers.
Some of David Imel’s thoughts on the device from his review:
- Performance: “The ROG Phone 3 is the fastest phone we’ve ever tested.”
- Camera: “Overall, I was incredibly impressed with this camera. It can go toe-to-toe with phones such as the OnePlus 8 Pro. I wasn’t expecting that from a gaming phone.”
- Verdict: “If you’re looking for a slim or stylish device, the ROG Phone 3 probably won’t meet your criteria. But if you’re looking for the best performance, great cameras, a big battery, and a decent UI, the ROG Phone 3 will serve you fantastically.”
- Strong words from our long-time Android reviewer.
- Would I buy one? If I did more Android gaming, possibly. I do like a bunch of games but I’ve always considered a gaming tablet makes more sense.
- Just a bigger screen makes so much difference.
- Still, a 6.59-inch device is getting towards small tablet size anyway…
2. AT&T spooked customers with misleading phone upgrade warning (Android Authority).
3. Android 11 has a dessert codename after all: Red Velvet Cake. While Google dropped the official sweet treat names back at Android 9, a Google engineer had fun revealing the internal name on a podcast today (Android Authority).
4. Nvidia may buy ARM in huge shakeup of chip industry (Android Authority).
5. Twitter admits hackers accessed DMs for 36 high-profile accounts (TechCrunch).
6. Microsoft’s Xbox Games Showcase happens today, including a look at Halo Infinite, at 9am PT (12pm ET). YouTube will have a 1080p/60fps livestream and 4K/60fps VoD after.
7. 🗣 Alexa will soon be able to launch Android and iOS apps using voice commands (The Verge).
8. Sony’s wearable air conditioner is pretty cool (The Verge).
9. The world’s most valuable automaker, Tesla, turned a profit for the fourth quarter in a row, a first for the company. If you want to wade into the waters of Tesla’s sale of regulatory credits to other automakers helping the bottom line, go for it (caranddriver.com). Also, its second US Gigafactory for the Cybertruck will be built in Austin, Texas (CNET).
10. Microsoft’s doing the monopoly thing again, Slack says (Gizmodo).
11. Fun bit of detail about how that Qantas 747 pulled off a kangaroo in the sky (Twitter).
12. China successfully launches its Tianwen-1 Mars rover (Engadget).
13. Things are starting to get interesting at SpaceX’s Starship factory in Texas (Ars Technica).
14. “Do dogs notice us getting older?” (r/nostupidquestions).
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