Exterior, day. We see a factory or something. A helicopter flies straight into it and explodes. Everything explodes! And then a man soars out of the explosion, holding a big metal claw in one hand. He looks at the camera.
Anyway, they’re making a Just Cause film. That news, plus George R. R. Martin dabbles in video games, Call of Duty reboots Modern Warfare, Telltale’s catalog starts disappearing, Frostbite shows off its luscious locks, and a bevy of free games to carry you through your (hopefully) long weekend.
This is gaming news for May 20 to 24.
Hopefully you have a long weekend ahead of you to take advantage of all this week’s free games, because there are a lot of them. First up: Overwatch is celebrating its third anniversary this week, a fact I find personally horrifying as someone who played it at release. If you haven’t yet dug into Blizzard’s shooter though, you can download and play it free through Battle.net until May 28.
The only way to ensure a solid connection all over your house is to invest in a good Wi-Fi system, but that investment often comes at a hefty cost. Today you can save a few bucks on one of our favorites with this awesome Amazon deal: A refurbished Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi System RBK43 is down to $210Remove non-product link, $90 off its $300 list price and the best price we've ever tracked.
Stand on the sidelines no longer, and get into gaming with this fantastic deal at Newegg. Until Monday, the online retailer is selling an AMD-based gaming desktop for $600, dubbed the SkyTech Archangel Gaming ComputerRemove non-product link. In addition to the desktop, you get two free games courtesy of AMD: World War Z and Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 Gold Edition.
When you’re looking for a good, cheap laptop, knowledge is power. Every budget machine (which we’re defining as Windows laptops costing $500 or less) is the product of compromise—corners carefully cut here and there to hit a price point.
Your job is to find the one that checks off the most boxes for your needs. We’ll show you what to look for by highlighting which budget laptops among the best-sellers currently listed at Amazon and Best Buy are worth buying. We haven’t necessarily tested these specific machines (we’ll let you know if we have), but we’ve seen enough similar ones to have a good idea of the pros and cons. We’re also focusing on 14-inch and larger laptops, because part of the great deal should be getting a decent-sized display.
Winter is coming. Well, so is something “super” from Nvidia.
Not to be left out of the news cycle, Nvidia on Thursday teased, well... something, with a mysterious YouTube video that pretty much just featured the word “Super” in the style of the metallic logo used on its popular graphics cards.
Nvidia’s teaser isn’t a new tack of course. The company has long been known for building hype around upcoming product launches by engaging consumers with puzzles and challenges.
No matter how good your playlist is, a bad Bluetooth speaker can kill ruin your Memorial Day party. But Amazon's got a great price today on one of our favorites: the Anker SoundCore Boost Bluetooth speaker is just $51Remove non-product link when you check the coupon box in the listing, down from a list price of $80 and the lowest price we've seen.
Indie app developer Panic may be best known for its fun and useful Mac and iOS software, but its latest venture is decidedly outside the box. Building on the success of the cross-platform game Firewatch, which it published, the team is building a handheld video game system called Playdate that’s just as fun and quirky as Panic’s iconic app icons: It’s yellow, has retro Game Boy charm, and features a Model T Ford-style crank.
Panic says the device “fits perfectly in a pocket” and is built “entirely from scratch,” right down to its Playdate OS, a full-featured SDK supporting C and Lua development, and a Mac-based simulator and debugger. Instead of a color screen, Playdate sports “a black-and-white screen with high reflectivity, a crystal-clear image, and no backlight.” It also has a headphone jack. And did we mention its crank?
Amazon already brings joy to the millions of people who receive its packages, but now it wants to know how you’re feeling during the other 1,400 minutes in your day. Bloomberg reports that Amazon is developing a new wearable device “that can discern the wearer’s emotional state from the sound of his or her voice.”
Bloomberg describes the device as a wrist-worn gadget marketed as a health and wellness product. It reportedly has “microphones paired with software” and “could be able to advise the wearer how to interact more effectively with others.” The device is being developed by the same teams responsible for the Echo speakers and Alexa voice recognition, Bloomberg says. The same group is is also reportedly working on a home robot companion with “advanced cameras and computer vision software and can navigate through homes like a self-driving car.”
Computex is still days away but the parade of notebooks has already begun. Late Wednesday, Acer introduced two AMD-powered laptops to its lineup with new versions of the Nitro 5 gaming notebook and Swift 3 ultrabook.
The 15.6-inch Acer Nitro 5 pairs AMD’s 2nd-gen Ryzen 7 3750H processor with an AMD Radeon RX 560 GPU. The laptop looks to be built on the same chassis as the existing Acer Nitro 5 that’s running a Ryzen 5 2500U and a Radeon RX 560X GPU.
Although both CPUs pack four-cores with symmetrical multi-threading (AMD’s version Hyper-Threading), the key change between the two is the higher wattage. The Ryzen 7 3750H is rated at 35 watts of thermal dissipation while the Ryzen 5 2500U is rated at 15 watts. In non-nerd talk, that means the Ryzen 7 should run at higher clock speeds for a longer period of time.
It’s almost Memorial Day and there are some interesting sales popping up. Walmart is currently discounting Samsung electronics, and we spotted a great deal on a 2018 Samsung 55-inch 4K HDR smart TV for $398Remove non-product link. The lowest price we’ve ever seen for the UN55NU6900 on Amazon was $447, and Walmart’s list price for this TV is $528.
I wasn’t expecting much from Kingston’s KC2000 M.2 NVMe SSD, given the last Kingston NVMe drive I tested, the affordable but mundane A1000. Color me wrong—this latest effort delivers real-world performance that matches anything available, and sets it at your feet for about 20 cents per gigabyte. Sweet. Super sweet.
Design and specs
The KC2000 is a PCIe x4 M.2 NMVe drive in the 2280 format (22 mm wide, 80 mm long) that ships in four capacities: $62.40/250GB, $114.40/500GB, $201.50/1TB (the capacity we tested), and $410.80/2TB. Note that there’s no premium for the two larger capacity drives. That’s unusual, and it speaks to the fairness of Kingston's pricing. I also appreciate that there's no 99-cent trickery to make it look and sound cheaper.
Here at PCWorld, we know how important extra space is for your Android phone or Nintendo Switch, so we're always on the lookout for great deals on microSD cards. And we found another one: Amazon is selling the 200GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC for $27.29Remove non-product link, down from a list price of $85 and extremely close to an all-time low.
The hits keep coming for Huawei. Following the revocation of its license to use Google apps and the Play Store on its Android phones and a ban by several major chipmakers, including Intel, Broadcom, and Qualcomm, a leaked memo obtained by the BBC has revealed that ARM has ordered its employees to cease “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with the beleaguered China-based tech giant.
While ARM is a UK-based company, its chip designs contain technology that originated in the U.S. and subsequently are believed to be subject to the Commerce Department’s blanket ban. The memo says ARM employees are no longer able to “provide support, delivery technology (whether software, code, or other updates), engage in technical discussions, or otherwise discuss technical matters.”
Adding a solid state drive is still the single best upgrade you can give an aging PC. If you have a newer desktop or laptop with an M.2 NVMe slot, then that’s even better. But for older devices still rocking a standard (and slow) mechanical hard drive, a SATA III SSD provides an amazing improvement in speed and responsiveness. Seriously: The difference between a hard drive and an SSD can’t be overstated.
Today, we’ve got two stunning SSD deals for your consideration.
First up: The 1TB WD Blue 3D is on sale for $97Remove non-product link with the checkout code EMCTAVU23 at Newegg. That’s $18 cheaper than Newegg’s current price of $115, and under 10 cents per gig! This drive is one of the best SSDs for most people, trailing behind only the Samsung 860 EVO, which currently sells for $147 for the same 1TB capacity. Don’t miss out.
Google has begun forcing “a subset of our enterprise G Suite customers” to change their passwords after an issue that inadvertently left passwords exposed for more than a decade.
In a post to its Google Cloud blog Tuesday, the company outlined an error made back in 2005 that stored a copy of actual user passwords rather than the usual scrambled “hashed” version, thus making it possible for an outside attack to gain access to usable passwords. Google explains that the issue has been fixed and the company has “seen no evidence of improper access to or misuse of the affected passwords.”
How can I type kaomoji on my PC? And what are kaomoji, anyway? Fortunately, the answers to both questions are simple, and easily accessible within Windows 10's May 2019 Update. The familiar emoji keyboard within Windows has been expanded to include both kaomoji and symbols, and adding them to Facebook, Twitter, and other social media apps is extremely easy.
What’s a kaomoji? A kaomoji is simply a more complex emoticon, the predecessor to the emoji. You’re probably familiar with the smiley :) or winky ;) which consist of familiar punctuation symbols combined to form an expression.That’s an emoticon. Emoji are simply pictorial representations of emoticons, so that a winky symbol is represented as a 😉.
Microsoft appears to have pulled Huawei's Matebook X Pro from its online shelves, and Best Buy, too, has followed suit. Huawei phones and devices are still available from Amazon and Newegg as of this posting, however.
Neither the Huawei Matebook X Pro nor the Huawei Matebook 13 appear on Microsoft's Store site, though at least the Matebook X Pro appeared previously, as the Verge noted. The only reference to Huawei on the site is via third-party apps that reference Huawei services, none of which appear to be authored by Huawei.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 May 2019 Update offers some badly needed improvements to Windows Update, a much speedier search function, and troubleshooters that solve problems on their own. There’s even an updated emoji keyboard with symbols and the more sophisticated kaomoji (❁´◡`❁). The best feature, however, is the cool new Windows Sandbox.
The May 2019 Update (also known as 19H1 or version 1903) may not officially be pushed to your PC until later in May, but it’s already available if you want to manually download it via Windows Update. We've also compiled a separate roundup of the best hidden features of the Windows 10 May 2019 Update that lurk beneath what we've talked about here, including a better Focus Assist and reserved storage.
Microsoft said Tuesday that it has begun making the Windows 10 May 2019 Update generally available, though the company said that it will take a “measured and throttled approach” toward rolling it out.
Microsoft also implied that if your PC hasn’t already automatically upgraded to the Windows 10 October 2018 Update, PCs on that version and earlier releases will begin updating this June, as they reach what Microsoft calls the end of service date on November 12, 2019.
To receive the Windows 10 May 2019 Update now, you can go to the Windows 10 Settings menu, go to Update & Security, and click the Check for updates button at the top of the page. That will be received by Microsoft as a request for the update.
Mozilla released Firefox version 67 on Tuesday, promising that the browser is 40 to 80 percent faster compared to a year ago. Firefox 67 also ships with a number of other new features, including amped-up Private Mode options and an intriguing GPU acceleration tool.
Ever since Firefox Quantum overhauled the browser's backbone at the end of 2017, Firefox has emphasized speed as a niche in the crowded field of competing browsers. As our recent browser tests showed (based on Firefox 64) it’s a niche that the company has somewhat exploited—Firefox is indeed fast, but so is its competition. Opera remains our favorite browser.
Using a robot vacuum to care for your home not only makes you look cool, but adds some hands-free convenience to your cleaning routine. Of course, they can get a little pricey, but today you can get one of our favorites on a ludicrous sale. The Neato Botvac D6 Connected is $400 at Best BuyRemove non-product link today, a massive discount from the $730 list price that it’s selling for at other retailers.
The camera whirs into focus. Distorts. Whirs into focus again. Scanlines and static make the scene hard to process at first, but they slowly fade. There’s an astronaut here—Emma Fisher, one of your crew. She sounds worried. “That wasn’t good. SAM, run your self diagnostic procedure. What errors are you showing?”
You check, one memory module at a time. The first one, mostly red, displays 95% degradation. The second, 93%. The remaining two, similar. “The main memory core has been corrupted,” you say. “I have lost significant station data.” Your voice is calm. The implications are not. There’s been some sort of accident onboard the Low Orbit Space Station, maybe an explosion, and nobody knows why. Not even you, the ship’s artificial intelligence.
A bad month has just gotten a whole lot worse for Huawei. According to a Reuters report and confirmed by the two companies, Google is preparing to cut off the China-based smartphone maker’s Android license, preventing future Huawei phones (such as the upcoming Mate 30) from using the Play Store and Google’s popular apps and services.
The bombshell comes just days after President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order barring U.S. companies from using telecommunications equipment made by firms that “pose a national security risk.” While the order didn’t single out Huawei, the Commerce Department simultaneously added Huawei to its Entity List, effectively banning the smartphone maker from buying parts and components from U.S. companies without explicit government approval. Together, the two moves make it extremely difficult for any U.S. company to do business with Huawei.