Gadgets, Game & Mobile News

YouTube’s upcoming AI-powered creator tools include a generative green screen

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 16:31

YouTube has new AI features for creators on the way. AI-powered features the company announced at its Made on YouTube event on Thursday include a green screen feature, insights to stimulate ideas, automatic dubbing to other languages and a soundtrack search.

Dream Screen gives YouTube Shorts creators an AI-powered green screen, similar to a popular feature on TikTok. YouTube’s tool will automatically remove backgrounds from your videos, replacing them with AI-generated images or videos based on your prompts.

Although it’s yet to be seen how professional and convincing the generated content appears in practice, the idea is for Dream Screen to make it easier to illustrate fantasy scenarios or simply liven up otherwise ho-hum backdrops. YouTube suggests trekking through an enchanted forest or riding shotgun as your pug drives you to school as two oddball scenes Dream Screen can craft. The company says it will start to test the tool with “select creators” later this year before a broader rollout in 2024.

YouTube marketing screenshot of an upcoming generative feature called AI insights. The shot shows a creator's YouTube Studio page. The Channel analytics page has a box up top that says, YouTube Studio’s AI-powered insight recommendationsYouTube

YouTube Studio will get a new feature that brainstorms for you. Similar to asking ChatGPT for video ideas, the “insight recommendations” feature can draft outlines and help creators conceptualize projects. Similarly, assistive search in Creator Music will make it easier to find background tunes for your videos. “Simply type in a description of your content and AI will suggest the right music at the right price,” YouTube VP Toni Reid wrote today. Both Insights and assistive music search will be available for creators next year.

YouTube also showcased the AI-powered dubbing feature it began testing earlier this year. Developed at Google’s Area 120 incubator, it can generate a text-based translation into the selected target language. The company says it gives you a chance to double-check the output before choosing from different virtual narrators to read your content. The feature is currently being tested with select creators in English, Portuguese and Spanish.

The company is also launching a YouTube Create app to help video makers produce content on their mobile devices. It includes standard features like editing, trimming, automatic captioning, voiceovers, filters, effects and royalty-free music with beat matching. The free app is currently in beta for Android in select markets.

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Bose Unveils Smart Ultra Soundbar with Dolby Atmos Onboard - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-09-21 15:18
The new Bose soundbar promises even better dialog reproduction than before.

How to track your moods in watchOS 10

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 15:10

Apple’s watchOS 10 officially became available on September 18, and it brings a new feature in the Mindfulness app that gives you the option of logging your feelings and moods directly on your watch face. These updates will be available if you have an Apple Watch Series 4 or newer model. Here’s how to navigate that new feature.

Mindfulness appMalak Saleh How to log your mood

When you open the Mindfulness app, tap “State of Mind” and then “Get Started” to begin the logging process. From there, you can either log a “momentary emotion” to input how you feel at that instant, or a “daily mood” to report how you felt overall that day.

Mood loggingMalak Saleh

Using the watch’s Digital Crown, you can scroll through seven abstract images with corresponding emotional valences ranging from "very pleasant" to "very unpleasant." Once you select an emotion, you can opt for more logging and go into greater detail about the feelings you’re experiencing (including what's having the biggest effect on you) by selecting options from a drop-down menu.

Mood logging -- very pleasantMalak Saleh How to view your mood logs

Over time you can keep tabs on your daily logging activity in the Health app under the “Mental Wellbeing” tab. Using a paired iPhone, click “State of Mind” and then open “Show in Charts.” From this page, you can view the type of entries for daily moods or momentary emotions. You also have the option to view lifestyle factors associated with these entries to learn how your moods may correlate with variables like time spent in the sun, sleep trends, and exercise habits.

LoggedMalak Saleh

Additionally, specific assessments for depression and anxiety are now accessible in the Health app. You can also export PDFs of personal health reports if you ever need to share logs with a medical professional. You’ll need to open the Health app and click the “Sharing tab” at the bottom of the screen. From there you can choose to “Share with someone,” such as a contact, or “Share with your doctor.” 

If you want to share with your doctor, you can search for specific hospital systems to connect your health data and keep tabs on clinical records. For example, if you were a client at “Green Primary Care” in Huntsville, Alabama, you could directly connect to the patient portal, get secure access to health records, and also share your personal health data with a care team – this is where building a habit of logging daily moods may be helpful for a provider to get a fuller picture on the state of your mental health.

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Best Gas Grill of 2023 - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-09-21 15:00
The key to any backyard get-together is a great gas grill. We've tested the best gas grills on the market to find the perfect one for your budget and needs.

Ubisoft confirms The Division 3, but it’s a long ways off

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 15:00

Ubisoft just confirmed that Tom Clancy’s The Division 3 is headed toward active development. We have a long time to wait before we get our hands on the franchise sequel, despite it being over four years since The Division 2 graced consoles and PCs back in 2019. The company also named Julian Gerighty as Executive Director for the entire The Division brand.

If that name sounds familiar it’s because Gerighty is often credited as being the modern architect of the franchise after coming aboard in 2014 as Associate Creative Director ahead of the original game’s launch. He moved up to Creative Director just in time for The Division 2 and its DLC releases.

So just how long do we have to wait? Settle in folks and grab your hibernation pajamas, as it’s gonna be awhile. Gerighty is currently the Creative Director for a little open-world game called Star Wars Outlaws. He won’t transition to The Division 3 until that game has shipped. Ubisoft says Gerighty’s first task will be to assemble the development team, so that hasn’t happened yet. Star Wars Outlaws doesn’t release until sometime next year so, well, you do the development math.

Despite the forthcoming sequel, Ubisoft says The Division 2 will still be supported, though the company didn’t detail future plans for DLC content. Concrete information regarding The Division 3 is basically non-existent, but Gerighty did say that the development process will be “about refinement, it's about pushing the quality bar consistently forward.”

Outside of that, Gerighty will use his Executive Director role to solidify “brand identity.” That means he’ll be actively involved with spin-off titles, mobile releases and the like. There are a “plethora” of upcoming projects set in the franchise’s universe, like the mobile game The Division Resurgence and the spin-off shooter The Division Heartland.

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GTA+ now includes free games, starting with three Grand Theft Auto remasters

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 14:40

Rockstar announced on Thursday that GTA+ subscribers will now get access to a rotating selection of Rockstar Games. At launch, members can download and play Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition, the 2021 remaster of early 21st-century classics GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas.

The games will only be available for the console platform your GTA+ membership is tied to. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition typically costs $60, so this could be a cheap and easy way to revisit the trio of open-world pioneers. The remastered trilogy polishes the original’s dated graphics with new lighting and environmental upgrades, high-res textures, greater draw distances, modern controls and refined targeting.

The 2021 remake starts with the highly influential Grand Theft Auto III (2001), which dazzled turn-of-the-millennium gamers with its vast (for its day) open-world sandbox of Liberty City. 2002’s GTA: Vice City built on that formula while adding a voiced protagonist, Tommy Vercetti (the late Ray Liotta), along with an abundance of 1980s nostalgia and satire. GTA: San Andreas capped off the trilogy in 2004 with a broader scope (it spans three cities) and a memorable 1990s hip-hop soundtrack; you walk in the shoes of Carl “CJ” Johnson (Christopher Bellard) as he returns to his Grove Street home after five years away.

GTA+ launched in 2022 for GTA Online players on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. In addition to the revolving assortment of games, the $6-per-month program offers perks like a monthly deposit of $500,000 in virtual currency, and rotating rewards like in-game vehicles, clothes, properties, weapons and bonus mission rewards.

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Snapchat+ grows to 5 million subscribers

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 14:25

Snapchat’s subscription service for its most dedicated users continues to grow. Snapchat+, the premium service that offers fans exclusive features, has more than 5 million paying subscribers, Snap announced Thursday.

The milestone comes after the service, which launched last June, crossed 3 million sign-ups in April. That’s still just a fraction of the 750 million people who use Snapchat each month, but it’s a significant number for the company, which has been looking to boost non-advertising sources of revenue. As Bloomberg points out, Snap CEO Evan Spiegel has said his “medium-term goal” is to reach 10 million paying users.

Snapchat has used generative AI tools and other exclusive features to lure users to signing up for the $4-a-month service. When the company first introduced its MyAI chatbot and, more recently, its generative AI selfie feature, the tools were initially limited to paying subscribers. Other perks, like the ability to check how many times friends view your Story and exclusive Bitmoji customizations, are meant to appeal to power users.

The relative success of Snapchat+ stands in contrast to X Premium (formerly known as Twitter Blue), which Elon Musk has made a centerpiece of his strategy to revitalize the embattled social media company’s business. X has not formally released subscriber counts, but one researcher, speaking to Mashable, recently estimated the number to be less than one million.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Razer's latest gaming gear includes RGB lights and new Huntsman Pro keyboards

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 14:23

It's not only Microsoft that had a notable hardware event on Thursday. Razercon took place on the same day. As ever, Razer took the opportunity to reveal its latest gaming gear, accessories and software updates. Among the announcements was a new line of smart light bulbs, lamps and light strips called Aether to help you kit out your home in delicious RGB.

The range includes the $80 Aether Lamp, $130 Lamp Pro (which offers multi-zone lighting), $50 Light Bulb, $130 Light Strip and $30 Light Strip Extender. The devices will be available by the end of the year. They support Razer's Chroma tech along with Alexa, Google Assistant and Matter.

Razer is expanding its range of gaming chairs as well with a new line called Fujin. These chairs have a breathable mesh back and lumbar support. The Pro model has a 3D contoured headrest (which you can buy separately for the base model for $129) and an aluminum alloy frame. The Fujin chairs start at $649 in the US and $599 in the rest of the world. The Pro model will run you $1,049 Stateside and $999 elsewhere. The base model is available now, while the Fujin Pro and headrest will ship in November.

Razer's Fujin Pro gaming chair.Razer

Keyboard enthusiasts might be tempted by the Huntsman V3 Pro. The performance-focused keyboard for competitive gamers features what Razer is calling its most advanced switches yet. They have an adjustable actuation range of between 0.1mm and 4mm, along with a 100-million keystroke lifespan. Other features include a multifunction digital dial, dedicated control buttons, textured keycaps and a leatherette wrist rest.

There are three Huntsman V3 Pro variants, all of which will arrive in October. The standard model is $250. You can save a few bucks by ditching the number pad with the $220 tenkeyless version. The Huntsman V3 Pro Mini, meanwhile, is $180.

Razer's Hunstman V3 Pro keyboard lineup.Razer

On the software side, you'll now be able to use generative AI to create PC desktop wallpapers that hook into Razer Chroma. The company's tech will detect the dominant colors in the wallpapers and reflect those in RGB lighting. There's also a new dedicated Chroma app for managing lighting on Razer devices.

Meanwhile, the Razer Synapse app is getting an update. The aim is to reduce the system resource requirements and make it easier and faster to update Razer devices. You'll still be able to manage RGB lighting in this app too.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Google takes a snarky shot at Apple over RCS in its latest ad

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 14:13

Google has been trying to publicly pressure Apple into adopting the GSMA’s RCS (Rich Communications Service) messaging protocol for a long time now, with nothing to show for it. As a matter of fact, Apple CEO Tim Cook seemed to completely dismiss the idea when he answered a question on the subject by saying that consumers should buy their moms an iPhone. Google and its Android platform aren’t giving up that easily and they’ve just released a snarky ad to continue criticizing Apple's preferred messaging platform. 

The ad’s called “iPager” and mimics Apple’s marketing language to reveal a retro-styled beeper, indicating that Apple’s behind the curve with its chosen messaging platform. The spot states that the iPager uses “outdated messaging tech” to “text with Android,” citing many of the perceived disadvantages of sticking with SMS technology when communicating with Android phones. Google didn’t invent this comparison whole-cloth, as the 30-year-old SMS tech actually dates back to old-school pagers.

Apple’s continued use of SMS messaging does hobble Android integration in a few ways, but the reverse is also true. Most famously, there’s the dreaded green bubble when texting an Android user from an iPhone. There are some feature-breaking bugs inherent to group chats between iOS and Android users and images sent from Android phones to iPhones tend to be rather pixelated. This is yet another side effect of those interoperability issues.

One-on-one RCS messages have been end-to-end encrypted since 2021, with group chats following suit just last month. iMessage texts have long been encrypted too, but only from iPhone to iPhone. Google’s latest ad shines an (admittedly slanted) light on the vulnerability consumers face when texting across operating systems, as those SMS texts aren't encrypted. Additionally, RCS text messages lose encryption when making the leap to iOS devices. It's anyone's guess why Apple should make this change and not Google, despite RCS being a more globally adopted standard.

This ad's unlikely to convince Apple to change anything, as it's only the latest salvo in Google’s snark campaign. Back in 2022, the company spoofed Drake to pile on Apple and there have been plenty of other minor jabs at Cupertino’s expense at events like I/O 2022 and on social media. We all know Apple is notoriously stubborn when it comes to adopting non-proprietary technology, especially if it views the change as unnecessary. No matter who's to blame, these interoperability issues are annoying for consumers and bad for data privacy. Maybe an antitrust case will get this sorted one day.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Razer makes a $5,000 Lamborghini-inspired version of its Blade 16 laptop

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 14:00

This year’s Razercon event held a couple of surprises for those who love the computer accessory company and luxury lifestyle brands. Razer has partnered up with Lamborghini to create a beefed up Blade 16 laptop that draws plenty of aesthetic inspiration from the sports car maker. It boasts a customized chassis with orange highlights that’s “infused with the spirit of Lamborghini.” The price tag is also infused with the spirit of Lamborghini, as this thing costs $5,000.

It looks pretty cool, but the actual components also got some Lambo love. The CNC-milled chassis is made from a single block of aluminum, adding durability, with a finish inspired by Lamborghini’s signature orange and matte black. The design on the lid echoes the headlights of the recently-announced Lamborghini Revuelto hybrid vehicle. So now you can race down the information superhighway in your Lambo computer as you race down the actual highway in your Lambo car. It’s an ouroboros of unnecessary speed.

The specs here are on-point, as there are some significant improvements over the base-level Blade 16 laptop. This is a highly-souped up edition, with a 13th Gen Intel Core i9 HX processor that boasts 24 cores and 32 threads. It also features a GeForce 4090 GPU, a 4TB SSD, 32GB of DDR5 RAM and a dual-mode mini-LED 4K 16” display. This thing is a beast, but remember that $5K price tag. Despite the cost, the Razer Blade 16 x Automobili Lamborghini Edition could become a collector’s item some day, as the company is only making 150 units.

An image of the D+G Razer Barracuda headphones on a desk. Razer

Razer has also teamed up with fashion icons Dolce & Gabbana to create a gold-emblazoned edition of its popular Barracuda wireless headphones. The fashion brand’s signature design has even been applied to a Razer Enki gaming chair and a bunch of clothing items to celebrate the partnership, like hoodies and t-shirts. Let’s hear it for corporate synergy!

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Microsoft’s Adaptive Touch makes laptop trackpads more inclusive

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 13:45

Microsoft continues to build inclusive accessories and features for its mainstream products and the company showed off more at its New York event on Thursday. It unveiled an Adaptive Touch feature that works on the “precision haptic trackpad” of the Surface Laptop Studio 2. During its keynote, the company called this the “most inclusive touchpad on any laptop,” and based on my early impressions, that claim might just be true.

Not a lot is currently known about how the feature will work, but I was able to spend some time with Microsoft’s accessibility program manager Solomon Romney to get a deeper understanding. Romney was born without fingers on his left hand and struggles to use standard touchpads on most laptops. Adaptive Touch allows him to drag his left hand on the glass-covered surface and not have the cursor jump around the screen.

The first thing to point out is that the adaptive touch feature currently requires a haptic trackpad to work, meaning at the moment it’s only available on the Surface Laptop Studio 2. You’ll have to go into the computer’s touchpad settings and enable Adaptive Touch, which throws up an alert that you won’t be able to use multitouch gestures like pinch to zoom.

That’s because the system is looking for multiple points of contact with the trackpad and noticing if they’re moving in the same general direction, to determine where to move the mouse. It’s in part based on the technology that Microsoft uses for palm rejection, but reconfigured for Adaptive Touch.

Microsoft barely mentions this feature in its materials announcing the Surface Laptop Studio 2, and Google searches for terms like “Microsoft inclusive trackpad” or “Surface Laptop Studio 2 accessibility touchpad” yield unrelated results. It’s clear there’s still a lot to understand about how Adaptive Touch works and what its limits are. For now, though, I’m encouraged to see Microsoft continue to design for inclusivity, and I’m excited for what might be to come.

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

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Facebook now lets you create up to four additional profiles

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 13:30

Meta announced on Thursday that Facebook users can now create multiple profiles. The company will let you add an @username for up to four additional personal profiles attached to your main account. After creating a new alias, you won’t need to log out and back in to switch between them. Facebook first began testing the feature last July.

The company suggests picking profiles for your personal life, work and any specific interests or communities you want to spin out of your main account. “Whether you’re new to Facebook or a longtime user, you may want to keep your personal and professional relationships separate, or you may want to keep one profile tied to a community you’re a part of and another profile just for friends,” Meta wrote in its announcement blog post. “Creating multiple personal profiles lets you easily organize who you share with and what content you see for the various parts of your life.”

Meta says each profile will have its own unique feed with pertinent content based only on that profile’s interests. “Think one profile for the foodie scene you love and another one to keep up with your friends and family,” the company wrote. The company says Instagram’s success with a similar feature inspired the move, and beta testing the feature taught Facebook that many people like having a clearer organization of friends, groups and interests “to engage with the audience they believe is most relevant.”

Each new profile will start fresh with Facebook’s default privacy and notification settings, so you may want to change them manually for each one. In addition, your primary Facebook account won’t reveal that you have extra profiles.

The feature comes with some restrictions. First, Facebook’s Dating, Marketplace, Professional Mode and payments won’t be available to your secondary profiles at launch. In addition, messaging for extra usernames will only be available in the Facebook app and on the web. (Messenger support for additional profiles will arrive “in the coming months.”) Finally, only eligible adult accounts can make new profiles. Remember: Your new handles are bound by Facebook’s policies, meaning you can’t misrepresent your age or location.

The feature begins rolling out globally on Thursday and will continue over the coming months.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio 2 hands-on: More ports and a much-needed spec bump

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 13:17

The Surface Laptop Studio is sort of a unique PC thanks to its innovative hinged display, stylus support and well-rounded specs. In some ways it's the ultimate jack-of-all-trades but master of none system. And now a sequel has arrived sporting a much-needed spec bump and the addition of some long-requested features including a microSD card slot. 

Now, some folks may be dismayed to see that the exterior of the just-announced Surface Laptop Studio 2 is largely unchanged. But as someone who's been using the previous model as my main travel notebook for the last couple of years, I'm not that bothered. You still get clean, minimalist lines along with a 14.4-inch 2,400 x 1,600 120Hz PixelSense display that can tilt like an easel. I'm even happy to see little quirks like its two-tiered base return, which keeps the system's vents cleverly hidden and away from the edges of the system while also offering a shelf for Surface Slim Pen 2 to latch onto. 

As you can see, Microsoft hasn't messed around much with the new Surface Laptop Studio 2's design (left) when compared to the original. As you can see, Microsoft hasn't messed around much with the new Surface Laptop Studio 2's design (left) when compared to the original (right).Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

However, along the sides are some very important updates: a new USB-A port and a microSD card slot. This is the first time either of these has been available on this line, and while it might not sound like a big deal, for a system that's geared toward artists and content creators, this change represents a major quality-of-life upgrade. Just being able to quickly transfer photos from a camera to your laptop without needing a cable or an adapter is extremely useful. And with the addition of a USB-A port along with the two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C jacks, there's a good chance you'll be able to leave all your dongles at home without sacrificing connectivity. 

There are also some subtle design changes including a new aluminum chassis instead of magnesium like you got on the original. This results in a very slightly thicker body (just 1 or 2mm), a more silvery hue and a smoother finish. 

As for performance, I really like the Surface Laptop Studio 2's updated components. Even at launch, the original felt somewhat underpowered due to a middling quad-core chip despite being billed as Microsoft's most powerful laptop. But now, with support for up to an Intel Core i7-13800H chip, 64GB of RAM, 2TB of storage and an RTX 4060 GPU (or an RTX 2000 card on commercial models), this successor feels like a more well-rounded machine. Sure, it's not as fast as a similarly-priced gaming laptop and it's not quite as thin as a typical 14-inch ultraportable. However, the combination of a high-res touchscreen with pen integration and a spec refresh delivers way more versatility than almost all of its rivals. 

One last big change is the addition of Microsoft's Adaptive Touch feature, which brings increased accessibility. The tech uses a new touch algorithm that makes it easier for differently-abled people to mouse around and use the touchpad. And while I might not get a ton of use out of it, I appreciate how simple it is use. All you have to do is open the Surface app and you are immediately presented with options for enabling Adaptive Touch and adjusting things like click sensitivity and double-click speed. 

Granted, there aren't a ton of major changes on Surface Laptop Studio 2 aside from refreshed specs and some new ports. But I think that's OK, as this feels like a case of not messing with an already tested and still very innovative design. The main drawback is that with a starting price of $1,999, Microsoft's latest flagship laptop costs a lot more than a typical 14-inch rival. But that may just be the cost for a system that can do a lot of everything. 

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 goes on sale on October 3. 

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

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Everything Microsoft announced at its Surface and AI event

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 13:10

It was Microsoft's turn to step up to the plate and hold a fall hardware event on Thursday. Although Surface devices were the name of the game, there was a heavy — and I mean heavy — focus on AI. In the company's first event since longtime Chief Product Officer Panos Panay departed this week (reportedly for Amazon), Microsoft revealed a pair of new consumer laptops and a whole lot of Copilot AI news.

Copilot and other AI updates

Microsoft spent most of the event talking about AI and Copilot. In fact, the hardware almost seemed like an afterthought. The company is unifying the Copilot AI assistant across its suite of products. Copilot will be available more broadly as part of a Windows 11 update that will arrive on September 26.

Copilot is built into Windows and it will appear in apps such as Edge. You'll be activate Copilot with your voice or a right click. You might use Copilot to organize windows on your desktop, delete the backgrounds from photos or even generate a Spotify playlist.

The assistant will be able to pull context from your phone. For example, by reading information you receive from your airline via text message, Copilot can pull up your flight information. A shopping-focused version of Copilot is on the way too.

Copilot works with a new feature called Windows Ink Anywhere. You'll be able to use a pen to, for instance, snip a screenshot of a math problem. Copilot can then solve the problem and explain how it reached that solution.

Enterprise users will need to wait a little longer to make use of Copilot in the Microsoft 365 suite. It will be generally available starting on November 1 for $30 per user per month. Microsoft says Copilot can summarize meetings and prioritize tasks based on what's in your inbox. In Outlook, it will be able to draft emails in a way that mimics your writing style and voice, according to the company.

Elsewhere, Bing Image Creator will soon employ the DALL-E 3 model to generate more realistic-looking images. It will include an attribution to note that an image was AI generated.

Bing will also be able to prioritize search results based on your chat history. If you often ask the Bing chatbot about a certain sports team, the search engine may prioritize results accordingly. You can switch this function off, if you prefer (or you can simply avoid using the chatbot).

Surface Laptop Go 3  Surface Laptop Go 3Microsoft

Oh yes, there was some pesky new hardware to discuss too. Microsoft showed off the Surface Laptop Go 3, a 12.4-inch touchscreen notebook designed for portability. It weighs just 2.49 pounds and it has a 12th-gen Intel Core i5 CPU. Microsoft says it's 88 percent faster than the original Surface Laptop Go from three years ago.

The Surface Laptop Go 3 will be available in four colors — Platinum, Sage, Sandstone and Ice Blue — and it starts at $799. You can get your hands on the system on October 3. We've already had the chance to try it, so be sure to check out our first impressions.

Surface Laptop Studio 2 from MSFT hardware event 2023Microsoft

On the higher end is the Surface Laptop Studio 2. Microsoft says this is the most powerful Surface it has built to date. It has an Intel 13th-gen i7 H class processor and up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 GPU. You can have up to 2TB of storage and 64GB of RAM as well. 

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 has a 14.4-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The screen can tilt forward this time around. Elsewhere, there's a trackpad that seemingly rolls in some features from Microsoft's accessibility-focused Adaptive Mouse as well as a slot for a microSD card. 

Notably, the Surface Laptop Studio 2 has a neural processing unit that can power AI effects. Microsoft says this is the first Intel NPU in a Windows laptop. Meanwhile, the company is bundling in the Surface Slim Pen 2.

The Surface Laptop Studio 2 will be available on October 3. It starts at $1,999. 

Follow all of the news live from Microsoft’s 2023 Surface event right here.

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Hyundai is offering a free EV charger and $600 off installation for a limited time

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 13:00

While the better environmental impact and lack of gas payments make EVs an enticing option, other costs and steps still stand as a hindrance. Hyundai is the latest car manufacturer attempting to minimize these negatives with a new incentive offering complimentary chargers and up to $600 off their installation fee. Hyundai's ChargePoint Home Flex Level 2 EV Charger is typically $549, providing a $1,100 total savings.

The offer is available for anyone leasing or purchasing a brand new 2023 or 2024 Ioniq 5 or Ioniq 6 and a 2023 Kona Electric. However, it has to be through Hyundai Motor Finance (who will provide a coupon code) from now until October 31. Once purchased, customers have 90 days to schedule the installation through the Hyundai Home Marketplace, run by its partner Electrum Energy Advisors. Electrum handles the scheduling, installation, and questions, while Hyundai foots the bill. 

"We know that the charging infrastructure and the process of preparing their homes is at the forefront of the minds of many EV-curious buyers," José Muñoz, president and global COO of Hyundai Motor Company and president and CEO of Hyundai Motor North America, said in a statement. "With this offer, we're making it easier for everyone to go electric by providing our EV customers with an expert Energy Advisor who can personally walk them through the process of outfitting their homes with the proper charging, energy storage and collection equipment using our Hyundai Home Marketplace."

However, there are, of course, strings: The ChargePoint Home Flex Level 2 EV Charger is only free in conjunction with the installation and is available at select retailers in limited quantities. Plus, they'll only install it at "select residential property," so customers should double-check that their house qualifies before forking over any money. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Pregnancy Fatigue: Why You're Feeling So Tired and How to Combat It - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-09-21 13:00
Growing a little human is exhausting. These are the signs of pregnancy fatigue through the trimesters and how to fight the exhaustion.

Solheim Cup 2023: TV Schedule Today, How to Watch, Stream All the Golf From Anywhere - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-09-21 12:45
Can Team US stop Team Europe from claiming a record third consecutive victory?

Microsoft’s big Windows 11 update drops on September 26 with Copilot AI baked in

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 12:35

Microsoft is releasing a big Windows 11 update next week, on September 26. The catchily-named 23H2 is packed with some real game changing features, along with a whole bunch of quality of life improvements. The update arrives just in time for the launch of the just-announced Surface Laptop Go 3 and the Surface Laptop Studio 2.

The big news here is the inclusion of the new AI-powered Windows Copilot feature. This toolset already exists as part of the Edge browser, but now it’ll be natively implemented in Windows, which allows for some nifty use cases. This native implementation means that Copilot is available in nearly every aspect of the operating system, from Powerpoint to Teams and beyond.

You’ll be able to use Copilot, for instance, to craft text messages using calendar data, explore navigation options in Outlook, generate Spotify playlists and more. This is generative AI so Copilot will also shop for items based solely on a photo, remove photo backgrounds and access the Bing Image Creator, which will soon be based on the vastly-improved Dall-E 3. Bing Chat is also now a native feature that exists in the sidebar.

AI isn’t the only game in town, as this is also a traditional OS update with the usual quality of life improvements. There’s finally native support for RAR and 7-zip file formats, so you can get rid of those third-party archiving apps. The File Explorer has been completely redesigned to increase efficiency, with large file thumbnails and a carousel interface, and the Paint app underwent a similar transformation, with a new dark mode and forthcoming transparency layers. There’s a redesigned volume mixer and updated RGB lighting controls called Dynamic Lighting. The latter toolset uses the open HID LampArray standard and many of the big names in gaming PCs and accessories have vowed to support this effort, such as Acer, Asus, HP, Razer and Logitech, among others.

Windows 11 Passkey feature. Microsoft

Some current Windows 11 features have received minor updates here. The passkey experience has been optimized and moving your data to a new PC has been streamlined, thanks to an official Windows Backup software suite. Additionally, voice controls have been expanded and the photos app boasts some new editing options.

Finally, there’s the just-announced Ink Anywhere feature. This intriguing toolset is exclusively for stylus users interacting with a touchscreen PC or hybrid device. Ink Anywhere lets you draw on the screen in any text box anywhere within the operating system. The OS converts the handwriting to text and uses it in a number of innovative ways. This is useful for instantaneously uploading notes, but the system also uses AI to automatically answer queries, with Microsoft showing off the tool being used to complete a handwritten math problem.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The best Xbox games for 2023

Engadget - Thu, 2023-09-21 12:30

A series of missteps put Microsoft in second place before the Xbox One even came out. With the launch of the Xbox Series X and S, though, Microsoft is in a great position to compete. Both are well-priced, well-specced consoles with a huge library of games spanning two decades.

Microsoft’s console strategy is unique. Someone with a 7-year old Xbox One has access to an almost-identical library of games as the owner of a brand-new Xbox Series X. That makes it difficult to maintain meaningfully different lists for its various consoles — at least for now. But while next-gen exclusives may be few and far between, with PS4 outselling Xbox One by a reported two-to-one, there are a lot of gamers who simply haven’t experienced much of what Microsoft has had to offer since the mid ‘10s.

It’s with that frame of mind that we approach this list: What are the best games we would recommend to someone picking up an Xbox today — whether it’s the best Xbox One games or the top picks for a Series X, a Series S or One S — after an extended break from Microsoft’s consoles?

This list then, is a mixture of games exclusive to Microsoft’s consoles and cross-platform showstoppers that play best on Xbox. We’ve done our best to explain the benefits Microsoft’s systems bring to the table where appropriate. Oh, and while we understand some may have an aversion to subscription services, it’s definitely worth considering Game Pass Ultimate, which will allow you to play many of the games on this list for a monthly fee.


Deathloop, from the studio that brought you the Dishonored series, is easy enough to explain: You’re trapped in a day that repeats itself. If you die, then you go back to the morning, to repeat the day again. If you last until the end of the day, you still repeat it again. Colt must “break the loop” by efficiently murdering seven main characters, who are inconveniently are never in the same place at the same time. It’s also stylish, accessible and fun.

While you try to figure out your escape from this time anomaly, you’ll also be hunted down by Julianna, another island resident who, like you, is able to remember everything that happens in each loop. She’ll also lock you out of escaping an area, and generally interfere with your plans to escape the time loop. (The online multiplayer is also addictive, flipping the roles around. You play as Julianna, hunting down Colt and foiling his plans for murder. )

As you play through the areas again (and again) you’ll equip yourself with slabs that add supernatural powers, as well as more potent weapons and trinkets to embed into both guns and yourself. It’s through this that you’re able to customize your playstyle or equip yourself in the best way to survive Julianna and nail that assassination. Each time period and area rewards repeat exploration, with secret guns, hidden conversations with NPCs and lots of world-building lore to discover for yourself.

Originally a timed PlayStation exclusive, Deathloop landed on Xbox in September 2022.

Overwatch 2

Even though Blizzard has improved the onramp for new players this time around, Overwatch 2 still has a steep learning curve. Stick with it, though, and you’ll get to indulge in perhaps the best team shooter around. Overwatch 2 has a deceptively simple goal — stand on or near an objective and keep the other team away long enough to win. It’s much more complex in practice. To the untrained eye, matches may seem like colorful chaos, but Overwatch 2 has a deceptively simple goal — stand on or near an objective and keep the other team away long enough to win.

It’s much more complex in practice. Blizzard reduced the number of players on each team from six to five. That, along with across-the-board character tweaks, has made gameplay faster-paced and more enjoyable compared with the original Overwatch. There's a greater emphasis on individual impact, but you'll still need to work well with your teammates to secure a victory.

Now featuring a cast of more than 30 heroes, each with distinct abilities and playstyles, you’ll surely find a few Overwatch 2 characters that you can connect with. The first batch of new heroes are all a blast to play. There are many great (though often fairly expensive) new skins to kit them out with too. The game looks and sounds terrific too, thanks to Blizzard’s trademark level of polish. At least until you figure out how to play Overwatch 2, you can marvel at how good it looks.

Elden Ring

Why would we not include Elden Ring? The strengths of FromSoftware’s latest action-RPG are many, but what’s most impressive about the game is how hand-crafted it feels despite its scale. Elden Ring is big, but it never feels like it’s wasting your time. Far from it; FromSoftware has created a rich open world, with something surprising, delightful or utterly terrifying around every corner. I’ll never forget the moment I found a chest that teleported my character to a cave full of Eldritch monsters. Elden Ring is full of those kinds of discoveries.

And if you’re worried about hitting a brick wall with Elden Ring’s difficulty, don’t be. Sure, it can be tough as nails, but it’s also From’s most accessible game to date as well. If you find combat overly punishing, go for a mage build and blast your enemies from afar, complete side quests and more. And if all else fails, one of the rewards for exploring Elden Ring’s world is experience that you can use to make your character stronger.


Take the weird Twin Peaks narrative of Alan Wake, smash it together with Quantum Break's frenetic powers and gunplay, and you've got Control. Playing as a woman searching for her missing brother, you quickly learn there's a thin line between reality and the fantastical. It's catnip for anyone who grew up loving The X-Files and the supernatural. It's also a prime example of a studio working at their creative heights, both refining and evolving the open-world formula that's dominated games for the past decade.

Control on the last-gen Xbox is a mixed affair, with the One S struggling a little, but the One X being head-and-shoulders above the PS4 Pro when it comes to fidelity and smoothness. With the launch of the next-gen consoles, an ‘Ultimate Edition’ emerged which brought the ray-tracing and higher frame rates that PC gamers enjoyed to console players. Although you’ll only get those benefits as a next-gen owner, it also includes all the released DLC and is the edition we recommend buying, even if you’re not planning to immediately upgrade.

Dead Space

The Dead Space remake feels like a warm, juicy hug from a murderous necromorph, and we mean that in the best way possible. The 2023 version of Dead Space spit-shines the mechanics that made the original game so magically horrific back in 2008, and it doesn’t add any unnecessary, modern bloat. The remake features full voice acting, new puzzles and expanded storylines, and it introduces a zero-gravity ability that allows the protagonist, Isaac Clarke, to fly through sections of the game in an ultra-satisfying way.

None of these additions outshine the game’s core loop: stasis, shoot, stomp. Isaac gains the ability to temporarily freeze enemies and he picks up a variety of weapons, but he never feels overpowered; he’s always in danger. Mutilated corpse monsters appear suddenly in the cramped corridors of the space station, charging at Isaac from the shadows, limbs akimbo and begging to be shot off. The first game of Dead Space popularized the idea that headshots don’t matter and the remake stays true to this ethos – yet its combat rhythm still feels fresh.

The 2023 version of Dead Space proves that innovative game design is timeless (and so are plasma cutters).

Halo Infinite

Master Chief's latest adventure may not make much sense narratively, but it sure is fun to play. After the middle efforts from 343 Industries over the last decade, Halo Infinite manages to breathe new life into Microsoft's flagship franchise, while also staying true to elements fans love. The main campaign is more open than ever, while also giving you a new freedom of movement with the trusty grappling hook. And the multiplayer mode is wonderfully addictive (though 343 still needs to speed up experience progression), with a bevy of maps and game modes to keep things from getting too stale. The only thing keeping it from greatness is its baffling and disjointed story, but it's not like Xbox fans have many options when it comes to huge exclusives right now.

Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 deftly walks a fine line by being an extremely deep and complex racing game that almost anyone can just pick up and play. The game has hundreds of cars that you can tweak endlessly to fit your driving style, and dozens of courses spread all over a gorgeous fictional corner of Mexico. If you crank up the difficulty, one mistake will sink your entire race, and the competition online can be just as fierce.

But if you’re new to racing games, Forza Horizon 5 does an excellent job at getting you up and running. The introduction to the game quickly gives you a taste at the four main race types you’ll come across (street racing, cross-country, etc.), and features like the rewind button mean that you can quickly erase mistakes if you try and take a turn too fast without having to restart your run. Quite simply, Forza Horizon 5 is a beautiful and fun game that works for just about any skill level. It’s easy to pick up and play a few races and move on with your day, or you can sink hours into it trying to become the best driver you can possibly be.

Gears 5

Gears 5 tries to be a lot of things, and doesn't succeed at them all. If you're a Gears of War fan, though, there's a lot to love here. The cover-shooter gameplay the series helped pioneer feels great, and the campaign, while not narratively ambitious, is well-paced and full of bombastic set pieces to keep you interested. As they stand, the various multiplayer modes are not great, but Gears 5 is worth it for the campaign alone.

It’s also a true graphical showcase, among the best-looking console games around. Microsoft did a great job optimizing for all platforms and use-cases, with high-resolution and ultra-high (up to 120fps on series consoles) frame rates.

Nier: Automata

It took more than a while to get here, but Nier: Automata finally arrived on Xbox One in the summer of 2018. And boy, was it worth the almost-18-month wait. Nier takes the razor-sharp combat of a Platinum Games title and puts it in a world crafted by everyone's favorite weirdo, Yoko Taro. Don't worry, you can mostly just run, gun and slash your way through the game, but as you finish, and finish and finish this one, you'll find yourself pulled into a truly special narrative, one that's never been done before and will probably never be done again. It’s an unmissable experience, and one that feels all the more unique on Xbox, which has never had the best levels of support from Japanese developers.

On Xbox One X and Series X, you effectively have the best version of Nier: Automata available, short of a fan-patched PC game. On Series S and One S... not so much, but you do at least get consistent framerates on the Series S and a passable experience on the One S. 

Ori and the Blind Forest

Arriving at a time when "Gears Halo Forza" seemed to be the beginning, middle and end of Microsoft's publishing plans, Ori and the Blind Forest was a triumph. It's a confident mash of the pixel-perfect platforming popularized by Super Meat Boy, and the rich, unfolding worlds of Metroidvania games. You'll die hundreds of times exploring the titular forest, unlocking skills that allow you to reach new areas. It looks and sounds great — like, Disney great — and its story, while fairly secondary to the experience, is interesting. Ori might not do much to push the boundaries of its genres, but everything it does, it does so right. Its sequel, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, is very much “more of everything,” so if you like Blind Forest, it’s well worth checking out too.


Pentiment is a 2D-adventure-meets-visual-novel set in 16th-century Bavaria. You play as Andreas Maler, a young artist from a well-to-do family who gets caught up in a murder mystery while trying to complete his masterpiece. The game itself hinges on its artwork and writing. Both are remarkable: The former is like a medieval manuscript brought to life, while the latter is at once warm and biting, but always in complete control of what it’s trying to say. What starts as a seemingly straightforward whodunit turns into a sweeping, soulful meditation on the nature of history, power, community and truth itself. Time and again, it subverts the “your choices matter!” promise video games have long tried (and mostly failed) to fulfill. You don’t expect one of Microsoft’s best first-party Xbox games to be a riff on Umberto Eco’s The Name of the Rose, but, well, here we are.

Hi-Fi Rush

Hi-Fi Rush is a hack-and-slash action game built entirely around its soundtrack. You can move and jump freely, but all of your steps and attacks are timed to the beat of the backing music. If you time your moves right on the beat, you can do more damage and pull off combos. Everything else in the world pulsates and takes action to the same rhythm, from enemy attacks to lights flashing in the background.

Is this revolutionary? Not really. Every hack-and-slasher has a sense of performance and musicality to it; Hi-Fi Rush just makes the subtext explicit. It’s Devil May Cry on a metronome. But it’s fun. Ripping through a room of goons is satisfying in most video games; ripping through them entirely in rhythm, with each dodge and final blow punctuated by a beat, is even more so. It helps that the soundtrack is actually good and that the combat system never punishes you too hard for button mashing in a panic. It also helps that the tone is that of a cel-shaded Saturday morning cartoon, starring a lovable doofus named Chai as he takes on a comically evil megacorp. Hi-Fi Rush has issues – its stages can drag, for one – but it plays like a passion project from the PS3/Xbox 360 era. It has ideas, and its main concern is being a good time.

Red Dead Redemption 2

Red Dead Redemption 2 is the kind of game no one but Rockstar, the team behind the Grand Theft Auto series, could make. Only when a studio is this successful can it pour millions of dollars and development hours into a game. Rockstar's simulation of a crumbling frontier world is enthralling and serves as a perfect backdrop to an uncharacteristically measured story. While the studio's gameplay may not have moved massively forward, the writing and characters of RDR2 will stay with you.

While Rockstar hasn’t deemed fit to properly upgrade Red Dead Redemption 2 for the next-gen yet, Series X owners will at least benefit from the best last-gen (Xbox One X) experience with the addition of improved loading times. The Series S, on the other hand, gets the One S version, but with an improved 30 fps lock and swifter loading.

Resident Evil Village

Resident Evil Village is delightful. It’s a gothic fairy tale masquerading as a survival-horror game, and while this represents a fresh vibe for the franchise, it’s not an unwelcome evolution. The characters and enemies in Village are full of life — even when they’re decidedly undead — and Capcom has put a delicious twist on the idea of vampires, werewolves, sea creatures, giants and creepy dolls. The game retains its horror, puzzle and action roots, and it has Umbrella Corporation’s fingerprints all over it. It simply feels like developers had fun with this one, and so will you.

A word of caution before you run to buy it, though: This game doesn’t play great on every Xbox. On Series X, things are great: There's the option to turn on ray-tracing with the occasional frame rate issue, or to keep it off and have perfect 4K/60 presentation. With the Series S, while there is a ray-tracing mode, it’s almost unplayable. With ray-tracing off, the Series S does a decent job, though. The One X’s 1080p/60 mode is also fantastic, although its quality mode feels very juddery. If you own a base Xbox One or One S, though, there’s really no mode that actually feels enjoyable to play.

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice

Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice isn't just another Dark Souls game. FromSoftware's samurai adventure is a departure from that well-established formula, replacing slow, weighty combat and gothic despair for stealth, grappling hooks and swift swordplay. Oh, and while it's still a difficult game, it's a lot more accessible than Souls games — you can even pause it! The result of all these changes is something that's still instantly recognizable as a FromSoftware title, but it's its own thing, and it's very good.

This is one game that’s really not had a lot of love from its developer or publisher, as, despite the fact next-gen consoles should be easily able to run this game at 60 fps, the Series S is locked to an inconsistently paced 30 fps, while the Series X doesn’t quite hold to 60 either. With that said, it’s more than playable.

Lost Judgment

This is private eye Takayuki Yagami’s second adventure; a spin-off of Sega’s popular, pulpy and convoluted Yakuza saga. He lives in the same Kamurocho area, the same yakuza gangs roam the streets, and there’s the very occasional crossover of side-story characters and, well, weirdos. But instead of punching punks in the face in the name of justice or honor, which was the style of Yakuza protagonist Kazuya Kiryu, Yagami fights with the power of his lawyer badge, drone evidence and… sometimes (read: often) he kicks the bad guys in the face.

The sequel skates even closer to some sort of serialized TV drama, punctuated by fights, chases and melodrama. For anyone that’s played the series before, it treads familiar ground, but with a more serious (realistic) story that centers on bullying and suicide problems in Japanese high schools, which is tied into myriad plots encompassing the legal system, politics and organized crime.

Yagami has multiple fighting styles to master, while there are love interests, batting cages, mahjong, skate parks and more activities to sink even more hours into. On the PS5, Lost Judgment looks great. Fights are fluid and the recreated areas in Tokyo and Yokohama are usually full of pedestrians, stores and points of interest. While Yakuza Like a Dragon takes the franchise in a new (turn-based, more ridiculous) direction, Lost Judgment retains the brawling playstyle of the Yakuza series, with a new hero who has, eventually, charmed us.

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

We already mentioned this one but it's difficult to overemphasize how good a deal Game Pass is for Xbox owners. For $15 a month you get access to a shifting and growing library of games. The company does a good job explaining what new games are coming and going in advance, so you won't get caught out by a game disappearing from the subscription service just as you're reaching a final boss. There are 11 games mentioned in this guide, and seven of them are currently available with Game Pass. The full library is broad, and, while Microsoft's cloud service is still just in beta, you'll have access to many of the games on your tablet, phone or browser through xCloud at no extra fee.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Watch Europa League Soccer: Livestream LASK vs. Liverpool From Anywhere - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2023-09-21 12:30
The Reds sally forth into Europe once again, with Austria's LASK their first opponents this year.