Gadgets, Game & Mobile News

This $10 4-Pack of Night Lights Automatically Illuminates Your Path - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 11:40
Don't trip on your way to a midnight snack -- these nifty plug-ins come on when it's dark so you can always find your way.

Paramount+ hits 43 million subscribers as streaming rivals struggle

Engadget - Thu, 2022-08-04 11:28

You might think a network-specific streaming services like Paramount+ doesn't stand a chance in a grim market when even Netflix is floundering, but it's apparently thriving. The company has revealed that Paramount+ added 3.7 million subscribers in the second quarter, with more than 43 million total users. And that's after withdrawing from Russia — if it weren't for that, the service would have added 4.9 million viewers.

ViacomCBS partly credited the surge to expansions to more countries, including the UK, Ireland and South Korea. However, it also pointed to success with content that included its Halo series, Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, movies like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and live Champions League matches. Paramount+ is still leaning on its sci-fi audience, then, but not as much as it has in the past.

The overall Paramount+ subscriber count is still tiny compared to Netflix (220.7 million) and Amazon Prime Video (over 200 million). Its growth is a sharp contrast to Netflix's nearly 1 million lost subscribers, though. The firm is also keen to note that it had the most sign-ups and net additions of any US-based premium subscription streaming service in the quarter, according to Antenna data. In other words, Paramount+ was outperforming all its main rivals, including Apple TV+, Hulu and Peacock.

Whether or not that trend continues is uncertain. Paramount+ is still expanding to more countries, and should be available in 60 markets by the end of the year. It can count on those newcomers to boost its numbers for a while. Eventually, though, the streamer will be more reliant on the quality of its catalog to grow its audience. And while there have clearly been some hits, heavyweights like Amazon and Netflix still have plenty of money and momentum in their favor.

UK trials roadside van that detects if drivers are holding their phone

Engadget - Thu, 2022-08-04 11:10

UK police are testing a roadside van that can detect whether a driver is holding a phone while they're at the wheel. The three-month trial is being conducted in Warwickshire with the help of government-owned National Highways, which oversees motorways and major A roads in England. The test will help determine how the tech may be used in the future, according to The Guardian.

The van, which can also check whether drivers or passengers are wearing seatbelts, is kitted out with several cameras that capture footage of passing vehicles. An AI system analyzes the images for possible phone and seatbelt violations. Police say the "most serious breaches" spotted during the trial may be prosecuted, while other drivers will receive warning letters.

Distracted driving is a serious issue. In Britain in 2019, there were 420 collisions in which it was determined that a driver was using a phone. Meanwhile, data shows that 23 percent of car occupants who died in crashes in the country in 2020 were not wearing their seatbelt.

The trial is part of National Highways' plan to prevent any deaths or serious injuries on its network by 2040. Future tests may see the van being equipped with tech that can detect vehicles driving too close to each other.

2023 Volkswagen ID 4 Gets Smaller Battery Option, $3,700 Price Cut - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 11:00
The entire ID 4 lineup gets a few styling tweaks and larger-battery versions have an increased charging speed, as well.

Shop Sally Beauty's Big Bottle Sale for BOGO Deals on Hair Care - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 11:00
Get quality shampoo, conditioner and more for less.

Next-Generation Audi RS6 Will Be a Plug-In Hybrid, Report Says - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 10:59
The PHEV will be the last RS6 to use an internal combustion engine.

Amazon Discount Shaves up to $50 off the Latest 10.2-inch iPad - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 10:43
It's not every day that we see deals on the newest versions of Apple devices.

What to expect from Samsung's August 10th Unpacked event

Engadget - Thu, 2022-08-04 10:40

Samsung is holding its next Unpacked livestream on August 10th, and expectations are running high. The company has used previous summer events to introduce new foldable phones, smartwatches and earbuds, and the company has effectively confirmed a repeat in 2022. Just what will appear this time around, though? Don’t worry — we’ll let you know what you’re likely to see when Samsung takes to the virtual stage.

How to watch UnpackedSamsung Galaxy Unpacked August 2022 teaserSamsung

It will be easy to follow Samsung’s announcements. The company is streaming Unpacked live on August 10th at 9AM Eastern. You can watch on Samsung’s website, and you’ll usually find a broadcast on the brand’s YouTube channel. Naturally, you can expect event coverage from Engadget.

Galaxy Z Fold 4Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 leakEvan Blass/91Mobiles

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is nearly a year old, so it’s arguably due for an update — and Samsung’s own Unpacked teasers hint that one is coming. With that said, we wouldn’t expect a Z Fold 4 to represent a major overhaul. If leaks are correct, the new model will represent a refinement of the marquee foldable.

Rendered images shared by OnLeaks and Smartprix, as well as Evan Blass and 91Mobiles, suggest the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will mate the series’ phone-slash-tablet formula with design elements from the S22 Ultra. You’d get Ultra-like rear camera bumps and slightly tweaked dimensions, but it would otherwise be very familiar. Not that we’d rule out functional changes. Leaker Ice Universe claims the Z Fold 4 would have less prominent display creases, for example.

Performance upgrades could be more substantial, if predictable. Noted leaker Yogesh Brar says the Z Fold 4 would use the new Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chip paired with 12GB or 16GB of RAM. You’d see an upgraded 50-megapixel main rear camera as well as a much sharper 16-megapixel under-display inside cam. You could expect familiar 12MP ultra-wide and 3X zoom sensors on the back, and a 10MP outer selfie shooter. There is a dispute over the storage, though. While Brar maintains that the Z Fold 4 would start with 256GB of space, Evan Blass has discovered references to a 128GB edition.

That storage question may affect the price. While YouTuber Jon Prosser and others believe the Galaxy Z Fold 4 will reach stores August 26th, it’s not clear how much the device will cost. A 128GB variant could lead to a lower starting price than the $1,800 of its predecessor. Just don’t expect higher capacities than last year when there hasn’t been a mention of storage options beyond 512GB.

Galaxy Z Flip 4Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 leakEvan Blass/91Mobiles

There’s even less mystery to the next Galaxy Z Flip. Samsung’s teaser video for the Unpacked event very clearly shows a new version of the clamshell phone, so it’s really just a question of what the Z Flip 4 will offer versus its predecessor.

Don’t expect a major redesign. If the OnLeaks and Evan Blass images (plus a removed TechTalkTV video) are accurate, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is virtually a carbon copy of the Flip 3 with similar rear cameras, a slightly larger external display and different colors. That isn’t necessarily a problem, but it might prove disappointing if you were looking for a brand new look. The less pronounced screen creasing of the Fold 4 might carry over, too.

The under-the-hood upgrades would be subtler than those of the Fold 4, according to rumors. Yogesh Brar claims the Z Flip 4 would make the leap to a Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, but would still include 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of non-expandable storage and a 6.7-inch 120Hz display. You’d get a larger 3,700mAh battery (versus 3,300mAh in the Flip 3) and 25W charging (versus 15W), though, so the Flip 4 might last longer. The previous phone’s dual 12MP rear cameras and 10MP selfie camera would carry over to the new model.

Samsung typically releases new Galaxy Z Flip and Z Fold models at the same time, and Prosser has heard that the Flip 4 will reach stores on August 26th like its higher-end counterpart. If so, the cost might be the only mystery left. There’s no certainty the Flip 4 will stick to its ancestor’s $999 price. If there is a 128GB model, though, we wouldn’t expect the latest device to be much more expensive, if at all.

Galaxy Watch 5 and 5 ProSamsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro leakEvan Blass/91Mobiles

The Galaxy Watch 4 marked a revival of Samsung’s smartwatch strategy with its switch to Wear OS and a sleeker design. The company might be eager to preserve that momentum, as there are signs it’s readying a Galaxy Watch 5 family with a few notable twists.

If 91Mobilesshared renders are authentic, Samsung will drop its higher-end Classic model in favor of a more modern-looking (if still posh) Galaxy Watch 5 Pro. You might not get the knurled bezel of the previous smartwatch, but the Pro would upgrade from a steel case to light-but-strong titanium. Samsung inadvertently hinted at the Pro name in its Health app, although it didn’t provide further clues.

The regular Galaxy Watch 5 wouldn't be as big a departure. You could expect the same minimal, fitness-oriented design as before. SamMobilefloated a rumor that the wristwear would have a 10 percent larger battery than its year-old counterpart, but it’s unknown if that will translate to a longer-lasting timepiece. It’s still unclear if Samsung will implement a new processor or body sensor that could affect battery life.

You may have to pay more than you might expect. WinFuture’s Roland Quandt heard in June that the regular Galaxy Watch 5 would start around €300 (about $306) for a 40mm Bluetooth mode and top out at €400 ($409) for a 44mm LTE unit. Titanium is a historically expensive watch case material, and that would bump the price of the 5 Pro to about €490 ($502) for a 45mm Bluetooth model and €540 ($552) for its LTE equivalent.

New Galaxy Buds ProSamsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro leakEvan Blass/91Mobiles

The basic Galaxy Buds 2 premiered at last year’s Unpacked, and Samsung might follow that up with a higher-end option. Evan Blass and 91Mobiles recently posted renderings of what they say are the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.

Cosmetically, the true wireless earbuds would look nearly the same as the existing Galaxy Buds Pro introduced in January 2021. 9to5Googlesources claim you’d get questionably useful 24-bit audio support, and there have been murmurs of a larger battery. Otherwise, Samsung might play it safe with familiar active noise cancellation and multi-device pairing support.

Be ready to pay more. A 9to5 retail tipster maintains that the Buds 2 Pro will cost $230, or a significant $30 more. While that still makes them more affordable than rivals like the AirPods Pro (officially $249), you might not save much by springing for Samsung’s in-ears.

WildcardsSamsung Galaxy Buds 2Billy Steele/Engadget

We wouldn’t rule out a surprise or two at the August Unpacked event, but don’t count on any either. There aren’t any signs of a replacement for the Galaxy Buds 2 or other earbuds. Similarly, Samsung updated the Galaxy A and S series earlier this year. The company’s next hardware updates are very predictable at this stage, and any unusual announcements will likely be reserved for follow-up presentations.

Midsize Cars Struggle in Updated IIHS Side Crash Test - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 10:07
Less than half of the field earned a rating high enough to earn future accolades.

Google Pixel 6A Sees First Price Drop to $399, Save $50 Today - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 10:05
Snag this deal on the device CNET's Lisa Eadicicco called the best Android phone under $500.

This Under Armour Sale Has Back-To-School Gear for Up to 25% Off - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 10:02
Prep for school sports with new athletic gear.

SpaceX, Blue Origin Headline 4 Major Space Launches Thursday - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 09:55
It's one of the busiest days in space for Florida in half a century, and that's not the only place the launches are leaving from.

Blizzard may have canceled a 'World of Warcraft' mobile spinoff

Engadget - Thu, 2022-08-04 09:35

Arclight Rumble wasn't going to be the only upcoming Warcraft mobile game, according to a report. Bloombergsources claim Blizzard and NetEase have canceled a World of Warcraft spinoff mobile title that had been in development for three years. Nicknamed Neptune, it would have been a massively multiplayer game set in a different era of the fantasy universe. It wouldn't simply have been a WoW phone port, to put it another way.

While the exact reasons for the cancelation weren't mentioned, one of the insiders said Blizzard and NetEase "disagreed over terms" and ultimately decided to scrap the unannounced game. NetEase supposedly had over 100 developers attached to the project. The two were rumored to have previously canceled another Warcraft mobile release, a Pokémon Go-style augmented reality game, after four years of effort.

Spokespeople from both companies declined to comment. If the rumor is accurate, it suggests Blizzard is struggling to adapt to the rise of mobile gaming. While Diablo Immortal appears to be a success and is joining the well-established Hearthstone, the developers will still have sunk massive resources into other games that never reached players.

There are strong incentives to take these risks, however. Mobile games can be highly lucrative, particularly in countries like China — Genshin Impact has pulled in $3 billion since release, according to Sensor Tower estimates. A hit could easily boost Blizzard's bottom line, not to mention spur demand for its existing computer- and console-bound games.

Porsche Actually Built a Cayenne Convertible, and It's Wild - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 09:26
This one-of-one prototype looks just a little chunky.

Save $50 On Ninja's Compact Kitchen System and Pay Just $110 -- Today Only - CNET

CNET News - Thu, 2022-08-04 09:23
Cut the hassle of prep work with this versatile food processor, blender and ice crusher combo.

The best Nintendo Switch games for 2022

Engadget - Thu, 2022-08-04 09:15

Just five years ago, Nintendo was at a crossroads. The Wii U was languishing well in third place in the console wars and, after considerable pressure, the company was making its first tentative steps into mobile gaming with Miitomo and Super Mario Run. Fast-forward to today: The Switch is likely on the way to becoming the company’s best-selling “home console” ever, and seven Switch games have outsold the Wii U console. Everything’s coming up Nintendo, then, thanks to the Switch’s unique hybrid format and an ever-growing game library with uncharacteristically strong third-party support.

However, the Switch's online store isn't the easiest to navigate, so this guide aims to help the uninitiated start their journey on the right foot. These are the games you should own — for now. We regularly revise and add to the list as appropriate. Oh, and if you've got a Switch Lite, don't worry: Every game on the list is fully supported by the portable-only console.

Animal Crossing: New HorizonsAnimal CrossingNintendo

Animal Crossing: New Horizons is the best game in the series yet. It streamlines many of the clunky aspects from earlier games and gives players plenty of motivation to keep shaping their island community. As you'd expect, it also looks better than any previous entry, giving you even more motivation to fill up your virtual home and closet. The sound design reaches ASMR levels of brain-tingling comfort. And yes, it certainly helps that New Horizons is an incredibly soothing escape from reality when we're all stuck at home in the midst of a global pandemic.

Buy Animal Crossing: New Horizons at Amazon - $60Astral ChainAstral ChainNintendo

I was on the fence about Astral Chain from the day the first trailer came out until a good few hours into my playthrough. It all felt a little too generic, almost a paint-by-numbers rendition of an action game. I needn't have been so worried, as it's one of the more original titles to come from PlatinumGames, the developer behind the Bayonetta series, in recent years.

In a future where the world is under constant attack from creatures that exist on another plane of existence, you play as an officer in a special force that deals with this threat. The game's gimmick is that you can tame these creatures to become Legions that you use in combat. Encounters play out with you controlling both your character and the Legion simultaneously to deal with waves of mobs and larger, more challenging enemies. As well as for combat, you'll use your Legion(s) to solve crimes and traverse environments.

Astral Chain sticks closely to a loop of detective work, platforming puzzles and combat — a little too closely, if I'm being critical — with the game split into cases that serve as chapters. The story starts off well enough but quickly devolves into a mashup of various anime tropes, including twists and arcs ripped straight from some very famous shows and films. However, the minute-to-minute gameplay is enough to keep you engaged through the 20-hour or so main campaign and into the fairly significant end-game content.

Does Astral Chain reach the heights of Nier: Automata? No, not at all, but its combat and environments can often surpass that game, which all-told is probably my favorite of this generation. Often available for under $50 these days, it's well worth your time.

Buy Astral Chain at Amazon - $60CelesteCelesteMattMakesGames Inc.

Celeste is a lot of things. It's a great platformer, but it's also a puzzle game. It's extremely punishing, but it's also very accessible. It puts gameplay above everything, but it has a great story. It's a beautiful, moving and memorable contradiction of a game, created by MattMakesGames, the indie studio behind the excellent Towerfall. So, Celeste is worth picking up no matter what platform you own, but its room-based levels and clear 2D artwork make it a fantastic game to play on the Switch when on the go.

Buy Celeste at Amazon - $20Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an Elusive AgeDragon Quest XI SSquare Enix

Dragon Quest XI is an unashamedly traditional Japanese role-playing game. Most of the characters are established RPG tropes: mute protagonist-who’s-actually-a-legendary-hero, sister mages, mysterious rogue and the rest. Then there’s the battle system, which has rarely changed in the decades of the series. (There’s a reason that this special edition features a 16-bit styled version of the game: The mechanics and story work just as well in more... graphically constrained surroundings.) While the story hits a lot of familiar RPG beats, everything takes an interesting turn later on. And through it, the game demands completion. RPGs require compelling stories, and this has one. It just doesn’t quite kick in until later.

This eleventh iteration of the series also serves as a celebration of all things Dragon Quest. Without getting too deep into the story, the game heavily references the first game, taking place in the same narrative universe, just hundreds of years later.

The Switch edition doesn’t offer the most polished take on the game — it’s available on rival consoles — but the characters, designed by Akira Toriyama of Dragon Ball fame, move around fluidly, in plenty of detail despite the limits of the hybrid console. And while it’s hard to explain, There’s also something just plain right about playing a traditional JRPG on a Nintendo console.

Buy Dragon Quest XI S at Amazon - $55Fire Emblem: Three Houses Three HousesNintendo

Fire Emblem: Three Houses is one hell of a game. Developer Intelligent Systems made a lot of tweaks to its formula for the series' first outing on the Nintendo Switch, and the result of those changes is a game that marries Fire Emblem's dual personalities in a meaningful and satisfying way. You'll spend half your time as a master tactician, commanding troops around varied and enjoyable battlefields. The other half? You'll be teaching students and building relationships as a professor at the finest school in the land.

Buy Fire Emblem: Three Houses at Amazon - $60HadesHadesSupergiant Games

Hades was the first early access title to ever make our best PC game list, and the final game is a perfect fit for Nintendo’s Switch. It's an action-RPG developed by the team behind Bastion, Transistor and Pyre. You play Zagreus, son of Hades, who's having a little spat with his dad, and wants to escape from the underworld. To do so, Zagreus has to fight his way through the various levels of the underworld and up to the surface. Along the way, you’ll pick up “boons” from a wide range of ancient deities like Zeus, Ares and Aphrodite, which stack additional effects on your various attacks. Each level is divided into rooms full of demons, items and the occasional miniboss.

As Hades is a “roguelike” game, you start at the same place every time, with the levels rearranged. With that said, the items you collect can be used to access and upgrade new weapons and abilities that stick between sessions. Hades initially caught our attention just for its gameplay: You can jump in for 30 minutes and have a blast, or find yourself playing for hours. As the game neared its final release, the storytelling, world-building and its general character really started to take shape — there’s so much to do, so many people to meet and even some romance stuffed in there. You could play for hundreds of hours and still have fun.

Buy Hades at Amazon - $30Hollow KnightHollow KnightTeam Cherry

This was a real sleeper hit, and one of very few Kickstarter games to not only live up to but exceed expectations. Hollow Knight is a 2D action-adventure game in the Metroidvania style, but it's also just a mood. Set in a vast, decrepit land, which you'll explore gradually as you unlock new movement and attack skills for your character, a Burtonesque bug-like creature. Short on both dialogue and narrative, the developers instead convey a story through environment and atmosphere, and it absolutely nails it.

You'll start out feeling fairly powerless, but Hollow Knight has a perfect difficulty curve, always allowing you to progress but never making it easy. For example, it borrows the Dark Souls mechanic where you'll need to travel back to your corpse upon death to retrieve your "Geo" (the game's stand-in for Souls), which is always a tense time. Throughout it all, though, the enemies and NPCs will never fail to delight. For a moody game, it has a nice sense of humor and levity imbued mostly through the beautifully animated and voiced folks you meet. Given its low cost and extremely high quality, there's really no reason not to get this game. Trust us, it'll win you over.

Buy Hollow Knight at Amazon - $15Into The BreachInto The BreachSubset Games

When is a turn-based strategy game not a turn-based strategy game? Into the Breach, an indie roguelike game where you control mechs to stem an alien attack, defies conventions, and is all the better for it. While its core mechanics are very much in the XCOM (or Fire Emblem, for that matter) mold, it's what it does with those mechanics that's so interesting. A traditional turn-based strategy game plays out like a game of chess — you plan a move, while predicting what your opponent will do in return, and thinking ahead to what you'll do next, and so on, with the eventual goal of forcing them into a corner and winning. At the start of every Into the Breach turn, the game politely tells you exactly what each enemy character is going to do, down the exact square they'll end on and how much damage they'll inflict. There are no hit percentages, no random events, no luck; each turn is a puzzle, with definitive answers to how exactly you're going to come out on top.

Into the Breach battles are short, and being a roguelike, designed to be very replayable. Once you've mastered the basics and reached the end, there are numerous different mechs with new attack and defense mechanics to learn and master as you mix-and-match to build your favorite team. If you're a fan of either puzzle or turn-based strategy games, this is a must-have.

Buy Into The Breach at Amazon - $15The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the WildBreath of the Wild screenshotNintendo

The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild signals the biggest shift in the series since the Nintendo 64's Ocarina of Time, and it might well be one of the best games of the past decade. It pulls the long-running series into modern gaming, with a perfectly pitched difficulty curve and an incredible open world to play with. There's crafting, weapons that degrade, almost too much to collect and do and a gentle story hidden away for players to discover for themselves. Even without the entertaining DLC add-ons, there's simply so much to do here and challenges for every level of gamer.

Buy Breath of the Wild at Amazon - $40Disco Elysium Final CutGOG offers steep discounts on Disco Elysium, Cyberpunk 2077 and more ZA/UM

Disco Elysium is a special game. The first release from Estonian studio ZA/UM, it's a sprawling science-fiction RPG that takes more inspiration from D&D and Baldur's Gate than modern combat-focused games. In fact, there is no combat to speak of, instead, you'll be creating your character, choosing what their strengths and weaknesses are, and then passing D&D-style skill checks to make your way through the story. You'll, of course, be leveling up your abilities and boosting stats with items, but really the game's systems fall away in place of a truly engaging story, featuring some of the finest writing to ever grace a video game.

With the Final Cut, released 18 months after the original, this extremely dialogue-heavy game now has full voice acting, which brings the unique world more to life than ever before. After debuting on PC, PS5 and Stadia, Final Cut is now available for all extant home consoles – including Nintendo’s Switch. Loading times are a little slower than on other systems, so it might not be the absolute best platform to play it on, but Disco Elysium is an experience unlike the rest of the Switch library, which is why it makes it on this list.

Buy Disco Elysium Final Cut at Amazon - $40Mario Kart 8 DeluxeMario Kart 8 screenshotNintendo

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe's vibrancy and attention to detail prove it's a valid upgrade to the Wii U original. Characters are animated and endearing as they race around, and Nintendo's made bigger, wider tracks to accommodate up to 12 racers. This edition of Mario Kart included gravity-defying hover tires and automatic gliders for when you soar off ramps, making races even more visually thrilling, but at its core, it's Mario Kart — simple, pure gaming fun. It's also a great showcase for the multitude of playing modes that the Switch is capable of: Two-player split-screen anywhere is possible, as are online races or Switch-on-Switch chaos. For now, this is the definitive edition.

Buy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe at Amazon - $50OlliOlli WorldOlliOlli World screenshotRoll7

OlliOlli and its sequel, OlliOlli 2: Welcome to Olliwood, were notoriously difficult to master. They were infuriating, but also extremely satisfying when you pulled off just the right combo of tricks and grinds needed for a big score.

I was worried that OlliOlli World’s colorful and welcoming new direction for the series was going to dispense with that level of challenge, but I shouldn’t have been concerned. Developer Roll7 made a game that’s significantly more approachable than the original titles — but one that keeps the twitch-response gameplay and score-chasing highs intact for those who crave them.

It’s hard to sum up exactly what makes OlliOlli World so compelling, but the game mixes serious challenges with moments that let you really get into that elusive flow state, where you’re just pulling off tricks, riding rails and generally tearing through a course without thinking too much about what you’re doing. The music, sound effects, art style, level design and variety of moves you can pull off all contribute to this vibe — and even though the game looks entirely different from its predecessors, the end result is the same: skateboarding bliss.

Buy OlliOlli World at Amazon - $30Super Mario 3D World + Bowser’s FurySuper Mario 3D World screenshotNintendo

Super Mario 3D World was unfairly slept on when it originally launched in 2013, mostly due to the fact very few people had a Wii U. It's a superb translation of old-school Mario mechanics into 3D (Mario 64 is a masterpiece, yes, but unless you're a speed-runner it doesn't quite have the pace of the NES and SNES games). It's also a great multiplayer game, as you can play simultaneously with three other players and race through levels — the winner of each level gets to wear a crown in the next.

With the move to the Switch, and Nintendo finally starting to figure out online gaming, you can now do that remotely, which is a huge plus. The bigger addition is Bowser's Fury, an all-new game of sorts that plays more like a blend of Super Mario Odyssey and 3D World. There are some really creative challenges that feel right out of Odyssey, blended with the lightness and speed of the Wii U game. (It should be noted that Bowser's Fury is also only good for one or two players, unlike the main game.) We'd recommend 3D World just on its own, but as a package with Bowser's Fury, it becomes a much better deal.

Buy Super Mario 3D World at Amazon - $60Super Mario OdysseySuper Mario Odyssey screenshotNintendo

Super Mario Odyssey might not represent the major change that Breath of the Wild was for the Zelda series, but it’s a great Mario game that's been refined across the last two decades. Yes, we got some important modern improvements, like maps and fast travel, and the power-stealing Cappy is a truly fun addition to Mario's usual tricks. But that core joy of Mario, figuring out the puzzles, racing to collect items and exploring landmarks, is here in abundance.

Buy Super Mario Odyssey at Amazon - $60Super Smash Bros. UltimateSuper Smash Bros. UltimateNintendo

This is the ultimate distillation of Nintendo's multiplayer fighting game. The series' debut on Switch brings even more characters from beyond Nintendo's stable. If you're sick of Mario, Pikachu and Metroid's Samus, perhaps Final Fantasy VII's Cloud, Solid Snake or Bayonetta will be your new go-to character. There are about 80 characters to test out here (although 10 of them are locked behind DLC).

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate features a divisive new single-player mode where you augment characters with stickers, battling through special conditions to unlock more characters and, yes, more stickers. At its core, Smash Bros. games combine fast-paced, chaotic fights with an incredibly beginner-friendly learning curve. Yes, some items are confusing or overpowered, but your special moves are only a two-button combination away. Turning the tables is built into the DNA of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, ensuring thrilling battles (once you've sorted handicaps) for everyone involved.

Buy Super Smash Bros. Ultimate at Amazon - $60

Canon EOS R7 review: A strong start for RF-mount crop sensor cameras

Engadget - Thu, 2022-08-04 09:00

Canon launched the EOS R7 and R10 APS-C RF-S mount cameras earlier this year, finally introducing lens compatibility between crop-sensor and full-frame mirrorless cameras. That puts the future of its current APS-C EOS-M line in doubt, however.

Today’s review is all about the higher-end $1,500, 32-megapixel EOS R7. At that price, it goes up against rival APS-C models like Fujifilm’s X-T4 and the Sony A6600, but also Panasonic’s $1,700 Micro Four Thirds GH5-II and even full-frame cameras like Nikon’s $1,300 Z5.

Much like it did with the pioneering EOS-R, Canon made some interesting design decisions with the R7 body, and used a non-stacked, non-backside illuminated sensor. The R7 has a strong feature set, though, offering fast burst speeds, powerful AI autofocus and strong video capabilities. I checked it out with some help from my pro photographer friend, and here’s what we found.

Body and Handling

The EOS R7 has a classic Canon look, and while it’s not quite as pretty as the X-T4, I like the design more than Sony’s boxy APS-C cameras. It looks small in hand but is actually fairly hefty at 612 grams – not much less than the full-frame R6 and considerably more than the 503 gram A6600. The big mount supports both RF and the new RF-lenses designed for the R7 and R10.

It has a deep grip that’s comfortable and provides stability, even with big lenses. There’s a control dial on the front of the grip as usual, but Canon tried a new approach with the rear dial. Instead of putting it on the right where the on/off/video switch is now located, it’s well to the left of that and in a vertical position, wrapped around the joystick.

I wasn’t too sure about that when I first saw it. It didn’t take long to get used to it, though, and Sam noticed that it was easier to change settings or move the focus point one-handed while still keeping a solid grip.

The lack of a third dial for changing things like ISO is an issue, though. It’s certainly manageable through some dedicated buttons, and you can reprogram the control ring on any Canon RF lens, including the two new models, to change the aperture or other settings. Apart from that, the R7 handles nearly as well as the X-T4, and a lot better than any of Sony’s current APS-C cameras.

The 54mm RF mount also used on full-frame cameras looks cartoonishly big on the small body, but it means you can attach RF lenses like the $2,300 50mm f/1.2 That’s good, because Canon has only two RF-S lenses so far, the 18-150mm f/3.5-6.3 and the 18-45mm f/4.5-6.3. Neither is fast nor particularly sharp, but they’re inexpensive and versatile for casual users.

If you do need a faster prime right now, Canon’s $180 RF 50mm f/1.8 or $500 RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro are possible options, but both have an equivalent 1.6 times focal length due to the crop factor. You can also use any EF lenses you have lying around with Canon’s RF to EF adapter.

Canon EOS R7 mirrorless APS-C camera reviewSteve Dent/Engadget

The R7 has a fully articulating, responsive 1.62-million dot display that gives you full control of the menu, playback, autofocus and other things via touch. The menus are typical Canon, which Sam actually prefers to Sony. I’m less fond of them, as I still have trouble finding settings.

The OLED viewfinder is a bit disappointing, though. You get just 2.36 million dots of resolution, compared to 3.68 million on the X-T4 and GH5-II. For things like bird shooting that require a sharp view to judge focus, this may be an issue.

Canon made a good choice using the same battery from the R5 and R6, rather than the smaller one found on the R10. It allows for a solid 660 shots on a charge, or well over 90 minutes of oversampled 4K 24p video recording.

It has both headphone and microphone jacks, along with a micro-HDMI port that’s unfortunate but par for the course with APS-C cameras. Finally, it has a nice dual UHS-II card setup for easy backups and relatively fast shooting.

PerformanceCanon EOS R7 sample image gallerySteve Dent/Engadget

The R7 is a speed-demon of a camera, shooting 15 fps bursts with continuous autofocus using the mechanical shutter and an incredible 30 fps using the electronic shutter. Those are the same maximum frame rates as the $6,000 EOS R3, which makes it great for sports or wildlife shooting, particularly as it has a built-in zoom with the 1.6 times crop factor.

There’s a large caveat on the electronic shutter mode part, though. Not being stacked, the sensor doesn’t read out particularly quickly, so it can produce skewed photos in electronic mode with fast subjects or excessive camera movement. The mechanical shutter is fast enough to be a good option, but it makes a loud clunking noise that could scare away that white-tailed deer or draw unwanted attention at a high-school basketball game.

You’ll get a decent number of frames before they kick you out, though. It delivers 100 shots at 15 fps with the mechanical shutter or about 70 with the electronic shutter before the buffer fills. If you have a fast UHS-II card, the buffer clears out fairly quickly and you can get back to shooting again.

Canon EOS R7 mirrorless APS-C camera reviewSteve Dent/Engadget

Like other Canon cameras, the R7 uses Canon’s Dual Pixel autofocus with deep learning AI tech. In regular single-point continuous AF mode, it nails shots even with fast moving subjects. And the subject tracking is top-notch, requiring very little fussing. If you select a subject in any AF area mode, it’ll lock on and track it tenaciously. If the subject is a human, animal, bird or even a car, it’ll track their head, body or eyes.

It worked reliably and rapidly for myself and pro photographer Samuel, keeping kids, cats, birds and other quick-moving subjects in focus. Though it can fail to lock into subjects like birds behind a branch, Canon has a “foreground” setting that can help. Canon also offers four AF cases, allowing standard photos, subjects that may appear quickly, subjects that speed up or slow down quickly, and the aforementioned foreground setting. Overall, the AF is right up there with Sony, and superior to Fujifilm and Nikon.

The R7 is one of the smaller bodies available with five-axis in-body stabilization, as well. That system reduces shakes up to 8 stops with select lenses, which allowed me to take sharp shots down to an eighth or even a quarter of a second.

Image quality

While the new 32.5-megapixel image sensor isn’t very fast, image quality is top-notch thanks to the updated DIGIC X image processor, high-megapixel count and Canon’s color science. Compared to the usual 24 megapixels, 32.5 provides a noticeable jump in sharpness and lets you crop into photos more if necessary.

JPEG quality is perhaps the best of any APS-C Canon camera yet, with sharper, more natural images than the M6 Mark II, which also has a 32.5-megapixel processor (though not the same one, Canon says). Samuel said he took several studio photos that he could have given to the client as JPEGs with no processing.

Canon offers both lossy and non-lossy compressed 14-bit RAW files, but it’s hard to see the difference unless you really punch in. Both deliver good dynamic range, with the ability to retain detail in high-contrast scenes. Dynamic range doesn’t quite hold up to Nikon’s Z fc, but it’s not far off.

The R7 has decent but not great low-light shooting capability with usable images up to ISO 6400 or even ISO 12800 if the exposure is good and you don’t try to boost the shadows much in post. Sony’s APS-C cameras are a bit better in that regard, but the resolution is also lower.

Canon EOS R7 sample image galleryVideo

For video, the R7 is superior to most APS-C cameras except perhaps Fujifilm’s aging X-T4 and the new $2,500 X-H2S, which offers up to 6.2K shooting. And it’s far better than any of Sony’s APS-C cameras, which lack 10-bit, high frame rates and other features.

You can shoot pin-sharp supersampled 4K using the entire sensor width at up to 30 fps. It also offers 4K at 60fps using either line-skipping or a 1.8 times crop (on top of the 1.6 times crop). Both modes are softer, but the quality is usable for most projects and the rolling shutter issues are less severe.

The R7 also features C-Log3 or PQ HDR video with 10-bit color for increased dynamic range. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have an All-I mode for easy editing, so you’re limited to IPB “long gop” codecs with a regular mode and Lite mode that takes up about half the storage.

Canon EOS R7 sample image gallerySample video frameSteve Dent/Engadget

What about overheating? Canon does have some guidance on that, but I never ran into any warnings, even on several warm days. The oversample 4K at 30fps is the most demanding, but Canon says you can shoot at least an hour straight in that mode with no issues.

As with photos, video is sharp and color-accurate with Canon’s trademark warm skin tones. C-Log3 is easy to color grade and offers extra dynamic range for tricky, contrasty shooting situations. I wouldn’t push the ISO to more than 3200 in low-light situations for video, as noise becomes a serious issue.

With in-body stabilization and a flip-out display, the EOS R7 is a good vlogging camera. However, you’ll need to avoid jerky movements, particularly in the oversampled mode, to avoid rolling shutter. You’ll also need a fairly wide lens due to the crop. The two kit lenses barely do the job at the 18mm wide end, particularly with enhanced video stabilization.

Wrap-up A strong start for RF-mount crop sensor camerasEngadget/Steve Dent

With the $1,500 R7, Canon has largely nailed its first stab at an APS-C RF mount camera. It’s fast, delivers accurate autofocus, and offers solid video capabilities. The biggest problem with it is the rolling shutter due to the relatively slow readout speeds of the non-stacked sensor.

Its main APS-C competition is the $1,600 Fujifilm X-T4 and $1,400 Sony A6600. The R7 is better in most ways than the A6600 and mostly a match for the X-T4 – offering better autofocus but worse rolling shutter. Panasonic’s $1,700 GH5-II has a smaller sensor but is better for video. You can actually find several full-frame cameras cheaper, including the $1,300 Nikon Z5 and Canon’s $1,000 EOS RP, which has no in-body stabilization. The new EOS R10 is less capable, but also much less expensive at $980.

What’s attractive about the R7 compared to most of those models is that Canon has put in all its latest tech from models like the R3, delivering a speedy and dependable camera that’s surprisingly easy to use. Samuel, who uses exclusively Sony gear, put it best – he said that Canon is closing in rapidly on Sony’s technological lead, and if Sony doesn’t respond, it could quickly lose his business.

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