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This week in games: Sims 4 for free, a Just Cause film, and Frostbite's hairy tech demo

Fri, 2019-05-24 16:35

Exterior, day. We see a factory or something. A helicopter flies straight into it and explodes. Everything explodes! And then a man soars out of the explosion, holding a big metal claw in one hand. He looks at the camera.

“Are you...hooked?”

Anyway, they’re making a Just Cause film. That news, plus George R. R. Martin dabbles in video games, Call of Duty reboots Modern Warfare, Telltale’s catalog starts disappearing, Frostbite shows off its luscious locks, and a bevy of free games to carry you through your (hopefully) long weekend.

This is gaming news for May 20 to 24.

Cheap thrills

Hopefully you have a long weekend ahead of you to take advantage of all this week’s free games, because there are a lot of them. First up: Overwatch is celebrating its third anniversary this week, a fact I find personally horrifying as someone who played it at release. If you haven’t yet dug into Blizzard’s shooter though, you can download and play it free through until May 28.

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Amazon is selling a 'renewed' Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi System for the lowest price we've ever seen

Fri, 2019-05-24 12:37

The only way to ensure a solid connection all over your house is to invest in a good Wi-Fi system, but that investment often comes at a hefty cost. Today you can save a few bucks on one of our favorites with this awesome Amazon deal: A refurbished Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi System RBK43 is down to $210Remove non-product link, $90 off its $300 list price and the best price we've ever tracked.

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25 great games you can play on laptops and low-end PCs

Fri, 2019-05-24 09:56
No graphics card? No problem.

Image by Cuphead

PC gaming is often synonymous with performance. Tech specs, frame rates, resolutions, settings menus—we dedicate thousands and thousands of words to these topics, spend hours obsessing over the details.

But for every person running Crysis there’s another fending off an upgrade and squeezing the last ounces of power out of their older or low-end desktop PC, or someone valiantly trying to game on a hand-me-down non-gaming laptop. This list is for you folks. Below, you’ll find a list of games that any PC can play. Or at least any from the last decade. Probably.

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Snag this 6-core, all-AMD gaming PC for just $600

Fri, 2019-05-24 09:54

Stand on the sidelines no longer, and get into gaming with this fantastic deal at Newegg. Until Monday, the online retailer is selling an AMD-based gaming desktop for $600, dubbed the SkyTech Archangel Gaming ComputerRemove non-product link. In addition to the desktop, you get two free games courtesy of AMD: World War Z and Tom Clancy’s The Division 2 Gold Edition.

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Grace Digital Mondo+ Classic review: A neoclassical clock radio for the internet age

Fri, 2019-05-24 06:00
Easy operation, modern connections, and agreeable sound make the Mondo+ Classic an internet radio even a Luddite can love.

Fitbit Inspire HR review: One size, many styles, fit all

Fri, 2019-05-24 06:00
Fitbit has returned to its roots with the Inspire HR, a fitness tracker that nails the basics.

Nvidia says something 'super' is coming...

Thu, 2019-05-23 13:27

Winter is coming. Well, so is something “super” from Nvidia.

Not to be left out of the news cycle, Nvidia on Thursday teased, well... something, with a mysterious YouTube video that pretty much just featured the word “Super” in the style of the metallic logo used on its popular graphics cards.


Nvidia’s teaser isn’t a new tack of course. The company has long been known for building hype around upcoming product launches by engaging consumers with puzzles and challenges. 

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Rock out this Memorial Day weekend with a killer price on the Anker SoundCore Boost speaker

Thu, 2019-05-23 12:55

No matter how good your playlist is, a bad Bluetooth speaker can kill ruin your Memorial Day party. But Amazon's got a great price today on one of our favorites: the Anker SoundCore Boost Bluetooth speaker is just $51Remove non-product link when you check the coupon box in the listing, down from a list price of $80 and the lowest price we've seen.

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The Playdate gaming handheld is a Game Boy-Model T mashup by Firewatch's publisher

Thu, 2019-05-23 11:47

Indie app developer Panic may be best known for its fun and useful Mac and iOS software, but its latest venture is decidedly outside the box. Building on the success of the cross-platform game Firewatch, which it published, the team is building a handheld video game system called Playdate that’s just as fun and quirky as Panic’s iconic app icons: It’s yellow, has retro Game Boy charm, and features a Model T Ford-style crank.

Panic says the device “fits perfectly in a pocket” and is built “entirely from scratch,” right down to its Playdate OS, a full-featured SDK supporting C and Lua development, and a Mac-based simulator and debugger. Instead of a color screen, Playdate sports “a black-and-white screen with high reflectivity, a crystal-clear image, and no backlight.” It also has a headphone jack. And did we mention its crank?

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Amazon's rumored wearable device reads your emotions by listening to your voice

Thu, 2019-05-23 10:16

Amazon already brings joy to the millions of people who receive its packages, but now it wants to know how you’re feeling during the other 1,400 minutes in your day. Bloomberg reports that Amazon is developing a new wearable device “that can discern the wearer’s emotional state from the sound of his or her voice.”

Bloomberg describes the device as a wrist-worn gadget marketed as a health and wellness product. It reportedly has “microphones paired with software” and “could be able to advise the wearer how to interact more effectively with others.” The device is being developed by the same teams responsible for the Echo speakers and Alexa voice recognition, Bloomberg says. The same group is is also reportedly working on a home robot companion with “advanced cameras and computer vision software and can navigate through homes like a self-driving car.”

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Acer's latest laptops go all-AMD with Ryzen and Radeon inside

Thu, 2019-05-23 09:44

Computex is still days away but the parade of notebooks has already begun. Late Wednesday, Acer introduced two AMD-powered laptops to its lineup with new versions of the Nitro 5 gaming notebook and Swift 3 ultrabook.

The 15.6-inch Acer Nitro 5 pairs AMD’s 2nd-gen Ryzen 7 3750H processor with an AMD Radeon RX 560 GPU. The laptop looks to be built on the same chassis as the existing Acer Nitro 5 that’s running a Ryzen 5 2500U and a Radeon RX 560X GPU.

Although both CPUs pack four-cores with symmetrical multi-threading (AMD’s version Hyper-Threading), the key change between the two is the higher wattage. The Ryzen 7 3750H is rated at 35 watts of thermal dissipation while the Ryzen 5 2500U is rated at 15 watts. In non-nerd talk, that means the Ryzen 7 should run at higher clock speeds for a longer period of time.

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Treat your eyes to a 55-inch, 4K HDR Samsung smart TV for under $400

Thu, 2019-05-23 09:25

It’s almost Memorial Day and there are some interesting sales popping up. Walmart is currently discounting Samsung electronics, and we spotted a great deal on a 2018 Samsung 55-inch 4K HDR smart TV for $398Remove non-product link. The lowest price we’ve ever seen for the UN55NU6900 on Amazon was $447, and Walmart’s list price for this TV is $528.

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The one subscription trick all cord-cutters should know

Thu, 2019-05-23 06:00
Immediate cancellation: The one subscription trick all cord-cutters should know.

Kingston KC2000 NVMe PCIe SSD: Entry-level price, top-shelf performance

Thu, 2019-05-23 05:52

I wasn’t expecting much from Kingston’s KC2000 M.2 NVMe SSD, given the last Kingston NVMe drive I tested, the affordable but mundane A1000.  Color me wrong—this latest effort delivers real-world performance that matches anything available, and sets it at your feet for about 20 cents per gigabyte. Sweet. Super sweet.

Design and specs

The KC2000 is a PCIe x4 M.2 NMVe drive in the 2280 format (22 mm wide, 80 mm long) that ships in four capacities: $62.40/250GB, $114.40/500GB, $201.50/1TB (the capacity we tested), and $410.80/2TB. Note that there’s no premium for the two larger capacity drives. That’s unusual, and it speaks to the fairness of Kingston's pricing. I also appreciate that there's no 99-cent trickery to make it look and sound cheaper.

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This 200GB SanDisk Ultra microSD card is less than $30 on Amazon today

Wed, 2019-05-22 11:41

Here at PCWorld, we know how important extra space is for your Android phone or Nintendo Switch, so we're always on the lookout for great deals on microSD cards. And we found another one: Amazon is selling the 200GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC for $27.29Remove non-product link, down from a list price of $85 and extremely close to an all-time low.

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Leaked ARM memo suggests Huawei's losing access to yet more essential technology

Wed, 2019-05-22 11:36

The hits keep coming for Huawei. Following the revocation of its license to use Google apps and the Play Store on its Android phones and a ban by several major chipmakers, including Intel, Broadcom, and Qualcomm, a leaked memo obtained by the BBC has revealed that ARM has ordered its employees to cease “all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements” with the beleaguered China-based tech giant.

While ARM is a UK-based company, its chip designs contain technology that originated in the U.S. and subsequently are believed to be subject to the Commerce Department’s blanket ban. The memo says ARM employees are no longer able to “provide support, delivery technology (whether software, code, or other updates), engage in technical discussions, or otherwise discuss technical matters.”

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Ramp up your old PC's performance with these mouth-watering SSD bargains

Wed, 2019-05-22 09:39

Adding a solid state drive is still the single best upgrade you can give an aging PC. If you have a newer desktop or laptop with an M.2 NVMe slot, then that’s even better. But for older devices still rocking a standard (and slow) mechanical hard drive, a SATA III SSD provides an amazing improvement in speed and responsiveness. Seriously: The difference between a hard drive and an SSD can’t be overstated. 

Today, we’ve got two stunning SSD deals for your consideration.

First up: The 1TB WD Blue 3D is on sale for $97Remove non-product link with the checkout code EMCTAVU23 at Newegg. That’s $18 cheaper than Newegg’s current price of $115, and under 10 cents per gig! This drive is one of the best SSDs for most people, trailing behind only the Samsung 860 EVO, which currently sells for $147 for the same 1TB capacity. Don’t miss out.

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Google exposes G Suite issue that stored plain-text passwords on its servers for 15 years

Wed, 2019-05-22 09:15

Google has begun forcing “a subset of our enterprise G Suite customers” to change their passwords after an issue that inadvertently left passwords exposed for more than a decade.

In a post to its Google Cloud blog Tuesday, the company outlined an error made back in 2005 that stored a copy of actual user passwords rather than the usual scrambled “hashed” version, thus making it possible for an outside attack to gain access to usable passwords. Google explains that the issue has been fixed and the company has “seen no evidence of improper access to or misuse of the affected passwords.”

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Phyn Plus smart water valve review: Sophisticated leak detection and water use analysis—for a price

Wed, 2019-05-22 06:00
Yes, it’s even more expensive than the Flo by Moen, but Phyn doesn’t charge extra to inform you how you’re using water.

Huawei devices disappear from Microsoft Store and Best Buy, but remain on Amazon, Newegg

Tue, 2019-05-21 15:24

Microsoft appears to have pulled Huawei's Matebook X Pro from its online shelves, and Best Buy, too, has followed suit. Huawei phones and devices are still available from Amazon and Newegg as of this posting, however.

Neither the Huawei Matebook X Pro nor the Huawei Matebook 13 appear on Microsoft's Store site, though at least the Matebook X Pro appeared previously, as the Verge noted. The only reference to Huawei on the site is via third-party apps that reference Huawei services, none of which appear to be authored by Huawei.

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