Posts with «author_name|devindra hardawar» label

Engadget Podcast: Why the PlayStation Portal is truly baffling

Sony’s next “PSP,” the PlayStation Portal, is one odd little device. It can only stream games from your PlayStation 5 – beyond that, it’s a $200 doorstop. In this episode, Cherlynn and Devindra chat with CNET’s Scott Stein about the Portal and the many ways it baffles us. While it does manage to stream games from the PS5 just fine, it’s also expensive, clunky and lacks basic features like Bluetooth audio support. It’s really only meant for the most diehard PS5 owners (and even they should probably wait for a sale).

Listen below or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you've got suggestions or topics you'd like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcast, Engadget News!


  • What was Sony thinking with the Playstation Portal? (With CNET’s Scott Stein) – 0:54

  • Microsoft rebrands Bing Chat to Copilot – 27:34

  • Qi 2 wireless charging standard will bring Magsafe’s satisfying magnetic click to all supported phones – 34:03

  • Nothing Phone 2 is getting iMessage...sort of – 47:40

  • Late breaking: Apple confirms RCS is coming to iPhones next year – 52:15

  • WhatsApp free storage on Google Drive is coming to an end – 53:53

  • Working on – 1:06:52

  • Pop culture picks – 1:07:34


Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar
Guest: Scott Stein
Producer: Ben Ellman
Music: Dale North and Terrence O'Brien

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Microsoft's Copilot AI is officially coming to Windows 10

Microsoft's AI ambitions are moving a bit backwards: Today, the company has confirmed that it's bringing Copilot AI to Windows 10. At first, it'll be available to Windows Insider users in an upcoming Release Preview update, where Copilot will appear on the right side of the Task Bar. Once selected, you'll see the familiar Copilot interface, which you can use to ask the AI questions, manage Windows features or interact with documents. Microsoft says the Copilot window won't overlap with desktop content or block open windows.

If this all sounds familiar, it's because Windows Central reported that Windows 10 would be getting Copilot earlier this month. The move isn't exactly surprising. While Windows 11 is Microsoft's latest OS, it only accounts for 26 percent of Windows installations, according to GlobalStats. Windows 10, meanwhile, still holds 69 percent of the Windows market.

In 2020, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 reached 1 billion devices, and it still appears to be above that figure. Windows Central's reporting suggests that Windows 11 is on 400 million devices, in comparison. Just one look at those numbers and it makes sense why Microsoft is bringing its latest tech into an aging OS (its "end of service" date is still October 14, 2025). If the company was able to declare it brought Copilot's AI to 1.4 billion devices in 2023, this year of over-accelerated AI hype will have been worth it.

Windows 10's Copilot will be previewed in North America, as well as parts of Asia and South America over the next few months. For Windows Insiders who want to get in line for the update, Microsoft suggests installing today's November preview update. Additionally, they'll need to enable the "Get the latest updates as soon as they're available" feature in Windows Update.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

PlayStation Portal review: A baffling handheld for no one but Sony diehards

Sony has apparently learned nothing from the success of the Nintendo Switch and Steam Deck. Or from its own portable systems like the Vita and PSP, for that matter. The PlayStation Portal (yes, technically it's another PSP) is a $200 handheld system that can only stream games from your PlayStation 5. There aren't any built in apps, it can't play anything locally, and there's no connection to Sony's cloud game streaming service. It's purely a streaming window into your PS5, hence the name.

Consequently, it's also a device that lives and dies based on the quality of your internet connection. While it's mostly meant for in-home play, you could technically hop on any Wi-Fi connection to play remotely when you're traveling. But that's only possible if that connection and your home internet can keep up, and if your PS5 doesn't crash or get wonky. If anything along that chain fails, you're left with an ugly $200 doorstop.

That's the main problem with the PlayStation Portal. Its downsides are so immediately apparent, it's unclear why anyone should get one. You could, for example, spend $100 for a Backbone controller to stream games from your phone. Or you could use any existing gamepad to access the PS Remote app on a phone, table, Mac or Windows PC. There are so many better ways to access games on the go, the PlayStation Portal already felt obsolete before it launched.

Even its design seems haphazard: It's as if Sony chopped up a DualSense controller and shoved a basic 8-inch tablet in the middle. In place of the DualSense's center touchpad, you can tap and swipe on the Portal's screen (a process that was never as smooth as I wanted). On the bright side, the Portal includes the DualSense's satisfying haptics, and its sci-fi-ish black and white case looks right at home alongside the PlayStation 5.

Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Holding the PlayStation Portal feels like holding an oversized DualSense controller. My hands and fingers were perfectly comfortable, but the 8-inch screen throws off the balance. I also couldn't help but notice how fragile the bottom corners of the screen were. It really does look like a tablet, with thick bezels and a relatively thin profile. But unlike the Switch, Steam Deck or even PlayStation Vita, there's nothing protecting the lower part of the Portal's screen from a hard drop, or from being crushed inside of a backpack. (Sony isn't selling a Portal case of its own, but you can find some from third-parties.)

I'm sure the controller arms would offer some protection for many falls, but I couldn't help treating the system with kid gloves during my testing. I didn't let my 5-year old daughter handle it during my review, even though I feel comfortable letting her hold a Switch. Perhaps this is just my paranoid dad brain speaking, but the Portal's screen is practically asking to be damaged — it's like getting your child an overly-expensive doll and just knowing it's going to lose a limb within a day.

Setting up the PlayStation Portal involves linking it to your PlayStation 5 from within the console, or the PlayStation app. For some reason, my phone (an iPhone 15 Pro Max) had a hard time making out the QR code on the Portal's screen, so I plugged in the pairing code manually. Once that was clear, I sat back and waited for the Portal to connect to my PS5. And I waited. And waited.

Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Thirty seconds later I received a message saying that I needed to turn on my PS5's Remote Play feature, something I could have sworn I did when reviewing the system. The only problem? I was snuggled in bed, hoping to get some portable Spider-Man 2 time in before I dozed off. Rather than trek down two flights of stairs to reach the PS5 in my basement, I decided to wait until morning. I’ll admit, this was mostly my fault, but it would have been nice to flip on Remote Play from the PlayStation app.

When I got up, I immediately flipped on the feature on my PS5 and proceeded to make breakfast. While my kids were chomping down on pancakes, I turned on the PS Portal and tried to connect to my PS5 — once again, I waited. About a minute later, I finally heard a successful chime from the system and was presented with my PlayStation 5's home screen. But when I tried to get a game of Thumper going, all I saw was a sea of video compression artifacts. The game's normally fluid controls felt like mud. I gave up after five minutes of frustration.

Here's where I need to reiterate that your experience with the PlayStation Portal comes down to your home's internet setup. Sony recommends having a connection of at least 5Mbps, and it suggests 15Mbps for better quality. But raw internet speed is just one factor: You also have to consider the age and networking technology in your router, as well as Wi-Fi reception throughout your home. For the best possible experience, you'll want a modern router (or even better, a mesh setup) that can bathe your home in full wireless bars, as well as a direct Ethernet connection for your PS5. (Sony isn't saying if the PS Portal supports Wi-Fi 6, but that's a technology worth investing in if you have an older router.)

What's confusing, though, is that I have pretty great internet throughout my home. I'm using AT&T's gigabit service with a modern Wi-Fi 6 gateway on my first floor, and there's a mesh extension for my office in the basement. I typically see full wireless reception on my main floor, with speeds between 600 and 800Mbps on most devices. So why was the PlayStation Portal having such a rough time? I have no clue. My PS5, which sits in the basement, isn’t connected via Ethernet. But I also see 500Mbps speeds down there, so it didn't seem necessary. During breakfast, I was sitting about 20 unobstructed feet from my router, so there wasn't much physical interference either.

When I moved to my living room later in the day, which is also where my router sits, the Portal was able to connect to my PS5 in around 15 seconds. I spun up Spider-Man 2 and crossed my fingers. For whatever reason, it loaded up just fine and I was able to play for an hour with my daughter curled up beside me. That was the first time I could actually see the potential of this thing. My daughter and I have been gaming together a lot, but only with portable systems we can use together in bed or on the couch. It would take a lot more effort to bring her into my basement home theater, and frankly, she'd probably be bored there.

Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

So there we were, swinging through NYC streets as Peter Parker and Miles Morales, and it felt like magic. Spider-Man 2 appeared to be running at 60fps on the Portal in performance mode, and it was perfectly fine. Colors certainly didn't pop as they do on my Switch OLED, and it couldn't hold a candle to the Steam Deck's new 90Hz OLED HDR screen, but it was still decently immersive without many video artifacts. The controls felt just as responsive as the DualSense, and its haptic rumble felt powerful and nuanced (certainly more so than the Switch or Steam Deck).

Moving up to my bedroom later in the day (one floor above the router, two floors above the basement) we were able to clock another 30 minutes in Spider-Man 2 with only occasional hiccups. Thankfully, the game automatically paused in those instances, similar to what you'd see if your DualSense controller lost power during normal gameplay. Every time we disconnected, I couldn't help but look over at the Switch OLED and Steam Deck, handhelds that can actually play games offline without a sweat.

During a recent grocery run, I brought the Portal along just to test the limits of its remote connectivity. To my surprise, I was able to tether it to my phone (using Verizon's 5G ultra-wideband network) and launch Spider-Man 2 just fine. The game looked far less clear than when I was at home, naturally, but I could still make out enough to explore the city and take on a few side missions.

Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

So sure, the Portal isn't entirely useless on the go, but you're risking a lot if it's your only portable gaming option. You still couldn't use it on a plane — even if the internet was fast enough, network latency would be abysmal — and hotel Wi-Fi is notoriously unreliable. Meanwhile, you could play Tears of the Kingdom on Switch or Baldur's Gate 3 on the Steam Deck without issue. (Power is a concern, but planes often have outlets and both systems can be charged with portable battery packs.)

When I got back home, my daughter was excited to see more of Mile's story in Spider-Man 2. But for whatever reason, the Portal refused to connect to my PS5 while we were sitting in bed, even though it worked just fine there the night before. We didn't have enough time to run downstairs and reset the PS5, so we resorted to playing Dave the Diver on the Steam Deck instead.

I can't abide hardware I can't trust, and the PlayStation Portal is among the most fickle devices I've encountered. Even if you have an excellent home networking setup, it’s hard to predict just how well it will perform. That’s a shame, since its battery life is among the best we’ve seen for a portable system, lasting between seven and eight hours of gameplay. (The one bright side to being a streaming only device? It’s basically just decoding incoming video.)

Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

There are other annoyances too, like the Portal’s complete lack of Bluetooth support. You can connect a pair of Sony's $200 Pulse Explore earbuds, but that's your only wireless option. Otherwise, you'll have to plug in wired headphones at the bottom of the Portal, or deal with the system’s anemic speakers. Sony likely wanted to keep the Portal's price down, but losing Bluetooth feels like the Sony of yore forcing people to buy their proprietary Memory Sticks, instead of using SD cards like everyone else.

Despite its many downsides, I'm sure some PlayStation fans will jump on the Portal. Engadget Executive Editor Aaron Souppouris was excited about the prospect of playing PS5 games in bed, while Deputy Editor Nathan Ingraham was intrigued about playing on the couch when his TV was occupied. And based on my time with it, I can see the Portal's limited appeal — but not for $200.

As someone who genuinely loved the PlayStation Vita, it's disappointing to see Sony delivering a bare minimum portable system. I'm not expecting the Vita 2, but at least give us true cloud gaming.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Engadget Podcast: MacBook Pro M3, iMac and Steam Deck OLED reviews

We finally got our hands on Apple's new M3 MacBook Pros and iMac! In this episode, we dive into our full thoughts about all of Apple's new hardware alongside Deputy Editor Nathan Ingraham. The big takeaway: Don't buy the base model of either computer with just 8GB of RAM. Otherwise, the M3 chips are solid upgrades across the board.

Also, Senior Editor Jessica Conditt joins to tell us all about the new Steam Deck OLED. It has a slightly larger OLED screen than the original model, as well as some extra battery life. While the performance is the same as before, it's certainly a tempting holiday treat for anyone who's been eyeing a Steam Deck.

Listen below or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you've got suggestions or topics you'd like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcast, Engadget News!


  • Our reviews of Apple’s M3 iMac and M3 Pro MacBook Pro – 0:40

  • Steam Deck OLED review with Jess Conditt – 21:33

  • Humane to debut AI-powered device that pins to your clothes – 43:24

  • Meta to require political campaigns to disclose AI-altered images in ads – 55:19

  • Sam Bankman-Fried found guilty of fraud, faces up to 110 years in prison – 56:21

  • Rockstar confirms GTA 6 trailer is coming December 2023 – 1:04:18

  • Working on – 1:07:23

  • Pop culture picks – 1:09:07


Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar
Guest: Nathan Ingraham and Jessica Conditt
Producer: Ben Ellman
Music: Dale North and Terrence O'Brien

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The director of Sundance darling "We Met in Virtual Reality" launches a VR studio

We Met in Virtual Reality, a documentary shot entirely inside VRChat (now available to stream on Max), was one of the highlight's of last year's Sundance Film Festival. It deftly showed how people can form genuine friendships and romantic connections inside of virtual worlds — something Mark Zuckerberg could only dream of with his failed metaverse concept. Now the director of that film, Joe Hunting, is making an even bigger bet on virtual reality: He's launching Painted Clouds, a production studio devoted to making films and series set within VR.

What's most striking about We Met in Virtual Reality, aside from the Furries and scantily-clad anime avatars, is that it looks like a traditional documentary. Hunting used VRCLens, a tool developed by the developer Hirabiki, to perform cinematic techniques like pulling focus, deliberate camera movements and executing aerial drone shots. Hunting says he aims to "build upon VRCLens to give it more scope and make it even more accessible to new filmmakers," as well as using it for his own productions.

Additionally, Hunting is launching "Painted Clouds Park," a world in VRChat that can be used for production settings and events. It's there that he also plans to run workshops and media events to teach people about the possibilities of virtual reality filmmaking.

His next project, which is set to begin pre-production next year, will be a dramedy focused on a group of online friends exploring an ongoing mystery. Notably, Hunting says it will also be shot with original avatars and production environments, not just cookie-cutter VRChat worlds. His aim is to make it look like a typical animated film — the only difference is that it'll be shot inside of VR. It's practically an evolution of the machinima concept, which involved shooting footage inside of game engines, using existing assets.

"Being present in a headset and being in the scene yourself, holding the camera and capturing the output, I find creates a much more immersive filmmaking experience for me, and a much more playful and joyful one, too," Hunting said. "I can look up and everyone is their characters. They're not wearing mo-cap [suits] to represent the characters. They just are embodying them. Obviously, that experience doesn't translate completely on screen as an audience member. But in terms of directing and the kind of relationship I can build with my actors and the team around me, I find that so fun."

Throughout all of his work, including We Met in Virtual Reality and earlier shorts, Hunting has been focused on capturing virtual worlds for playback on traditional 2D screens. But looking forward, he says he's interested in exploring 360-degree immersive VR projects as well. It could end up being part of behind-the-scenes footage for his next VR film, as a part of an experimental project in the future. In addition to his dramedy project, Hunting is also working on a short VR documentary, as well as a music video.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch review: An M3 chip for every situation

Apple's confusing laptop family finally makes sense this year. The long-rumored 15-inch MacBook Air arrived months ago, and the company surprised us by delivering two MacBook Pro revisions in less than 12 months. While I appreciated the speed bump that the M2 Pro models brought, the new M3-equipped MacBook Pro 14- and 16-inch are a clearer sign of where Apple is headed. The company has killed off the long-suffering 13-inch MacBook Pro, which was cursed with a Touch Bar and an aging design. Now, its Pro machines are truly geared towards professionals, while the Air models are meant for everyone else.

Curiously, though, Apple also seems to be dividing those professionals into more distinct subgroups. The cheaper $1,599 14-inch MacBook Pro sports a plain M3 chip, which has an 8-core CPU and 10-core GPU. It’s an entirely new addition to the lineup, and consequently it seems tailor-made for people who want something more than a MacBook Air, but don’t need the power of a $2,000 machine. It's equipped with a mere 8GB of RAM — a limitation you'll likely feel as browser tabs stack up — and it loses a USB-C port on its right side.

If you're actually going to be doing any multimedia work, you can bump up to the $1,999 14-inch M3 Pro model, which features an 11-core CPU and 14-core GPU. You’ll have to shell out $2,399 to get the full power of the M3 Pro with a 12-core CPU and 18-core GPU. And demanding users can jump to the $3,199 M3 Max model, sporting a 14-core CPU and 30-core GPU. Pricing hasn't changed at all for the 16-inch MacBook Pro, which still starts at $2,499 with an M3 Pro chip. Notably, the bigger MacBook Pro can be equipped with a 40-core GPU M3 Max chip for $3,999.

Both MacBook Pro models can also come in a "Space Black" finish, which features a new anodization finish to reduce fingerprints. (Unfortunately, it's not available for the base M3 14-inch MacBook Pro, another slight knock against that machine.) While the color looks more charcoal gray in person, it’s darker than Apple's previous "Space Gray" MacBook Pros. And in my testing, it definitely attracted less fingerprint grease than the pure black "Midnight" MacBook Air (though it certainly wasn't perfect). I'm just hoping Apple can eventually produce a Midnight variant of the MacBook Pro that fares better with fingerprints. And don't worry, the classic silver option is still around.

The 16-inch MacBook Pro with M3 Max.
Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Other than that new color, though, not much has changed about the overall design of the 14- and 16-inch MacBook Pros, which were refreshed in 2021. Their refined, all-aluminum design was a big step forward from Apple’s older unibody cases, which stuck around for almost a decade. Both computers feature gorgeous 14- and 16-inch Liquid Retina XDR displays, which offer HDR, refresh rates up to 120Hz with ProMotion, and up to 1,600 nits of peak HDR brightness. (One nifty upgrade: They now offer up to 600 nits of SDR brightness, instead of 500 nits.) And yes, the notch everyone made fun of is still around, and once again it houses a 1080p webcam.

I'm not complaining, mind you. This MacBook Pro redesign was a major improvement when it debuted two years ago, and it still looks great today. I wouldn't be surprised if Apple sticks with it for years, just like it did the old unibody design. While some PC-makers are eager to throw in features to make their computers stand out — like the rear LED lights on ASUS's Zephyrus G14 and m16 — there's something casually cool and confident about these MacBook Pros.

You might be wondering why we’re reviewing both the 14-inch and 16-inch models together – to put it simply, they’re practically the same machine with different screen sizes. One isn’t necessarily better than the other, it really depends on your needs. If you’re a video editor working on large project timelines, it makes sense to go for the biggest screen possible, especially since you can cram in that 40-core GPU. And if you need something more compact, the smaller model makes more sense as it weighs just 3.5 pounds, while the 16-inch is a back-aching 4.7 pounds.

Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

I tested the 14-inch MacBook Pro with an M3 chip and 16GB of RAM, as well as the 16-inch model with an M3 Max and a whopping 128GB of RAM. (Unfortunately, we couldn't get our hands on an M3 Pro model to compare, but we'll update our benchmarks once we do.) To be honest, both computers performed exactly as I expected. The 14-inch M3 MacBook Pro is still a zippy little devil for general productivity work — in my case, that's with dozens of browser tabs, Slack, Evernote, Spotify and Pixelmator Pro all at once. The 16-inch model, on the other hand, was practically begging for more serious workloads. (Perhaps I was just feeling the pressure of using a machine with that much RAM and an 8TB SSD.)


Geekbench 5 CPU

Geekbench 5 Compute

Cinebench R23

3DMark Wildlife Extreme

Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (Apple M3, 2023)





Apple MacBook Pro 16-inch (Apple M3 Max, 2023)




Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch (Apple M2 Max, 2023)




18 ,487

Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch (Apple M2, 2022)





In the Geekbench 6 and Cinebench 2024 benchmarks, both the M3 and M3 Max chips showed slight improvements over the M2 variants and more noticeable leaps ahead of the M1 family. I can't imagine too many folks are eager to upgrade their M2 MacBook Pros, but demanding users may see the need to move beyond the M1 machines at this point. For content creators, time is money after all, so it's worth spending a bit more to plow through projects quickly. And if you're one of the many Mac users still on an Intel system, the M3 hardware makes the push to upgrade even more compelling.

While Apple still isn't trying to court hardcore gamers much, it's at least laying the groundwork for a better gaming experience. Thanks to the upgraded GPU in the M3, for example, Lies of P played far more smoothly on the 14-inch MacBook Pro, compared to the slightly stuttery experience I saw on the 13-inch MacBook Pro with M2. I was able to crank all of the graphics settings to their highest level while playing in 1,920 by 1,200, and the game easily maintained a silky smooth 60fps. The 16-inch MacBook Pro delivered an even better experience thanks to the M3 Max. I was able to crank Lies of P up to 1440p with all of the graphics settings maxed out and still stay at 60fps. The M2 13-inch MacBook Pro, in comparison, hovered between 40 and 60 fps.

What's most impressive, though, is that I saw that performance while on battery power. The dedicated GPUs on PC gaming laptops tend to slow down considerably when they're away from the lifeline of AC power. Apple's expansion into gaming could also open up the MacBook Pro to people who already own PC gaming desktops, but want the refinement of a Mac laptop. I was able to seamlessly dive into my Baldur's Gate 3 campaign (thanks Steam Cloud Saves) across both machines. That's something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.

Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Both MacBook Pro models still feature Apple's excellent keyboard and trackpad, and they all sport an SD card slot alongside a full-sized HDMI connection and headphone jack. They also have three USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports — except for the base M3 model, which just has two. Apple also improved on the already excellent battery life of the previous models: The 14-inch MacBook Pro lasted 24 hours and 30 minutes during our benchmark, while the 16-inch model reached 24 hours and 50 minutes. During real-world usage, both computers took almost two days before I had to recharge them. Given how power-hungry Intel's chips have been lately, it's nice to see laptops that can easily survive the 14 and a half-hour flight between New York City and Tokyo.

Another plus? If you were stuck on that flight with either of these laptops, you’d truly appreciate their Liquid Retina XDR displays. While they’re not OLED screens, their MiniLED backlights are wonderfully bright, and they also offer excellent color depth for photographers. Mostly, though, I appreciated their high refresh rates – even doing something simple, like scrolling through a website, looks incredibly smooth. And while the 14.2-inch screen on the smaller MacBook Pro is only a tad larger than the Air’s 13.6-inch display, I found it noticeably more immersive while catching up on Netflix shows. For my purposes, the 14-inch model was also a great balance of screen size and portability – the 16-inch Pro is just so damn large. (But yes, I’d imagine that would be even more useful for video editing.)

It's worth noting that Apple didn't send me the base $1,599 M3 MacBook Pro with just 8GB of RAM. Given what I’ve seen on Activity Monitor, I'm typically using 10GB to 13GB of memory with my typical workflow. And I'm just a lowly tech blogger! I'm sure I could still work decently on an 8GB system, but my overflow memory needs would end up hitting the SSD frequently as swap memory. That'll slow down performance considerably when I actually need to deal with large amounts of data – perhaps while downloading a game, or transferring 4K video footage from my camera – and frequent usage also decreases the life of your SSD.

In many ways, the 14-inch MacBook Pro with 8GB of RAM feels as cynical an option as the old 13-inch machine. It's really just meant for people who want the Pro badge, but may underestimate the downsides of limited memory. And don't forget that you can't upgrade RAM on Apple Silicon — it's all baked right into the M3 chip. On older Intel systems, you could buy a low-specced MacBook Pro and add more memory down the line. That's simply impossible today, and Apple has little reason to change its architecture to become more flexible.

So, as always, we recommend you buy as much RAM as you can up front, even if it means getting a smaller SSD instead. For example, my 14-inch MacBook Pro test system, which had a 1TB SSD along with 16GB of RAM, cost $1,999. But you could save $200 by opting for a 512GB SSD instead. Don’t forget, a computer with 16GB of RAM could last you years, whereas you'll start feeling the burn with 8GB immediately.

Photo by Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

If you want to see how wild Apple’s prices can get, just look at the 16-inch MacBook Pro I received, which clocks in at $7,199 with the full-powered M3 Max (16-core CPU, 40-core GPU) 128GB of RAM and that 8TB SSD. It's not something an average consumer would buy — but it would definitely be useful for Disney to have a pile of them on-hand to help editors and VFX artists pump out the latest Marvel show.

Funny enough, my advice today echoes what I said last year: Don't buy the cheapest model. Beyond that, it's hard to go wrong. The M3 chips are incredibly efficient and powerful. And Apple's MacBook Pro design remains as elegant as ever. Just try to save up for at least 16GB of RAM.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Engadget Podcast: Apple’s spooky M3 MacBook Pros and iMac

Apple’s M3 chip is here, and the company is wasting no time shoving it into new computers. This week, we dive into the new M3-equipped MacBook Pros and iMac, which offer some notable upgrades over the M2 and M1 models. Also, we find time to celebrate the death of the old 13-inch MacBook Pro, and try to determine if the cheaper 14-inch MacBook Pro is actually meant for pros with 8GB of RAM. We also chat about Apple’s healthcare plans, as well as Lenovo’s ridiculous tablet fashion campaign.

Listen below or subscribe on your podcast app of choice. If you've got suggestions or topics you'd like covered on the show, be sure to email us or drop a note in the comments! And be sure to check out our other podcast, Engadget News!


Hosts: Cherlynn Low and Devindra Hardawar
Guest: Sam Rutherford
Producer: Ben Ellman
Music: Dale North and Terrence O'Brien

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Microsoft's Windows 11 2023 update rolls out, bringing Copilot AI to more users

Today Microsoft has begun rolling out its Windows 11 2023 update (also know as version 23H2), which adds some minor features on top of Copilot and its other AI-powered apps announced in September. Now, you may be asking yourself, "Didn't Microsoft just release a major Windows 11 update?" And you would be correct. But it turns out that release, which launched on September 26th, was basically just an AI preview meant for last year's Windows 11 22H2 update. Consequently, Copilot didn't actually reach most Windows users over the past few weeks (I eventually got it in a test laptop, but my home desktop is still Copilot-less).

It's fair to be confused, because Microsoft's handling of Copilot has been baffling from the start. We first heard it was arriving as "Windows Copilot" back in May, where it essentially put the AI features we saw on the Edge Copilot and similar tools right into the heart of Windows. Copilot ended up being the star of Microsoft's most recent Surface event, where the actual hardware took second place to the company's AI ambitions.

So if you've been dying to get your hands on Copilot, be sure to start refreshing Windows Update. Additionally, the Windows 11 2023 update transforms the built-in Chat app into Microsoft Teams, which will sit in your task bar by default. You'll also be able to find Windows 11 components under a new "System" label in the Start menu's "All apps" section (something I rarely visit these days). Those System Components will also be under a new page in the Settings app under the System section.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Apple's M3 chips bring ray tracing to Macs

There's nothing truly spooky about Apple's new M3 chips — except, perhaps, for how scared they'll make Intel, AMD and Qualcomm. During its "Scary Fast" Halloween Eve product event (at 8PM Eastern Apple, really?) the company officially debuted its new M3, M3 Pro and M3 Max chips. They'll be featured in the revamped MacBook Pro 14-inch and 16-inch, as well as the 24-inch iMac, which never got an M2 refresh.

Apple is mainly positioning the M3 chips as major upgrades over its M1 hardware — if you bought an M2 system, you're probably not itching for a replacement just yet. The M3's GPU is the biggest leap forward, delivering new features like hardware-accelerated raytracing and mesh shading, which will enable more realistic lighting and better geometry handling. Apple claims the M3's GPU is 1.8 times faster than the M2 and 2.5 times faster than the M1 in "Pro apps" — as usual, the company didn't reveal its testing criteria. You can also expect better power efficiency, as the M3's GPU can hit the M1's performance level while using half the power.

Here's how Apple's new hardware breaks down: The plain M3 features an 8-core CPU (made up of four performance cores and four efficiency cores) and a 10-core GPU. Apple claims it's up to 35 percent faster than the M1, and it can also support up to 24GB of unified RAM. The M3 Pro ups the ante with a 12-core CPU (six performance, six efficiency) and an 18-core GPU. It can squeeze in up to 36GB of memory, and Apple says that it's single-threaded performance is up to 30 percent faster than the M1 Pro.


And then there's the M3 Max, featuring a 16-core CPU (12 performance, four efficiency, a 40-core GPU and support for up to 128GB of RAM. Apple claims it's up to 80 percent faster than the M1 Max. It also sports two ProRes engines to satisfy even the most demanding video professionals.

The M3 chips are also notable for being the first PC chips built on a 3 nanometer process, rather than the M1 and M2's 5nm process. The increased transistor density helps with power efficiency, as well as providing better overall performance. According to Apple, the M3's performance cores are 15 percent faster than the M2's, while the efficiency cores are 30 percent faster. 

Given that Apple just debuted the 3nm A17 Pro for the iPhone 15 and 15 Pro, it's not too surprising that the M3 has been similarly shrunken down. In comparison, AMD debuted its 4nm Ryzen 7040 chip this year, and Intel plans to launch its Core Ultra Meteor Lake laptop chips in December, which is built on the "Intel 4" platform (using a 7nm process). The differences between architectures, some of which rely on newer tech like 3D stacking, makes it difficult to directly compare processing node sizes. But for now, Apple can lord its 3nm figure over the rest of the PC world.

When it comes to other upgrades, Apple says the M3's Neural Engine, which handles AI tasks, is up to 60 percent faster than M1 chips. The M3 also sport a media engine with hardware acceleration for H.264, HEVC, ProRes (both standard and RAW). That engine also finally supports AV1 video decoding, which should make streaming AV1 content more power efficient.

Like most chip makers, it makes sense for Apple to follow up a major release like the M1 with a minor refresh like the M2. The M3 needs to prove itself to be the substantial upgrade over the M1 that Apple claims. And with the addition of ray tracing and better graphics, it may finally make Macs more enticing for developers and gamers alike. (Just in time for major titles like Death Stranding and Resident Evil Village to hit the App Store.)

Follow all of the news from Apple’s "Scary Fast" October event right here.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

I taught my daughter to love RPGs by playing Sea of Stars

I've always dreamed of revisiting classic RPGs with my kids — I wanted them to jump across time with me in Chrono Trigger, or pretend to be sky pirates in Skies of Arcadia. It's not that tough to transform a well-told RPG into an interactive storybook for children (though I may have to shield their eyes from the more gruesome bits of Final Fantasy VII). I've been planning my "intro to RPGs" playlist for years, waiting for the moment my daughter Sophia began to look beyond the storytelling stylings of Peppa Pig.

But one night she saw me playing Sea of Stars, the recent Chrono-inspired retro RPG from Sabotage Studio, and she was hooked. I didn't need to entice her like I originally thought. The game's gorgeous 2D pixel art, catchy music (including some tunes from Chrono Trigger composer Yasunori Mitsuda) and epic story were more than enough to captivate her. While I held the Switch, she kept an eye out for enemies and treasure chests, and she stayed engaged with the story as I broke it down for her. She also clapped whenever I hit the action button at just the right time to deliver an extra hit, or to block an enemy's blow (a nifty feature taken from Super Mario RPG).

Sabotage Studio

Sophia loved the two leads — Valere and Zale, who she calls Moon Girl and Sun Boy — and their colorful companions. She teared up when a major character sacrificed themself to defeat the Big Bad (that was a long conversation). And she held tight as we took on the final boss, setting the two leads up for a larger adventure once we defeated them. Now, we're mopping up additional side quests and working towards the "true" ending. Sophia doesn't want to stop until we've seen everything the game has to offer, a sign that she's going to be quite the completionist when she's ready to play on her own.

Don't judge me, but games have become an integral part of my daughter's wind-down time at night. They help her to calm down and relax before bathtime, a sort of pre-storytime before we read some actual books before bed. We're not playing anything fast-paced or loud, and the games offer plenty of teachable moments when it comes to spelling words, counting and complex moral choices. From what I can gather, watching a screen at night (which I keep distant from her and a bit dim) hasn't affected her ability to fall asleep on schedule either. (Yes, I know it's not recommended. I also waited until Sophia was over four years old before we started nightly gaming — I'm sure it would have been more troublesome if I started earlier.)

Before Sea of Stars, we also played around 20 hours of Dave the Diver, another recent release with a glorious pixel art aesthetic. Recently, we've also spent some time with the delightful Super Mario Bros. Wonder. But after playing a few levels of that, Sophia almost always wants to play Sea of Stars instead. Now she can tell the difference between a platformer like Mario, a game with a variety of experiences like Dave the Diver and an RPG (she calls them "adventure games," officially settling that debate). I'm sure she'll appreciate the mechanics of other genres more once she learns how to both run and jump at the same time in Mario. For now, she leans towards story.

Sabotage Studio

Once it was clear that Sophia was truly into RPGs as a concept, I introduced her to Chrono Trigger. For whatever reason, Square Enix hasn't re-released it yet on the Switch, and I wanted to play it on a more portable system than the Steam Deck. That left me with the iPhone port of the game, which looks pretty great on my iPhone 15 Pro Max. While there's no option to use the game's original graphics — a perk of the Steam release — the iOS version of Chrono Trigger still has all of the charm and whimsy that made me fall in love with the SNES version. (And as a nice bonus, there's an auto button to speed through minor fights!)

Sophia immediately noticed the many (many!) similarities between Sea of Stars and Chrono Trigger. The overworld map is framed similarly, they both feature some of the best pixel art of their time and they both ultimately weave an epic story. Playing both games back-to-back reveals some of Sea of Star's weaker elements — it takes a while to truly get going and the writing is a bit more simplistic. But it also makes me really want to play a proper Chrono sequel with Sea of Stars' battle system.

Within 15 minutes of starting Chrono Trigger, Sophia and I were thrown back 400 years into the past. We were looking for Marle, the princess-in-hiding, who vanished soon after we found her. Then I had to explain the potential consequences of timeline interference to a 5 year old. And Sophia immediately understood what was happening: We had to save Marle's ancestor before Marle ceased to exist! Just try competing with that, Peppa!

Sabotage Studio

To be clear, this isn't really Sophia's first rodeo with complex storytelling. She's devoured almost all of Miyazaki's films (we're holding off on Princess Mononoke because it may be too scary, and she's probably not ready for the mature exploration of death and art in The Wind Rises), and I've guided her through Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. So I shouldn't be surprised that she's fully embracing the power of RPGs. After envisioning this moment for years, I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.

It won’t be too long before she’ll be regaling me with stories of her own RPG adventures. And when she’s ready, I’m going to blow her mind with a one-two punch of Xenogears and Neon Genesis Evangelion. She’ll thank me later.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at