Posts with «author_name|mat smith» label

The Morning After: Tinder’s $500 a month tier is now open to everyone who can afford it

Hey big spender. Tinder Select, the dating app’s most exclusive tier, is rolling out now. It will cost love seekers $500 per month (or $6,000 annually — no bulk discounts) for features like exclusive search and matching.

The company has only offered Tinder Select to the less than one percent of users it considers “extremely active” — does anyone want that label? Tinder told Bloomberg it’ll open applications for Tinder Select on a rolling basis, but it didn’t say exactly when. Tinder’s exclusive membership was originally hinted at all the way back in 2019.

The owners of Tinder, Match Group, have dabbled in exclusive dating apps before, like The League, which it bought in 2022, so it’s not too much of a shock to see Tinder also get reframed for the lonely rich. Is this worse than paying for verification when you have less than 1,000 followers on other social media networks? Yes. Yes, it is.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

What the Elon Musk biography revealed about his tumultuous Twitter takeover

Drop BMR1 PC speaker review: Not bad, but not amazing

The best October Amazon Prime Day early access deals for 2023

Hitting the Books: Beware the Tech Bro who comes bearing gifts

The Morning After: Microsoft’s bad week, and Alexa gets an attitude

Last week’s biggest news meets Engadget’s lens.


Our short-but-sweet YouTube edition of this week’s news covers includes Microsoft’s rough, rough week, a sassier Alexa from Amazon and whether the iPhone 15 Pro is worth the extra bucks. Also: viewers take umbrage at my ‘fake’ glasses. Which are not fake.

Watch here.

Sony ZV-E1 camera review

The best vlogging camera, by a big margin.


I’ve been waiting for this. Sony fully embraced amateur / semi-pro content creators back in 2020, with the launch of the ZV1 camera. It has since added no less than four models to its ZV lineup, and this is the latest: the 12-megapixel full-frame ZV-E1. It uses the same sensor as the $3,500 A7S III, a video-focused camera — and a low-light marvel. However, the ZV-E1 costs $1,300 less. While Sony has cut some minor corners, it combines outstanding video features and AI tricks, and I might have to start saving for one. 

Check out the full review.

Samsung leaks its next family of smartphones, earbuds and tablets

Don’t get too excited. It’s the Fan Edition ones.


Eagle-eyed visitors to Samsung’s Argentinian website — I visit it weekly — have spotted something a little unexpected: a product page for new Galaxy Buds FE earbuds, along with images of a Galaxy S23 FE smartphone and Galaxy Tab S9 FE tablet. Samsung’s Fan Edition devices have proven popular, packing in solid features for a more reasonable price than Samsung’s flagship models.

The company hasn’t let slip any specs for the phone and tablet yet. However, there are some details on the Galaxy Buds FE, Samsung’s first Fan Edition earbuds. They’re slated to have a single 12mm driver, three microphones in each earbud to bolster active noise cancellation and a three-way speaker.

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The best foldable phones for 2023

Are flip phones back?

Foldables have come a long way since the original Galaxy Fold went on sale back in 2019. They’re smaller, they’re tougher and, while they still aren’t a great option for people on a budget, they’re now more affordable too. (Kind of?) We walk through the crucial specs, durability concerns and our favorite picks.

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The Engadget Podcast

iPhone 15 Pro reviews, and Microsoft picks AI over Surface.

This week, Cherlynn chats about her experience reviewing the iPhone 15 Pro and Apple Watch Series 9. Does a 5X camera zoom make much of a difference? Meanwhile, Microsoft is basically consolidating all of the Copilot products it’s already announced for Edge, MS 365 and Windows, but maybe this will be less confusing in the long run?

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Morning After: Everything announced at Microsoft’s Surface event

Microsoft, even without the usual face of its Surface announcements, had plenty to show off to the assembled media and industry guests yesterday. Unsurprisingly, it led with (and focused on) its latest AI developments. Its Copilot AI assistant is now graduating to assist with all things Windows 11, in an update coming September 26. It will appear in apps such as Edge, while browsing the internet, not to mention Microsoft 365 programs like Word and Excel. You activate Copilot with your voice or a right click and can use it for the sort of things you might not remember keyboard shortcuts for — or just can’t be bothered to do manually, like organize windows on your desktop, delete the backgrounds from photos or even generate a Spotify playlist. It’s shaping up to be a wide-ranging AI tool.


I’ll get into a few more of the AI announcements, but they were punctuated by more Surface hardware, including the Surface Laptop Studio 2 (hybrid, not laptop, surely?), coming with a much-needed specification boost. It has an Intel 13th-gen i7 H class processor, up to an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 GPU, and a 14.4-inch display with a 120Hz refresh rate, which can now tilt forward. There’s also an intriguing trackpad that seemingly rolls in some features from Microsoft’s accessibility-focused Adaptive Mouse.

The company also unveiled its third-generation Surface Laptop Go, which Microsoft claims is 88 percent faster than the original Go, for $799.

It wasn’t the event (or the hardware) to turn around the rut that Microsoft’s Surface line seems to be in, but there might be enough to satisfy folks thinking about getting a new laptop… or whatever the Studio 2 is.

— Mat Smith

​​The biggest stories you might have missed

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

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

US brings back free at-home COVID-19 tests as cases continue to spike

Surface Laptop Go 3 hands-on: Microsoft makes a better case for its cheap PC

Microsoft wants its Copilot AI to be your personal shopper

'Everywhere' gameplay trailer shows off an ambitious sandbox with a Fortnite aesthetic

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

The green bubble/blue bubble controversy continues.

Google has been trying to publicly pressure Apple into adopting the GSMA’s RCS (Rich Communications Service) messaging protocol for a long time now, with the biggest response from Apple being CEO Tim Cook saying consumers should buy their moms an iPhone.

So now, it’s getting petty. Google’s “iPager” ad mimics Apple’s marketing language to reveal a retro-styled beeper, suggesting Apple’s behind the curve with its messaging platform. The spot says the iPager uses “outdated messaging tech” to “text with Android,” citing many of the perceived disadvantages of sticking with SMS technology. The question is: Who is this YouTube parody for?

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Microsoft’s Adaptive Touch makes laptop trackpads more inclusive

For people who can’t continuously use fingers to move a cursor.


Microsoft continues to build inclusive accessories and features for its mainstream products, and the company showed off more at its annual fall event on Thursday. It unveiled an Adaptive Touch feature that works on the “precision haptic trackpad” of the Surface Laptop Studio 2. During its keynote, the company called this the “most inclusive touchpad on any laptop” and helps people who can’t continuously use their fingers to move a cursor around. The system looks for multiple points of contact with the trackpad, noticing if they’re moving in the same general direction, to determine where to move the mouse. It’s in part based on the technology Microsoft uses for palm rejection, but reconfigured for Adaptive Touch.

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X is disabling Circles on October 31

Another feature bites the dust.

X users will no longer be able to tweet to a small group of friends or add people to their Circles after that date. The website formerly known as Twitter has announced it’s deprecating Circles on October 31. The company launched Circles in August 2022, so the feature barely made it to its first birthday.

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Morning After: Amazon turns Alexa into a more conversational chatbot for your home

Amid a barrage of Amazon-branded tablets and Alexa-powered tech, Dave Limp, SVP of Amazon Devices and Services, announced the company’s digital assistant will soon tap into a purpose-built large language model (LLM) for almost every new Echo device.

Amazon set out to design the LLM based on five foundational capabilities. One of these is ensuring interactions are “conversational,” and the company claimed it “studied what it takes to make a great conversation. It’s not just words; it’s body language, it’s understanding who you’re addressing, it’s eye contact and gestures.” Still waiting on Amazon to add eyes and hand gestures to its Echo devices. Has anyone seen Astro recently?

Based on the demos at Amazon’s showcase, however, it’s got some work to do. When Limp asked Alexa to compose a quick message to invite friends over for BBQ, the assistant requested his friends’ attendance for “BBQ chicken and sides” — which is how we invite humans over for dinner, right? Alexa also outright ignored the Amazon SVP’s requests at points during the presentation, but I’ll put those issues down to the fraught nature of voice assistant demos in a live setting. We’ve pulled all of Amazon’s announcements together right here.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth hands-on: Broader horizons and deeper combat

Amazon’s new Echo Frames promises longer battery life and better audio

All the hilarious corporate BS you might have missed in the Xbox leaks

Apple’s new FineWoven iPhone 15 MagSafe cases are already discounted

Apple Watch Series 9 review

Freedom from touching your screen.


With the Apple Watch Series 9, Apple is introducing a new method of interaction: Double Tap. It’s also rolling out on-device Siri processing, which will let you ask the assistant for your health data and to log your daily stats. When both hands, or at least your watch hand, are occupied, Double Tap will obviously not be helpful. You’ll need to have at least your thumb and index finger available to pinch. But when Engadget’s Cherlynn Low is cleaning her apartment, holding a side plank, raising a single dumbbell or reading a book, it makes her life easier. Also, it’s worth noting that the Apple Watch Series 9 and Ultra 2 are the company’s first carbon-neutral products. Read on for our full verdict.

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MGM says its hotels and casinos are back up and running

But the full damage of the attack remains unclear.

All MGM Resorts hotels and casinos are back up and running as normal, nine days after a cyberattack shut down systems across the company. The ALPHV ransomware group took credit for the attack shortly after systems went offline. The group claimed it used social engineering tactics, using a bit of LinkedIn knowledge and a short phone call to access crucial systems across casinos. Worryingly, the attacks both started through identity management vendor Okta – and at least three other Okta clients have been hit by cyberattacks, according to a Reuters report.

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Amazon debuts Eye Gaze accessibility features on the Fire Max 11 tablet

It’s also bringing on-screen translations to Alexa calls on its smart displays.


Amazon announced two new accessibility features coming to its devices later this year. First is Eye Gaze on Alexa, which will let those with mobility or speech disabilities use their gaze to perform preset actions on the Fire Max 11 tablet. This is the first time Amazon has worked on gaze-based navigation of its devices, and it will use the camera on the Max 11 to keep track of where a user is looking. The preset actions include smart home controls, media playback and making calls. Eye Gaze will be available on the Max 11 later this year at no additional cost, although the company did not otherwise elaborate on how Eye Gaze actually works.

Amazon is also adding a new Call Translation feature that will transcribe Alexa calls on Echo Show devices. It can convert them into over 10 languages, including English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. The feature will also launch later this year.

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth hands-on: Broader horizons and deeper combat

How many times am I going to buy this game? I'm still waiting on the answer to that, but I recently played two demos for Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth, the (poorly named) second chapter of what’s set to be a three-part remake of the 1997 RPG.

Across two separate demos, I played roughly an hour of the game, due to launch in February 2024. The first demo was a flashback tale of hero Cloud and villain Sephiroth’s journey into a problematic reactor found in Tifa and Cloud’s hometown of Nibel. This chapter featured in the original 1997 game, soon after the party left Midgar, but the twist is that you can play, control and fight as the silver-haired antagonist, Sephiroth, in battles. And at this point in time, Sephiroth and Cloud are totally cool with each other.

This flashback, with an unnaturally chipper Cloud, reintroduces the battle system of Final Fantasy 7 Remake, which offered battles that combined real-time attacks and defense with more specialized techniques, magical spells and all things Final Fantasy. The result was a satisfying hybrid, even if fans of turn-based RPGs weren’t into it.

This is a sequel, so of course there are new facets and tricks. This time, there’s a new focus on characters teaming up to attack together, something teased during the Remake DLC chapter, which centered on Yuffie and Sonan.

Square Enix

These synergy skills are now available to Cloud and the rest of the core party. You might get two options depending on who the controlled character is fighting alongside. In the case of Sephiroth and Cloud, you get a chargeable sword attack, augmented by… whatever magic Sephiroth seems to control, or a ranged attack. Unlike the standard abilities and spells, these synergy skills may not hit hard, but they’re instantly reusable. They’re also initiated while pressing square or triangle buttons while guarding, helping to decide which one to use, while keeping your character a little safer.

I saw examples of synergy skills that would launch Tifa, your close-range heavy-hitter, into the air, so she could close in on flying enemies, while Aerith, the magical glass cannon, could call an ally to offer her some defense from attacks. Honestly, it was these strategic skills that I’m most intrigued by. Others are more typical attacking collaborations, like Yuffie’s fiery ninjitsu spells attached to Barret's gun barrage.

Sidenote: One of my issues with FF7 Remake was the arbitrary behavior of aerial attacks — is this the solution? A simple, repeatable skill? I hope so.

Then, there are new synergy abilities (not to be confused with synergy skills). These are more like ‘ultimate attacks’ for your paired-up heroes. Similar to the solo limit break attacks, which are still here, a gauge builds up as you use the synergy skills, regular attacks and defend. These are the showstoppers: In the case of Cloud and Sephiroth, it’s a combination sword attack that really shines against the bigger beasts.

I was intrigued to see how the development team would deal with transferring established characters across. I wouldn’t be surprised if some narrative MacGuffin wiped out something, but that doesn’t seem to be the case, so far.

Many moves and special attacks (if not all — I didn’t check the entire moveset inventory) already earned in the first part of the trilogy are ready to use in the demo. However, there’s no word on whether equipment or materia (the spell-slinging orbs you equip on weapons) will transfer across. I noted some new materia, including one that ‘levels up’ paired materia to offer up even more powerful spells.

You’ll need them, as there are bigger beasts and fights. The first part of this remake project was a pretty game, especially the polished-up Intergrade version that landed on PS5 and other platforms. Can you see the improvements with this new game, now built for 2023’s consoles and PCs? Already, yes, a little.

Square Enix advised we play the demos in graphics mode, so that’s higher-res textures but at the sacrifice of smoother frame rates. Rebirth seemed to offer healthier frame rates during this demo than Remake, which is a good sign. (But I’m still likely to play most of Rebirth in the frame-rate priority mode)

The second demo was more indicative of stronger game hardware, taking the game into an open-world area around the military city of Junon – an area more expansive than what we saw in FF7R.

Characters can now sprint and vault over low-level hazards and hills. It makes the world feel less on-rails than its predecessor, even in the more constrictive reactor demo. There’s more to explore, even if traversal seems a bit crunchy, compared to games like Horizon series or Assassin’s Creed – not that I’m expecting protagonist Cloud with that giant sword to parkour with the best of them.

Sprinting only gets you so far, however, and the second demo started off with the party mounting the trusty Final Fantasy steed of choice, a giant bird species known as chocobos.

As I explored the area, I also unlocked several quick-travel points to speed things up further. Time was limited, but I could face off against a few challenging enemies, which came with additional battle challenges. These were good for deepening my understanding of the new battle system, saving up specific attacks to unleash at the right moment.

Battles still feature the dynamics of building up stagger gauges or pressuring an enemy with elemental attacks, well-timed dodges, or hitting weak points. Each character is unique enough to come into their own against different monsters and threats. Gunner Barret and the aforementioned Aerith are both long-range attackers, while brawler Tifa and cat-wolf Red XIII are more agile, but focused on short-range. During the demo, I got to switch between different (but predetermined) party groupings, which usually ensured a balanced team.

As I guided Cloud and the rest of the gang around the cliffs and grassland, I’d collect items that can be combined in a new crafting menu, to create healing items on the fly. These crafted potions, however, often feature extra benefits, whether that’s magic point recovery or status healing. Like those new synergy attacks, Square Enix is teasing a game that feels very much like it’s deepening the gameplay of Final Fantasy VII Remake. The bigger question is: how are the team going to twist the story further, when Remake teased alternate timelines and something a little different to the story of the PS1 original?

We’ll have to wait until February 2024 to see.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

Twelve South’s HiRise Pro is a slick height-adjustable laptop stand

I’ve been experimenting with my work-from-home setup for a few months now, and I still haven’t quite got it to where I want it. I’ve dabbled in standing desks, mid-century bureaus (not even kidding) and, gasp, chairs that actually support my back, but sometimes it’s the small things that make the whole setup work, like Twelve South’s first height-adjustable MacBook stand, the HiRise Pro.

Twelve South has long made premium, stylish peripherals, cases and more for almost anything Apple. This follow-up stand is compatible with all MacBooks (and other laptops), adding a degree of adjustability to the screen height while remaining sturdy, It even includes a MagSafe charging platform – although you have to provide your own MagSafe puck.

Photo by Mat Smith / Engadget

It’s a solid, premium stand and wouldn’t look out of place in an office or work-from-home setups. The company has always made accessories that neatly dovetail with Apple’s aesthetic, with subtle detailing, brushed metal finishes and minimal design fuss. I don’t think anyone wants an ornate laptop stand anyway? The V-shaped stand part has a rubberized finish to grip the base of your laptop, while the MagSafe charging area has a glossy vegan leather surface.

The HiRise Pro can raise your screen six inches from your desk, inching your laptop screen to your eye-line. This can be adjusted with a metal screw to lower levels if needed. Twelve South believes that the HiRise Pro’s maximum height ensures any laptop webcam would then be at an ideal height. What I like – and what I’ve been looking for – is a simple way of improving the ergonomics of working on a laptop. I don’t want a bigger monitor, always mounted at eye height – even if I should. And if you do already have second screens and monitors, this stand means you could line up your laptop screen with any external monitor, if you’re especially aesthetically demanding.

Photo by Mat Smith / Engadget

It feels like the final thing needed to make a standing desk work for me. I’m still using this tripod desk at the moment, and the eye-line is almost there. Honestly, I’d benefit from the HiRise Pro adding an additional inch or two to the height, but Twelve South may have reached a stability limit.

With this kind of laptop stand, you’re not really able to use the built-in trackpad or keyboard, which is something to bear in mind. You’ll need to invest in either wireless or wired replacements. On top of that, while it’s not ridiculously priced, $100 is a lot for a stand that already has $40 alternatives. One of which is Twelve South’s own, recently announced, Curve SE laptop stand.

Before this, I swapped between a basic, but unwieldy IKEA shelf – you can see it in some of my reviews — and a foldable, portable laptop stand that didn’t quite lift the device off a surface, but at least angled it upwards. It also packed in a load of ports and even an SD card reader. I’d be interested in Twelve South cramming more into future laptop stands – it does a little more with its Mac peripherals, so why not here? Maybe the company is waiting to launch the HiRise Max? I hope so.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Morning After: Huge Xbox leak reveals an all-digital Series X and a lot more

This summer’s Federal Trade Commission−Microsoft trial revealed all kinds of intriguing details about how the tech company’s gaming arm saw its rivals and the future of gaming. But now, a court document leak has spilled the beans on new consoles, a new controller and even a list of new game projects (new Dishonored? Yes, please). 


The most leftfield part, though, might be a letter from Xbox chief Phil Spencer talking about Nintendo. He said Nintendo was a prime asset for Microsoft’s continued push in gaming and could be the company’s best bet for consumer relevance. Spencer added Nintendo had a board of directors that had not pushed for increases in market growth in ages — indicating, of course, a massive difference in how Nintendo governs itself compared to Microsoft. Eventually, Xbox bought gaming giants, including Bethesda and Activision Blizzard, so fewer plumbers and more gunners.

Microsoft has attempted to acquire the Japanese gaming giant for a while. When Bloomberg published an in-depth on the development of Xbox in 2021, it revealed that Microsoft execs had asked Nintendo if it was willing to be acquired — and were laughed out of the room.

By the end of yesterday, Spencer commented on X, saying: “so much has changed” since those documents. He added the company “will share the real plans when we are ready.”

— Mat Smith


The biggest stories you might have missed

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We put the Dyson Zone’s air filters to the test. Here’s what we found.

Microsoft AI researchers mistakenly leaked 38TB of company data

Netgear’s new wallet-busting Orbi router has just about every feature imaginable

How to watch and follow Thursday’s Microsoft Surface event

Talos Principle 2 and the quiet subversion of optimistic sci-fi

Can Microsoft’s Surface PCs get out of their rut?

iPhone 15 Pro Max review

Apple makes the strongest case yet for its biggest, priciest phone.


It’s the year of the USB-C iPhone, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max adds a new action button and the most versatile camera system yet. Apple has kept the same price for the Pro ($999) and Pro Max ($1,199) while doubling the storage capacity on the base model of the latter. If you’ve been holding on to an iPhone that’s at least two years old (or even just a year old), this could well be the year to upgrade. The changes coming to Apple’s Pro handsets feel meatier than before, and a new titanium build makes these devices seem fresher too.

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Microsoft plans an all-digital Xbox Series X and haptic controller

The console could land November 2024.

Microsoft is planning a mid-generation refresh of the Xbox Series X with a new discless cylindrical design, according to those leaked documents. Microsoft previously said it has no plans for a mid-gen console refresh, but that doesn’t appear to be true according to the document. In fact, the company may be working on three new consoles. The first, codenamed Ellewood, is a light refresh of the Xbox Series S (set to arrive around September 2024), while Brooklin, tentatively planned for November 2024, is a new discless version of the Xbox Series X.

Another model, XDL, matches Brooklin’s specs but will presumably offer Xbox Design Lab customization. Another slide details a two-tone Sebile controller with built-in accelerometers and haptics that would make it more like Sony’s latest DualSense controller. There are apparently some sustainability tweaks, like a swappable battery, recycled materials and improved repairability. If you’re looking even further into the future, the documents also detailed a cloud hybrid Xbox for 2028, which would combine console power with cloud strength.

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Neuralink opens enrollment for its first human-brain-computer interfaces

The company wants to test its implants on people with quadriplegia.

Elon Musk’s Neuralink company, purveyors of the experimental N1 brain-computer interface (BCI), announced on Tuesday it has finally opened enrollment for its first human study.

The study “aims to evaluate the safety of our implant (N1) and surgical robot (R1) and assess the initial functionality of our BCI for enabling people with paralysis to control external devices with their thoughts.” As such, this study is looking primarily for “those who have quadriplegia due to cervical spinal cord injury or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).” The release adds: “The initial goal of our BCI is to grant people the ability to control a computer cursor or keyboard using their thoughts alone.”

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Morning After: Amazon's plans for yet another sales event

Yes, Amazon’s Prime Day already happened in July, but the company’s members-only sales events are apparently not done. Amazon now plans to hold Prime Big Deal Days, another Prime Day of sorts, on October 10 and 11, something it did the same month last year.

Prime Day is two days long, and that’s the pattern Amazon is following here, even hinting at a few early deals on Amazon devices. You can save up to 65 percent on a three-pack of eero Pro Mesh Wi-Fi, select Fire TV devices, Kindles and more. Amazon also promises a $15 credit to Prime members who download its Photos app and upload their first photo, between now and October 7, just ahead of its Big Deal Days.

If you want to know what devices to keep an eye on — check out our Prime Day primer righthere.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed

How social engineering takes advantage of your kindness

Anker charging gear and power banks are up to 50 percent off right now

iOS 17’s release date is upon us, here’s how to update your iPhone

watchOS 10 has arrived, bringing widgets back to the Apple Watch

Intel seems pretty excited about glass substrates

Unity apologizes and promises to change its controversial game install fee policy


Microsoft’s Panos Panay leaves after nearly 20 years

And he’s reportedly heading to Amazon.

Associated Press

Panos Panay is leaving Microsoft. After heading the development of the initial Surface line of tablets and hybrid laptops, he became the company’s chief product officer in 2018. His rise continued in 2021 when he moved to executive vice president after a successful Windows 11 launch. He’s also been a mainstay of Microsoft’s livestreams, press events and product launches alongside CEO Satya Nadella.

There’s been no reason given by either party, but Panay said he has “decided to turn the page and write the next chapter” when he announced the move on X. However, Bloomberg subsequently reported he has beenpoached by Amazon. Panay will apparently replace Dave Limp, the Amazon executive previously in charge of Alexa and Echo, who announced his retirement last month. What makes this more unusual is that Microsoft has a livestream event this Thursday, which will almost certainly focus on the new Surface products.

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MS Paint just got two killer features for a ’90s graphics editor

Microsoft is rolling out layers and transparent PNG support.

Associated Press

iOS updates? Pschh. Tell me more about MS Paint. The ’90s and ’00s distraction is finally getting support for layers. It’s an exciting time to be alive.

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AirPods Pro Adaptive Audio preview

Automatically adjusting to your day.

Alongside the arrival of iOS 17, a firmware update to Apple’s AirPods Pro adds a few new features, most of which will automatically adjust to your environment or activity, so you don’t have to touch the earbuds or reach for your phone. The headline addition is Adaptive Audio, a tool that automatically and “dynamically” blends transparency mode and active noise cancellation (ANC) based on your surroundings. Adaptive Audio gradually starts tweaking the blend of ANC and transparency. So if you enter a loud coffee shop, AirPods Pro gently increases noise cancellation to combat the distractions. Engadget’s Billy Steele tests out all the new features.

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The Google Nest Hub Max is losing some of its video call functionality

It’ll still support Meet, in a more limited capacity.

Google is discontinuing support for Zoom and Google Meet meetings on its Nest Hub Max. Some users have received notifications that they can no longer join meetings from the device beginning September 28. The news follows Zoom’s July announcement that Nest Hub Max support will end for the video calling service on September 30. Google said in a statement that “support for joining meetings via meeting codes and links in Meet” is going away, but also noted, “There is no change to making 1:1 and group video calls to friends, family and businesses with Google Meet.”

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Sonos Move 2 review

Better sound and battery life come at a cost.

When Sonos released its first portable speaker, the Move, four years ago, it was an anomaly. Portable and connectable through Bluetooth, this was a different Sonos product. In 2023, these tricks have proliferated across the Sonos lineup. The more affordable Roam speaker brought the Move’s feature set to a much smaller device, while recent home speakers, like the Era 100 and 300, both support Bluetooth, as well. The Move 2 doesn’t suggest a new direction for future Sonos products, but it does bring the company’s latest tech and design cues to an existing product.

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This article originally appeared on Engadget at

The Morning After: Apple preps software update to address iPhone 12 radiation concerns

Apple is prepping a software update for the three-year-old iPhone 12s after French regulators alleged the phone exceeds proper radiation levels. France stopped selling the smartphone after recommendations from the country’s radiation watchdog (ANFR).

The software update won’t adjust radiation levels but will “accommodate the protocol used by French regulators.” (I am not sure how that works, either.) Apple believes the software patch will be enough to allow the iPhone 12s to sail through future radiation tests, saying it looks forward “to the iPhone 12 continuing to be available in France.”

Belgium and Denmark don’t have the same worries as France. Belgian minister for digitalization, Mathieu Michel, said local tests were “reassuring” and recommended against a suspension on sales. Denmark’s Safety Authority followed suit, suggesting it had no concerns regarding the iPhone 12’s radiation levels.

— Mat Smith


The biggest stories you might have missed

The first-ever party-based RPG is getting a serious facelift

Apple isn’t perfect on environmental issues, but it’s depressingly ahead of its peers

The best gaming mouse in 2023

Amazon’s Echo Pop smart speaker drops to $23

The Morning After: The iPhone 15 kills off Lightning. Plus, AI-generated Coke

The week’s biggest news meets Engadget’s lens.


Our spin-off video series continues to let Mat do his thing, whether that’s throwing his iPhone at the camera, complaining about ’00s movies or writing about himself in third person. Our short-but-sweet edition this week covers iPhone 15, the return of movie rentals (kind of), and Sony’s Aibo dogs getting a second chance. There’s a new video every Saturday morning.

Watch it here.

Spider-Man 2 is following Sony’s sequel playbook

A two-hour demo showed off new tricks.


How do you outdo a well-received open-world game with its sequel? Engadget’s Nathan Ingraham played two hours of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 at a press event earlier this week, and it seems the answer is go bigger. That’s the same tactic used by Sony’s cadre of development teams for The Last of Us, Horizon Zero Dawn and God of War.

Because the world of New York in this game is almost twice as big as the original, with the addition of Brooklyn and Queens, finding new ways for players to get around was a major focus for developer Insomniac. Enter the web wings, a tool for gliding around the city, catching wind tunnels and updrafts that sling you at high speed. It’s not meant to replace the core web-slinging mechanic but augment it. And gliding seems to be the new having a horse in video game trends.

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Meta starts testing Horizon Worlds on mobile and the web

A small number of mobile and web users can now access Meta’s metaverse.

Meta has announced Super Rumble, the first game out of its in-house studio Ouro Interactive, is now available to a small number of mobile users through the Meta Quest app on Android. It’s also making its way to the app on iOS devices in the coming weeks. When Meta launched the first-person shooter, it said Super Rumble would be one of the first worlds available when its new app came out. It also said the game will feature cross-platform play on mobile, the web or a VR headset.

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Engadget Podcast: iPhone 15 and Apple Watch Series 9 hands-on

We also dive into our review of Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 6.

This week, Cherlynn gives us her on-the-ground thoughts from Apple’s iPhone 15 launch event. It turns out the iPhone 15 Pro’s titanium case is noticeably lighter. (Which we hope was the point.) Engadget’s Malek Saleh also joins to discuss her review of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 and Dyson’s ridiculous Zone air filter mask/headphones.

Listen here

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The Morning After: Nintendo’s Direct showcase marks the return of a classic

This week, Nintendo's Direct livestream showcased a bunch of new games for the Switch, and an awful lot of them featured the company mascot (and movie star) Mario, if not his brother Luigi,Princess Peach and moreDonkey Kong. And this is all on top of the incomingSuper Mario Wonder.

To start, the company is bringing another classic Mario RPG to the Switch. The company plans to release an updated version of Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door on the console in 2024, 20 years after the original game debuted on the GameCube. That’s not the only game getting remade: Mario vs. Donkey Kong, originally a GameBoy Advance game, is on its way and we’re waiting on Super Mario RPG’s remake too.


Nintendo revealed it’s also bringing back one of its oldest hits, space racer F-Zero, but with a twist. F-Zero 99 is the first new game in the series in nearly 20 years. We’ve had battle royale Tetris and Mario. Now, it’s F-Zero. 99 cars on a single track — chaos ensues. It’s available to play now for Switch Online subscribers.

And if you’re more a PlayStation gamer, then Sony’s State of Play revealed new PS5 colors and a Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth release date — and trailer!

— Mat Smith

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This is apparently an electric microscooter

Honda’s Motocompacto will retail for ‘under $995’ this November.


This is Honda’s Motocompacto, a throwback all-electric rideable inspired by the short-lived Honda Motocompo scooter of the ’80s. Yes, it looks like Muji toaster or something. Honda says its aluminum frame and wheels keep it “lightweight,” but at 41 pounds, it’s firmly in the same weight class as regular e-bikes. And with a range of “up to 12 miles,” it’s not getting you very far either. After you’ve used its 12-mile range, it takes 3.5 hours to rejoice.

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How to update your iPhone to iOS 17

When Monday comes around.

After several months of betas, iOS 17 is about ready to launch to the public. The new software, landing Monday, September 18, includes significant upgrades to Messages, FaceTime, keyboard and more. FaceTime adds video voicemails, so you can let your friends see you as you leave them a message. iOS 17 also works with tvOS 17, so you can take FaceTime calls on Apple TV, using your iPhone or iPad as a camera. The update also includes a new StandBy mode that transforms your iPhone into a smart display when it’s charging on the horizontal. Meanwhile, Contact Posters give you customizable full-screen profiles that flash on your phone’s screen when friends and family call.

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Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 6 review

More of the same.


Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 6 is a modest upgrade from its predecessor, the Galaxy Watch 5. There are some health tracking improvements and a slightly sleeker design. The caveat is that the Watch 6’s predecessors, dating back to the Watch 4, will have access to all these updates. So, if you have one of the previous two models, you might not need to upgrade.

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The Angels face the Marlins in MLB’s first regular-season virtual ballpark game

They just made baseball even duller.

Major League Baseball is ready to test its virtual ballpark for a regular-season game. Fans can enter the digital stadium on Wednesday, September 20, to watch the Tampa Bay Rays host the Los Angeles Angels.

The league debuted the digital park earlier this summer for a celebrity softball game, but next week’s game will mark the first non-exhibition game to deploy the metaverse-like digital park. The entire setup sounds like something you’d eventually use with a VR or AR headset, like the Meta Quest or Apple’s upcoming Vision Pro. While it may be a precursor to those more immersive experiences, you’ll access this game on flat screens through a web browser.

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The Morning After: Hacking a Vegas casino may just take a single phone call

The ALPHV/BlackCat ransomware group claimed responsibility for the MGM Resorts cyber outage on Tuesday, and it apparently took the group only 10 minutes on a phone call to glean the information needed to shut down systems and slot machines — not the slot machines! — at casinos owned by MGM Resorts.

“All ALPHV ransomware group did to compromise MGM Resorts was hop on LinkedIn, find an employee, then call the Help Desk,” the organization wrote in a post on X. Those details came from ALPHV but have not been independently confirmed by security researchers.

MGM Resorts didn’t respond to a request for comment but said on Tuesday that “Our resorts, including dining, entertainment and gaming, are currently operational.”

— Mat Smith

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The next Nintendo Direct is set for today at 10AM ET​​

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Coca-Cola made an AI-generated soda

The only people who asked for this are the PR execs.

Coca Cola

Coca-Cola launched a new flavor co-created by artificial intelligence. The company’s calling it the soda “from the future,” and it’s available for a limited time in both regular and zero sugar. It’s called Y3000, with a flavor described as resembling a raspberry slushy. Coke also tasked AI to help design the artwork on the slim can, which looks like a Now That’s What I Call Music CD case from the early ’00s. Inspired.

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America’s largest independent video store is taking its DVD-by-mail service nationwide

Your application has to be manually approved, though.

Talking of blasts from the past, want to rent a DVD? Netflix is winding up that part of its business later this month, but if you’re one of its subscribers sad to see the service go, there’s now another rent-by-mail option. Scarecrow, the largest independent video store in the US, has launched its own rent-by-mail service, which will send DVDs and Blu-ray discs straight to your door. Scarecrow has 140,000 titles — comparably, Netflix has around 5,000 titles in its US catalog, according to CordCutting — most of which you can rent by mail. There are exceptions, however, including rare and out-of-print videos, which require a security deposit, newly released movies and adult titles.

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Microsoft reveals its underwhelming Xbox Game Pass Core library

It’s a solid, if not especially exciting, blend of first- and third-party games.

Xbox Live Gold will be no more after today. Replacing it is a new tier of Game Pass called Xbox Game Pass Core. It’s a different offering to Games with Gold in that there will be a rotating library of a few dozen games. There are some solid, if cheap / old games, including Vampire Survivors, Celeste, Doom Eternal and Dishonored 2, but it’s not the most exciting selection assembled for this base version of Game Pass.

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