‘Quake Champions’ isn’t finished, but you can play it August 22nd

Technically the game is free to play, but if you want to play via Early Access (and to have all the champions) you’ll have to pay. Assuming you didn’t already have access to the closed beta, that is. If so, you can keep playing, but will only be able to do so via the Bethesda.net launcher. Yes, it’s a little confusing. The game’s free to play version will launch “at a later date.”

In addition to the commemorative price cut, the arena combat game has two new maps, upgrade bounties, new character skins and a tutorial. Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Doom Guy from developer id’s other highly-influential shooter is a playable character now, too. “Fans of Doom can run amok using Doom Slayer’s active ability, Berzerk — smashing enemies into bloody piles of gibs with his bare hands,” Bethesda writes.

Less exciting, but perhaps more useful, Doom Guy retains his double jump from last year’s reboot. Handy! See you on the battlefield.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/17/quake-champions-early-access/

Horror adventure ‘The Black Mirror’ revived for modern gamers

The game puts you in the shoes of protagonist David Gordon as he explores his spooky family manor, Black Mirror, soon after the death of his father. It’s not the first time King has taken a stab at the franchise: In 2009, they created concept art for a full sequel, The Black Mirror II, which set the look for a third game released the following year that closed out the trilogy. It’s not THQ Nordic’s first rodeo with gothic darkness, either, given its experience with the Darksiders franchise.

The last few years have seen a steady resurgence of interest in point-and-click legends. The old LucasArts game Full Throttle recently made it to iOS, the latest in a line of Tim Schafer reduxes. But more broadly, players are gobbling up remade versions of decades-old titles, from the relatively recent Modern Warfare Remastered to the resurrected PS2 cult classic Phantom Dust. If Crash Bandicoot can ride the redux train, then nostalgia is truly selling well.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/16/horror-adventure-the-black-mirror-revived-for-modern-gamers/

Smart locks rendered dumb by automatic update fail

As Threatpost explains, LockState pushed an OTA update to its 6000i series smart locks earlier this month that was intended for its 7000i models. This didn’t sit well with first-gen 6000i locks, which were subsequently unable to reconnect to the company’s web service. This connection is essential for all the smarter features, which include remote access, managing codes for keypad entry and status alerts.

Breaking that link also made “a remote fix impossible,” which is the worse part. In a statement to affected customers, LockState is offering two inconvenient paths to resolution. Either send a part of the lock off for repair, which can take up to a week to come back, or wait two weeks or more for the delivery of a replacement lock. The only upside is owners get one free year of access to all those connected services for their trouble.

Roughly 500 locks have been dumbed down by the failed update, according to the company, and it’s not the end of the world if you have the old-fashioned key to hand. It’s a tad more frustrating for business owners and Airbnb hosts, however, which may rely heavily on remote access and temporary keypad codes. LockState is actually one of Airbnb’s partners for its Host Assist program, which features recommended suppliers and services that are supposed to make the whole renting process easier. Around 200 hosts that have purchased LockState’s wares are thought to have been affected, the company said.

As more and more devices are becoming WiFi-enabled, smart versions of their former selves, so do the cries of warning around unsecured internet of things things grow louder. These are legitimate worries, of course — you don’t want a hacker unlocking your door remotely, after all — but there’s little you can do when the bricking of hardware is an inside job.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/15/smart-lock-update-fail/

VW’s first ID electric car for the US may be a crossover

As for the Microbus-inspired ID Buzz? That hasn’t been cleared for production, but it might stand a chance. While the original Microbus concept was unlikely to ever hit the streets because of its one-off platform, the Buzz might make it because it shares the same underpinnings as other ID models. The uncertainty could lead to a prolonged wait, however. A finished Buzz might not be ready until closer to 2025.

Even the 2020 window is a long way off, so we wouldn’t count on everything panning out no matter how accurate the insiders might be. However, the plans at least make sense. The regular ID is clearly aimed at drivers who would otherwise buy the Golf, which is considerably more popular in Europe than it is in the States. Also, the Crozz may be an ideal EV for a large-scale American launch. Its dual-motor all-wheel drive, far stronger 302HP output and relatively realistic design could help it sell in volume to Americans concerned that EVs might not handle snow and rough back roads.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/14/vw-first-id-for-us-may-be-crossover/

The TRAPPIST-1 star system may be too old for life

As the team’s Adam Burgasser explains: if there is life, it’s the “hardy” sort. It would have to survive extreme conditions for billions of years, he says. The upshot? If there is life, humans will have plenty of time to find it. A dwarf like TRAPPIST-1 is so stable that it should last for 900 times longer than the current age of the universe (around 13.7 billion years), and its temperature will be very consistent throughout that time.

The big challenge is using the Hubble and James Webb telescopes to learn whether or not any of the planets have atmospheres like Earth’s. If they do, knowing the rough age of the star will come in handy. It’ll shed more light on how atmospheres evolve, and how long they can last in systems that are far older than humanity’s home turf.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/14/the-trappist-1-star-system-may-be-too-old-for-life/

‘Dota 2’ will add two new heroes in the Dueling Fates update

Some of the world’s best Dota 2 players are doing battle at Valve’s The International esports tournament, but they may need some more practice when they get home. That’s because the company just announced it will add two more characters soon in its “The Dueling Fates” update. Neither hero has a name yet, but in the preview trailer the first attacked enemies both by rolling over them Sonic the Hedgehog-style and with a sword, while the other one flew in on fairy wings before releasing a minion to attack.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/11/dota-2-will-add-two-new-heroes-in-the-dueling-fates-update/

Consumer Reports pulls recommendation from Surface PCs

The four laptops losing their ranking are the 128GB and 256GB versions of the Microsoft Surface Laptop and the 128GB and 512GB versions of the Microsoft Surface Book. Consumer Reports also said that it couldn’t recommend any other Microsoft laptops or tablets because of the predicted reliability problems. In its report, the company said, “Microsoft’s estimated breakage rate for its laptops and tablets was higher than most other brands’.” Consumer Reports editor Jerry Beilinson told Reuters, “If you are very concerned about how long your products are going to last, it might be better for you to go with a brand that has a higher predicted reliability.” He said that Apple products ranked highest on reliability.

Consumer Reports has pulled recommendations on other high-profile products in recent years. The Tesla Model S has had a roller coaster relationship with the publication jumping from top rankings to losing its recommended rating in short succession. Apple’s MacBook Pro also lost its Consumer Reports recommendation earlier this year due to irregularities in battery life across individual devices.

Microsoft responded to the report in a statement to Consumer Reports saying, “We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation.”

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/10/consumer-reports-pulls-recommendation-surface-pcs/

Of course ‘Fallout 4’ will have a ‘game of the year’ edition

However, if you feel like spending more publisher/developer Bethesda says it’ll have limited amounts of the extremely popular Pip-Boy Edition available for $99.99 at select retailers; it sounds like the same phone holster that was available at launch. If you’re itching for something a little more functional, an officially licensed Bluetooth version of the wrist computer has been available on ThinkGeek for awhile now.

The thing is, that one costs a whopping $349.99. But, the $150 Samsung Gear S smartwatches on eBay notwithstanding, can you really put a price on making phone calls from a comically oversized chunk of plastic on your wrist?

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/10/fallout-4-game-of-the-year-edition-pip-boy/

Microsoft Surface Laptop

The Surface Laptop is Microsoft’s most traditional device yet, but that’s exactly what makes it appealing. With a fetching, minimalist design and some of the best battery life on the market, it’s the ideal Surface for anyone who doesn’t want a hybrid tablet.

Pros
  • Excellent design
  • Comfortable keyboard and trackpad
  • Gorgeous screen
  • Incredible battery life
Cons
  • Limited ports and no SD card reader
  • Windows 10 S is still too limiting for most

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/products/microsoft/surface/laptop/

T-Mobile’s latest plan gives seniors a discount on unlimited data

The plan offers many of the perks that everyone else gets, including unlimited text and basic data when traveling (plus full service in Canada and Mexico), freebies on Tuesdays, Digits phone number syncing and some free use of your phone on Gogo’s in-flight wireless access. The catches? You need to set up automatic payments to get those rates (it’s $5 more per line otherwise), and you won’t get Kickback, Insider Hookup or a handful of other discounts. There’s also no mention of video streaming at higher quality than 480p or tethering beyond 3G speeds, although we’ve asked the carrier if customers can upgrade to higher video quality and faster hotspot connections.

This isn’t necessarily the best option if you don’t make heavy use of your phone (Google’s Project Fi could cost as much or less with modest use, for example). However, it might just beat the alternatives. AT&T and Verizon will both give you a 65-plus plan at $30 for one line, but that doesn’t include data. Verizon asks at least $30 to add a reasonable amount of data, at which point you might as well pay for regular service. You can get discounts on some carriers if you’re an AARP member (AT&T’s is 10 percent), but you might still end up paying more. In short: so long as you actually intend to take advantage of all that data and airtime, T-Mobile might have the edge.

It’s not surprising why T-Mobile would cut a deal like this, at least. Cellphone use is near a saturation point in the US, with few new customers — by courting a relatively untapped market, T-Mobile might continue growing at the expense of rivals who only make minimal efforts to accommodate older users.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/08/07/t-mobile-one-unlimited-55-plus-plan/