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Engadget
Jul 15, 2024

The best cheap Windows laptops for 2024
We review a number of Windows 11 laptops every year at Engadget, but the cheapest among them often fall to the bottom of the list. Unlike our top picks for best Windows laptop, or even more niche devices like the best gaming laptops, these machines don't have pricey OLED panels, high-powered graphics cards or super thin-and-light designs. But that doesn't mean you should write them off. Besides, not everyone needs a pro-level laptop — they just need the best machine that will fit their budget.

Sub-$500 laptops made by Acer, Dell, Lenovo and other companies can be great fits for those who primarily use a computer to check email, shop online and occasionally video chat with friends and family. They're also probably the best option for kids who have no business touching their parents' expensive daily driver. We've tested a number of budget-friendly Windows notebooks — these are our favorites below, and we outline some buying advice for anyone looking for a cheap Windows laptop that balances capability with affordability.

What about Chromebooks and tablets? You may be inclined to recommend a Chromebook or a

Engadget
Jul 15, 2024

The best budget Android phone for 2024
One of the best things about the Android ecosystem is the availability of truly affordable phones for as little as $150. By comparison, the cheapest iPhone is based on a dated design and starts at $429. However, picking the right cheap Android phone can be a bit tricky, as reducing the price of a phone can sometimes result in too many trade-offs when compared to flagship phones. So to give you a hand, we tested a bunch of the most popular options and put together a list of the best budget Android phones you can buy.

How low should you go? We tend to define a budget phone as costing between $150 and $350. Any lower and the device runs the risk of suffering from too many compromises, and above that, you cross over to pricier midrange handsets (if you're open to spending more, we shouted out a couple of our favorites at the very end of this guide).

But for those with a little wiggle room, there are some things to consider. For example, a child may be better off with a cheaper device, especially if it's intended mainly for emergencies or texting parents (and not social media). On the higher end of this price spectrum, sub-$350 phones have come a long way thanks to improved performance, better cameras, fast charging, and nicer displays. This makes them a viable alternative to premium flagships, even if you have the freedom to spend more.

What to look for in a budget Android phone When it comes to cheap phones, y

Engadget
Jul 14, 2024

Laser Sphere uses Playdate's crank to control a space laser, and I'm having a blast
The horde is relentless. Every time I naively get overconfident in the timing of my laser sweeps and think I finally have the advantage over my enemies, the next wave comes in tenfold just to put me back in my place. I flatten them, they come back stronger and overtake me, and our little dance starts all over again.

In Laser Sphere, a Playdate game made by Pulp creator Shaun Inman, it's just you and your prone-to-overheating space laser against the world. From the game's description:


Your job is to defend the Sphere from the incoming attackers, using the crank to control the direction of the laser beam and ‘A' to fire. You can hold ‘A' for a continuous blast of the laser, but this is a time-limited action — after a few seconds, your laser will overheat and be unusable until it cools down, leaving you completely vulnerable. To prevent that, you can instead shoot in short bursts to conserve power. But when tiny, high-speed enemies are coming at you in droves, good luck trying to snipe them each individually. When all else fails, you can deploy a bomb to take out a large number of enemies at once.



Engadget
Jul 14, 2024

There's finally a retro PC emulator on the App Store
The retro PC game emulator UTM SE is now available on the App Store for iPhone, iPad and Apple Vision Pro, marking the first time Apple has allowed a PC emulator for iOS onto its marketplace, per The Verge. UTM SE will let you run classic PC games, but you'll first need to either download a pre-built virtual machine — several of which UTM offers for free on its website — or you can create your own from scratch.


Engadget
Jul 14, 2024

Amazon Prime Day 2024 is almost here and these are the best tech deals we could find from Apple, Bose, Samsung and more
Amazon Prime Day 2024 will arrive shortly, bringing a deluge of discounts and deals on everything from household essentials to clothing to tech. Even though the shopping event is limited to 48 hours, Amazon typically has early Prime Day deals rolling out for weeks ahead of time.

This year is no different: there are dozens of early Prime Day deals available now that members can take advantage of. Plus, there are also a number of solid tech deals available on Amazon that aren't explicitly tied to July Prime Day, but are likely to get lumped in with the rest of the discounts anyway. We've collected the best early Prime Day deals here so you don't have to go searching for them. We'll be updating this post regularly, so check back to see the latest discounts.

As a reminder (and for the uninitiated): Engadget treats tech deals with the same care as we would "regular" tech news. When we scour the web for deals, we're looking not only for the best prices possible, but also the best products as well. Our goal with our deals coverage, especially surrounding events like Amazon Prime Day, is to surface only the best deals we can find on the gadgets we've tested and rated highly, or that we've used and know to be worth your money.

Best early Prime Day deals: Engadget top picks





Engadget
Jul 14, 2024

The Hatch Restore 2 smart sleep clock drops to a record low for Prime Day
Getting into a good sleep routine can make a world of difference in your day-to-day life, and smart clocks like the Hatch Restore 2 are designed to help you achieve that. The popular sleep device, which allows for customized bedtime and wake-up routines, is deeply discounted on Amazon right now in an early Prime Day deal, bringing the price down to $145 from its usual cost of $200. The clock comes in three neutral colors — Latte, Putty and Slate — all of which are covered by the 28 percent price cut.

Hatch Restore 2 has features to help put you to sleep, and wake you gently in the morning. To get the absolute most out of it, you'll also need to subscribe to Hatch for $5/month, but the system is still usable with limitations if you don't want yet another subscription in your life. In

Engadget
Jul 13, 2024

iPad support has arrived for the Nintendo emulator Delta with its latest update
Good news for anyone who's been waiting for a better way to run the Delta game emulator on an iPad — with version 1.6, which is available now, iPad support is here. The latest update is a major one, not only bringing a version of the emulator that's optimized for iPad, but also seamless switching between iPhone and iPad, some improvements to DS compatibility, new skins and menu button gestures, and a new logo. (Delta had to scrap its old logo after Adobe threatened to sue over similarities to its signature ‘A').

The Delta version 1.6 update is live on both the App Store and the AltStore PAL. It comes barely three months after Delta creator Riley Testut promised iPad support was on the way, and will allow for both full screen play and multiple windows using Stage Manager and Split View. Before you run and download it, though, take note of the devs' warnings about DS games: "This

Engadget
Jul 13, 2024

OpenAI is reportedly working on more advanced AI models capable of reasoning and ‘deep research'
A new report from Reuters claims OpenAI is developing technology to bring advanced reasoning capabilities to its AI models under a secret project code-named "Strawberry." Among the project's goals is to enable the company's AI models to autonomously scour the internet in order to "plan ahead" for more complex tasks, according to an internal document seen by Reuters. The project previously went by the name of Q* (pronounced "Q star"), demos of which showed earlier this year that it could answer "tricky science and math questions," Reuters reports, citing unnamed sources who witnessed the demonstrations.

At this stage, much remains unknown about Strawberry — including how far along in development it is, and whether it's the same system with "human-like reasoning" skills that OpenAI reportedly demonstrated at an employee all-hands meeting earlier this week, per Bloomberg. But the ability for the company's AI to conduct "deep research," as is said to be the aim of Strawberry, would mark a huge leap forward from what's available today.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.eng

Engadget
Jul 13, 2024

OpenAI whistleblowers call for SEC probe into NDAs that kept employees from speaking out on safety risks
OpenAI's NDAs are once again under scrutiny after whistleblowers penned a letter to the SEC alleging that employees were made to sign "illegally restrictive" agreements preventing them from speaking out on the potential harms of the company's technology. The letter, which was obtained and published online by The Washington Post, accuses OpenAI of violating SEC rules meant to protect employees' rights to report their concerns to federal authorities and prevent retaliation. It follows an official complaint that was filed with the SEC in June.

In the letter, the whistleblowers ask the SEC to "take swift and aggressive steps" to enforce the rules they say OpenAI has violated. The alleged violations include making employees sign agreements "that failed to exempt disclosures of securities violations to the SEC" and requiring employees obtain

Engadget
Jul 13, 2024

The best Prime Day deals on tech available now from Apple, Bose, Samsung and more
Amazon Prime Day 2024 is officially a couple of days away now and we're starting to see even more early Prime Day deals pop up. This was expected: Amazon may deem July Prime Day a two-day event, but for years, the online retailer has hosted lead-up deals in order to drum up excitement for the main event.

Most early Prime Day deals are exactly that — early discounts that only Prime members can access — but every once in a while there are some discounts available to all. We've collected the best early Prime Day deals here, along with the rest of the best discounts on our favorite gadgets that anyone can get from Amazon right now. We'll be updating this post regularly, so check back to see the latest discounts.

As a reminder (and for the uninitiated): Engadget treats tech deals with the same care as we would "regular" tech news. When we scour the web for deals, we're looking not only for the best prices possible, but also the best products as well. Our goal with our deals coverage, especially surrounding events like Amazon Prime Day, is to surface only the best deals we can find on the gadgets we've tested and rated highly, or that we've used and know to be worth your money.

Best early Prime Day deals: Engadget top picks





Engadget
Jul 13, 2024

James Webb telescope marks second anniversary with an image of the Penguin and the Egg galaxies
NASA and its partners, the European and Canadian space agencies, are celebrating the second year since the James Webb Telescope started sending back photos of the universe by releasing an image of the Penguin and the Egg galaxies. These are interacting galaxies collectively known as Arp 142 located 326 million light-years from Earth, captured by the James Webb in interactive light. 

The galaxies first interacted between 25 and 75 million years ago, causing new star formation. Based on previous research, 100 to 200 stars have formed per year in the Penguin — yes, that is the galaxy at the center of the image that looks like a bird's head — whereas the Milky Way only produces between six and seven new stars per year. In this image taken by the James Webb, the interaction between the two galaxies is marked by a faintly glowing upside-down U. Take note that while the Penguin appears bigger than the Egg galaxy at its left, they have approximately the same mass. If either galaxy were smaller, they would've already merged. 

In addition to the galaxies prominently featured in the image, you'll also see more distant galaxies in the background. The space agencies said it's a "testament to the sensitivity and resolution of Webb's infrared cameras." NASA and its partners launched the James Webb Telescope in late 2021 after more than a decade of delays caused by spiraling costs and construction woes. The agencies released the first image it ever captured, the deepest image of the distant universe, in July 2022. Last year, they also

Engadget
Jul 13, 2024

Prime Day deals include the Ninja Creami ice cream maker for $150
It's not quite Amazon Prime Day yet, but the early deals continue to show up. For example, the Ninja Creami ice cream maker is down to $150. This is a discount of $50 and close to the record-low price of $130. It's the perfect gadget for those who scream for ice cream, but also scream about paying over $6 per pint.

We absolutely loved the Ninja Creami in our official review, calling it a "fast and easy" way to make "surprisingly tasty" ice cream and other frozen desserts. This is actually a consumer-friendly design of a mainstay appliance at restaurants, so the results are going to be a bit better than an average ice cream maker.



To that end, we admired just how easy it is to use and t

Engadget
Jul 13, 2024

What to read this week: An astronaut's journey and queer horror that bites back at cliché
New releases in fiction, nonfiction and comics that caught our attention.

Bury Your Gays by Chuck Tingle Chuck Tingle may be best known for his oft-memed erotica titles, but the author has also been making a name for himself in mainstream horror in recent years. Tingle's second full-length horror novel,

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

Meta rolls back restrictions on Trump's Facebook and Instagram accounts
Meta, the parent company of social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, has decided to remove restrictions placed on former President Donald Trump's accounts.

Meta updated its original statement announcing the end of Trump's suspension on Facebook and Instagram in January of 2023 to reflect the Republican presumptive presidential nominee's new online status. Axios first reported on the news.

Meta removed Trump from all of its platforms following the attack on the US Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 amid "extreme and highly unusual circumstances," according to Meta's original statement. 

Seven people were killed as a result of violence on or collateral damage as a result of the attack on the Capitol building.

The following May, the Oversight Board ruled that Facebook failed to apply an appropriate penalty with its indefinite suspension of Trump's accounts for "severely" violating Facebook and Instagram's community guidelines and standards. Trump said in a video statement released less than three hours after the violence began "We love you. You're very special" and called the insurrectionists "great patriots." Those and other statements made in the wake of the US Capitol attack convinced the board that Trump violated its standard against praising or supporting people engaging in violence on its platforms.

Two years later, M

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

Three senators introduce bill to protect artists and journalists from unauthorized AI use
Three US Senators introduced a bill that aims to rein in the rise and use of AI generated content and deepfakes by protecting the work of artists, songwriters and journalists.

The Content Original Protection and Integrity from Edited and Deepfaked Media (COPIED) Act was introduced to the Senate Friday morning. The bill is a bipartisan effort authorized by Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), according to a press alert issued by Blackburn's office.

The COPIED ACT would, if enacted, create transparency standards through the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) to set guidelines for "content provenance information, watermarking, and synthetic content detection," according to the press release.

The bill would also prohibit the unauthorized use of creative or journalistic content to train AI models or created AI content. The Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general would also gain the authority to enforce these guidelines and individuals who had their legally created content used by AI to create new content without their consent or proper compensation would also have the right to take those companies or entities to court.

The bill would even expand the prohibition of tampering or removing content provenance information by internet platforms, search engines and social media companies.

A slew of content and journalism advocacy groups are already voicing their support for the COPIED Act to become law. They include groups like SAG-AFTRA, the Recording Industry Association o

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

8BitDo marks its 11th anniversary with gold and silver metal controllers
The controllers available for consoles like the Xbox Series X and the Nintendo Switch and even some for PC gaming are the peak result of an evolutionary ergonomic transformation. The days of boxy controllers like the NES GamePad and even the Atari 2600 joystick are almost gone from modern gaming but 8BitDo has done a great job of preserving those classic designs without totally sacrificing their functionality.

8BitDo has been making these modern throwback peripherals for 11 years and it's marking this anniversary with a pair of limited edition gold and silver SN30 Pro controllers.

These controllers aren't just matte painted in gold and silver. They are made with a "zinc-alloy metal" so they weigh a hefty 381 grams. They also cost just under $100 each. They are compatible with the Nintendo Switch and computers running Microsoft Windows, according to 8BitDo's website.

The new gold and silver limited edition controllers have the same layout as the original SN30 Pro with a Super Nintendo-esque button layout and two analog sticks. A metal version may give it the little bit of extra weight the original needs so it feels a little more balanced. Plus, a metal controller that looks like gold or silver just makes you feel like a total baller. Such a confidence boost could transfer from your brain to your hands and may improve your game. So it could be an effective controller or just a cool looking paperweight that you might find on Elon Musk's desk (assuming he stops tweeting long enough to notice it exists).



Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

Amazon is adding a free $300 gift card when you pre-order the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6
If you're considering a premium foldable phone, these pre-order deals ahead of Prime Day may be the way to go. You can get a $300 Amazon gift card when you reserve the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 and a $200 one with the Galaxy Z Flip 6. Bo

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

Amazon's AI chatbot Rufus is now live for all US customers
There's another chatbot in town. Amazon's AI chatbot Rufus is now live for all US customers, albeit in a beta version. This follows a testing phase that began back in February. Rufus looks to currently be tied to the app and not the web version of Amazon.

So what does it do? It's an Amazon chatbot so it helps with shopping. You can ask for lists of recommended products and ask what specific products do and stuff like that.

I've tooled around with it a bit this morning and it seems fine, though a bit boring. I will say that I cross-referenced some of the recommended products with the web version and Rufus does not automatically list promoted items, at least for now.

Amazon It spit out a seemingly random list of well-reviewed products on several occasions. That's fine by me, though I'm not about to buy something based on the word of a one-day old chatbot. You can also ask specific questions about products, but the answers seem to be pulled directly from the descriptions. As any regular Amazon customer knows, some of these descriptions are accurate and others aren't. The chatbot is tied to your personal account, so it can answer questions about upcoming deliveries and the like. 

Amazon says that the bot has been trained on its product catalog, along with customer reviews, community Q&am

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

Ooni flash sale includes 20 percent off Karu and Koda pizza ovens
Amazon Prime Day is right around the corner so summer deal season is in full swing, including on some manufacturers' own storefronts. Ooni is running a flash sale at the minute and the company has slashed 20 percent off the price of some of its pizza ovens, including the Karu 12 and Koda 12. The Karu 12 has dropped to $239, which is $60 off the regular price. The Koda 12, meanwhile, is

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

A new spacesuit design can recycle astronauts' urine into purified, drinkable water
The life of an astronaut may sound like a glamorous career but it requires a lot of hard work and sacrifice. They have to spend weeks or even months at a time away from Earth, their loved ones and the warm embrace of gravity. They have to endure an endless stream of "Tang" jokes. Sometimes they even have to drink recycled wastewater.

We say "sometimes" because not every drop of astronaut urine is recycled into palatable water. The urine they expel into their spacesuits is simply flushed away or discarded when they return to the spacecraft. A new space suit designed by scientists at Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell University inspired by Frank Herbert's Dune novels could make spacewalks longer and less disgusting by recycling their expelled urine in a special filtration backpack. The research and design teams from both schools published a paper of their findings in the scientific journal Frontiers.

These suits are referred to as "stillsuits" in the Dune universe and can capture moisture to recycle it into drinkable water as soldiers trek and battle across the barren desert world of Arrakis. The real-life, proposed stillsuits do roughly the same thing. The new stillsuits have a "vacuum-based external catheter leading to a combined forward-reverse osmosis unit" that astronauts carry on their back, says the study's lead author and research staff member Sofia Etlin in a press release.





Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

Apple Prime Day deals are here early with the M2 Macbook Air discounted to a new low of $799
Here's a juicy early Amazon Prime Day deal: you can snag the base, 13-inch M2 MacBook Air for only $799 right now. The laptop gleaned a $200 discount as part of Prime Day Apple deals, and the savings apply to all color options so you can score one in that beautiful Midnight finish. That's the price for the models without AppleCare — you'll have to spend just under $1,000 if you want that add-on.

This model isn't exactly top of the MacBook Air line anymore. It's been supplanted by the M3-powered MBA, which is now our pick for the best MacBook overall. But if you'd like to save some cash and still have a very capable Apple laptop to carry around, the M2 variant is our choice for the best budget MacBook — this latest discount just makes it even easier to recommend.



Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

Analogue's latest limited-edition Pocket consoles are made out of aluminum
Analogue just announced a forthcoming limited-edition of its popular retro Pocket console. This one boasts an exterior made entirely out of attractive machined aluminum. It looks pretty dang cool. It also costs $500, which is almost $300 more than the non-aluminum Analogue Pocket.

Analogue promises that "every single piece" is "entirely CNC'd from aluminum." The company also says it will be available in "highly limited quantities'' with orders going live on July 15 at 11AM ET. Past as prologue, these limited editions sell out quickly. If you want one, make sure to set a reminder or an alarm to join the queue, as Analogue says these consoles will never be sold again. They will be available in four anodized colors, including natural metal, indigo and black.


Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

Early Prime Day Apple deals mark down a four-pack of AirTags to a record low of $75
Now is a good time for iPhone users to invest in a tracker if you're constantly losing things like your keys or wallet — don't worry, this is a safe space to admit it as I am too. Early Prime Day deals are upon us, and they include Prime Day Apple deals on things like AirTags. You can get a pack of four AirTags for a record low of $75 right now, down from $99. That's a 24 percent discount ahead of Amazon Prime Day.

Apple's AirTags can pair with your iPhone or iPad and appear in the Find My app. The devices are about an inch and a quarter in length and width, with a battery that lasts about a year at a time. The device is also water and dust resistant, so you don't have to worry about it getting too gross if it's on your dog's collar, for instance. 



Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

The best early Prime Day deals on tech available now from Apple, Bose, Samsung and more
Amazon Prime Day 2024 is almost here, so you still have time to sign up for a free trial of Prime before the shopping event begins. However, in typical Amazon fashion, early Prime Day deals have been popping up for the past week and we continue to see new additions almost every day.

The online retailer has gotten into the habit of teasing early Prime Day deals leading up to the big event, with most of them being available exclusively to Prime members. However, there are always some good Prime Day tech deals available to everyone at the same time. We've collected the best early Prime Day deals here so you don't have to go searching for them. We'll be updating this post regularly, so check back to see the latest discounts.

As a reminder (and for the uninitiated): Engadget treats tech deals with the same care as we would "regular" tech news. When we scour the web for deals, we're looking not only for the best prices possible, but also the best products as well. Our goal with our deals coverage, especially surrounding events like Amazon Prime Day, is to surfa

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

Massive AT&T data breach impacted nearly every single customer
AT&T just confirmed a massive data breach in 2022 that impacted "nearly all" of its customers, according to a statement provided by TechCrunch. The company had over 110 million wireless subscribers in 2022 so, yeah, this is kind of a big deal.

The data breach allowed hackers to steal phone numbers, text data and phone records from these people which, once again, comprises nearly the entire customer base, myself included. AT&T says it will begin notifying consumers about the breach in the near future, committing to informing the 110 impacted million customers. The breach occurred during a six-month period from May 1, 2022 to October 31, 2022, though it looks like some data kept getting stolen up until January 2, 2023. This latter breach impacts a smaller, though unspecified, number of consumers.

Now, before you start worrying about that embarrassing text you sent an ex back in 2022, AT&T says the breach "does not contain the content of calls or texts." However, it does include the phone numbers that an account interacted with, as well as a complete count of a customer's calls, texts and call durations, otherwise known as metadata. The time and date of the calls or texts were not included in the hack, according to AT&T.

However, the breach did include cell site identification numbers, which could "potentially allow for the triangulation of users' locations," wrote Javvad Malik, a representative from cybersecurity awareness firm KnowBe4, in a statement to Engadget. Malik also painted a grim picture of what could be done with the stolen metadata, writing that it "can paint a detailed picture of an individual's daily life, habits, and associations, making it a valuable asset for th

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

The first Olympic Esports Games will take place in Saudi Arabia in 2025
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that the inaugural edition of the Olympic Esports Games will take place in Saudi Arabia in 2025 as part of a 12-year partnership with the country's National Olympic Committee. The host city, venue(s) and dates are yet to be determined as are the games that will be included and the qualification process for each.

The IOC says that international federations and national Olympic committees that are already involved in a digital version of their sport and esports in general will be its first options for partners. The organization took a similar approach to a trial event that took place last year, which saw players compete in the likes of Gran Turismo, Fortnite, Just Dance, Zwift and even mobile games barely anyone had ever heard of.



Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

The best Chromebook you can buy in 2024
The Chromebook market has grown so much over the past few years that choosing the best Chromebook for you can be hard. The combination of years worth of software updates and manufacturers making laptops with more power, better build quality and long battery life means there are a ton of good Chrome OS machines that work well as everyday drivers. While Google did make things simpler last fall by introducing the Chromebook Plus initiative (more on that below), there are still multiple things to keep in mind when shopping for a new Chromebook. I've been testing and reviewing Chromebooks for years and know what you should be looking for, and what you can expect out of these laptops in 2024.

What is Chrome OS, and why would I use it over Windows? This is probably the number one question about Chromebooks. There are plenty of inexpensive Windows laptops on the market, so why bother with Chrome's operating system? Glad you asked. For me, the simple and clean nature of Chrome OS is a big selling point. Chrome OS is based on Google's Chrome browser, which means most of the programs you can run are web based. There's no bloatware or unwanted apps to uninstall like you often get on Windows laptops, it boots up in seconds, and you can completely reset to factory settings almost as quickly.

Of course, simplicity will also be a major drawback for some users. Not being able to install native software can be a dealbreaker if you're a video editor or software developer. But there are also plenty of people who do the majority of their work in a web browser.

Google and its software partners are getting better every year at supporting more advanced features. For example, Google

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

X is in hot water in the EU over blue checkmarks and ads
X is the latest notable tech company to land in trouble with the European Union. The European Commission, the bloc's executive arm, has revealed the preliminary findings of an investigation. It claims that X has violated the Digital Services Act (DSA) in a number of ways.

The platform's approach to paid verification has come into the EU's crosshairs. Officials say that the practice "does not correspond to industry practice and deceives users." It added that, since anyone can pay to get a blue checkmark, it's difficult for folks to determine the authenticity of accounts (a browser extension can tell you which accounts are verified because of notability and which paid for a checkmark). The EU also said there's evidence of bad actors using checkmarks to hoodwink people.

X's problems with verification stem back several years. But at least when it was known as Twitter, the blue check was a (reasonably) reliable form of assurance that an account was the real deal. Paid checkmarks, and the increase in visibility that Premium users get, seems to have led to an increase in scams and spam —

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

The Double Dragon series returns yet again with an ultra-modern tribute to the original game
I first started hitting arcades in the late '80s, and one of the first games I remember playing was the seminal 1987 beat-em-up Double Dragon. Probably not the most appropriate thing for a seven-year-old, but I pumped plenty of quarters into it and subsequently spent tons of time playing the NES port. After its late '80s / early '90s heyday, though, the Double Dragon series has gone through a number of weird iterations and revamps, and a new one based on the original game is set to arrive in 2025.

Double Dragon Revive is produced by Japanese developer / publisher Arc System Works, who acquired the rights to Double Dragon back in 2015 after the original developer Technos went out of business. Unlike Double Dragon Gaiden: Rise of the Dragons, which was released in 2023 and featured a very distinctive cartoonish style, Revive is leaning into an ultra-modern and more realistic vibe, relatively speaking. 

It reminds me a bit of recent Street Fighter games; similarly, the characters look like they have a greatly expanded set of moves to bash through the waves of bad guys. There isn't much detail on the game out there yet, though Arc System Works does note that this game isn't a pure button-masher, saying that it "requires adaptation and variety." 

Visual style isn't the only thing differentiating Revive from Ris

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

The EU will start enforcing its new AI regulations on August 1
The European Union has published the full and final text for the EU AI Act in its Official Journal, as reported by TechCrunch. Since the new law will come into force 20 days after its publication, that means it will be enforceable starting on August 1. All its provisions will be fully applicable in two years' time, but some of them will be implemented much earlier than that. 

Six months from now, the bloc will start implementing bans on prohibited applications for AI, such as the use of social credit ranking systems, the collection and compilation of facial recognition information for databases, as well the use of real time emotion recognition systems in schools and workplaces. 

In nine months, the EU will start implementing codes of practice on AI developers. The EU AI Office established by the European Commission will work with consultancy firms to draft those codes. It also plans to work with companies that provide general-purpose models deemed to carry systemic risks. As TechCrunch notes, though, that raises concerns that the industry's biggest players will be able to shape the rules that are supposed to keep them in check.

After a year, makers of general purpose AI models, such as ChatGPT, will have to comply with new transparency requirements and have to be able to demonstrate that their systems are safe and easily explainable to users. In addition t

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

The designer of Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride is back with a Lovecraftian roguelike
Luke Muscat, the lead designer for Halfbrick Studios' Fruit Ninja and Jetpack Joyride, has announced a new game called Feed the Deep. This time, he's not backed by a studio and supported by colleagues: Feed the Deep is his first solo project after quitting his job. He calls the game a "Lovecraftian deep sea roguelike," because you take on the role of a diver who literally has to feed the eldritch horror lurking in the darkness of the ocean's depths. 

In the game, humanity built floating cities on the surface of the ocean without knowing about the threat living below. Your job is to feed whatever's living in the deep so that it doesn't destroy the cities. In its Steam page, Muscat said the game was "inspired by the likes of Dome Keeper and Spelunky." You'll have to collect resources in the darkness to be able to get upgrades and items, all while managing your oxygen to make sure you survive the dive. The caves you have to explore are procedurally generated so they will look different every time you play. You can also choose your play style, whether to go fast and aggressive, or to go slower and more relaxed. 

It's unclear if Feed the Deep will be available on non-PC platforms, but Muscat has only shared a Steam page for it so far. He's planning to release the game sometime this third quarter. 


Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

Apple Vision Pro goes on sale in the UK, Canada and Australia
The Apple Vision Pro is now available for purchase in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Apple first expanded its availability in Asia by releasing it in mainland China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore back on June 28, which is also when it started taking pre-orders for Europe, Canada and Australia. Now if you're from those regions, you can can easily purchase the $3,500 headset from Apple anytime you want.

Since the Vision Pro became available in the US in February, Apple has released more and more games on the App Store and Arcade for it, as well as new 3D films that you can access with an Apple TV subscription. The company also introduced Spatial Persona avatars, which takes your collaborators' avatars out of their restricted windows and places them right next to you in virtual space. It may sound creepy, but it's Apple's solution to making it feel more natural to work together and hang out on the Vision Pro. 

At WWDC this year, Apple debuted visionOS 2 for the headset, which will introduce spatial photos that provide depth to 2D images. What that means is, when you move your head while looking at a photo, you'll be able to see more details to the left and right of the original image. It will bring updated gesture controls to the headset, as well, letting you open the home view by holding you hand up then

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

The best student discounts we found for 2024
Despite college being (potentially) some of the best years of your life, it can be hard to enjoy it if you're scrounging every dollar for books, supplies, food and, if you're lucky, the occasional outing with friends. But there is a silver lining: student discounts. While it seems like good discounts can be harder and harder to find for the rest of us, students can find them fairly easily if they know where to look. We've collected the best student discounts we could find on useful services, along with some things you'll enjoy in your down time. Just keep in mind that most of these offers require you to prove your status as a student either by signing up with your .edu email address or providing a valid student ID.

Shopping















Streaming





Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

Tesla brings the Model 3 Long Range RWD to the US for $42,490
Tesla has introduced a Model 3 option with 363 miles of range that will cost less than $35,000 after federal tax credits. The Model 3 Long Range Rear-Wheel-Drive is now on Tesla's configurator with deliveries slated between July and August 2024. 

Performance-wise, it fits between the base model and Long Range AWD option, with a 125 MPH top speed and 0-60 time of 4.9 seconds. The AWD option is a $5,000 upgrade, though, so you're paying a lot for an extra 0.7 seconds of acceleration. For comparison, Hyundai's Ioniq 6 LR has roughly the same range and price, but isn't eligible for the federal EV tax credit. 

The Model 3 Long Range RWD is now Tesla's cheapest EV, if you take the tax credit into account. That's because the base $38,990 Model 3 RWD version uses lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) batteries from CATL in China, so it's ineligible for any federal rebate.

The new model arrives amid a decline in EV battery prices. The price for LFP cell in China dropped over 51 percent to $53 per kWh over the last year, Bloomberg recently reported. That in turn has led to LFP battery packs at $75 per kWh, meaning EVs can be priced the same or less than combustion vehicles in China. Western efforts to match China's battery production will only increase overcapacity and likely keep prices down.

Early this year, Tesla launched its refreshed Model 3 in the US. The new version has some mild styling changes on the exterior, along with new inter

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

The Morning After: Hydrogen-powered air taxi completes 523-mile test
Joby Aviation says its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft successfully completed a 523-mile test flight, powered by hydrogen.

The only byproduct from the prototype, which has a liquid hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen-electric propulsion system, was water vapor. The company suggested the test flight points to a future of emissions-free regional aviation in an industry that still relies heavily on fossil fuels. But it would say that.

This is apparently the first liquid hydrogen-powered eVTOL flight. Joby Aviation repurposed its existing battery-powered air taxi, installing a fuel tank that can store up to 40 kilograms of liquid hydrogen to reduce the battery load for the craft.

Joby is set to start commercial operations of its air taxi as soon as 2025.

— Mat Smith

The biggest stories you might have missed How false nostalgia inspired noplace, a Myspace-like app for Gen Z

PS Plus members can try the Overwatch-like Concord this weekend

Ford revives the Capri after 30 years as a four-door EV

??You can get these reports delivered daily di

Engadget
Jul 12, 2024

The 5 best cordless vacuums for 2024
Old-school, upright vacuums left a lot to be desired, and cordless models are here to right many of those wrongs. These types of vacuums tend to be thinner, lighter and easy to maneuver around a home, and you don't really have to sacrifice suction power anymore to get those benefits. Dyson isn't your only option anymore either — like the robot vacuum space, there are dozens of cordless vacuums to choose from today. Variety is great, but it can also lead to decision fatigue and confusion. We at Engadget can help make that decision a bit easier. After testing a bunch of the most popular cordless stick vacuums available today, we've come up with our top picks, plus loads of buying advice to help you figure out which is the best cordless stick vacuum for you.

Table of contents Best cordless vacuums for 2024

Factors to consider before buying a cordless vacuum

How we test cordless vacuums

Other cordless stick vacuums we tested

Cordless stick vacuums FAQs

Best cordless vacuums for 2024









Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

German Navy looks to replace its outdated floppy disk system for its frigate fleet
The German Navy is in need of a serious upgrade for its fleet of submarine frigates and we're not talking about a digital upload or some kind of software patch. The country's fleets of submarine frigates have operated on old-fashioned, 8-inch floppy disks since they were commissioned back in the 1990s.

Now the German Navy is trying to find a way to replace the outdated disk system that are "vital to the running of its Brandenburg class F123 frigates," according to Tom's Hardware.

Replacing the floppy disk system won't be an easy task. These disks pretty much control everything on the ships from airflow systems to power generation. Does the German Navy still use Palm Pilots to organize its codewords and Tamagotchi to train its recruits in marine wildlife preservation?

Saab has been in charge of maintenance for Germany's F123 frigate fleet since 2021, according to a press release. The frigates are designed to hunt for submarines so they're also getting upgrades for its weapons and weapon control systems. Hopefully, they'll also throw in one of those cool, luxurious night panel dashboards for free.

A lot of government institutions and programs have been on the floppy disk system for decades and long after the outdated computer storage system has fallen out of general use. Japan's Digital Agency announced at the beginning of the month that it eliminated the use of floppy disks in its government systems. Does that mean that s

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

The second-gen Ring Indoor Cam is 50 percent off for Prime members ahead of Amazon Prime Day
Here's a solid offer for Prime members who are looking to beef up their home security without waiting for Amazon Prime Day to roll around. You can scoop up a second-gen Ring Indoor Cam for $30, which is 50 percent off the usual price. This is one of the best Prime Day deals on security cameras that we've spotted so far — it's a record low for the Ring Indoor Cam.

The latest model of the camera allows you to get a live look at what's going on in your home from wherever you are with 1080p HD video. There's color night vision support as well.



When the Ring Indoor Camera detects movement, you'll get a real-time alert. You'll be able to select the area of coverage so you only get a heads up about significant movement. You can receive notifications via your phone or an Echo smart speaker and wa

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

PS Plus members can try the Overwatch-like Concord this weekend
Firewalk Studios' upcoming debut game, the 5v5 team shooter Concord, is opening up to all PlayStation Plus members this weekend. Pre-order customers and PS Plus subscribers can try the multiplayer FPS beginning on Friday, July 12, at noon ET.

The beta window for the PS5 and PC game was initially only meant for pre-order customers. (If you already reserved the game, you'll still get beta access and codes for friends, whether you subscribe to PS Plus or not.) Opening it up to PlayStation Plus members gives developer Firewalk Studios and publisher PlayStation Studios the bonuses of extra player feedback, server stress tests and the chance to catch bugs and work on balancing. And, of course, it lets them build extra hype for the new IP.

All 16 characters ("Freegunners" with somewhat nontraditional roles) will be unlocked and available during the Early Access weekend, which ends on July 14. PS5 players can pre-download the Concord Beta starting Thursday at noon ET. Meanwhile, an Open Beta will invite anyone to try the FPS next weekend (July 18 at noon ET through July 21).

Firewalk Studios / PlayStation Studios Three game modes will be available during the Early Access t

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

Samsung Unpacked 2024: Everything announced including Galaxy Ring, Z Fold 6, Z Flip 6, Galaxy Watch Ultra and more
Samsung wrapped up its summer Galaxy Unpacked event yesterday, and there weren't too many surprises. Leaks before the event pointed to fresh Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Z Fold phones, along with a pair of new watches and more info on the Galaxy Ring. What we got was... announcements of the Galaxy Z Flip 6, the Galaxy Z Fold 6, the Galaxy Watch 7, the Galaxy Watch Ultra and a proper unveil of the Galaxy Ring. Leakers — is there anything they can't do?

Perhaps the one surprise was news from Google that WearOS 5 will debut on the new Galaxy Watches before coming to over products later. If you want to relive the not-much-drama as it happened, you can either read back through our liveblog or watch a replay of Samsung's stream. If you don't have time for all that, we've rounded up all of the news in an easily digestible form below.

Galaxy Ring Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

Amazon Prime members can get two months of Paramount with Showtime for only $12
Amazon Prime Day is nearly here, with an official start date of July 16. However, early deals are already going live. For instance, Prime members can pick up two months of Paramount with Showtime for $12. This works out to $6 per month, which is a savings of 50 percent.

This deal may only exist for Prime members, but it does apply to those who sign up for a free trial. So if you've been wanting to give Prime a try, this is a pretty good time to do so.



Opting for this subscription allows access to two streaming platforms. Paramount is home to dad-friendly shows like Tulsa King and Mayor of Kingstown, but also that Sonic the H

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

How false nostalgia inspired noplace, a Myspace-like app for Gen Z
Already fascinated with y2k-era tech, some members of Gen Z have wondered what those early, simpler social networks were like. Now, they can get an idea thanks to a new app called noplace, which recreates some aspects of Myspace more than a decade after its fall from the most-visited site in the US.

The app officially launched earlier this month and briefly made the

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

Amazon Prime Day is almost here: Shop the best early deals we could find from Apple, Bose, Samsung and more
Amazon Prime Day 2024 will be here in less than one week, bringing a deluge of discounts and deals on everything from household essentials to clothing to tech. Even though the shopping event is limited to 48 hours, Amazon typically has early Prime Day deals rolling out for weeks in advance.

This year is no different: we're already starting to see early Prime Day deals trickle in that members can take advantage of. Plus, there are also a number of solid tech deals available on Amazon that aren't explicitly tied to July Prime Day, but are likely to get lumped in with the rest of the discounts anyway. We've collected the best early Prime Day deals here so you don't have to go searching for them. We'll be updating this post regularly, so check back to see the latest discounts.

As a reminder (and for the uninitiated): Engadget treats tech deals with the same care as we would "regular" tech news. When we scour the web for deals, we're looking not only for the best prices possible, but also the best products as well. Our goal with our deals coverage, especially surrounding events like Amazon Prime Day, is to surface only the best deals we can find on the gadgets we've tested and rated highly, or that we've used and know to be worth your money.

Best early Prime Day deals: Engadget top picks



Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

YouTube Shorts gets Instagram's 'Add yours' prompt stickers
YouTube is continuing its mission to compete with Instagram and TikTok. The platform has announced new features on Shorts, notably including an "Add yours" sticker. That's right, it seems to be pretty much the same tool that Instagram launched in 2021, and you'll have seen with prompts like "the most recent photo in your camera roll" or "the first photo of you and your partner." 

In this case, YouTube recommends you create prompts like showing off your dog's newest trick to "inspire your audience" and spark "a chain reaction of adorable content." The sticker looks nearly identical to Instagram's, so if you use it there, it should be an easy transition. This new-to-YouTube sticker should roll out across Shorts over the next few weeks.

YouTube YouTube has also announced you can soon add and edit auto-generated captions on Shorts. You can choose be

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

Joby Aviation says it completed a 523-mile test flight of a hydrogen-powered air taxi
Joby Aviation says a hydrogen-powered version of its electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft successfully completed a 523-mile test flight. The only byproduct from the prototype, which has a liquid hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen-electric propulsion system, was water vapor. The company suggested that the test flight points toward a future of emissions-free regional aviation in an industry that still relies heavily on fossil fuels.

This is believed to be the first liquid hydrogen-powered eVTOL forward flight. Joby kept the same shell and most of the guts of its battery-electric air taxi but it reduced the battery load and installed a fuel tank that can store up to 40 kilograms of liquid hydrogen. This is pumped into a fuel cell system to produce electricity, water and heat. The electricity generated from the fuel cell powers the air taxi's six electric motors while the batteries deliver extra power during take off and landing. 

Joby is set to start commercial operations of its air taxi as soon as 2025. While the eVTOL doesn't need a runway, it's limited to a range of 100 miles before it needs to be charged up, making it a good option for short hops like from your home to the airport. Should the hydrogen-powered model ever go into production, it could result in emission-free inter-city aviation that's faster than travelling by road or tradit

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

Early Prime Day deal brings the Amazon smart thermostat down to only $52
Amazon Prime Day hasn't even officially started yet and we are already starting to see a massive influx of deals. For instance, the Amazon Smart Thermostat is on sale for $52. This is a discount of more than 30 percent and the best price we've seen all year.

The good news? This is one heck of a smart thermostat with a robust list of features. The bad news? It does require a C-wire or a power adapter kit, and these are sold separately. Once you get it hooked up though, the Amazon Start Thermostat allows for voice control over your climate, thanks to Alexa. It also lets you to make adjustments via the Alexa app on your phone, so you never have to suffer the indignity of walking downstairs at night when cold.



This is, basically, a Honeywell thermostat packed with Amazon's smart tech, so it should be reliable and durable. One of the best reasons to go with a smart thermostat is to help reduce energy usage. It won't automatically save you money, but the voice control means you can m

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

Starlink Mini is now widely available and doesn't need a residential subscription
You can now get a Starlink Mini in the US, wherever you are and even if you're not paying for a residential subscription. SpaceX started offering select users the new Starlink dish model that's small enough to fit in a backpack in late June. Despite its small size that makes it easy to transport and carry around, the Mini used to require an existing $150 standard service plan — you could only tack on the Mini Roam service for an additional fee of $30 a month. Now, you can get it on its own with a roaming service. 

The mobile regional plan costs $150 a month and will give you access to unlimited data. It's probably the better option if you live in an RV or travel to remote locations for extended periods of time. Meanwhile, the Mini Roam plan costs $50 a month and will give you access to 50GB of data, which is likely enough if you don't live on the road full time. Take note that you can use Mini Roam in motion anytime, as long as you're on land. The mobile regional plan has limited in-motion use and only works when you're going slower than 10mph, though you can choose to add data meant for in-motion use on a per-GB basis. 

Like Starlink's other terminals, you'll have to pay for the Mini up front. It will cost you $599 for the kit, which includes a kickstand, a pipe adapter, a power supply and a cord with a USB-C connector on one end and a barrel jack on the other. (As The Verge notes, you can plug it into a 100W USB-PD power bank if you don't have access to other power sources.) There's no Wi-Fi router with the kit, because it's already integrated into the dish, giving you one less component to carry. 


Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

The best gadgets for students under $50
The little things can get you when you're in college. You arrive on campus, fresh and ready to go, but before you know it, you're a few weeks into the new semester and you have a long list of small things you forgot to pack, like an extra charger, an alarm clock or your earbuds. You may also think of unassuming items that could make a big difference in how you work and play while at school. To prevent you from playing catch-up, we've compiled the best gadgets for school under $50 so you can cross the most crucial ones off your list before you even set foot on campus.















Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

Apple's M2 MacBook Air drops to a new low of $799 ahead of Prime Day
Here's a juicy early Amazon Prime Day deal for you. Ahead of the blockbuster event, the base 13-inch M2 MacBook Air has dropped to its lowest price to date at Amazon. You can snap up this Apple laptop for $799, which is 200 bucks off the regular price. The discount applies to all colorways, so you can score one in that beautiful Midnight finish.

This model isn't exactly top of the MacBook Air line anymore. It's been supplanted by the M3-powered MBA, which is now our pick for the best MacBook overall. But if you'd like to save some cash and still have a very capable Apple laptop to carry around, the M2 variant is our choice for the best budget MacBook — this latest discount just makes it even easier to recommend.



Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

Ford 'revives' the Capri after 30 years as a four-door EV
Ford is reviving that most '70s of cars, the Capri, though pretty much in name only. Resembling not at all the original two-door pony-style fastback that debuted in 1968, the new Capri will instead be a four-door electric vehicle built on Volkswagen's MEB platform and be sold only in Europe.

The Capri looks like it was designed by executive committee, with styling that resembles the Polestar 2, but far more nondescript. Ford calls it a "sports coupe for the family," and the only thing vaguely as rebellious as the original is the paint scheme, either in bright yellow or blue. 

Ford Two models will be available in launch, base and Premium versions, both termed "Extended Range." The base is a 282-horsepower single-motor rear-drive model with a 77-kWh battery pack, 390 miles or range (WLTP) and a 28-minute charge time from 10-80 percent. 

The Premium model is all-wheel-drive with two motors and 335 horsepower. The slightly larger 79kWh battery accepts a 185 kW charge (50 kW more than the base), so it can get from 10-80 percent in 26 minutes. Range on this model is just slightly reduced to 368 miles, according to Europe's WLTP standard. As for performance, the base model can zip from 0-62MPH in 6.4 second

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

Biden administration awards car factories $1.7 billion so they can build EVs
The US Energy Department has revealed that it's awarding car and auto parts factories in eight states a total of $1.7 billion in funding, so that they can be retooled to build electric vehicles and their components. According to The New York Times and The Washington Post, the money will come from President Biden's Inflation Reduction Act, which provides subsidies to EV and battery plants, as well as the $7,500 tax credits consumers can get if they buy an electric vehicle.

One of the 11 recipients is a Jeep factory in Belvidere, Illinois that closed last year. The $334.8 million it will get from the initiative will allow it to reopen to produce electric vehicles and restore 1,450 jobs. GM, which will be awarded $500 million, will convert a plant in Lansing, Michigan to produce EVs instead of gasoline cars. The US subsidiary of Korean auto parts maker Hyundai Mobis will also get $32.6 million to refit a plant in Toledo, Ohio for the production of plug-in vehicle components. 

Government officials said they chose communities that are disproportionately affected by pollution or lack of investment. In addition, employees in all of the selected companies are represented by unions. The grants aren't set in stone — the companies still have to negotiate terms with the Department of Energy. They have to commit to retaining their current workers despite the shift to EVs, and they have to meet employment targets. The companies also have to promise to provide their workers with certain benefits, such as child care, pensions and training to further their careers. 

As The Times notes, several factories selected for the init

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

Say goodbye to Redbox
It's the end of the line for Redbox and its DVD rental kiosks. The movie rental service's parent company, Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late June. But it apparently shifted its filing from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7, which means it intends to liquidate its business altogether instead of putting the company through a reorganization. According to Deadline, the company was initially looking to raise funds by selling some assets and keeping around 100 employees. However, in the end, it decided that the best course of action was to let all 1,000 Redbox employees go and to shut down all 24,000 Redbox kiosks. 

"There is no means to continue to pay employees, pay any bills, otherwise finance this case," US bankruptcy judge Thomas Horan said, according to Lowpass. Horan also said that there's "at least the possibility of misappropriation of funds that were held in trust for employees." Redbox couldn't pay its people for nearly a month, and its parent company had to secure a loan of $8 million for their salaries and to be able to restore their medical benefits that haven't been active since mid-May. 

Redbox kiosks, which are typically located in groceries and convenience stores, used to rent out movie DVDs and Blu-ray discs, as well as video games. In 2019, however, it stopped renting out video games to focus on movie rentals and its on-demand streaming service. The company is long past its prime, and its rental s

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

Apple will allow developers access to its NFC technology, avoiding an EU fine
After four years of back and forth, the European Union and Apple have finally come to an agreement on the latter's tap-and-go technology. The European Commission announced Apple made "legally binding" commitments to provide developers with their Near-Field Communication (NFC) technology, which is used for tap-and-go technology, and access iOS features like Face ID authentication and double-click to launch. The agreement saves Apple from facing an antitrust fine equal to up to 10 percent of its worldwide annual turnover — about $40 billion. 

Apple has also agreed to stipulations such as allowing users to make third-party wallets their default app. "It opens up competition in this crucial sector, by preventing Apple from excluding other mobile wallets from the iPhone's ecosystem," Margrethe Vestage, the EU's executive vice president in charge of competition policy, stated in the release. "From now on, competitors will be able to effectively compete with Apple Pay for mobile payments with the iPhone in shops. So consumers will have a wider range of safe and innovative mobile wallets to choose from." The commitments are binding for ten years, with an independent monitor ensuring Apple follows them across the European Economic Area (EEA). 

The European Commission opened its investigation into Apple in 2020, alleging that Apple was restricting rival mobile wallet developers from accessing necessary technology. Two years later, the regulatory body

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

The best laptop power banks for 2024
Taking care of business doesn't always happen within range of an outlet. Traveling, working off-site and decamping to a coffee shop are all situations where a laptop power bank could come in handy. These high-capacity batteries can recharge your devices — from tiny earbuds to power-hungry laptops — and can even top off more than one at a time. There aren't quite as many laptop power banks on the market as there are standard portable chargers, but you'll still find a fair number to consider. I tested out a handful and can recommend three that cover different needs when you're far from an outlet but still need extra power.

What to look for in a laptop power bank Capacity If you just need to keep a smartphone from dying before you can make it home, just about any power bank will do. But if you need to revive multiple devices or the substantial battery of a laptop, you'll want something with a high milliamp-hour?? (mAh) capacity. A power bank capable of delivering a meaningful charge to a laptop will have a capacity between 20,000 and 27,000 mAh.

Go higher than 27K mAh and you won't be able to take it on an airplane, which is why most portable chargers top out around that number. Since the voltage for most portable power banks is around 3.7 volts, a 27,000mAh battery translates to 99.9 watt hours — which is the maximum capacity the TSA will allow for carry-on luggage. (And note that these batteries can't be checked, regardless of size).

If you want something even bigger than a laptop power

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

The Morning After: Everything Samsung revealed at Galaxy Unpacked 2024
There weren't too many surprises (thanks, leaks!) at Samsung's Unpacked event, held live in Paris with satellite events in New York, London and elsewhere. The big announcement was Samsung's foray into a new kind of wearable, the smart ring.

Samsung claims it's been able to cram its existing sensor tech into the Galaxy Ring's smaller form factor. Made of titanium, it packs in an accelerometer and PPG sensors to measure blood flow and detect skin temperature. It can track metrics such as sleep score, movement during your slumber, heart rate, respiratory rate and menstrual cycles. Notably, there's no subscription required to tap into all the tracking and metrics. Take that Oura and Fitbit. The Galaxy Ring will run you $400 when it launches on July 24.

Engadget Then there are the foldables. This year, the Galaxy Z Flip 6 gets the most attention, with upgraded camera sensors (50-megapixel wide and 12MP ultra-wide sensors), which put the smaller foldable on par with the S24. There's also a bigger battery too.

Meanwhile, the Z Fold 6 hasn't got many major spec bumps (there's the annua

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

The best VR headsets for 2024
If you've been tempted to buy a VR headset after seeing the Apple Vision Pro in action, you're not alone. And the best news is, you don't have to spend $3,500 to get your hands on a good machine. Some of the best VR headsets include the Meta Quest 3 — it's available for a much more reasonable $500, which is a tad more digestible by our standards. Whether you want a more expansive virtual workspace or you want to give the undead a run for their money, there are some great VR headsets out there that will be useful in a variety of situations.

How we test VR headsets I tend to judge VR headsets on a few basic criteria: Ergonomics, immersion and controls. It's not that hard to shove a mobile display into a plastic headset and strap some cheap elastic headbands onto it. But it takes skill to craft something that's well balanced and doesn't feel uncomfortable after 30 minutes.

My test for ergonomics is fairly simple: How long can I wear a headset until I start to feel discomfort? For the most ergonomic devices, like the Quest 3, that could easily be an hour or two. But heavier PC hardware often feels cumbersome after just 15 minutes — you won't find headsets guilty of that in this guide.

Immersion, meanwhile, comes from having high resolution screens with fast refresh rates, so everything looks sharp and smooth. Field of view is also a major element, as it describes how well VR screens can cover what you see. Having a narrow field of view makes it feel like you're looking through a pair of binoculars, and limits your sense of "presence," or the idea that you're actually transported to a virtual world.

A wide field of view, on the other hand, can make it seem like you're actually flying over the globe in Google Earth. We look at

Engadget
Jul 11, 2024

Amazon is giving away 3 more free PC games during Prime Day next week, including Rise of the Tomb Raider
One of the holiest but non-religious days of our economic year is just around the corner and Amazon will mark the occasion by giving away three AAA titles during Amazon Prime Day through its Prime Gaming service. The online retailer announced it will offer free copies of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League, Chivalry 2 and Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration Edition for 48 hours starting on Tuesday July 16.

Amazon's early Prime Day deals will also give away 15 PC games ahead of this year's Prime Day including titles like Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 - The Sith Lords, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder's Revenge and Alex Kidd in Miracle World DX.

Rocksteady's open world Suicide Squad game is the one game in Amazon's free games pack that sounds most like an even trade giving how hard it tanked with players on day one. It took seven years to make the game and expectations were high since it came from the same studios

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Report finds most subscription services manipulate customers with 'dark patterns'
Most subscription sites use "dark patterns" to influence customer behavior around subscriptions and personal data, according to a pair of new reports from global consumer protection groups. Dark patterns are "practices commonly found in online user interfaces [that] steer, deceive, coerce or manipulate consumers into making choices that often are not in their best interests." The international research efforts were conducted by the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN) and the Global Privacy Enforcement Network (GPEN).

The ICPEN conducted the review of 642 websites and mobile apps with a subscription component. The assessment revealed one dark pattern in use at almost 76 percent of the platforms, and multiple dark patterns at play in almost 68 percent of them. One of the most common dark patterns discovered was sneaking, where a company makes potentially negative information difficult to find. ICPEN said 81 percent of the platforms with automatic subscription renewal kept the ability for a buyer to turn off auto-renewal out of the purchase flow. Other dark patterns for subscription services included interface interference, where desirable actions are easier to perform, and forced action, where customers have to provide information to access a particular function.

The companion

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Google Photos will soon seamlessly transfer to Apple's iCloud
Google and Apple are launching a new tool to transfer images from Google Photos to iCloud. As part of the Data Transfer Initiative (DTI), the tool will add iCloud transfers to Google Takeout's export options. 9to5Mac first spotted the announcement.

The tool, which will roll out over the next week, automates the transfer process from Google Photos to iCloud, so you don't have to download, upload or do anything beyond initiating the process on the web. An Apple support page says it could take several hours to a few days to complete, depending on the transfer size.

Transferring your pictures from Google to iCloud won't delete them from Google Photos, so you'll have to do that manually if you want. In addition, the service won't work for child accounts, Managed Apple ID accounts (those set up through IT admins) or iCloud accounts with Advanced Data Protection turned on.

The tool follows the 2021 launch of one that does the inverse: moving your images from iCloud to Google Photos.



Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Elon Musk escapes paying $500 million to former Twitter employees
The social media platform formerly known as Twitter has been at the center of multiple legal battles from the very beginning of Elon Musk's takeover. One such suit relates to the more than 6,000 employees laid off by Musk following his acquisition of the company - and his alleged failure to pay them their full severance. Yesterday, Musk notched a win over his former employees.

The case in question is a class-action

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Microsoft's Xbox 360 stores will close up shop on July 29
Get ready to feel old and/or cluttered, depending on how many consoles are hooked up to your game room TV right now. The Xbox 360 Store and Marketplace are coming to a close later this month. Microsoft announced this last year and put an official end date of July 29, according to its official FAQ page. In case you didn't notice, the end of July is fast approaching.

All of the games, DLC and any gaming tidbits for Microsoft's second generation console won't be available to purchase or download on the Xbox 360 console. Your games and movie purchases are still safe, however, if you've got any throwback titles on your Xbox One or Series X/S console. You can also still watch your purchased movies and shows on Windows 10 and 11 devices.

Phew! For a minute there, I thought I might not be able to play NBA Jam: On Fire Edition on my Xbox One. Running an even bigger headed Dirk Nowitski up and down the court is the only way to let out the frustrations from my day (and the last NBA Finals) without breaking stuff.

Microsoft first announced the shuttering of the Xbox 360 Store and Marketplace last year. It may be unrelated, but Microsoft has had a tough year on the Xbox side. Most recently, the company announced a price increase for its Game Pass Ultimate game buffet and online live plan from $17 a month to $20 and its Game Pass Core plan from $60 to $75. The Game Pass Core plan also includes access to PC games and comes w

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

The makers of Palworld have formed a new company in partnership with Sony
The maker of Xbox Game Pass stalwart Palworld said on Wednesday it's forming a new company in partnership with… Sony. Palworld developer and publisher Pocketpair announced its new team-up with Sony Music Entertainment to create Palworld Entertainment, Inc. The joint venture's stated purpose: "accelerating the multifaceted global development of Palworld and its further expansion," which sounds like corporate-speak for "merch, baby."

The deal includes Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. and anime studio and game publisher Aniplex, Inc., both part of the broader Sony Corporation. Pocketpair says Palworld merchandise will soon be available for pre-order at Aniplex Online.

The joint venture's new website describes the newly formed Palworld Entertainment, Inc. as handling Palworld's licensing operations. "We are responsible for various domestic and international licensing operations for the Pocketpair game Palworld, with the aim of accelerating the multifaceted development of Palworld and further expanding the IP," according to the website's About section.

A press release added that the conglomerate will aim to develop the IP's reach and expand "commercial business endeavors." In other words, there's money to be made here, and capitalize, they will.



Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

This early Prime Day deal discounts 25 percent off the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro
Amazon Prime Day isn't quite here yet, but it is just around the corner. As we wait for July 16, some early deals are coming in hot. For instance, the Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro is 25 percent off, dropping the cost down to $300. This is the best price we've seen all year on this particular model.



This isn't your average air fryer/oven combo. It made our list of the best air fryers for some very good reasons. This is a huge appliance, measuring over one cubic foot, which brings both positives and negatives. On the downside, it's big and will take up a lot of space in the kitchen. On the upside, the thing can cook an entire turkey or easily accommodate a five-quart dutch oven. It's best thought of as a second primary oven and will be

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Environmental groups accuse Amazon of ‘distorting the truth' in latest clean-energy claim
On Wednesday, Amazon claimed that it reached its goal of sourcing all its power from clean energy sources in the past year. If taken at face value, the announcement would mean it hit the milestone seven years ahead of schedule, which would be a monumental achievement. But environmental experts speaking to The New York Times, including a group of concerned Amazon employees, warn that the company is "misleading the public by distorting the truth."

The company's claim of achieving 100 percent clean electricity is based in part on billion-dollar investments in over 500 solar and wind initiatives. The company's logic is that the energy these projects generate equals the electricity its data centers consume — ergo, even Steven.

But the renewable energy sources it uses for those calculations are fed into a general power grid, not exclusively into Amazon's operations. Environmental experts caution that the company is using "accounting and marketing to make itself look good," as The New York Times put it.

"Amazon wants us to think of its data centers as surrounded by wind and solar farms," the group Amazon Employees for Climate Justice wrote in a statement to The NYT. "[But] the reality is the company is heavily investing in data center expansions fueled by West Virginian coal, Saudi Arabian oil and Canadian fracked gas."



Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Sony reveals the more vlogger-friendly ZV-E10 II
It's been three years since Sony debuted the ZV-E10, a camera it targeted at vloggers, so it's high time that model got some upgrades. The company just announced the mirrorless ZV-E10 II. Sony says this variant adds some new features while retaining those that creators liked from the original, including a background defocus capability and the vari-angle flip screen.

The ZV-E10 II has a 26MP Exmor R CMOS sensor, an upgrade from the 24MP sensor in the original model. The larger-capacity battery (the NP-FZ100 found in some full-frame Sony cameras) may be a more compelling update. Sony claims that, with this battery, users will be able to shoot up to 195 minutes of video continuously.

Other features include a cinematic vlog setting that automatically optimizes the aspect ratio, frame rate and autofocus transition speed for a more cinematic look to videos, Sony claims. There's also a new vertical-oriented user interface and upgraded "connectivity for easy live streaming and data transfer," according to the company. All of this and the camera still weighs just 377 grams.

The ZV-E10 II will be available at the end of this month and it will cost $999 for the body only. If you'd prefer a $1,099 bundle with a new PZ 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS II lens, you'll need to wait until early August. The lightweight kit lens offers autofocus and video performance imp

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Amazon's Kindle Scribe drops to a new record-low ahead of Prime Day
Amazon Prime Day doesn't officially start until July 16, but early deals have been trickling in for days. For instance, the well-reviewed Kindle Scribe e-reader is on sale for $235 and includes the company's Basic Pen stylus thingamajig. All told, that's a discount of $105, making this a record-low price. The downside? This deal's only for Prime members.

The Kindle Scribe easily made our list of the best E-ink tablets. It would have nabbed the top spot, if not for the exorbitant original asking price and some stiff competition from the reMarkable 2. However, this deal makes the Scribe much cheaper than comparable products.



We called the e-reader "better than pen and paper" in our official review, specifica

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Prime Day deals bring the third-gen AirPods down to a record low of $129
Amazon Prime Day is less than one week away, but there are plenty of sales you can already shop. One of the best early Prime Day deals currently running is a big discount on Apple's third-generation AirPods. The earbuds are on sale for a new record low of $129, down from $169. However, this deal doesn't include AppleCare — you'll have to pay about $30 extra for that.

Apple's third-gen AirPods came out in 2021 as a massive improvement to their predecessor. We gave them an 88 in our review thanks to features like a more comfortable design and way better audio quality. A lot of this comes down to their shorter, more contoured shape — the improved design also allows sound to more directly enter your ear. 



Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Severance season two will hit Apple TV in January 2025
Apple's terrific sci-fi thriller Severance has a premiere date for its second season, which will arrive nearly three years after the show's debut. You'll be able to return to the dystopian hellhole of Lumon Industries on January 17, 2025. A fresh installment of the 10-episode season will then hit Apple TV every Friday until March 21.

For the uninitiated, the series (which premiered in February 2022) focuses on a group of colleagues who have undergone a severance procedure. Their work and personal experiences are completely distinct from each other. Each person essentially has two different lives — they can't remember anything about the outside world while they're at work and vice versa when they're away from the office. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see how this could go very, very wrong.

Apple has also dropped the first teaser trailer for season two, the filming of which was put on hold due to last year's actors and writers strikes. The clip doesn't give much away other than the core premise and a few fleeting shots from the new season. A new character played by Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones, Star Wars) appears at the end and ominously says "you should have left." January is too far away.



This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.en

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

The best Prime Day deals you can get ahead of Amazon's big sale: Shop our top picks from Apple, Blink, Shark and more
Amazon Prime Day 2024 is less than a week away and we're already starting to see a swath of early Prime Day deals pop up. This was expected: Amazon may deem July Prime Day a two-day event, but for years, the online retailer has hosted lead-up deals in order to drum up excitement for the main event. Most early Prime Day deals are exactly that — early discounts that only Prime members can access — but every once in a while there are some discounts available to all. We've collected the best early Prime Day deals here, along with the rest of the best discounts on our favorite gadgets that anyone can get from Amazon right now. We'll be updating this post regularly, so check back to see the latest discounts.

As a reminder (and for the uninitiated): Engadget treats tech deals with the same care as we would "regular" tech news. When we scour the web for deals, we're looking not only for the best prices possible, but also the best products as well. Our goal with our deals coverage, especially surrounding events like Amazon Prime Day, is to surface only the best deals we can find on the gadgets we've tested and rated highly, or that we've used and know to be worth your money.

Amazon Prime Day FAQs When is Prime Day 2024? Amazon Prime Day 2024 lands on July 16 and 17 this year. The shopping event focuses on exclusive deals for Prime members, which means you'll have to be a Prime subscriber on Prime Day to take advantage of most of the savings. Amazon still offers a

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Samsung's Galaxy Watch 7 and Ultra will get first dibs on Wear OS 5
Samsung's Galaxy Watch 7 and Watch Ultra will be the very first smartwatches to receive access to Wear OS 5, Google's latest operating system for wearables. This was unveiled at today's Unpacked event, alongside a slew of major product announcements. These product announcements also happened to include the aforementioned smartwatches.

That means that Samsung's recently-announced gadgets are the very first smartwatches to get Wear OS 5, even before Google's own products. This will change later in the year when the Pixel Watch 3 is likely to drop. Interestingly, this is exactly how it went down with Wear OS 4. The operating system first came to the Galaxy Watch 6 before being included with the Pixel Watch 2.

Google officially revealed Wear OS 5 two months ago at I/O 2024 and the new software is filled with useful updates. The UI is mostly the same as Wear OS 4, but the software has been optimized to improve battery life by up to 30 percent. There are some new health monitoring features, including analysis of stride length when walking or running.

The operating system includes some efficiency upgrades, with Google saying that, for instance, running a marathon will consume 20 percent less power on Wear OS 5 when compared to OS 4. There's a

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

The best finance and security apps for college students
Learning in college is as much about life lessons as it is about the lectures. It might be the first time you're managing things on your own — particularly your finances — and as you apply for jobs and search for apartments, you may also be increasing the amount of personal data you put online. We gathered up the budgeting apps we have tried and ultimately recommend, as well as services that can help you keep track of passwords and protect your online activities. These are all tools we wish we'd known to use when we headed off as undergrads, and hopefully they'll make the adulting parts of college a little more manageable.





















Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Strava launches a family plan
Strava turns 15 this year, and it is ensuring its first generation of users can include their kids who have grown up along the way. The fitness tracker app has launched its family plan, a subscription tier allowing up to four accounts on one plan. It includes everything an individual plan has, such as route building and sharing, activity recording and safety tools.

The family plan starts at $140 annually, compared to $80 annually for an individual plan, so it could even be worth it for two people. But, there's one big catch: Users have to pay for the plan upfront, unlike the individual plan, which offers a $12 monthly option. Also, anyone who has already subscribed but wants to join a family plan will have to cancel their membership in order to join it. Strava claims that all of their data should be transferred once they have joined a family plan.

Despite the name, anyone can come together to create a family plan — as long as they're all based in the same country. Members can leave, and new members can join at any time. However, unlike the rest of Strava, a family plan is only available on the company's website for now, not the apps.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/strava-launches-a-family-plan-170002189.html?src=rss

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Bose adds multipoint Bluetooth to its QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds and Ultra Open Earbuds
Multipoint Bluetooth connectivity is typically a core feature for the best wireless earbuds and headphones these days, but that's not always the case. When Bose introduced its QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds and its Ultra Open Earbuds, neither model offered the tool. This meant that you couldn't connect to more than one device at a time and you couldn't quickly switch from your computer to your phone when you were getting a call. Well, the company has released a software update for both sets of earbuds that will add the convenient functionality via the Bose app. This addresses a key complaint from both of my reviews and will improve the overall experience of using either of these earbuds.

Additionally, Bose says it's rolling out improvements to voice pick-up and connectivity on the Ultra Open Earbuds as part of the software update. The company explains that there are some general bug fixes for that model in this release as well. 

Bose says the update for the QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds and the Ultra Open Earbuds will be begin rolling out today and will reach customers worldwide over the next two weeks. You can look for the new firmware version under the Product Update section in the Settings menu of the Bose app. 

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/bose-adds-multipoint-bluetooth-to-its-quietcomfort-ultra-earbuds-and-ultra-open-earbuds-143830749.html?src=rss

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Everything Samsung revealed at its Galaxy Unpacked 2024 event
Samsung events tend to be about as leaky as a 150-year-old faucet, so there weren't too many surprises coming out of the company's latest Unpacked event. As expected, the showcase shed more light on the Galaxy Ring, Samsung's latest foldables, two new smartwatches and a couple pairs of earbuds.

If you missed the livestream, you can catch up on demand. But in case you don't have time to watch it yourself, we've got all the big news for you right here. There's a lot to go through, so let's keep this preamble short and delve right into our look at everything that was announced at the July 2024 edition of Samsung Galaxy Unpacked.

Galaxy Ring Photo by Sam Rutherford / Engadget Kicking things off is a brand new product category for Samsung: a smart ring. The company had already made it clear that this device (much like the Oura Ring) is

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

How to order Samsung Galaxy Unpacked devices: Fold 6, Flip 6, Watch Ultra, Galaxy Ring and more
Samsung Galaxy Unpacked might have been more like a recap of its recent leaks, but it does mean one exciting thing: pre-orders are now available on Samsung's website. For starters, you can order Samsung's new phones, the Galaxy Z Fold 6 and the Galaxy Z Flip 6. Maybe you're more interested in getting new earbuds and want to check out the Galaxy Buds 3 and Galaxy Buds 3 Pro. Then there are Samsung's latest wearables, the Galaxy Watch 7, Galaxy Watch Ultra and the Galaxy Ring.

You can pre-order any of these items now through Samsung or pick one up starting July 24 directly from them or companies like Amazon and BestBuy. If you missed it, the live stream is

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Samsung (finally, properly) launches the Galaxy Ring
Samsung has today announced the Galaxy Ring, a finger-worn wearable bolstering its ecosystem of health-tracking gear. Yes, this is the third or fourth time it's been announced, but today is the day it's actually available for you to pre-order. It's a conscious attempt to corner a market held by plenty of smaller players in the space, most notably the Oura Ring. You'll also get the usual AI woo insights to help you take better care of your body when you think things might not be going well.

The company boasts that it has embedded its existing sensor technology into the far smaller space a ring affords. It's carrying an accelerometer, PPG / heart rate and skin temperature sensor, which will feed data to Samsung Health to build a portrait of your body. In the app, you'll be able to look at your sleep score, how much you move during sleep, your heart and respiratory rate as well as your menstrual cycle. An overall Energy Score will track how well it thinks you're feeling every day and offer suggestions on what to change.

You'll also benefit from Heart Rate Alerts should your ticker get too slow or too fast, and give you a heads-up to avoid any trouble. There's the table-stakes stuff, too, like automatic workout detection and alerts when the ring doesn't think you've moved enough of late. Not to mention the ring can be used as a remote shutter trig

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Samsung's new Galaxy Z Fold 6 is swiping many of the AI features from the S24 Ultra
Samsung just announced the Galaxy Z Fold 6 at its most recent Unpacked event. The company's latest high-end foldable is filled with both hardware and software upgrades. As usual with modern tech, AI is the name of the game here.

It's getting pretty much all of the fancypants AI features first included with the Galaxy S24 Ultra. These include the interpreter mode for in-person conversations in another language and the live translation feature for calls. There's chat assist to check spelling, grammar and tone of messages, complete with a glut of emoji options.

These AI tools extend to the Notes app, which allow for automatic summaries, formatting, spell checks and translations. The foldable is also getting a circle to search feature for images and an instant overlay that translates language. Finally, there's AI-assisted photo editing.

Engadget As for construction, there's Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front and back, so this thing should take a licking and keep on ticking. The dual-rail hinge features a refined folding edge with enhanced resistance to pressure and sharp objects. Samsung says the aluminum used in the Z Fold 6 is te

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Samsung Galaxy Watch Ultra hands-on: Didn't fall far from the Apple tree
Have you heard the song that goes "anything you can do I can do better, I can do anything better than you?" Well, it seems like the folks at Samsung have been listening to that on repeat. At its Galaxy Unpacked event today, the company unveiled a slew of products, including a few wearables that look remarkably familiar. The Galaxy Ring, which was teased in January, appears to be inspired by the Oura Ring. Meanwhile, the new Galaxy Watch Ultra seems to have borrowed many traits from a competing product at Apple, right down to its name.

The resemblance doesn't end there, but there are a few key differences between Samsung and Apple's high-end smartwatches. From my recent hands-on experience, though, Samsung's latest wearables don't seem to bring many new things to its familiar-looking products.

The Korean company has a long history of aping Apple, and has even had to pay the iPhone maker millions of dollars as part of a multi-year patent infringement case. With everything from its name to appearance to features being so obviously similar to the Apple Watch Ultra, I don't think it's too far for me to outright say that Samsung is copying the iPhone maker, and pretty brazenly so. In fact, even with the Galaxy Watch 7, Samsung seems to be bringing features that already launched elsewhere.

What's new on the Galaxy Watch 7

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6: Brighter, lighter and faster, but is that enough?
Ever since the original Galaxy Fold came out in 2019, Samsung has enjoyed a commanding lead over the market for flexible screen phones. But with the introduction of challengers like the OnePlus Open, the Pixel Fold and the 2024 Moto Razrs, the gap between Samsung and its biggest competitors has been shrinking quickly. So while the new Galaxy Z Fold 6 and Z Flip 6 are lighter, faster and more durable than before, I'm not sure if that's enough to keep Samsung's latest generation of bendy handouts at the top of the growing mountain of foldable rivals.

The biggest changes for 2024 Improvements to the Z Fold 6 and Z Flip can largely be broken down into two main categories: The expansion of Samsung's Galaxy AI features - which first launched on the S24 series earlier this year - with some tweaks to take advantage of the phones' convertible form factor and an assortment of upgraded components including new camera sensors and faster silicon. However, those looking for major design changes will need to keep waiting, as these devices feel more like refined versions of last year's models than a full rework.



Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Samsung's Galaxy Buds 3 have an AirPods-esque design and a dash of AI
Samsung's new Galaxy Buds lineup is hardly a surprise thanks to a recent leak, but the company still had to officially debut its latest audio accessory at its Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event. Alongside new folding phones, watches and even a smart ring, Samsung revealed the Galaxy Buds 3 series. The new models have a more AirPods-like look thanks to their stickbud or "blade" design, and Samsung is playing catch-up with new features like an Interpreter tool, Adaptive EQ and others. 

Until now, Samsung has opted for the more common, rounded earbud design most companies favor for their products. The stick-based look has become increasingly popular though, and much of Apple's competition have debuted their own takes on the style. Now we can count Samsung among the fold. The company says its new "blade" design is based on "a variety of collected statistical data" and offers "a more intuitive physical experience" thanks to pinch and swipe controls — another aspect of the AirPods Pro. The key difference is the "regular" Galaxy Buds 3 are an open fit like the "regular" AirPods while the Galaxy Buds 3 Pro have a tip that completely seals off your ear canal. Despite that variance, both offer active noise cancellation (ANC), but only the Pro model has ambient sound/transparency mode. 

Another big difference between the two models is the two-way speakers on the Galaxy Buds 3

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Samsung just revealed the Galaxy Z Flip 6, putting the S24's best specs in a compact foldable
Samsung just announced the Galaxy Z Flip 6 smartphone at its most recent Unpacked event and it's a doozy of an update that squeezes some of the S24's best features into a compact foldable. There's a new design, an updated camera system and the biggest battery in a Z Flip to date.

The camera system features an updated design with a color-matched lens housing. There's a new 50MP main camera and a 12MP ultra-wide sensor, which is the same as the base Galaxy S24. This system includes auto-zoom framing and an AI algorithm for better portraits.

The 4,000mAh battery is the biggest ever in this product category. Once again, this is the same size of battery as found with the Galaxy S24. Samsung also touts its quick-charging capabilities, saying that the phone can reach a 50 percent charge in just 30 minutes. That's a pretty decent metric.

Engadget The base RAM has gotten an upgrade, 12GB up from 8GB, and the 6.7-inch AMOLED main screen boasts a 120Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 2,600 nits. The cover screen is a 3.4-inch Super AMOLED 60Hz display. Software wise, there are some new interactive and generativ

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Amazon discounts the Echo Buds to only $25 ahead of Prime Day
Amazon Prime Day will officially be here on July 16, but we're already starting to see discounts pop up, particularly on Amazon's own devices. The Amazon Echo Buds are half off in this early Prime Day deal. The wireless earphones, already one of Engadget's top picks for budget on-the-go buds at $50, are only $25 today. That's a record low for the latest model, which arrived last year.

This latest iteration of the Echo Buds doesn't plunge into your ear canals. Instead, the buds have a semi-open fit with a stem, similar to Apple's standard AirPods. The Echo Buds include removable silicone ear covers (not tips) to help with grip and comfort without stuffing something inside your ear, which can be uncomfortable for some folks.



Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

The best budget TVs and streaming gadgets for students
There's no such thing as a watch party with a laptop screen. If you're the sort of person who enjoys watching movies and TV shows with friends, then it's worth nabbing an inexpensive TV for your dorm room. And if you're living alongside other students with too much time on their hands, you'll want a TV for impromptu Super Smash Bros. Ultimate sessions. (If you need another justification, or just a way to sell it to your parents, TV sets can easily be repurposed as secondary monitors for any computer). Below, we've gathered some of the best TV and home entertainment options for students — ones that provide a great experience without emptying your wallet.

TVs for smaller spaces



Bigger and better TVs

Must-have streaming accessories





Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Microsoft and Apple give up their OpenAI board seats
Microsoft has withdrawn from OpenAI's board of directors a couple of weeks after the European Commission revealed that it's taking another look at the terms of their partnership, according to the Financial Times. The company has reportedly sent OpenAI a letter, announcing that it was giving up its seat "effective immediately." Microsoft took on an observer, non-voting role within OpenAI's board following an internal upheaval that led to the firing (and eventual reinstatement) of the latter's CEO, Sam Altman. 

According to previous reports, Apple was also supposed to get an observer seat at the board following its announcement that it will integrate ChatGPT into its devices. The Times says that will no longer be the case. Instead, OpenAI will take on a new approach and hold regular meetings with key partners, including the two Big Tech companies. In the letter, Microsoft reportedly told OpenAI that it's confident in the direction the company is taking, so its seat on the board is no longer necessary. 

The company also wrote that its seat "provided insights into the board's activities without compromising its independence," but the European Commission wants to take a close

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

The Morning After: US officials help take down AI-powered Russian bot farm with nearly 1,000 fake X accounts
US officials and their allies have identified and taken down an artificial intelligence-powered Russian bot farm comprising almost 1,000 accounts. These accounts were able to spread disinformation and pro-Russian sentiments across X, formerly Twitter. The Justice Department has revealed the scheme was made possible by software created by a digital media department in RT, a Russian state-controlled media outlet.

According to a cybersecurity advisory from the FBI, intelligence officers from the Netherlands, and cybersecurity authorities from Canada, it centered on a tool called Meliorator, which can create "authentic appearing social media personas en masse," generate text messages as well as images and mirror disinformation from other bot personas. For example, one account with the name Ricardo Abbott, which claimed to be from Minneapolis, posted a video of Russian President Vladimir Putin justifying Russia's actions in Ukraine.

The Justice Department is still tracing and trying to find all 968 accounts used by the Russian actors to disseminate false information. X has shared information with authorities on all the identified accounts and has already suspended them.

— Mat Smith



The biggest stories you might have missed Logitech G launches a new $80 wireless recharging mouse

Apple TV's new Time Bandits show just got a glorious trailer and a July release date



Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

Google brings passkeys to its Advanced Protection Program
Google is adding passkey support to its Advanced Protection Program. APP is the company's highest-level security option. It's intended for targets who could be at high risk of hacks or other scams, such as elected officials or human rights workers, and it previously required a physical security key to use. In Google's announcement today, it acknowledged that the physical component made APP less feasible for some of the people who need the service most. Now, people who enroll in APP can opt for a passkey or for a physical key.

Google was one of many tech companies to start offering passkeys for security, rolling out the option to Android and Chrome in 2022 and offering them to all Google accounts in 2023. Earlier this year, Google said that more than 400 million accounts have used passkeys

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

The best smart plugs in 2024
Is it difficult to turn on a lamp by hand? No, but it is convenient to say a few words and have all your lights turn on (or off). In the year or so that I've been testing and using smart plugs in my home, I've enjoyed not muddling through the early-evening dark, because my lights come on an hour before sunset. I don't stumble blindly to the kitchen for midnight water; instead I ask Alexa to snap on a lamp. And when the heat wave we now call summer makes my office an oven, I tell Siri to switch on the fan by the door. For all their convenience, smart plugs can vary widely in compatibility and reliability, so we tested units from the major players out there to come up with recommendations for the best smart plugs for whichever smart home ecosystem you prefer.

Table of contents Best smart plugs

What to consider when buying a smart plug

How we tested the best smart plugs

Other smart plugs we tested

Best smart plugs











The best outdoor sm

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

The best laptop you can buy in 2024
The laptop buzzword of 2024 is "AI PC" — notebooks that have neural processing units (NPUs) for AI-related tasks. But while it's smart to be aware of those systems, there are far more important things to consider beyond AI-savviness. It turns out buying a computer in 2024 isn't really that much different than in recent years: You'll still want to find something that balances power, weight and screen size with your computing needs.

Out of the 10 notebooks we've reviewed in the first five months of 2024, we consider Apple's 13-inch MacBook Air M3 to be the best laptop for most people. It's powerful enough to handle most tasks (even light video editing); it has a great screen and built-in speakers; and its battery could last around 20 hours (depending on what you're doing, of course). The MacBook Air M3 is also one of the lightest and thinnest systems we've reviewed, and it's dead silent, thanks to a fanless design. While Apple has debuted its new M4 chip in the recent iPad Pro, we may not see it in the MacBook Air until next year. For now, the MacBook Air M3 is still an excellent laptop to buy.

As for Windows laptops and Chromebooks, the recommendations are a bit more nuanced and varied. While the aforementioned AI features may dominate the news, the more traditional choices - between Intel and AMD CPUs, and whether or not you want a dedicated graphics chip (or GPU) - still stand. And unlike Macs, your options include systems with touchscreens, 2-in-1 convertible tablets and more. To that end, we have plenty of recently tested and recommended models from brands including HP, Dell and ASUS in this guide.

It's also worth mentioning that

Engadget
Jul 10, 2024

US officials announce the takedown of an AI-powered Russian bot farm
US officials and their allies have identified and taken down an artificial intelligence-powered Russian bot farm comprised of almost 1,000 accounts, which spread disinformation and pro-Russian sentiments on X. The Justice Department has revealed the the scheme that was made possible by software was created by a digital media department within RT, a Russian state-controlled media outlet. Its development was apparently led by RT's deputy editor-in-chief back in 2022 and was approved and funded by an officer at Russia's Federal Security Service, the main successor of the KGB. 

In a cybersecurity advisory issued by the FBI, intelligence officers from the Netherlands and cybersecurity authorities from Canada, they specifically mentioned a tool called "Meliorator," which can create "authentic appearing social media personas en masse," generate text messages as well as images and mirror disinformation from other bot personas. Authorities have seized two domains that the operation used to create email addresses that were necessary to sign up for accounts on X, formerly known as Twitter, which served as home to the bots. 

The Justice Department, however, is still in the midst of finding all 968 accounts used by the Russian actors to disseminate false information. X has shared information with authorities on all the id

Engadget
Jul 09, 2024

Insta360's Flow Pro smartphone gimbal uses Apple's DockKit to track you
Insta360 has launched the Flow Pro smartphone gimbal with a feature we've never seen on any rival product: Apple DockKit support. That allows it to track you around automatically while you present, perform or do other activities, much like DJI's popular Osmo Pocket 3 gimbal. 

DockKit support effectively gives you a robotic cameraman. Just set the Flow Pro up on its built-in tripod that extends from the handle and pair it with your iPhone. Then, attach your iPhone to the gimbal using the magnetic phone clamp or MagSafe-compatible magnetic phone mount and you're ready to shoot.

From there, it'll use your iPhone's front or rear camera and the native camera app to track and focus on your or your subject. That gives you the freedom to move around, knowing it'll keep you in frame and in focus. It also works with over 200 third-party iOS apps including FaceTime, Zoom and TikTok.

Insta360 The only other DockKit product we've seen to date is Belkin's Stand Pro iPhone dock, but that has no gimbal functionality. The Flow Pro, h

Engadget
Jul 09, 2024

Xbox is increasing Game Pass prices and adding a 'standard' plan
Time for Xbox fans to adjust their budgets. Xbox Game Pass is increasing prices this year in a phased rollout. Beginning on July 10, any new subscribers will be charged the updated price, while current subscribers will see the higher costs take effect starting September 12. For the US, Game Pass Ultimate prices will increase from $17 a month to $20 a month, while a year of access to Game Pass Core will jump from $60 to $75. Microsoft laid out all the regional increases in a graph.

Microsoft is also adding a less expensive option in September with Xbox Game Pass Standard. This plan offers access to Game Pass titles but without some perks of the Ultimate package, such as day one releases and Xbox Cloud Gaming. The Standard option will include online multiplayer, some store discounts, and all the other features of the Core plan. It will cost $15 per month in the US.

Xbox The final change is what looks like the beginning of the end for the Xbox Game Pass for Console plan. This option will no longer be available for new customers, and if any current plan holders stop their automatic r

Engadget
Jul 09, 2024

Apple blog TUAW returns as an AI content farm
The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW) has come back online nearly a decade after shutting down. But the once venerable source of Apple news appears to have been transformed by its new owners into an AI-generated content farm.

The site, which ceased operations in 2015, began publishing "new" articles, many of which appear to be nearly identical to content published by MacRumors and other publications, over the past week. But those posts bear the bylines of writers who last worked for TUAW more than a decade ago. The site also has an author page featuring the names of former writers along with photos that appear to be AI-generated.

Christina Warren, who last wrote for TUAW in 2009, flagged the sketchy tactic in a post on Threads. "Someone bought the TUAW domain, populated it with AI-generated slop, and then reused my name from a job I had when I was 21 years old to try to pull some SEO scam that won't even work in 2024 because Google changed its algo," she wrote.

Originally started in 2004, TUAW was shut down by AOL in 2015. Much of the site's original archive can still be found

Engadget
Jul 09, 2024

Google will give users free dark web monitoring
Google announced in an update on Tuesday that its dark web monitoring service, also known as "dark web report," will be made available to all Google users in 46 countries including the US and UK at the end of the month, according to Fast Company. The feature was previously only available to users with a Google One membership.

The dark web report will be located in the "Results about you" page when you visit myactivity.google.com.

Google's "dark web report" feature will scan the seedy underbelly of algorithms that ended up on the wrong side of the digital tracks to determine if your personal information has been leaked. This includes information such as your name, address, phone numbers and email accounts.

It's a handy feature to have especially if you're one of the millions of people who've fallen victim to hacking, info leaks or identity theft. Just a few months ago, 7.6 million AT&T customers had their information leaked to the dark web forcing the telecom giant to reset all of its affected users' passcodes.

Other services like Proton Mail and LastPass alre

Engadget
Jul 09, 2024

A British boarding school will make students use boring old Nokia phones
A lot of school districts have instituted smartphone bans for students during the school day but a British boarding school has taken it one step further. Wait, scratch that. They've taken it one step back.

Eton College, the historic and elite British boarding school with famous alumni such as Prince William and Harry, Ian Fleming and Tom Hiddleston, has instituted a new mobile phone policy for its first-year students starting in September. Those students will have to leave their smartphones at home but bring their SIM card to school and put it in an old school, offline Nokia cell phone with a simple number pad that can only make phone calls and send text messages, according to CBS News.

The British boarding school's policy is based on guidelines from the UK government that allows principals to enact smartphone bans on students during the school day.

Let's hope nobody tells school officials about Snake or those poor kids may have to actually pay attention and learn something.

Smartphone bans and guidelines are starting to seep into American school districts as well. According to data from Govspend, 41 states have at least one school district that instituted a rule requiring students to place their smartphones in magnetically sealed Yondr pouches when they go to school.

The Los Angeles Unified School District passed a district-wide school phone ban for students in June that prompted Califo

Engadget
Jul 09, 2024

Bumble wants users to report AI-generated images
Bumble is making it simpler for its members to report AI-generated profiles. The dating and social connection platform now has "Using AI-generated photos or videos" as an option under the Fake Profile reporting menu.

"An essential part of creating a space to build meaningful connections is removing any element that is misleading or dangerous," Bumble Vice President of Product at Bumble Risa Stein said in an official statement. "We are committed to continually improving our technology to ensure that Bumble is a safe and trusted dating environment. By introducing this new reporting option, we can better understand how bad actors and fake profiles are using AI disingenuously so our community feels confident in making connections."

According to a Bumble user survey, 71 percent of the service's Gen Z and Millennial respondents want to see limits on use of AI-generated content on dating apps. Another 71 percent considered AI-generated photos of people in places they've never been or doing activities they've never done a form of catfishing.

Fake profiles can also swindle people out of a lot of money. In 2022, the Federal Trade Commission received reports of romance scams from almost 70,000 people, and their losses to those frauds totaled $1.3 billion. Many dating apps take extensive safety measures to protect their users from scams, as well as from physical dangers, and the use of AI in creating fake profiles is the latest threat for them to combat. Bumble released a tool called the

Engadget
Jul 09, 2024

Amazon revives the Echo Spot smart alarm clock and swiftly discounts it by 44 percent
As early Prime Day deals continue to become available, Amazon has revealed an all-new Echo Spot ahead of the shopping event. It's very much like the original Echo Spot that came out in 2017 and was discontinued two years later except the front face is now split between a hemispherical display and speaker. 

The Echo Spot's outer shell comes in Black, Glacier White and Ocean Blue, and the display can be customized with six hues: magenta, violet, orange, lime, teal or blue, wh

Engadget
Jul 09, 2024

Google Maps' speedometer finally comes to iOS and CarPlay
Google Maps is rolling out a speedometer as well as speed limit indicators for iOS and CarPlay, TechCrunch reported. Android has had both features since 2019, while Waze has had them since 2016. Now, iPhone users can use them to gauge how fast they're driving while using Google Maps.

To enable it, tap your profile picture on Google Maps and go to Settings Navigation. Scroll down to the Map display section, and you'll see the switches for the speedometer and speed limit features. When enabled, the speedometer will appear in the bottom left corner of the screen. If you drive over the speed limit the speedometer will change colors to remind you to slow down.

Google said on its support page that the speedometer is for "informational use only" and should not be used as a substitute for your car's actual speedometer. This is because your actual driving speed may differ from the speed shown on Google Maps. Just something to bear in mind for your own safety.

The new speeding features were spotted being used by iPhone owners in India, and Google will roll them out worldwide in the coming weeks.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/google-maps-speedometer-finally-comes-

Engadget
Jul 09, 2024

Early Prime Day deals bring the Fire Max 11 tablet down to $140
Amazon Prime Day will officially arrive next week on July 16, but we're already starting to see good deals pop up. Amazon's Fire Max 11 tablet has fallen back down to $140 as part of the company's Prime Day deals. Normally $230, the large slate is now $90 off — precisely what you'd need to spend for Amazon's

Engadget
Jul 09, 2024

NGL becomes the first app banned from hosting minors by the FTC
On Tuesday, the FTC unanimously banned the social messaging app NGL from hosting minors as part of a $5 million settlement. The first-of-its-kind ban comes after revelations that the company actively marketed the app to children with bait-and-switch tactics, false claims about AI moderation and the targeting of "popular" kids (like cheerleaders) to try to lure others onto the predatory hellscape.

"NGL marketed its app to kids and teens despite knowing that it was exposing them to cyberbullying and harassment," FTC Chair Lina Khan wrote in an agency press release. "In light of NGL's reckless disregard for kids' safety, the FTC's order would ban NGL from marketing or offering its app to those under 18. We will keep cracking down on businesses that unlawfully exploit kids for profit."

The FTC and the Los Angeles DA's office worked together on the complaint, which paints a picture of an exploitative business that prioritized building its social graph above honoring even the most fundamental of ethics. (Sound familiar?) Although NGL is still a relatively niche app with nowhere near the popularity of Instagram

Engadget
Jul 09, 2024

Apple TV's new Time Bandits show just got a glorious trailer and a July release date
Apple's Time Bandits remake has been floating around since 2018, which is actually more than a year before Apple TV started pumping out content, but we haven't had much by way of actual details. That changed today with a trailer, release date and a whole lot more. The upcoming adaptation of Terry Gilliam's classic 1981 film will be a ten-episode series that premieres on July 24.

The creative team is top-notch and just about perfect for a reimagining of Gilliam's dark and hilarious time-twisting fairy tale. It's being helmed by the dynamic duo behind the film What We Do in the Shadows, Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. The latter also made a couple of Marvel movies, to varying degrees of success.

The cast looks to be sufficiently stacked and led by the, and I can't believe I'm saying this about someone so famous and rich, under-appreciated Lisa Kudrow. The rest of the titular bandits are portrayed by Charlyne Yi, Rune Temte, Tadhg Murphy and Roger Jean Nsengiyumva. Jemaine Clement replaces David Warner as the primary antagonist, which are some mighty big shoes to fill, and Waititi replaces Ralph Richardson as the Supreme Being. Interestingly, there are no original cast members here. This is an absolute reimagining and not a "pass the torch" type deal.

To that point, the plot looks to follow the original. It's about a lonely British child who discovers a time portal in his bedroom and gets involved in all manner of hijinks involving a lost time map. The film used to both amuse and terrify me to no end when it would turn up on TV when I was a kid. Here's hoping

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