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24Jan/200

What does Dell’s XPS 15 excel at?

Dell's 2019 XPS lineup has done well across the board -- both reviewers and consumers alike were impressed by the performance, speed and sleek design of last year's XPS 13. Its big brother, the XPS 15, continued that trend. With a ninth-generation eight-core Intel i9 CPU, 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD and NVIDIA's GeForce GTX 1660 GPU, the configuration we tested in September delighted reviews editor Cherlynn Low. She was particularly thrilled by the vibrant display, powerful performance and long-lasting battery, though less enthusiastic about the laptop's rather hefty weight of 4.4 pounds. The XPS 15 earned a score of 85 (a full 8 points lower than the XPS 13).

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2020/01/23/xps-15-user-reviews-wanted/

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24Jan/200

Snapchat will host exclusive NBC Olympics coverage

Four daily original shows will include recaps, near real-time coverage, cultural pieces and profiles of Team USA. For better or for worse, all shows will be presented in a vertical aspect ratio.

NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel says that producing this kind of content used to be "a marketing exercise" which garnered interest in the Olympics. "That is absolutely the goal of this relationship too," he says, "but we are also going to monetize those impressions." Snapchat claims that its content reaches 75% of all 13- to 34-year-olds, so NBC -- which also controls all ad inventory for the Olympic Games in the US -- is likely hoping to capture a decent chunk of that younger viewer demographic and bring in more money from advertisers. These viewers are seen as particularly valuable by advertisers because of the assumption that they have more expendable income compared to older demographics.

Over the past 20 years, viewership for the Olympics has been sporadic. Whether or not a stronger push on social media platforms moves the needle remains to be seen, but either way, both NBC and its advertisers will be reaching plenty of young viewers by leveraging Snapchat.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2020/01/23/snapchat-exclusive-nbc-2020-olympics/

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24Jan/200

Steam’s Lunar New Year sale begins with deals on GTA, Witcher and more

Steam is having a massive sale in celebration of the Lunar New Year and it all kicks off today. Right now, catch deals on Grand Theft Auto V (50 percent off), Dark Souls III (75 percent off), Resident Evil 2 (67 percent off), Disco Elysium (20 percent off), Assassin's Creed Odyssey (60 percent off), The Witcher III (70 percent off), and a ton of other titles. A handful of games are available for less than $10 -- the first episode of Life is Strange 2 is just $2, Rainbow Six Siege is $8, and Payday 2 is $5, to name a few.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2020/01/23/steam-sale-lunar-new-year-january-2020/

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24Jan/200

Sonos CEO: ‘Legacy’ devices will still work after May

Perhaps the more controversial part of the announcement earlier this week is the fact that systems running both "legacy" and more current products would be stuck without new features, even if some of the newer devices would have otherwise received an update. Essentially, having a legacy component in your Sonos system meant that all those devices would be stuck with that legacy experience. However, Sonos said that they were looking into a way to "split" a system so that modern products would keep getting updates while legacy ones would continue to work as they currently do. Spence reconfirmed those plans today, as well, and said the company was finalizing the details and would share more "in the coming weeks."

To be clear, Sonos isn't changing course on its plan here. Instead, Spence is trying to communicate a bit better what exactly is happening come May. There's no info here that Sonos didn't already release, but the public response to Sonos' plan was such that it seemed necessary to address it. While we certainly can understand how people who spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on older Sonos gear over the years are disappointed by this week's development, it's good news that the products will still work as they do now and that there will be a way to keep newer products up-to-date as well.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2020/01/23/sonos-legacy-devices-will-still-work/

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24Jan/200

Apple says EU push for universal phone charger would ‘stifle innovation’

Apple also felt that rules weren't necessary when the industry was already consolidating around USB-C, either through port changes or through cables (as with the iPhone 11 Pro). The industry has consolidated from "30 chargers to three, soon to be two," Apple said. It still hoped the European Commission would look for a solution -- just not one that hurt the industry's (read: Apple's) "ability to innovate."

You can read Apple's full statement below.

The EU has been pressing for harmonized phone charging for over a decade, arguing that it would reduce e-waste and simplify the experience for customers. You might not even need a new charger in the box alongside your new phone. To date, though, it has relied on a voluntary approach that it doesn't believe has been effective. Regulation would theoretically push exceptions like Apple to do what they won't on their own accord.

Whether or not mandatory adoption would help isn't clear. While USB-C has made life considerably easier in the smartphone world, it didn't start reaching phones until 2015, or three years after Lightning (which included many of USB-C's design advantages) made its debut in the iPhone 5. Widespread adoption took a while after that. As genuinely helpful as a standard could be, there is a risk you could wait longer for meaningful advances.

"Apple stands for innovation and deeply cares about the customer experience. We believe regulation that forces conformity across the type of connector built into all smartphones stifles innovation rather than encouraging it, and would harm consumers in Europe and the economy as a whole.

"More than 1 billion Apple devices have shipped using a Lightning connector in addition to an entire ecosystem of accessory and device manufacturers who use Lightning to serve our collective customers. Legislation would have a direct negative impact by disrupting the hundreds of millions of active devices and accessories used by our European customers and even more Apple customers worldwide, creating an unprecedented volume of electronic waste and greatly inconveniencing users.

"We do not believe there is a case for regulation given the industry is already moving to the use of USB Type-C through a connector or cable assembly. This includes Apple's USB-C power adapter which is compatible with all iPhone and iPad devices. This approach is more affordable and convenient for consumers, enables charging for a wide range of portable electronic products, encourages people to re-use their charger and allows for innovation.

"Prior to 2009, the Commission considered mandating that all smartphones use only USB Micro-B connectors which would have restricted the advancement to Lightning and USB Type-C. Instead, the Commission established a voluntary, industry standards-based approach that saw the market shift from 30 chargers down to 3, soon to be two — Lightning and USB-C, showing this approach does work.

"We hope the Commission will continue to seek a solution that does not restrict the industry's ability to innovate and bring exciting new technology to customers."

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2020/01/23/apple-rejects-eu-call-for-common-phone-charger/

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24Jan/200

Google I/O 2020 starts May 12th

Now that enough people have completed a special puzzle, Google announced that its annual developer event will return to the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View. Google I/O will run from May 12th - 14th, a few days later than its timing in 2019. In the past we've seen announcements focusing on everything from Assistant to Google Glass, and who knows what 2020 may bring to the location's outdoor stage. (Other than Android, AI and other usual service enhancements, of course.)

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2020/01/23/google-i-o-2020-starts-may-12th/

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24Jan/200

FDA warns hospitals about security flaws in some GE medical equipment

Those vulnerabilities, the FDA said, could allow bad actors to remotely take control of the devices in order to generate false alarms or silence real ones. An attacker could, for instance, stop the system from notifying providers about a patient's cardiac status, putting their life in danger. Thankfully, the FDA has yet to receive reports of patient harm or device malfunction involving GE's central stations. The company has taken steps to prevent them all the same, advising customers to separate the equipment from wider hospital network and instructing them on where they can get a patch when it becomes available.

The FDA has been keeping a close eye on medical equipment cybersecurity measures and issues over the past years. It issued a final guidance instructing manufacturers to boost pacemakers' and insulin pumps' protections against cyberattacks in 2016. The agency also previously issued a warning about certain pacemakers that are vulnerable to hacking and even recalled half a million pacemakers due to hacking fears.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2020/01/23/fda-security-flaw-ge-medical-equipment/

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24Jan/200

Sprint will fix anyone’s cracked Samsung Galaxy screen for $49

Sprint has launched an affordable screen repair program for Samsung Galaxy phones, and it doesn't even matter if you're a subscriber. The company will fix cracked screens on eligible devices for $49 until February 9th, 2020 "no matter who your carrier is," according to the program's website. While it doesn't cover the tech giant's latest flagship devices -- Galaxy S10s are still probably under warranty for most people anyway -- the program will repair broken screens on the Samsung Galaxy S7, S8, S8+, S9, S9+ and Note 8.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2020/01/23/sprint-samsung-galaxy-screen-repair/

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24Jan/200

‘Apex Legends’ celebrates its first year with a new melee-focused hero

Otherwise, players can expect to see the map continue to change as well as a new setup for ranked gameplay that will begin with the launch of Season 4 "Assimilation." Also, for ranked players the season length will be cut in half, and after it splits for the second half they'll be playing in Kings Canyon, the setting that Apex Legends launched with last year. Finally, the Apex "Predator" tier will be hard-capped at the top 500 ranked players on each platform -- while high-ranked players will still be in the game's new Master Tier, they'll have to keep playing to avoid being bypassed and knocked out of Predator.

There's a new sniper rifle, the Sentinel, that's bolt-action, has a charge-up mechanic and promises to quickly cut through enemy armor. Naturally there's a new battle pass coming for season with skins, music packs and more, but you'll have to wait for more details. It's been an interesting year for the game, Respawn and EA. While it hasn't knocked Fortnite or others out of the lead in battle royale gaming, it still has a lot of players across all platforms, a place in esports with its ESPN X Games tie-ins and a place at the lead of EA's plans for games-as-a-service.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2020/01/24/apex-legends-s4-forge-anniversary/

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24Jan/200

‘Disco Elysium’ gets a hardcore mode for fans who want a challenge

To start with, the game's difficulty goes way up. You'll have to get used to failure, especially since the mode also limits your resources. The game's NPCs are poorer than before and have less money to drop. "You've always had to hustle to survive. Now you've got to hustle more," the developer wrote in its announcement.

Big pharma will also screw you over -- just like real life! -- and will make over-the-counter drugs more expensive and less effective. As a result, you may have to turn to booze and cigarettes to clear your head and build up your courage. That said, you'll get extra XP for finishing tasks, and you'll level up faster and higher to balance the rise in difficulty.

In addition to a tougher gameplay mode, ZA/UM has also updated Disco Elysium with widescreen support, so you can watch yourself fail to solve cases in the correct aspect ratio.

Article source: https://www.engadget.com/2020/01/24/disco-elysium-hardcore-mode/

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