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April 20, 2014

Weekends with Engadget: Windows Phone 8.1 and Gear 2 reviews, the anonymous internet and more!

by John_A
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Welcome to Weekends with Engadget, a quick peek back at the top headlines from the past seven days — all handpicked by the editors here at the site. For even more action, subscribe to our Flipboard magazine!

Windows Phone 8.1 review: Microsoft’s mobile OS finally feels whole

Microsoft’s mobile OS just got a whole lot better. Complete with keyboard swipe gestures, a notification center and Cortana, the virtual assistant, version 8.1 brings Windows Phone into adulthood.

My connected home turned me into a spy and an addict

Ten years ago, adjusting the temperature of your home from a smartphone might have seemed like something from a science fiction movie. But in this age of hyper-connectivity, it’s easier to get wrapped up in the quantifiable aspects of life than you might think. Just ask our own Joseph Volpe.

Sony Xperia Z2 review: a big, powerful slab of a phone

The Xperia Z2 is just as waterproof as the original Z1 and it packs a slightly larger display and better battery life — not to mention it’s several grams lighter. But at 5.2-inches, Sony’s curveless flagship might be too big for its your britches.

Shh, it’s a Secret: The allure of the anonymous internet

You can say almost anything you want on the internet, often without consequence. But are there advantages to being truly anonymous? Our own Nicole Lee spent some time with an app called Secret to find out.

Samsung Gear 2 review: much improved, but that doesn’t mean you should buy it

Samsung’s next gen smartwatch, the Gear 2, is indeed an improvement over its predecessor. It sports a slimmer design and a much longer battery life, though it’s $50 more than the original. Add in a skimpy app selection, and it still might not be worth investing in Samsung’s wrist-worn platform.

Here’s Amazon’s phone: six cameras and a 4.7-inch screen

We’ve all heard the rumors, but BGR claims it’s gotten hold of Amazon’s first phone — and it has six cameras. The 4.7-inch handset (shown above) might not appear very sleek or attractive. But don’t worry, that’s just an enclosure.

Apple CarPlay coming to Pioneer’s in-dash systems this summer

Pioneer’s NEX line of five in-dash entertainment systems will get Apple’s CarPlay support through a firmware update set to arrive this summer. Owners with an iPhone 5, 5c or 5s will be able to take advantage of Apple Maps, Siri and more!

Google beats Facebook to acquisition of drone maker

Earlier this week, Google agreed to buy Titan Aerospace, a solar-powered drone manufacturer that had previously been in talks with Facebook. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company plans to use the high-flying aircraft in collaboration with its Project Loon.

MSI GS60 Ghost review: a gaming rig in Ultrabook’s clothing

Thin, light and simple: MSI’s latest gaming laptop is all of those things and more. Dubbed the GS60 Ghost, this slim aluminum machine has a bright 15.3-inch display and ultrabook-esque buttonless trackpad. All in all, the Ghost is a great choice for serious gamers, provided they can endure its less-than-average battery life.

Sony pumps up its PS4 update with game pre-loading and SHAREfactory video editor

In a recent blog post, Sony announced it’s preparing a 1.70 firmware update for the PS4 that will include a brand new video editor (called SHAREfactory) and pre-game loading functionality. Exactly when it will be released, however, is still to be known.

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