Best Xbox One games at E3 2016: Gears 4, Forza Horizon 3, ReCore, Sea of Thieves and more
E3 2016 shut its doors last week but not before we got our fill of every game on display.
The show presented a huge playground for the great and good titles that will be coming out anytime between now and the end of 2017, and the vast majority of them will be available on Xbox One.
Microsoft pulled a few major announcements out of its mighty hat, including two new consoles – the Xbox One S for August this year and Project Scorpio for Christmas 2017. It was revealed that its first-part strategy going forward is to simultaneously release Xbox One and Windows 10 versions of its titles, giving the purchaser of one the other for free.
Called “Play Anywhere”, the scheme also offers cross-platform play in some cases and the ability to pick up and play save games no matter the version. So if you have an Xbox One and a PC, be that desktop or laptop, you’ll be able to game anywhere and anytime you like.
READ: Xbox E3 2016 highlights: What was launched, Project Scorpio, Xbox One S and much more
In games terms, there were plenty of exclusive titles on show, including Gears of War 4, ReCore and Forza Horizon 3. We’re also particularly looking forward to playing co-op open world pirate game Sea of Thieves when it arrives early next year.
For now, have a flick through the gallery above to check out all the Xbox One games we saw at E3 2016 that piqued our interest.
READ: E3 2016: All the launches, games and consoles at the show
How to make your family room smart
Here you are: the family room. Kick back and relax. This is where you can watch TV, listen to music and more. Maybe it’s not the home cinema system you’ve yearned for, with projection room and seating in rows, but you can make it a brilliant den with lots going for it.
Panasonic DX902 TV
Start with the screen – and there are very few out there as good as this. It comes with the Ultra HD Premium badge that means it has the latest UHD resolution (four times that of a High Definition set) as well as HDR, that’s High Dynamic Range, for images that are dramatic and detail-rich both in bright skies and dark shadows.
This TV comes with a cute smart operating system from Firefox that adds apps and extra services like Netflix and Amazon. TVs like this have recently inspired Hollywood professionals to claim the picture is better than you can ever get in the cinema. Available in 65-inch and 58-inch screen sizes.
You’ll need something to watch on this fantastic TV, so try a streaming box like the Apple TV. It’s small but highly effective, with a great remote that includes a touch surface and a microphone so you tell the box to “Show me the episode of Modern Family with Edward Norton” or “Find the best Hugh Grant movies” – it’s plenty smart.
The interface is based around apps for Movies, TV shows and so on but also for other services like Netflix as well as games, Air bnb, magazines and more. There’s no UHD capability with this box, mind.
PRICE: From $149, apple.com
Flatscreens are all very well, but flat speakers – which is all they come with – don’t match up to the picture. Here are two options to make your family room sound as good as it looks.
Yamaha YSP-5600 soundbar with Dolby Atmos
Dolby Atmos is the ultimate theater sound system, using speakers across the ceiling to amplify the effect. Now, the same effect is available in home speakers like this one.
There are 46 speaker drivers in this soundbar, with individual timings and delays to ensure perfect audio. Six speakers at each end of the unit are angled upwards to bounce sound off the ceiling to create the authentic Dolby Atmos sound. The result is persuasive surround sound without any rear speakers. The speaker also has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities.
PRICE: $1599.95, usa.yamaha.com
Sonos Playbar and Play:3 speakers
The Playbar is tremendous. It sits under the TV, or you can wall mount it above if you prefer. It makes even an average TV show sound great. Match it with two Play:3 speakers, which you can set up as a stereo pair on the opposite side of the room from the TV, and you have spectacular surround sound.
The Play:3 speakers have power cables but are otherwise wireless, so there’s no trail of wiring around the room. The Playbar connects by optical cable to the TV and it sounds so good that you might not need a separate system for music. It streams audio via Wi-Fi from your smartphone, tablet or PC.
PRICE: Playbar $699, Play:3 $299 per speaker, sonos.com
You can play music through the Echo speaker, from Spotify, Pandora and other services. The difference with the Echo is it’s voice-controlled, even when music is playing.
Begin a sentence with the word Alexa and the Echo listens (Alexa is the personal assistant’s name, you see). She’ll read audio books to you, tell you the news headlines and weather reports. You can even ask her to order you a pizza from Domino’s or an Uber from, well, Uber.
PRICE: $179.99, amazon.com
Logitech Harmony Elite remote control
This remote control is much more than most. It’s super-powerful, so it’ll change channels, turn up the volume and so on. It will also control up to 15 home entertainment machines though including Apple TV, Sonos, Xbox One, Honeywell, Samsung SmartThings and lots more. So, really, do try not to lose this one.
The touchscreen makes it easy to use and you can use it in the dark thanks to motion-activated, backlit controls. There are lots of customization options and it even has improved battery life than previous Harmony remotes.
PRICE: $349.99, logitech.com
Honeywell Digital Door Lock with Tuxedo Touch
Tuxedo Touch is a controller that works with multiple devices so you can see what’s happening in other rooms, for instance. It even knows if outside doors are ajar and can text you when the dog walker turns up.
With the right door locks, such as the Digital Door Lock which comes in different metal finishes, you can lock a door remotely. It doesn’t matter whether you remember to do so just as you jump on the train or anywhere else in the world so long as you have a data connection.
These are locks that can be programmed to lock or unlock at the same times every day – handy for peace of mind at night and even handier when the babysitter arrives.
PRICE: $169.95 for the Digital Door Lock, honeywellstore.com
The Honeywell Lyric Water Leak and Freeze Detector is an early warning system that notifies you on your smartphone when a leak is detected or the temperature drops below a temperature of your choice. By catching it early, you may be able to avoid expensive repairs and loss of treasured items. To find out more visit Honeywell.com
This article was created in association with Honeywell.
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Acura built an electric NSX to tackle Pikes Peak
Acura’s eagerly anticipated next-gen NSX is finally going into production for 2017, but the car will hit the road before then — sort of. The company will race a highly modified version at the Pikes Peak hill climb event on June 26th. However, unlike the (mostly) gas-powered consumer model, The “EV Concept” race vehicle will be powered by four electric motors, one on each wheel. That means it looks roughly the same as a production NSX (other than the scoop and wing), but the custom EV drive train is completely different and built for racing.
The company hasn’t said how much power the motors make, but they will give the car something called “four-wheel torque vectoring.” That means engineers can dial a precise amount of power to each wheel, making it perform better in corners and when accelerating. The car also uses regenerative braking to extend the battery life.
Electric vehicles are ideal for Pikes Peak, since they aren’t affected by the 14,000 foot elevation that chokes gas-powered engines. Last year, Rhys Millen raced a modified eo PP03 up the track in 9:07.222, a time that would have won the gas-powered unlimited class in every year but 2013 and 2014. (Sebastien Loeb holds the unlimited record at 8:13.878, a time set in 2013).
The Acura NSX production car, set to arrive next year for around $150,000, is an odd vehicle. It has a turbocharged 500HP V6, but uses three small electric motors to boost acceleration and cut turbo lag. That gives it stunning acceleration, but purists are worried. The original NSX weighed just 2,712 pounds and was loved for its lack of excess, but the new model reportedly tips the scale at 3,800 pounds, thanks to the hybrid powertrain.
Karhoo takes its taxi-comparison app to more UK cities
Six weeks after its launch in London, Karhoo is taking on the rest of the UK. The ride-hailing app, which lets you compare different taxi companies simultaneously, is yet another alternative to Uber, Hailo and Kabbee. The difference is that Karhoo wants to be an open platform, presenting a range of prices, vehicles and estimated arrival times so that you can make an informed decision. Any company, aside from Uber, can theoretically sign up and have its fleet listed inside Karhoo’s iOS and Android apps. That includes black cab, minicab and executive car hire providers.
Karhoo is slowly rolling out in the following cities: Nottingham, Derby, Leeds, Bristol, Bradford, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Brighton, Stoke on Trent, Belfast, Manchester, Glasgow, Leicester and Birmingham. It’ll go international with New York and Singapore this summer.
Today’s expansion gives Karhoo considerable reach in the UK, which is important if it’s to gain traction as a viable Uber alternative. The company does have a few advantages over its ferocious and well-funded rival — you can pre-book a ride through the app, for instance, and there’s no surge pricing to worry about it. Karhoo’s battle is still a tricky one, however. It needs to get the word out, which is easier said than done, while undercutting its rivals and keeping the traditional taxi industry on side.
Instagram’s expansion continues as it tops 500 million users
With 1.6 billion users, Facebook is used to big numbers. Even Whatsapp has one billion people using it every month. Instagram, on the other hand, isn’t quite as big as its counterparts, but that doesn’t mean it’s not expanding at a decent clip. In a short blog post today, the photo-sharing service announced that it now has 500 million registered users, adding 100 million accounts in nine months.
In the past, Instagram hasn’t shared how active its users are, but for this milestone it’s making an exception. Of the 500 million Instagrammers already signed up to the service, 300 million use the app every single day. They’re not all from the US, either, with four out of every five users interacting with the app from outside the country — up five percent from September 2015.
Although Instagram’s growth is pretty uniform — adding 200 million users in the past 18 months — the Facebook-owned app hasn’t yet reached its peak. The service has become home to countless musicians and A-list celebrities, who are often the subject of hilarious brand promotion fails. However, the platform has also become a legitimate place for companies to interact with their followers and sell their wares.
Source: Instagram Blog
Twitter stretches Vines and video posts to 140 seconds
Starting today, Twitter users will get just as many seconds of video as they do characters of text. According to an announcement, Twitter is opening up 140-second videos to everyone on the service. Likewise, some Vine creators will also be able to expand outside the snappy six-second limit with a new Beyond the Vine feature that allows the shorter clips to serve as trailers for a longer, two-minute video.
On the Twitter video side, some “select publishers” will actually have access to 10-minute videos, so don’t be surprised if you start seeing entire John Oliver segments popping up in your timeline. The longer video clips come with their very own fullscreen viewing mode, similar to what Facebook and YouTube’s mobile apps already offer.
Explore more videos and Vines that are lighting up Twitter. Our new viewing mode will let you watch more with a tap. pic.twitter.com/XyBaes37T7
— Twitter Video (@video) June 21, 2016
As for Vine, the standalone app will now offer some content creators the ability to link their traditional six-second clips to longer videos with a “Watch more” button in the lower right corner. These longform Vines, as it were, also open up the canvas to full, widescreen videos and not just the vertical, square crop we’ve gotten used to. And a new feature is getting carried over from Periscope as well: double tapping a video now makes hearts fly over the screen.
Finally, because all of this is obviously in service of the almighty ad dollar, Twitter says the company will be expanding the monetization options they rolled out through Open Amplify last year. And, if you’re already famous, Twitter is rolling out a new app called Engage today, which should help you interact with all your rabid fans.
Nest can slash people’s energy use during peak prices
In California, energy companies have to switch all customers to Time of Use (TOU) rate plans by 2019. Under TOU, energy prices change throughout the day — it won’t be easy to monitor rates and adjust cooling and heating manually every hour or so. To help users stick to their budget, Nest is introducing a new feature called “Time of Savings.” The service shares customers’ TOU rate info with Nest, which then auto-adjusts itself to reduce energy consumption during the most expensive periods. Nest will only change the temperature by a degree or two, though, and users will have to tweak it themselves if they want to save more money.
According to Nest’s announcement, the feature will only be available to its energy partners’ customers, since companies have to be willing to share TOU rates with the thermostat maker. At the moment, the only people who can access Time of Savings are SolarCity subscribers, but Nest says it’s already in talks with other energy providers not just in the Golden State (including Southern California Edison), but across North America.
Ben Bixby, Nest’s director of energy and enterprise business, said in a statement:
“The California Public Utilities Commission has mandated that the state’s major utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, San Diego Gas & Electric, and Southern California Edison – move their residential customers to TOU rates by 2019. This means millions of California homes will be billed for energy differently in just a few years. Working with our energy partners, we designed Time of Savings to help customers manage these changing pricing schedules and make it easy for them to use less energy without sacrificing comfort. We’re excited that SolarCity is our first partner to offer Time of Savings and Nest is working with regulated energy providers across North America to offer this new service.”
Engadget giveaway: Win a Robin ‘cloud phone’ courtesy of Nextbit!
In case you weren’t paying attention, the unique Nextbit Robin phone launched earlier in the year and this week, two lucky readers will get one of their own. The company’s founders and staff have a storied work history spanning Android, Cyanogen, Motorola and more, leading to the development of the Robin. It runs Nextbit OS, which is a subtly skinned version of Android 6.0, but its key strength is the cloud (OK, and the design). You get 32GB of onboard storage paired with 100GB in the cloud and the system tracks habits and offloads photos and unused apps according to your usage. There’s a fingerprint sensor conveniently located on the power button to save a step and it sports a 5.2-inch 1080p display with Gorilla Glass 4. This particular giveaway is a limited edition “mintnight” combo color, so as unique as the Robin is, two winners will get one that’s even more so. All you need to do is head to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning this eye-pleasing device!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
- Entries are handled through the Rafflecopter widget above. Comments are no longer accepted as valid methods of entry. You may enter without any obligation to social media accounts, though we may offer them as opportunities for extra entries. Your email address is required so we can get in touch with you if you win, but it will not be given to third parties.
- Contest is open to all residents of the 50 States, the District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding Quebec), 18 or older! Sorry, we don’t make this rule (we hate excluding anyone), so direct your anger at our lawyers and contest laws if you have to be mad.
- Winners will be chosen randomly. Two (2) winners will each receive one (1) Nextbit Robin “cloud phone” (Mintnight special edition (in Midnight box), GSM: T-mobile/AT&T, 32GB built-in, 100GB online).
- If you are chosen, you will be notified by email. Winners must respond within three days of being contacted. If you do not respond within that period, another winner will be chosen. Make sure that the account you use to enter the contest includes your real name and a contact email. We do not track any of this information for marketing or third-party purposes.
- This unit is purely for promotional giveaway. Engadget and AOL are not held liable to honor warranties, exchanges or customer service.
- The full list of rules, in all its legalese glory, can be found here.
- Entries can be submitted until June 22nd at 11:59PM ET. Good luck!
Tumblr officially joins the live video party
It’s official: today, Tumblr joins Facebook, Twitter and Amazon as the latest platform to add live video streaming. In a post on Live Video dot Tumblr dot com, Yahoo’s quirky social network laid out the crucial details.
Although the Tumblr app itself doesn’t include a livestreaming feature, users can post live videos from a number of different third-party streaming apps like YouNow, Kanvas, Upclose, and YouTube, with even more expected in the future. (There’s a tiny bit of setup involved.) Live video posts can also be reblogged like any other post, meaning your beautiful, livestreaming face can spread virally across Tumblr, complete with hierarchical quotations below. If someone you follow is streaming live, that post will be pinned at the top of your dashboard so users can immediately see who is live when they log in. Finally, any videos you shoot are archived on your Tumblr with the platform’s native player, so followers can return to play them back later.
As Engadget noted yesterday, Tumblr is celebrating the launch of Live Video with a suitably zany hour and a half of live programming today, starting with “Opening remarks live from the surface of Mars” at 4 PM ET, followed by notable Tumblr blog Things Organized Neatly spending at least 10 minutes “organizing things neatly” for your in-the-moment enjoyment. There’s also a two-hour countdown to launch starting at 2 PM ET, and users who follow livevideo.tumblr.com will get a notification when the new streams go live.
Finally, TechCrunch notes a number of media partners like MTV, the Huffington Post and about a dozen others are already signed on to stream live events and content.
The best air conditioner
By Liam McCabe
This post was done in partnership with The Sweethome, a buyer’s guide to the best things for your home. Read the full article here.
After five summers of researching, testing, and recommending window air conditioners, we’ve learned that quiet and affordable ACs make most people the happiest—and we think the LG LW8016ER will fit the bill in most rooms. It cools as efficiently and effectively as any of the latest ACs with an equal Btu rating, and compared with other window ACs at this price, it’s easier on the ears and gives you more control. The LG is a top choice for an office or den, and some people will find it quiet enough for a bedroom, too.
How we picked and tested
The air conditioners we tested in 2016. (Note: Stacking them in this way does not constitute a proper installation.) Photo: Liam McCabe
For this guide, we focused on 8,000-Btu window air conditioners because it’s the most popular size at retail, which implies that it’s what most people need. These ACs are suited for spaces between 300 and 350 square feet, roughly the size of a comfy living room or large master bedroom. We tracked down about 30 current-model window air conditioners with that cooling capacity. Then, based on specs, features, price, and our experience with older versions of some models, we settled on seven finalists.
We focused on noise as the primary distinguishing factor. Window air conditioners are all pretty damn loud these days—and louder than they used to be. But some models are easier on the ears than others, and we heavily favored air conditioners with a lower operating volume and a smoother frequency response.
The other way we judged our finalists was the level (and quality) of user control they allowed. One important area where window ACs can differ is their fan vents, which control the direction of airflow. If you sleep near your AC, you’ll want to be able to point the cold air away from your body, or at least away from your head. But some models have blind spots where airflow can either never reach or always reaches. We also considered the number of fan speeds, extra cooling modes, and the depth of remote control.
The LG LW8016ER is the best affordable AC for a home office or living area because it’s quietish, gives you more control than others, and tends to cost less than its competition. Photo: Liam McCabe
The LG LW8016ER is the window AC you should probably get, especially if it’s for an office, den, or other room where you won’t be sleeping. Though for some people, it’ll be fine in the bedroom, too. Its price is fair, and this model is widely available, so you’ll have no trouble running out and grabbing it for a decent price on short notice—for instance, in the middle of a heat wave, like when you’re probably reading this article. Compared with other ACs at this price, it’s quieter and hums along at a lower pitch, so it’s easier on the ears. And though AC controls aren’t rocket science, this one offers a greater level of flexibility in total than most of its competitors, covering all the little details—from the fan’s directional controls and outdoor-air vent to the dehumidifier mode and removable drain plug.
Affordable, available, and a bit loud
A close look at the fan blades on the Frigidaire—our previous pick—a solid window unit that’s a bit loud compared with the units we’ve found this year. Photo: Liam McCabe
If our main pick is sold out, grab the Frigidaire FFRE0833S1, our former top pick in this guide. It’s a little bit louder and higher-pitched than our new pick, but it’s an equally capable performer that’s usually around the same price. The Frigidaire is also a little bit easier to install because it’s smaller and lighter.
Quieter but pricier
The Haier Serenity Series ESAQ408P is a great AC for a bedroom because it’s much quieter than its competitors. Photo: Liam McCabe
If you’re installing an air conditioner in your bedroom, or you just value peace and quiet in any other room, treat yourself to the (relatively) hushed performance of the Haier Serenity Series ESAQ408P. It gets quieter than any other window air conditioner we tested, offers tons of control, and is relatively easy to install.
If you need a portable
The Haier HPN12XCM is the least-worst portable air conditioner we tested. It runs quieter, rolls around easier, and looks better. Photo: Liam McCabe
Though a window (or wall) air conditioner is almost always a more effective, efficient way to control a room’s climate, sometimes a portable is the only kind of AC that fits your space. So if you need one, we think that the Haier HPN12XCM is the best portable air conditioner for most people. It offers the best combination of cooling comfort, intuitive control, portability, and quiet operation among its competitors.
If the Haier is sold out or its price jumps, the LG LP1215GXR is a good alternative.
The right air conditioner size for you
Measure the square footage of the room you need to cool, then look at this Energy Star chart to find the appropriate cooling capacity, as measured in British thermal units (Btu). For most people, it’s as simple as that. You won’t always be able to find an AC with the perfect Btu rating, so you might have to round up. For example, nobody makes a 9,000-Btu window AC, so a 10,000-Btu window AC is the next-best option in that case.
Don’t fall into the trap of buying a significantly under- or overpowered air conditioner. Smaller units cost less, so you may be tempted to size down if you’re looking to save a few bucks. But an underpowered AC will run constantly, trying and failing to get the room down to the target temperature and a comfortable humidity. If you get a unit that’s too big, it can leave your room feeling clammy because it reduces temperature faster than it removes moisture from the air.
Need to cool multiple rooms? It’s more effective to get several smaller air conditioners and put one in each room than to buy one big unit. Sure, you’ll have to spend more money to buy two 6,000-Btu ACs than you would to buy a single 12,000-Btu AC. But you’ll get much more accurate, comfortable climate control when you use the right machine for each room.
This guide may have been updated by The Sweethome. To see the current recommendation, please go here.