Three and a half years after Chinese tech conglomerate NetEase a minority stake in (of and fame), it is gobbling up the rest of the developer. NetEase didn’t reveal how much it’s spending to buy out the studio, which will be its first in Europe.
After Quantic Dream formally becomes a NetEase subsidiary, it will continue to operate independently as a studio and publisher of first- and third-party titles. Additionally, it will be able to tap into NetEase’s game development capabilities.
The studio has a couple of projects in the pipeline. Last December, it provided the first peek of , which is set in the High Republic era of a certain galaxy that’s far, far away. Earlier this month, during Gamescom, it revealed it’s publishing a game called . Parallel Studio is developing that title with the help of Quantic Dream’s motion-capture, animation and voice-recording knowhow.
In 2018, ex-Quantic Dream employees accused the company of fostering a toxic work environment, where sexism, racism and homophobia were present. Later that year, a French court determined the company unfairly dismissed a former employee who made allegations of workplace harassment, but that ruling . Quantic Dream, which against publications that reported on accusations against it, has refuted notions that it has a “toxic atmosphere“ or allows “any kind of discrimination in the studio.”
This acquisition marks the latest entry in a long, long list of studio buyouts this year. Among others, Sony Destiny 2 developer Bungie, and, to help , Savage Game Studio. Along with Tencent, it just acquired a sizable, but minority stake in Elden Ring studio FromSoftware.
Elsewhere, Embracer Group is continuing on its quest to seemingly snap up it . And then, of course, there’s Microsoft’s blockbuster acquisition of Activision Blizzard, which is . On that note, NetEase publishes Blizzard games in China, including which it co-developed.
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Over the past two years, my eyesight has taken a nosedive. Maybe it’s just the natural side effects of being in your 30s. Or perhaps over a year of staring at screens with no break during lockdown was, in fact, bad for me. Regardless of the reason, my once pristine vision is gone and I’m now nearsighted.
That’s made me more acutely aware of the gaming industry’s love of miniscule text, HUD elements, and other user interface considerations. I’m lucky in that I can just put on a pair of glasses when something on screen is too small for me to see, but others, like partially blind players, don’t have that option. They’re at the mercy of a game’s accessibility options, which don’t always account for every problem.
That’s my primary concern when I play Halo Infinite’s multiplayer. The beta’s current UI is nothing short of a nightmare for those who already have difficulty seeing games. While features like a lack of mode-specific playlists and a weak battle pass are drawing the most criticism at the moment, added accessibility tools should be the game’s primary concern.
A (big) tiny problem
There’s a lot happening on screen during aHalo Infinite match. You have radar, a health bar, equipment information, a score bar, a kill feed, and tips that pop up on screen when you die. That’s all pretty standard for a shooter these days, but it can create a difficult balancing act. Developers want players to be as immersed in the game itself as possible, which often means shrinking or minimizing HUD elements to allot more screen time to the action. In fact, Halo Infinite’s UI menu allows players to turn off the HUD entirely.
What it doesn’t allow me to do, as far as I can tell, is increase the size of anything outside of some text or menu font size. That solves a few problems, but I still find myself squinting at key moments, even with glasses on.
To the game’s credit, developer 343 has included an impressive suite of accessibility options outside of that. Players can turn down the opacity on screen elements, which is a big help, or disable confusing visual ticks like speed lines that appear while dashing. I applaud the work that’s gone into both audio and visual accessibility overall, though that makes the limited UI scaling all the more puzzling to me.
I’ve essentially given up on using the dime-sized radar entirely. I generally never know what gadgets I have equipped or how much ammo I have. It’s not just the persistent HUD elements that are presenting challenges for me. In the game’s Stockpile mode, a tiny white symbol marks where power cells are on the map. In my first round, I could not see the symbols. They kept getting lost in off-white rocks, forcing me to bug my friends about what I should even be looking for during an entire round.
I wasn’t the only one who had complaints during my first six hours with the game. Everyone I partied up with voiced similar confusion. Some teammates were confused about how to pick up weapons, not noticing the sliver of semitransparent text on the screen. They’d frequently be shocked when a game ended, simply not noticing what the score was despite it being pinned to the bottom of the screen. I thought the problem may be less noticeable close up to a big monitor, but a colleague playing on PC noted many of the same challenges when we played together. I shudder to think what the game will look like when it comes to the Steam Deck or phones via Microsoft’s cloud gaming service.
Not every issue is about size. Halo Infinite makes a whole bunch of puzzling UI decisions. Equipment menus are laid out as a battle pass-like rail that has to be scrolled through. In-games subtitles butt right up against the score bar, rather than using the wide open space above or below it. Weirdest of all, the game allows players to choose their armor colo, which means that you might see an enemy in friendly blue armor instead of red. The game’s solution is to add a (too) subtle outline around characters.
There’s a saying in the accessibility community that has stuck with me over the years: “Accessible design is just good design.” Halo Infinite is facing a visual literacy issue at present that doesn’t just affect those with impaired vision. It’s simply hard to read visual information on screen unless you’re playing on a gigantic monitor. Not everyone will have that problem, and it’ll decrease as people get comfortable with the game’s language, but there’s no downside to letting players scale things up. It’s not giving anyone an advantage; it’s letting them see crucial information.
I have no doubt that more size adjustments will be available in the future. Microsoft is leading the charge on accessibility in gaming, as seen with games like Forza Horizon 5. Even Halo Infinite goes above and beyond most modern games with its suite of tools. Still, small text and UI are a persistent problem in lots of games, and one that only becomes worse as tech allows us to play games on any screen.
Let’s hope this is one of the reasons Microsoft is labeling the surprise launch a “beta.”
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There are laptops, there are desktops, and then there are Chromebooks, and while not everyone likes them, there is no denying the fact that there are some incredible Chromebook deals going on. What most people don’t realize is that Chromebooks are a lot more like a traditional laptop than you’d think — you can actually use them offline, for example.
Staples is offering a welcome discount on the Acer 314 CB314-1HT-C7CO 14-inch Chromebook right now, which drops $20 off the already amenable price. That means you can get your hands on a 14-inch Chromebook with an Intel Celeron processor, 4GB of RAM, and 64GB of eMMC storage for just $280 with free shipping and delivery. Wowzers!
Chromebooks aren’t for everyone. Our resident computing expert Mark Coppock still doesn’t like them. He does acknowledge they’re an excellent option for writers, though, and they’re an excellent option for productivity, web-browsing, and online schoolwork — even remote working in many cases.
The Acer 314 14-inch Chromebook is no exception. It has a stunning aluminum frame, protecting a 14-inch vibrant touchscreen display. Thin bezels keep the screen in focus, and that screen has a native HD resolution of 1366 x 768. Under the hood is a 1.1GHz Intel Celeron N4000 dual-core processor with clock speeds that reach up to 2.6GHz, complementing its 4MB cache. It’s also equipped with 4GB of LPDDR4 SDRAM, Intel UHD Graphics 600, and 64GB of eMMC storage. Battery life is rated at 8 to 12.5 hours depending on usage. It’s certainly a capable machine.
Staples is offering the Acer 314 Chromebook for $20 off the normal price, at $300. That brings the total cost down to $280 with free shipping and delivery. You can also pick it up at a local store if there’s one near you. Don’t sleep on this deal as it’s a good one, and at the very least, the Chromebook is a suitable backup for when you’re having computer problems with your other tech. It also complements a desktop setup well, offering a more portable workstation.
More Chromebook deals available now
Want to see what else is out there? We researched all of the best deals and assembled them for you below. See if there’s anything that’s more to your liking.
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After the iPhone 12s, or iPhone 13, Apple is expected to release a lower-cost big-screen iPhone to the masses. Popular Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo suggested this week that a 6.7-inch iPhone will be released in the year 2022 with a price that’s far more affordable than any other iPhone with a display of that size. The 2022 set of iPhone models will likely be released in the second half of the year 2022.
Per the report from Ming-Chi Kuo, via 9to5Mac, the 2022 iPhone family will include four models. One will be a high-end 6.1-inch iPhone, another will be top-tier 6.7-inch iPhone. Unlike what we expect here in 2021, there’ll also be two “low-end iPhones (6.1″ and 6.7″) in 2H22” according to Kuo.
Per the report, the largest “low-end” iPhone with 6.7-inch display could cost under USD 900. That’s around $200 cheaper than the current iPhone 12 Pro Max, a device which currently costs $1,099 USD. The price of the “low-end” 6.1-inch model is currently unknown.
This could mean big things for those iPhone users that generally buy the most massive iteration of last-season’s iPhone. The price point for this “low-end” 6.7-inch model could mean that older models (whatever they end up being at that point) could have even more significant price cuts.
It could, on the other hand, mean that Apple will adjust their manufacturing process so that this “low-end” iPhone will simply be a slightly adjusted iteration of the high-end model from the previous season, or two seasons earlier.
So, for example, a “low-end” iPhone in the year 2022 could use the components currently being used in the iPhone 12 Pro Max. This would not be the first time Apple did this – they’ve been doing it with iPad models for years. Old parts, new product – sound good to you?
Until then, we’ve got the iPhone 12s or iPhone 13 to look forward to. Take a peek at the timeline of links below to learn more about the iPhone 13 via leaks and insider tips released over the past few weeks. We’ll likely see the next iPhone in September of 2021 – stay tuned!
DARPA has wrapped up work on a system designed to take down small drones operating over places where an explosive countermeasure wouldn’t be acceptable. Put simply, this system involves launching a device into the air that, once it detects a drone, launches giant streamers into the air, not unlike the kind you may see shooting out of a small cannon at a party.
Drones that operate in restricted airspace can be neutralized using many different methods, but the task is trickier when the takedown must occur over a populated area like a city. An explosive anti-drone tool isn’t suitable for these locations, so the agency has a different solution: launching streamers at the drones, which become tangled in the ribbons.
DARPA refers to this as the Counter-Unmanned Air System (C-UAS) multilayer defense architecture, noting that it is intended for use when a drone or multiple small drones are operated without authorization over military operations and installations. The system is described as reusable and low-cost, with four years of work having gone into the system.
The reusable system is able to automatically identify drones in the nearby vicinity, while a variety of systems guide the product to intercept the drones — this can be done both with and without operators. Key to the system is the durable ‘stringy streamers’ that eject from the inceptors toward the drone, which become tangled in the strands.
The system is designed to deal with a swarm of small unmanned drones rather than just a single wayward UAV that intrudes into military airspace. DARPA demonstrated the finalized technology in a new video, showing off what looks very similar to the streamers you may see pop out of novelty toys and fireworks.
The HP Chromebook x360 14 G1 is HP’s latest attempt to create the ultimate premium Chromebook. Aimed at corporate users who want something nicer than the typical plastic-clad, affordably priced models for students and consumers, the x360 14 G1 is faster, more immersive, and longer-lasting on battery than nearly every other Chromebook out there.
But this luxury convertible has some downsides. The Chromebook x360 14 G1 is big, heavy, and has a very audible fan. The display and storage offerings are surprisingly limited. The tablet and tent modes don’t offer as much versatility as they should. Worst of all, this convertible’s price officially starts at $1,397 on HP’s site. The only other company that’s gutsy enough to sell a Chromebook this expensive is Google itself.
HP might have lost its nerve, though, because we’ve more recently seen the Chromebook x360 14 G1 discounted heavily—to $796.29 at this writing. That brings the sale price within range of its 2016-era predecessor, the HP Chromebook 13, which struck a good balance between premium specs and Chromebook affordability. At this lower price, the x360 14 G1 could be a viable option for a Chromebook power user—especially if your company is paying for it. For most Chromebook users, however, it’s overkill.
Solid design with a great keyboard
If not for the Chrome logo on the front cover, it would be easy to mistake the Chromebook x360 14 G1 for one of HP’s Spectre or Pavilion Windows laptops. With its all-aluminum wedge design, chrome-plated hinges and giant screen, the specs more closely resemble those of a high-end PC than your typical Chromebook. Here are the details:
Ports: Two USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C (5Gbps, Power Delivery + DisplayPort), One USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A (5Gbps), 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD, headphone/microphone combo,
Audio: Bang & Olufsen dual speakers
Dimensions: 12.81 x 8.93 x 0.63 inches
Weight: Starting at 3.7 pounds
As you can see from that list, HP has loaded it up with the kind of high-end PC parts you’d expect to see in a Windows 10 Pro machine, not a Chromebook. My review unit had an 8th-gen, quad-core Core i5 with 8GB of RAM, and you can upgrade to a eye-popping 1.9GHz Core i7 for an extra $794. Two thousand dollars is overkill for a notebook that can’t run desktop apps, but if you max out the x360 14 G1 you’ll have one of the fastest laptops around, Chromebook or otherwise.
One thing you can’t max out, however, is the storage. HP has opted for a a skimpy and penny-pinching 64GB eMMC drive for all configurations, with no customization options. That’s a bit of a head-scratcher for a machine that’s being positioned as a high-end laptop. Even the Pixelbook offers 128GB in its base model.
We have very few complaints about the exterior design, however, which is elegant as well as sturdy. The shiny chrome-plated hinges communicate quality, as does the chrome-plated rim around the giant trackpad. That trackpad was nicely responsive, heeding my taps and touches without hesitation, though it was a bit too clicky for my tastes. HP also certifies the Chromebook x360 14 G1 to meet MIL-STD 810G specs for drops, vibrations, shock, temperature extremes, dust, altitude, and humidity.
The backlit keyboard is particularly pleasant, with soft, springy keys that are even quieter than the ones on the Pixelbook. Switching between my MacBook (with its problematic Butterfly keyboard) and the x360 14 G1 was a night-and-day experience. If it weren’t so heavy, the x360 14 G1 would easily become my traveling Chromebook of choice for the keyboard alone.
The Chromebook x360 14 G1 runs into a snag when it tries to be a convertible. A Chromebook in tablet mode should offer some functionality or convenience benefits, and the x360 G1 doesn’t really offer either.
For starters, its size and weight make it unwieldy if you want to use it anywhere but on a desk. The tapered-wedge design of the chassis, which makes an elegant-looking laptop, creates a problem when you flip it around: The screen can’t lie flush against the back, so it never feels like it’s properly positioned. Coupled with the overall thickness, it’s consistently less comfortable to use as a tablet than a Pixelbook or a Samsung Chromebook Plus is.
Some of the tablet issues are out of HP’s hands. Tablet mode is still very much a work in progress for Chrome OS, though it’s improved a lot since it debuted in Chrome 70. Transitions are faster, navigation is clearer, and the optimized Android app selection is stronger. It still feels like a step down from any true tablet such as the Surface or iPad Pro, however.
HP also touts the ability to use the x360 G1 in “tent mode,” meaning you can open it partway and stand it up on a table. It’s definitely sturdy enough to get work done in this mode. However, because the x360 14 G1 doesn’t have pen support, there isn’t a ton you can do with it in tent mode other than watch movies at a slightly more comfortable angle. It might have been better if HP had just left the ‘360’ part out of its name and focused on the Chromebook part.
Dim and dull display
No matter which mode you use it in, however, the 14-inch, 1920×1080 LCD looks all too much like it belongs on a Chromebook. It isn’t nearly as crisp and vibrant as the Quad HD LCD in the Pixelbook or the 1440 x 900-pixel display in the 13-inch MacBook Air, even though both of those laptops cost hundreds of dollars less than the x360 G1’s original list price. Despite the display’s BrightView branding, it’s actually quite dim, maxing out at around 220 nits. Even with the slider all the way to the right, the x360 G1 always seemed muted.
One pleasant side effect of a less-than-stellar screen, however, is battery life. The x360 14 G1 lasted more than 13 hours in benchmarking tests and had absolutely no trouble getting through a day or two of work. Longevity is definitely the biggest bright spot of the x360 14 G1: It kept pace with the Pixelbook, which is no slouch itself, and basically lapped my 13-inch MacBook Pro.
Speed to spare
One problem the Chromebook x360 14 G1 doesn’t have is speed. In every benchmark I ran, the x360 14 G1 came out on top, in most cases by a significant margin. Let’s start with the Cr-XPRT performance benchmark, which measure the things you’re most likely to use our Chromebooks to do—namely web browsing and video playback—to generate an overall score. Here, the x360 14 G1 easily topped other Core i5 machines and more than doubled the result of the Celeron-based Lenovo 500e.
And finally, the all-important Speedometer test, which gauges responsiveness of web apps by simulating common tasks. The x360 14 G1 led the pack by more than 50 points. All in all, there was no close competitor to the x360 14 G1 in any of the tests I ran, and you’d have to look at an actual PC to find something comparable.
With all that power, however, comes fans—loud fans that whir early and often at the slightest CPU load. While the Google Pixelbook doesn’t make a peep, the Chromebook x360 24 G1’s fans are loud enough for both of them, spinning in short bursts and revving up even during even light browsing. It’s as distracting as any PC or Mac notebook I’ve used, especially when it quickly spun and stopped at startup, only to spin again when I opened an app. It was better when using it as a laptop—presumably due to heat distribution through the bottom vent—but the fans still were triggered by inexplicable actions, like pressing play on a YouTube video.
Should you buy an HP Chromebook x360 14 G1?
There’s no denying the Chromebook x360 14 G1’s tremendous speed. What is up for debate is whether you actually need it. No matter what type of work you do, you’ll be using web and mobile apps to do it, which kind of defeats the purpose of a quad-core processor. My two-year-old Pixelbook with a 7th-gen Core i5 is plenty powerful for my purposes. While demanding enterprise clients may be happy with the speed and battery life, the storage and display, not so much.
Even if someone in HP’s target audience catches the Chromebook x360 14 G1 during one of the numerous deals on hp.com, or opts for the cheaper 2.3GHz Pentium 4415U processor, I still think the money would be better spent elsewhere. The weight, size, and general display issues all make this machine less versatile than other Chromebooks are, removing one of the main reasons why people gravitate toward them.
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The core idea is deceptively simple: every observable phenomenon in the entire universe can be modeled by a neural network. And that means, by extension, the universe itself may be a neural network.
Vitaly Vanchurin, a professor of physics at the University of Minnesota Duluth, published an incredible paper last August entitled “The World as a Neural Network” on the arXiv pre-print server. It managed to slide past our notice until today when Futurism’s Victor Tangermann published an interview with Vanchurin discussing the paper.
The big idea
According to the paper:
We discuss a possibility that the entire universe on its most fundamental level is a neural network. We identify two different types of dynamical degrees of freedom: “trainable” variables (e.g. bias vector or weight matrix) and “hidden” variables (e.g. state vector of neurons).
At its most basic, Vanchurin’s work here attempts to explain away the gap between quantum and classical physics. We know that quantum physics does a great job of explaining what’s going on in the universe at very small scales. When we’re, for example, dealing with individual photons we can dabble with quantum mechanics at an observable, repeatable, measurable scale.
But when we start to pan out we’re forced to use classical physics to describe what’s happening because we sort of lose the thread when we make the transition from observable quantum phenomena to classical observations.
The root problem with sussing out a theory of everything – in this case, one that defines the very nature of the universe itself – is that it usually ends up replacing one proxy-for-god with another. Where theorists have posited everything from a divine creator to the idea we’re all living in a computer simulation, the two most enduring explanations for our universe are based on distinct interpretations of quantum mechanics. These are called the “many worlds” and “hidden variables” interpretations and they’re the ones Vanchurin attempts to reconcile with his “world as a neural network” theory.
To this end, Vanchurin concludes:
In this paper we discussed a possibility that the entire universe on its most fundamental level is a neural network. This is a very bold claim. We are not just saying that the artificial neural networks can be useful for analyzing physical systems or for discovering physical laws, we are saying that this is how the world around us actually works. With this respect it could be considered as a proposal for the theory of everything, and as such it should be easy to prove it wrong. All that is needed is to find a physical phenomenon which cannot be described by neural networks. Unfortunately (or fortunately) it is easier said than done.
Quick take: Vanchurin specifically says he’s not adding anything to the “many worlds” interpretation, but that’s where the most interesting philosophical implications lie (in this author’s humble opinion).
If Vanchurin’s work pans out in peer review, or at least leads to a greater scientific fixation on the idea of the universe as a fully-functioning neural network, then we’ll have a found a thread to pull on that could put us on the path to a successful theory of everything.
If we’re all nodes in a neural network, what’s the network’s purpose? Is the universe one giant, closed network or is it a single layer in a grander network? Or perhaps we’re just one of trillions of other universes connected to the same network. When we train our neural networks we run thousands or millions of cycles until the AI is properly “trained.” Are we just one of an innumerable number of training cycles for some larger-than-universal machine’s greater purpose?
As an innovative pioneer in the renewable energy industry, BLUETTI established its name in the off-grid power world with cutting edge, reliable power station product lineups. In addition to medium and small size portable power stations, they are also dedicated to research and development of high-power, large-capacity solar battery storage products.
In July 2020, Bluetti made the initial move to replace traditional gasoline generators with their ground breaking AC200. The AC200 features a 2000 watt rated inverter with 1700 watt hour battery capacity, a large array of outlets (including a ground breaking 25 amp 12 volt outlet) and up to 700W solar input with advanced built-in MPPT controller. The AC200 raised over US$6.8M on Indiegogo and changed the game in the portable power market immediately upon its release.
Upon crowdfunding completion, a follow up retail product the AC200P, with increased battery cycle life and LiFePO4 chemistry kept the legacy of AC200 while adding product improvement. The AC200P is loved by van-lifers, campers and RV travelers and people, those who are subject to frequent power outages. The AC200P has also been well received by those who want an integrated all in one solution to short or long term emergencies that result in the need for continued power supply for their homes.
6 months later, the BLUETTI Team is back with a brand new, finely engineered and crafted product with ground breaking capacity: The EP500
The EP500 contains a massive 5100 watt hour LiFePO4 battery pack that has more than 6000 charge cycles. The AC inverter is rated for 2000 watts of continuous output power with a surge capacity of 4800 watts. This inverter appears to be the same high quality and reliable unit being used on the highly successful AC200P.
The EP500’s elegant, minimalist design with massive capacity reminds us of the first-generation of Tesla’s Powerwall. With the four smooth rolling transport wheels, the EP500 is not meant to be large solar battery mounted on the wall or garage. The BLUETTI EP500 is designed to be a” no Installation needed”, plug and play product that can easily be moved to the desired location when needed.
Whether you use it as a seamless UPS home backup, or as an off-grid emergency power supply, all that is required is a press of the power button followed by activating the AC/DC switches and connecting the appliance(s) you want to power.
Compared to the long installation lead times of energy giants like Tesla or Sonnen, which take months or more than a year to make an appointment to install, the no-installation-needed BLUETTI EP500 is a game-changer in the large capacity solar battery market.
The rated AC inverter output power of 2000 continuous watts is high, but certainly not enough to power all of your electrical appliances. As an emergency energy storage power for the whole family, Bluetti has an option to double the AC output. For higher power loads, Bluetti is releasing its own “Fusion Panel terminal board”. With this accessory board, users can connect two EP500s in series, to double the rated 4000 watt power output. The Fusion board will also will also offer the option of 220/240 volt output to power 220 volt appliances. The high power output means you can now run your home air conditioner, clothes dryer, in-wall Electric Heater and other high power appliances with ease. No need to worry about power outages on a hot summer nights or cold, bitter winters anymore.
To monitor and operate remotely, the BLUETTI EP500 now supports remote App With their exclusive B-Lynk connection technology, you can easily monitor your EP500’s status and adjust settings it whether it is near you or a thousand miles away. No more having to walk to a unit to determine remaining battery or inverter capacity.
Equipped with the highest-capacity battery pack ever in the BLUETTI lineup, the EP500 also features powerful solar charging capability with up to 1200 watts input through its built in MPPT input. With prime sunlight, it takes only 5 hours to fully charge with solar input alone. The EP500 can be also charged at 600 watts input through and AC wall outlets. A built-in AC adapter is included so you can charge it with only a single AC power cable without needing a separate heavy power brick.
Still want faster charging? This class leading unit can be recharged at up to 1800 watts (1200W+600W) by using the two input ports simultaneously. Charging using both ports at the same time results in fully charged batteries in only 3 hours.
Last, but not least, except for the detailed specs and a explanation of new functions, there are two more questions that many people will be concerned about: How long can I operate my items and how does the after-sales services function for the BLUETTI products?
According to official information released, the EP500 is shipped with BLUETTI’s exclusive customized, long life LiFePO4 battery cells. The self-developed battery management system including the battery pack has a maximum 6000+ charge cycles. According to the average household electricity consumption of 3kWh per day, the BLUETTI EP500 can achieve up to 40 years of theoretical service life without using any grid energy! In addition, BLUETTI also provides a 5-year warranty and lifetime technical support for this market leading EP500. From what we can tell with current consumers’ feedback, BLUETTI is trustworthy in terms of after-sales service and support.
The pre-order for EP500 will begin on the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter at 6:00 AM PDT, March 15th. It is estimated that the price for super early bird perks will be lower than $3000.
No matter which side you’re on, there’s no denying that the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Galaxy Note 10+ are amazing. With giant screens, cutting-edge cameras, and gorgeous designs, they just might be the best phones ever made, and they’ve got sky-high price tags to match. So before you plunk down four figures for the pleasure of owning one, you should know which one is right for you. We’ve broken it down feature by feature below.
iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Design
It’s been only two years since Apple unveiled the iPhone X to much fanfare, dumping the home button and ushering in a whole new design language for the iPhone. It’s not bad that Apple has decided to stick with it for another year, and the 11 Pro offers some fresh ideas like its square camera array and single-glass construction. But after a slew of notched copycats, the language is already starting to feel a little stale.
Samsung, on the other hand, has introduced a stunning new design with the Galaxy Note 10+. The top and bottom bezels have been slimmed dramatically, to the point where the camera won’t even fit. So now there’s a small hole in the top of the screen (which looks a lot better than it sounds), and the whole package is actually as compact as the Note 9, despite having nearly a half-inch more screen. Winner: Galaxy Note 10+
iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Size
If you like big phones, you’ll love either of these handsets. With a 6.5-inch screen on the iPhone 11 Pro Max and a 6.7-inch display on the Note 10+, neither is very conducive to one-handed operation:
iPhone 11 Pro Max: 77.8 x 158 x 8.1mm
Galaxy Note 10+: 77.2 x 162.3 x 7.9mm
While they look extremely similar on paper, however, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is a bit easier to hold. The 5mm reduction in height, as well as its “flat” design, stands in surprising contrast to the Note 10+’s infinity screen and ultra-tall body. Winner: iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Display
This one’s as close to a toss-up as you’re going to get. Because Samsung is supplying the display for both the Note 10+ and the iPhone, you’d need a microscope to see any difference between them.
But Samsung does a better job of going beyond the pixels with the Note 10+. Not only do you get precise control over the color temperature, you can also adjust the resolution from Quad HD to Full HD. With Apple, what you see is what you get—but to be fair, the calibration is usually pretty perfect. Winner: Tie
iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Performance
Both phones offer extremely fast and powerful processors. The Galaxy Note 10+ brings the Snapdragon 855, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max is powered by the brand-new A13 Bionic. Both processors are built using a 7nm process for extreme power efficiency, and they both have a neural engine on board for AI-related tasks.
As far as speeds go, Apple didn’t divulge how much faster the A13 is, other than to say it’s “the fastest CPU and GPU in a smartphone.” Considering the A12 Bionic outpaced the Snapdragon 855, that’s believable, but speed certainly won’t be an issue with either of these phones. Winner: iPhone 11 Pro Max (on paper)
iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Cameras
Here’s where things start to get interesting. Both phones feature three main cameras, with the Note 10+ adding a fourth time-of-flight sensor for depth perception.
iPhone 11 Pro Max
Camera 1: 12MP wide, f/1.8, OIS
Camera 2: 12MP telephoto, f/2.0, OIS, 2x optical zoom
Camera 3: 12MP ultra wide, f/2.4, 120-degree FOV
Galaxy Note 10+
Camera 1: 16MP ultra wide, f/2.2
Camera 2: 12MP Wide, f/1.5-f/2.4
Camera 3: 12MP Telephoto, f/2.1
While the camera array is similar on each phone, the way they work isn’t. Apple puts greater emphasis on its ultra-wide lens, snapping simultaneous photos with it and the wide lens so you can choose your favorite. There’s also a new night mode on both phones, which wasn’t so successful in our testing of the Note 10+, and some fancy HDR processing. We’ll have to wait until we can properly test the iPhone 11 to declare a winner, but you can bet that both phones will take great pics. Winner: TBD
iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Battery/Charging
You’ll be able to fast-charge both phones using the supplied power adapter, but the Note 10+ has a trick up its sleeve that the iPhone 11 Pro doesn’t: 45W Superfast charging. With a compatible charger, you can charge your Note faster than any other phone you can buy. That probably won’t mean much in your day-to-day charging patterns, but if you’re pressed for time and need to grab as much juice as possible, the Note 10+’s charging capabilities will be a life-saver.
Another difference between the phones is wireless. Or rather, reverse wireless charging. While you can pop either phone on a Qi charger to fill it up, only the Note 10+ can double as its own charging pad. That’s good for charging Galaxy Buds or your buddy’s iPhone 11 Pro Max. Or not–that’s up to you. Winner: Galaxy Note 10+
iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Stylus
The Note 10’s reason for being has basically always been the on-board S Pen, and the Note 10+ drives that point home. Not only does the S Pen take notes on the screen, you can also use it to draw in the air thanks to AR Doodles, and use it as a remote for the camera, music player, and other apps. On the other hand, rumors that the iPhone 11 Pro Max would get Apple Pencil support turned out to be false—you still need to use your fingers to do everything. Winner: Galaxy Note 10+
iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Sound
For years, Samsung lorded its headphone jack over dongle-using iPhone users, but that advantage is no more. The Note 10+ has banished the headphone jack and, like the iPhone 11 Pro Max, it doesn’t even come with an adapter in the box. It does offer a pair of decent USB-C headphones.
There’s no visible speaker at the top of the Note 10+, but it does provide Dolby Atmos stereo sound by using the display as a sound driver. The iPhone 11 Pro Max also supports Dolby Atmos, but with a more conventional (and visible) speaker inside the notch. Additionally, you get spatial surround sound with the iPhone 11 Pro Max that mimics 360-degree sound. All in all, it’s very close, no matter how or what you’re listening to. Winner: Tie
iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Biometrics
Like the XS that came before it, the iPhone 11 Pro Max uses Face ID as its only biometric security feature. Samsung is sticking with the fingerprint sensor, though it’s been moved from the back of the device to the front, inside the display. While I had far fewer issues with it on the Note 10+ than I did with the Galaxy S10+, it’s still not ideal and pales in comparison to 3D facial recognition. Winner: iPhone 11 Pro Max
iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Colors
Each phone comes in a selection of four colors. The iPhone 11 Pro is available in Space Gray, Silver, Gold, and a new dark green called Midnight Green. The Note 10+ has Aura Black, Aura White, Aura Blue, and a new Aura Glow whose color changes based on how the light shines on it. We know you’ll probably put a case on whichever one you buy anyway (we’ve already picked some of the best Note 10/Note 10+ cases available), but we can’t stop looking at our Note 10+. Winner: Galaxy Note 10+
iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 10+: Conclusion
While both of these phones are very expensive, you can be assured that you’re getting the best of the best each platform has to offer. Based on the list here, the Note 10+ edges out the iPhone 11 Pro Max on the strength of its features (though I really miss the headphone jack), but it’s hard to argue with either choice. If someone handed me $1,100 and made me choose between them, I’d probably pick the iPhone 11 Pro Max on the strength of the camera. Without testing it yet, it’s hard to say for sure. But Apple’s track record gets the nod.
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Two giant radio galaxies have been discovered with South Africa’s powerful MeerKAT telescope, located in the Karoo region, a semi-arid area in the southwest of the country. Radio galaxies get their name from the fact that they release huge beams, or ‘jets’, of radio light. These happen through the interaction between charged particles and strong magnetic fields related to supermassive black holes at the galaxies’ hearts.
These giant galaxies are much bigger than most of the others in the Universe and are thought to be quite rare. Although millions of radio galaxies are known to exist, only around 800 giants have been found. This population of galaxies was previously hidden from us by radio telescopes’ limitations. But the MeerKAT has allowed new discoveries because it can detect faint, diffuse light which previous telescopes were unable to do.
Our discovery, published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, gives astronomers further clues about how galaxies have changed and evolved throughout cosmic history. It’s also a way to understand how galaxies may continue to change and evolve – and even to work out how old radio galaxies can get.
The giant radio galaxies were spotted in new radio maps of the sky created by one of the most advanced surveys of distant galaxies. The team working on it has included astronomers from around the world including South Africa, the UK, Italy, and Australia. Called the International Gigahertz Tiered Extragalactic Exploration (MIGHTEE) survey, it involves data collected by South Africa’s impressive MeerKAT radio telescope. MeerKAT consists of 64 antennae and dishes and started collecting science data in early 2018. It will ultimately be incorporated into the Square Kilometer Array, an intergovernmental radio telescope project spearheaded by Australia and South Africa.
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The galaxies in question are several billion light-years away. The discovery of enormous jets and lobes in the MIGHTEE map allowed us to confidently identify the objects as giant radio galaxies.
Their discovery means that a clearer understanding of the evolutionary pathways of galaxies is beginning to emerge. This is tantalizing evidence that a large population of faint, very extended giant radio galaxies may exist. This may help us understand how radio galaxies become so huge and what sort of havoc supermassive black holes can wreak on their galaxies.
Many galaxies have supermassive black holes in their midst. When large amounts of interstellar gas start to orbit and fall into the black hole, the black hole becomes ‘active’: huge amounts of energy are released from this region of the galaxy.
In some active galaxies, charged particles interact with the strong magnetic fields near the black hole and release huge beams, or ‘jets,’ of radio light. The radio jets of these so-called ‘radio galaxies’ can be many times larger than the galaxy itself and can extend vast distances into intergalactic space. Think of them like jets of water from a whale’s blowhole, a thin column extending into a cloudy plume at the end.
We found these giant radio galaxies in a region of sky that’s about four times the area of the full Moon. Based on what we currently know about the density of giant radio galaxies in the sky, the probability of finding two of them in a region this size is extremely small – only 0.0003%. So, it’s possible that giant radio galaxies – those that emit the beams, or jets of light described above – may actually be more common than we previously thought.
These aren’t the first radio galaxies astronomers have discovered. Many hundreds of thousands have already been identified. But only around 800 have radio jets bigger than 700 kilo-parsecs in size, or around 22 times the size of the Milky Way. These truly enormous systems are called ‘giant radio galaxies’.
Our new discoveries are more than 2 Mega-parsecs across: about 6.5 million light years or about 62 times the size of the Milky Way. Yet they are fainter than others of the same size. That’s what makes them harder to see.
We suspect that many more galaxies like these should exist, because of the way we think galaxies should grow and change over their lifetimes. And that’s one question we hope this discovery can help to answer: how old are giant radio galaxies and how did they get so enormous?
Now, telescope technology is making it possible to put these and other theories to the test. MeerKAT is the best of its kind in the world because of the telescope’s unprecedented sensitivity to faint and diffuse radio light. This capability is what made it possible for us to detect the giant radio galaxies. We could see features that haven’t been noticed before: large-scale radio jets coming from the central galaxies, as well as fuzzy cloud-like lobes at the end of the jets.
The fact that only very few radio galaxies are so gigantic has always been a bit of a mystery. It is thought that the giants are the oldest radio galaxies, which have existed for long enough (several hundred million years) for their radio jets to grow outwards to these enormous sizes. If this is true, then many more giant radio galaxies should exist than are currently known. And that’s important because radio jets can influence the star formation of their host galaxy. Essentially, they might ‘kill’ their galaxy by blowing out all the gas and preventing the formation of new stars.
The MIGHTEE survey continues, and we hope to uncover more of these giant galaxies as it progresses. We also expect to find many more with the Square Kilometer Array: construction of this transcontinental telescope is due to start in South Africa and Australia in 2021 and continue until 2027. Science commissioning observations could begin as early as 2023.
The Square Kilometer Array is also expected to reveal larger populations of radio galaxies, revolutionizing our understanding of galaxy evolution.