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Computing

Best Gaming PC Cyber Monday Deals 2021 — What’s Still Available

Cyber Monday is over, but if you know where to look, some PC Cyber Monday deals are still live. There’s no reason not to buy now if you’re planning to upgrade to a new battle station before the year’s end — the best Cyber Monday deals we’ve seen today are selling out, so you don’t have much time left to score some fantastic Cyber Monday gaming deals on powerful desktop rigs from Alienware, HP, Lenovo, and other top brands. Also bear in mind that computer chip shortages and supply chain issues are making this holiday shopping season tougher than usual, so there’s not a minute to waste. We’ve already rounded up all the best gaming PC Cyber Monday deals that are left so you can jump in right away.

Best Cyber Monday gaming PC deals 2021

  • HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop — $600, was $800
  • Alienware Aurora R10 Gaming Desktop — $800, was $1,130
  • Lenovo Legion 5i Gaming Desktop — $900, was $1,000
  • iBuyPower SlateMR Gaming Desktop — $1,050, was $1,150

HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop — $600, was $800

Why buy:

  • Good specifications for the price
  • Stylish look
  • Comes with keyboard and mouse
  • Dependable brand

For an inexpensive gaming desktop, the HP Pavilion covers many of the bases you need from a good system. It has an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of memory, plus 256GB of solid-state drive storage. The latter is particularly useful for loading games quickly, in contrast to older, slower platter-based hard drives. That’s also enough room for installing the games you’re playing now, along with a few of your old favorites. Alongside that is the most important part of a gaming PC: The graphics card. It has an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1650 Super GPU, which is capable of handling many of the latest games without a problem. It’s just what you need to be able to play games for less than a full gaming rig while still seeing the delights of great graphics on your favorite titles.

Alongside all that is a pretty stylish case. It has plenty of ports, including numerous USB ports. There’s also both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, so you get the best connection possible. The tower comes with a keyboard and mouse, although you probably want to upgrade those to something better in the future. For a great way to get into PC gaming, the HP Pavilion is a perfect starting point. It has everything you need at a great price.

Alienware Aurora R10 Gaming Desktop — $800, was $1,130

Alienware Aurora R10 Gaming Desktop 2

Why buy:

  • High-end performance for less
  • Excellent specs for 1080p gaming
  • Stylish tower design
  • Great cooling features

This Alienware PC is easily one of the best gaming desktops out there right now. It offers solid specifications placed within a super stylish case that is sure to delight gamers keen to get their aesthetic just right. Those specs include a snappy Ryzen 5 processor, 8GB of memory, a 512GB SSD for storage, and an AMD Radeon RX 5300 graphics card. Combined, it’s a fantastic system for playing the latest games at good settings. Just add a gaming monitor, and you’re good to go.

The Alienware Aurora desktop has been designed to get the most out of the processor’s six cores. It’s capable of speeds of up to 4.6GHz across all eight cores without needing to overclock, but it nonetheless offers solid overclocking capabilities for the tinkerers out there. That’s all helped by a thermally efficient cooling design so nothing slows down because of heat issues. Not sure what that all means? Don’t sweat it. It simply means everything is going to run even faster than you’d expect. This is the gaming desktop to beat most other gaming desktops, and it’s just what the avid player could dream of, ensuring they can enjoy games for many years to come.

Lenovo Legion 5i Gaming Desktop — $900, was $1,000

Lenovo Legion 5i Gaming Desktop on a white background.

Why buy:

  • Fast performance
  • Stylish tower design
  • Extensive hard drive space
  • Possibly the best sub-$1,000 GPU

The Lenovo Legion 5i gaming desktop looks fantastic. It features a case that is stylish and well-designed for thermal performance. Underneath the hood is a surprisingly potent set of specs too, ensuring you can play all your favorite games with a minimum of bother. With whisper-quiet performance, you won’t have to worry about noisy fans disrupting your time enjoying playing a game, either.

The Legion gaming desktop offers an 11th-gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of memory, plus an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1660 Super GPU. That’s a great set of specs for the price, whatever way you look at it, but the potential highlight comes from storage space. The desktop has a 256GB SSD plus a 1TB HDD, giving you tons of storage for your games. It’s plenty of room to install your favorite titles without having to worry about running out of space any time soon.

You can even back up crucial files across both drives to keep extra safe and secure. It’s also possible to connect a second monitor, which is sure to be useful for those potent gaming sessions or simply when you want more screen space while you work. This system is capable of handling that and much more, and it’s a solid value for less than a grand.

iBuyPower SlateMR Gaming Desktop — $1,050, was $1,150

iBuyPower SlateMR gaming PC with mouse and keyboard.

Why buy:

  • All the convenience of a desktop
  • Great price
  • Useful for work and play
  • Configuration options if you want to use them

The iBuyPower SlateMR PC is a great way of ensuring you get all the benefits of a desktop setup with plenty of great gaming potential. Sleek and stylish, it’ll fit under your desk without any bother and looks pretty great, too. Under the hood, though, is everything you could need from a gaming setup, ensuring you can use it just as well for work and pleasure, giving you plenty of flexibility.

It’ll easily slide into your classy home space without looking too gamer-ish, while still offering all you could need. For the price, you get an AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 16GB of memory, and 480GB of SSD storage, plus an Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card with 6GB of VRAM.

The beauty behind this desktop is that it’s possible to extensively customize your setup for a price by adding new hardware. The specs are plenty good enough for most gamers as they are, though, with around $1,000 buying you a lot of hardware. If portability isn’t important to you, then this is an ideal desktop setup. All you need to do is pair it with a monitor or use an existing monitor or TV, and you’re able to enjoy playing all the latest titles at a high speed.

Also available

  • iBuyPower Slate MR Gaming Desktop (Ryzen 7, 16GB RAM, Radeon RX 6600 XT): $1,200, was $1,350 — VIEW DEAL
  • CyberPowerPC Gamer Xtreme Gaming Desktop (Core i5, 16GB RAM, RTX 3060): $1,200, was $1,370 — VIEW DEAL
We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

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Computing

Best Cyber Monday MacBook Deals 2021: What’s Still Available

Cyber Monday is over for another whole year, but there are still some sparse Cyber Monday MacBook deals available. That means that shoppers who are still looking to save on a 2020 MacBook Air or MacBook Pro with the superb M1 CPU should act fast. The good news is that we’ve already rounded up the best Cyber Monday deals going on with these Apple laptops at the moment to spare you some time, but if you’re not set on a MacOS machine, we’ve cast a wider net to round up all the top Cyber Monday laptop deals you can shop today as well. If it’s a Mac you want, read on to see the best Cyber Monday MacBook deals you can buy right now.

Best Cyber Monday MacBook deals

  • 2020 MacBook Air (M1 CPU, 256GB) — $900, was $999
  • 2020 MacBook Pro (M1 CPU, 256GB) — $1,199, was $1,299

2020 MacBook Air (M1 CPU, 256GB) — $900, was $999

Why buy:

  • Lightweight design
  • Great battery life
  • Powerful processor
  • Plenty of storage

The 2020 MacBook Air is effectively the Mac starter kit, and we mean that in a good way. Well-priced and with plenty to love, it’s ideal if you’re new to Macs or simply looking to upgrade from an existing Mac system. With a great keyboard, excellent build quality, and far superior performance than past models, it’s a great choice even if it’s not quite the latest MacBook Air anymore. Our MacBook Air buying guide lays out everything you need to know about picking out a MacBook Air, but we also have a breakdown of other things you need to know before buying one of the best MacBooks.

In the case of this MacBook Air, you get the Apple M1 processor, which provides superior performance compared to Intel-based MacBooks. This also means you get to reap the benefit of better battery management, as this laptop will last you up to 18 hours. That means there’s no need to find a power source throughout the working day and beyond for most users. You’d think that would mean inferior speed, but the M1 chip delivers up to 3.5x faster performance than the previous generation of MacBook Airs. Somehow, it does all that with a fanless design that lets it run super quietly while still remaining very cool.

The benefits of the 2020 MacBook Air don’t stop there, either. You also get a stunning 13.3-inch Retina display that looks fantastic. Text is sharp and clear, while colors look incredibly vibrant. It’s the kind of experience that will make you question how you put up with regular HD screens till now. You also get a convenient FaceTime HD camera, Touch ID support — so you can log in easily with a touch of your finger — and a backlit keyboard. Everything about the MacBook Air is attractively designed, so it’s a really stylish system that’s ideal for working, studying, or simply relaxing at home.

2020 MacBook Pro (M1 CPU, 256GB) — $1,199, was $1,299

The M1-powered MacBook Pro on a coffee table.

Why buy:

  • Fast performance
  • Sleek design
  • Great screen
  • Extensive battery life

The 2020 MacBook Pro 13-inch M1 is a delightful MacBook to use. It offers fantastic performance, equally exceptional battery life, a gorgeous display, great speakers, and a comfortable keyboard. It’s the kind of device that you’ll wonder how you lived without, but make sure to look through our MacBook Pro 13 buying guide, so you know what to expect. Best of all, it should last you a number of years, as is often the case with most MacBook systems.

At its heart, the MacBook Pro has an Apple-designed M1 chip that represents a huge leap in performance for Apple systems. Its 8-core CPU delivers up to 2.8 times faster performance than previous generations of the MacBook Pro. Its GPU provides up to five times faster graphics, making it ideal for video editing, photo editing, and even some light gaming. Combined with that is a 16-core Neural Engine that provides advanced machine learning for all-around superior performance. Despite all that power, you somehow still get to enjoy up to 20 hours of battery life — the longest ever seen on a Mac laptop. It’s the kind of battery life that means you’re likely to not need to recharge it for a couple of days at a time, which is sure to be useful.

The MacBook Pro continues to be smart and convenient. It has a good amount of storage — 512GB to be exact — along with 8GB of memory, so it can multitask pretty well. Its 13.3-inch Retina display is predictably gorgeous. With 500 nits of brightness, you’re guaranteed vibrant colors and incredible image detail. It’s a real game-changer, especially if you plan on doing a lot of creative work on the system. There’s also a FaceTime HD camera for taking video calls for work or pleasure. Even the MacBook Pro’s keyboard feels great and is comfortable to tap on for extended periods of time. It also includes a Touch Bar at the top of the keyboard for personalized interactions with specific apps. Simply put, everything about the MacBook Pro is incredibly convenient and simple to use. It’s just what you need for both work and fun.

Also available

  • 2020 MacBook Pro (M1 CPU, 512GB): $1,250 at checkout, was $1,499 — VIEW DEAL
We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

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Game

Rockstar offline: What’s wrong with the GTA Trilogy on PC?

It’s been a weird 24 hours for those who purchased Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition on PC. The game launched yesterday on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PC, and Nintendo Switch, but it wasn’t long before Rockstar pulled the game from sale on PC and disabled the Rockstar Games Launcher on the platform. With long periods of silence from Rockstar, it’s been difficult to figure out just what is happening – or when the trilogy will return.

The case of the vanishing GTA games

If you head over to the Rockstar website at the moment, you’ll see that the PC version of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is no longer up for sale. It was removed entirely from Rockstar’s store shortly after it launched yesterday, and it’s been unobtainable since then. Rockstar so far has given no reason for pulling the PC version from sale, and we have no idea when it might be available again.

The Rockstar Games Launcher has been down for much of the last day as well. The Rockstar Games Launcher is the only way to play Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition on PC, so those who managed to purchase the PC version before it was removed from sale can’t even play it.

The Rockstar Support Twitter account first notified users that it was taking the Rockstar Games Launcher offline for “maintenance” around 20 hours ago. In the time since then, it has only posted one update thanking fans for their patience as Rockstar works to restore service. For now, we have no idea when the Rockstar Games Launcher and the PC titles that need it will be functional again.

A far-reaching problem

More titles beyond Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition are impacted by the Rockstar Games Launcher being taken offline. Obviously, players can’t access any PC games they purchased directly through Rockstar while the Launcher is offline, but it gets even worse than that. As Kotaku points out, certain Rockstar games available through Steam require the Launcher as well – notably Red Dead Redemption 2 and GTA Online – meaning those have been inaccessible all this time, too.

It’s hard to get a handle on what’s going on here simply because Rockstar has been so quiet. Even if the Rockstar Games Launcher requires a full day of maintenance – which is strange but not unheard of – why was the PC version of the GTA Trilogy delisted from Rockstar’s website? Is the game going to be relisted once this maintenance with the Rockstar Games Launcher is over?

So far, it seems the fan reactions to the GTA trilogy have been mixed at best. The compilation offers remasters of three PS2-era Grand Theft Auto titles: GTA III, GTA: Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas, though some fans have taken to social media to express their frustration with the apparent quality of the remasters. Perhaps the PC version was delisted in response to those criticisms? We’ll have to wait for Rockstar to provide an update and clarify the matter. Assuming it does so, we’ll let you know what the company says.



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Computing

More Black Friday Deals Just Landed at Walmart — What’s New

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Walmart Black Friday deals are here and looking pretty wonderful for anyone looking to find a bargain. Whether you’re after a new printer, new earphones, a better way to clean up your home courtesy of a robot vacuum, or simply a laptop, we’ve got you covered with some of the best Black Friday deals going on right now. Read on while we take you through the highlights.

Canon Pixma MG2522 Printer — $29, was $40

The Canon Pixma MG2522 Printer is one of the best all-in-one printers at this price. With over $10 off, it’s a perfect printer for basic home printing needs as well as offering the ability to copy and scan documents. Able to hold up to 60 sheets of plain paper, it’s able to print at up to 8 pages per minute in black or 4 pages per minute color. It even supports XL ink cartridges so you don’t need to replace it as often. It’s the ideal printer for the home environment while still offering some extra features you may not have considered — and one of the best Black Friday printer deals we’ve found so far.

Apple AirPods with Charging Case — $89, was $119

Apple Air Pods 2nd generation with wireless charging case on a white background.

These Apple AirPods might be the older form of AirPods but they’re still great, especially with $30 off the usual price. For the money, you can benefit from the Apple H1 headphone chip which means less chance of dropouts and all-around better performance. The AirPods offer near-instant pairing with all your Apple products and speedy access to Siri any time you need it. With a wireless charging case, you can benefit from being able to recharge by simply placing it on a charging pad. Expect about five hours of battery life from the earbuds and up to 24 hours via the charging case. Convenience oozes out of these earbuds, being just one of the great Black Friday AirPods deals we’re seeing right now.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 — $139, was $230

Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 Tablet black and grey home screen on a white background brick wall

As far as Black Friday tablet deals go, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A7 is a pretty stylish option that’s ideal for streaming your favorite content while on the move. Best of all, it’s over $90 off right now. The tablet offers a great 10.4-inch ultra-widescreen display which is perfect for watching all your favorite shows while you’re on the move. Whether you’re on your daily commute or relaxing at home, this is a great screen to watch. That’s further helped by its Dolby Atmos surround speakers that enhance the sound quality of what you’re listening to. Quad speakers mean it sounds great. Powerful processing speeds and 32GB of storage means it’s good for when you need to be productive too.

Arlo Essential Spotlight Wireless Security Camera – 3 pack — $199, was $340

Arlo Essential Spotlight on a white background.

Wondering whether to go with the Arlo Pro 3 or Arlo Essential Spotlight? At $140 off right now, the Arlo Essential Spotlight just got even more tempting with a 3-pack down to just $199. The pack of security cameras offers 1080p video with color night vision possible. With a fast, wireless setup, your home can be safe in no time. You can even trigger an integrated spotlight or siren to ward off any threats, either automatically or via the Arlo app. Six-month battery life from one charge means these are wonderfully low maintenance too. There’s even two-way audio when you need to speak to someone at your door. There are plenty of other Black Friday security camera deals you might want to check out too.

HP 15.6-inch Laptop — $279, was $399

HP 15.6-inch laptop on a white background.

Black Friday laptop deals are always pretty great as demonstrated by this HP 15.6-inch laptop. From one of the best laptop brands, it has everything you could need at this price. That includes an Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB of memory, plus 256GB of SSD storage. A 15.6-inch display means it looks great too for when you need some extra space to spread out your windows. With up to eight hours of battery life and fast charge functionality that brings it back up to 50% in just 45 minutes, the laptop is ideal for all your productivity needs.

Shark EZ Robot Vacuum — $288, was $499

Shark EZ Robot Vacuum on a white background.

Black Friday robot vacuum deals are always worth checking out as a robot vacuum can save you plenty of time and effort at home. That’s certainly the case with this Shark EZ Robot Vacuum. It’s so smart that it can even automatically empty itself saving you even more work. It can hold multiple sessions worth of dirt and debris so there’s no need for you to do more than use its app or voice controls to instruct it what to do. With powerful suction, it can tackle large and small debris, as well as pet hair, even on hard floors alongside carpets.

Dyson V8 Fluffy Cordless Vacuum — $300, was $400

Dyson V8 Fluffy on a white background.

If you want a regular vacuum, this Dyson V8 Fluffy Cordless Vacuum will help you out a ton. It’s lightweight and versatile offering up to 40 minutes of fade-free power so it should cover most apartments pretty well. With a powerful engine, it can quickly transform into a handheld vacuum cleaner proving ideal for cars and hardwood floors. A soft roller cleaner means it’s gentle on hard floors too so you won’t have to worry about scratches. It has handle controls, height adjustments, and a telescopic handle so it’s really comfortable to use.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.

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Game

Animal Crossing Version 2.0 update surprise: Here’s what’s inside

Animal Crossing: New Horizons fans have received a rather pleasant surprise, as the game’s version 2.0 update has gone live a little bit early. Initially, we expected the version 2.0 update to go live on Friday, November 5th, alongside the Happy Home Paradise DLC. While it seems we still have to wait until Friday for the DLC to land, the version 2.0 update is available now and ready to be played.

What’s included in Animal Crossing: New Horizons version 2.0

While the Happy Home Paradise expansion is paid DLC, the version 2.0 update is not and is free to everyone who owns Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Perhaps the most significant addition in the update is Brewster, who will open a cafe called The Roost in the museum after players complete a task for Blathers. Players can join island residents and friends in the cafe for some coffee, and they can even use amiibo cards to summon coffee drinking companions as well.

Brewster isn’t the only returning character in this update, as Kapp’n will be making a return as well. He’ll ship players off to new islands that may be home to unique flora or islands in the midst of different seasons. Essentially, it sounds like Kapp’n could be a good way to obtain items that wouldn’t usually be available on home islands.

Gyroids are also making their return with this update, and players will be able to dig them up just like they do fossils. Gyroids can be discovered buried in the ground after rain showers, or players can bury gyroid fragments that grow into full gyroids overnight. As in previous Animal Crossing games, gyroids will make various sounds when placed, and they’ll react to music as well. They can even be customized this time around to match the design of the room they’re placed in.

With this update, Harv’s Island is also getting some renovations as players will be able to contribute bells to turn the island into an open-air market featuring shops from numerous peddlers. Cooking has also been added to New Horizons with this update, and players will be able to grow a variety of vegetables to help further their cooking ambitions.

So, even though the Happy Home Paradise DLC packs a lot of content, this update is no slouch either. You can check out the video we’ve embedded above for details on everything included in this update.

A surprise release or a mistake?

Interestingly enough, there seems to be no official confirmation from Nintendo that this update is indeed live. The page that catalogs all of the Animal Crossing: New Horizons updates on the Nintendo support site hasn’t been updated at the time of this writing and instead shows the most recent version as 1.11.1. Likewise, neither the Nintendo of America nor the official Animal Crossing Twitter accounts have made any mention of this update.

The radio silence from Nintendo has left us wondering if this surprise release was actually a planned one or if it was a mistake. If it was a mistake, it’s unlikely that Nintendo would confirm it, so we’ll likely never know what the truth is; we’d just assume there would be a little more fanfare trailing this launch.

In any case, our Switches confirm that the update is live, and while it was automatically downloaded for us, you may need to manually update Animal Crossing: New Horizons to get it. Doing so is easy – simply highlight Animal Crossing: New Horizons in your Switch library, press the “+” button, and then select “Software Update.” We’ll let you know when the Happy Home Paradise DLC is live, but while we wait, New Horizons players can dive into the new update and see what it has to offer.

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Game

What’s New in Battlefield 2042

Players have mixed reviews about the Battlefield 2042 open beta. While some were impressed by several of the game’s new features, others were left feeling cheated, as if they were expecting something more groundbreaking. The Battlefield Community Manager took to Twitter, explaining that the beta we all played was a “few months old” and the team is already addressing several reported issues. With rumors of a March release put to bed, Battlefield 2042 will release on November 19. After playing the beta for four straight days (thanks to preorder early access), here’s everything new in Battlefield 2042 and our thoughts on each.

Attachment swapping — like

Battlefield 2042‘s attachment-swapping mechanic was one of the most-anticipated editions featured in the gameplay trailer. Instead of swapping out new attachments before your spawn, players can swap their barrel, optic, ammo type, and under-barrel attachments at any time.

Swapping attachments at any time adds an exciting layer of strategy between gunfights. You may elect for long-rang optimization while moving between objectives while outfitting your weapons for close-quarters combat upon arrival.

Using the face buttons (X, Square, Triangle, and Circle on PlayStation) to swap attachments feels like memorizing a series of button commands for your ideal weapon based on the situation. What’s even better is the ability to swap under fire. Previously, we imagined attachment swapping was something you could only do outside of combat, per the elevator scene in the gameplay trailer. While swapping out under-barrel attachments mid-gunfight feels a bit unrealistic, we aren’t complaining.

However, there are a few things that need tweaking with this mechanic. We noticed several inconsistencies with saving attachments. Our M5A3s maintained the same attachments between lives, but our AKs reset after every death. However, upon starting a new game, all of our attachments reset to the default settings. A minor issue, yes, but still a nuisance.

It was also difficult to tell how attachments were affecting our weapons. The number-coded bars in the bottom-left corner of the screen would be better off adopting the color-coded/percentage systems we’re accustomed to in Call of Duty. The attachment UI could benefit from a more user-friendly overhaul, making it easier to see what attachments you’re using and how they’re affecting your weapon.

Specialists — indifferent

Specialist deploys their wing suit in Battlefield 2042.

We love the fact that any Specialist can use any weapon in Battlefield 2042. Who said medics couldn’t run around with snipers and assault rifles? However, the four available Specialists felt lackluster. Other than Webster’s Grappling Hook, we found little-to-no use for Falck’s Healing Syringe, Boris’ Sentry Turret, or Casper’s Recon Drone. All three of these gadgets did come in handy at one point or another. However, they never felt consistent or that our survival and the survival of our team were dependent upon them. Let’s dive deeper into each.

Falck’s S21 Syrette Pistol heals allies and damages enemies. However, in the heat of combat, we never found ourselves pulling out our healing pistol and shooting our teammates. Battlefield V’s medic mechanic was much smoother, as you saw which allies required bandages and could throw them without leaving yourself vulnerable. You also didn’t have to be very accurate.

We thought Boris’ turrets were doing something, but it was hard to tell. Unless camping an objective (which is never any fun), the turrets saw little use. They’re better than what Battlefield’s support classes have gotten in the past, so we’re not too upset about it. Perhaps Boris’ Turrets should be played with a “set it and forget it” mentality. Capture an objective, place your turret in a corner, and let it do its job while you move on.

The only other gadget that we found somewhat useful was Casper’s Recon Drone. When we were alone defending an objective, it was nice to hide and use the drone to see where the enemies were coming from. However, not keeping them marked, even for a short time, was annoying. Furthermore, we can’t tell if the drones were helping our squadmates/teammates. While marking enemies for the whole team would be overpowered, the drones could at least mark enemies for you and your squad. Other than locating targets, Casper’s drone can also disable Rangers and other electronic devices with an EMP blast.

It was also very hard to determine friend from foe, as the specialist system makes everyone look exactly the same. We’d often dump half a clip into a teammate before their name appeared in blue. Subsequently, they’d dump half a clip into us.

Equipment — indifferent

The equipment selection, we feel, needs a little work. The available equipment is fine, but the available combinations left more to be desired. For example, why is C5 not in the same family as grenades? For players that enjoy the role of vehicle-buster, they’ll need C5 and the M5 rockets on hand to take down more than one enemy vehicle. Unfortunately, they were forced to choose between the two.

Armor felt useless, perhaps only absorbing an extra bullet or two. Armor was only saving our lives when we turned the corner and were met face to face with an enemy. If someone shot us outside our line of sight, we didn’t have enough survivability to locate and shoot back.

Unless we completely missed it, there were no ammo supply stations anywhere on the Orbital map. In past Battlefield games, friendly objectives came equipped with resupply stations where you can fill up on health and ammo. With no such stations in Battlefield 2042 (per the beta), we ran out of ammo after every major gunfight. Lack of ammo availability made carrying an ammo box almost necessary, which, again, restricted our choices when it came to equipment.

Map size — dislike

Overview of the Orbital Map in Battlefield 2042.

Orbital is a huge map, and even with 128 players, the slog between objectives was almost too much to bear. Because most of the objectives were so far apart, all of the fighting centered around B, D, and occasionally C. A and E rarely saw any action, and it took a handful of games before anyone decided to attack objective F. Because the fighting centered around B and D, we experienced the most dips in frame rate and overall performance in those areas, as 100+ players converged on one part of the map. Furthermore, the high volume of bullets flying back and forth made surviving more than 45 seconds feel like an accomplishment.

The only gripping gunfights came when small pockets of players broke off and made a move on objective C. Perhaps last-generation players have something to look forward to, as they’ll be limited to condensed versions of these maps with only 64 players. We might opt to play in those playlists instead (if available).

Objective zones — like

While on the subject of objectives, we liked how larger areas like objectives C and D were broken into two zones. It made holding these zones more exciting, as teams engage in something of a tug-of-war between them.

Vehicle call-in — indifferent

A Tank leaving a cloud of dust in Battlefield 2042.

While the slog between objectives was brutal, the vehicle call-in mechanic proved useful if only for transportation purposes. We were always able to call a ride in when in need of one and even found the Rangers (robot dogs) pretty helpful.

On the flip side, the Rangers proved a bit overpowered when going up against one. We understand their bullet-proof chassis, but they shouldn’t survive a blast from an M5 rocket. Unless Casper is nearby with a Recon Drone, that little robo-dog is going to wreak havoc on you and your squad.

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Game

Microsoft Flight Simulator Game of the Year Edition announced: Here’s what’s new

After letting the franchise sit dormant for several years, Microsoft teamed with Asobo Studio to launch Microsoft Flight Simulator in 2020. In the time since then, we’ve seen Microsoft Flight Simulator get six world updates in addition to many smaller updates. Now the companies have announced Microsoft Flight Simulator: Game of the Year Edition, which is launching next month with a collection of upgrades.

Asobo Studio started off today’s announcement post by revealing a completely separate event: a Windows 11 collaboration. From today until November 18th, there are 11 landmarks around the world that will be lit up in “Windows Blue.” Asobo Studio doesn’t reveal what those landmarks are, so it sounds like it’s up to the community to find them. In addition, the EXTRA 330LT is getting a Windows 11 livery as part of this event.

The Windows 11 collaboration takes us right to the release date of the Game of the Year Edition, which is launching on November 18th. The Game of the Year Edition will add five aircraft to the game: the Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornet (which is the first military jet being added to the game ahead of next year’s Top Gun: Maverick expansion), VoloCity, Pilatus PC-6 Porter, CubCrafters NX Cub, and the Aviat Pitts Special S1S.

In addition, eight handcrafted airports from Germany, Switzerland, and the United States will be added to the game. Players will be able to visit Leipzig/Halle (EDDP), Allgäu Airport Memmingen (EDJA), and Kassel (EDVK) from Germany; Lugano (LSZA), Zurich (LSZH), and Luzern-Beromunster (LSZO) from Switzerland; and Patrick Space Force Base (KCOF) and Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (KNKX) from the United States.

Add to that new missions, tutorials, updated weather systems, early DX12 support, and new photogrammetry cities, and it sounds like this is quite the upgrade. The Game of the Year content will be free for those who already own Microsoft Flight Simulator on PC and Xbox Series X/S, and it will be launching on November 18th.

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Computing

Amazon Refreshed Its Early Black Friday Deals — What’s New?

This year’s Black Friday deals are fast approaching but don’t tell that to Amazon, as there are some Amazon Black Friday deals that are already available for you to shop across different product categories. If you’re planning on buying something on Black Friday, you might want to check out if the item is already discounted on Amazon.

Amazon has added new products to its early Black Friday deals, including the Echo Show 5, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, and the 2020 iPad Air. We’ve rounded up the retailer’s new offers, but feel free to check out what else Amazon is offering ahead of the shopping holiday.

Echo Show 5 — $45, was $80

The Amazon Echo Show 5 is small enough to fit anywhere, but with its versatile features as a smart display, you’ll want to have it everywhere in your home. With Alexa, you’ll be able to set alarms, reminders, and smart home routines, while the touchscreen display adds video calls and weather information, among others. You can purchase the Echo Show 5 from Amazon for just $45, after a $35 discount to its original price of $80.

HP Chromebook 11a — $134, was $260

HP 11.6-inch Chromebook on a white background.

If you want even cheaper alternatives to Black Friday laptop deals, you should consider going for Black Friday Chromebook deals, which include the HP Chromebook 11a. It’s powered by Google’s Chrome OS, which relies on web-based apps instead of installed software for snappy performance even with low-end components. The HP Chromebook 11a, with the MediaTek MT8183 processor and 4GB of RAM, is available on Amazon for $134, for a $126 discount from its original price of $260.

AirPods Pro — $180, was $249

The Apple AirPods Pro inside their wireless charging case.

The AirPods Pro are very easy to pair with iOS devices, but they’re also compatible with Android smartphones and tablets. Apple’s wireless earbuds offer active noise cancellation to block unwanted sounds, Transparency mode to listen to your environment without taking the earbuds out, and sweat and water resistance for protection against workouts and rain. The AirPods Pro are $69 off on Amazon’s early Black Friday AirPods deals, lowering their price to $180 from their original price of $249.

Bose Sleepbuds II — $199, was $249

The Bose Sleepbuds II in their charging case.
Bose

If you’re having trouble sleeping, the Bose Sleepbuds II may be the solution that you need. Instead of streaming music, these wireless earbuds deliver relaxing sounds through the Bose Sleep app, with noise-masking technology that prevents you from being woken up by unwanted disturbances. You can purchase the Bose Sleepbuds II for only $199 on Amazon, down $50 from their original price of $249.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II — $249, was $299

The Bose QuietComfort 35 II wireless headphones, in black.

For Black Friday headphone deals involving traditional headphones, check out the Bose QuietComfort 35 II on Amazon. The wireless headphones feature noise-canceling technology that blocks out unwanted noise, with a dedicated action button to call up either Alexa or Google Assistant. They’re also comfortable to wear, with a battery life of up to 20 hours on a single charge. Amazon is selling the Bose QuietComfort 35 II for $249, after a $50 reduction to their original price of $299.

2020 iPad Air (Wi-Fi, 64GB) — $539, was $599

The iPad Air 4 in hand.
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

If you want to invest in a tablet, the 2020 iPad Air is one of the most recommended options. The tablet features a 10.9-inch Liquid Retina display and is powered by Apple’s A14 Bionic chip for quick performance. You can buy the Wi-Fi, 64GB version of the 4th-generation iPad Air for $539 on Amazon, after a $60 discount to its original price of $599.

2020 MacBook Pro (256GB) — $1,179, was $1,299

The M1-powered MacBook Pro on a coffee table.

Shoppers always look forward to Black Friday MacBook deals for a chance to buy Apple’s laptops at a discount. That opportunity is now available for the 2020 MacBook Pro, which promises a significant boost in performance compared to its predecessor through Apple’s M1 chip. The 256GB version of the 2020 MacBook Pro, with a 13.3-inch Retina display and up to 20 hours of battery life, is on sale from Amazon at $120 off, which lowers the laptop’s price to $1,179 from its original price of $1,299.

We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.

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Game

Pokemon GO distance changes: What’s changed, is this forever?

Niantic is facing a bit of backlash from Pokemon GO gamers who are not pleased to find changes in the game this week. Per Niantic, they intended to “remove or change some of the bonuses introduced last year,” and would not be starting this rolling set of changes until the end of July 2021. Niantic began changing these bonuses “first as a test” in two key regions: New Zealand and the USA.

Niantic said they would “remove or change [the bonuses] on a rolling basis in other countries and regions over time.” The announcement of this roll-back was made back on June 21, 2021. A bit has changed since then, like the whole COVID-19 Delta variant spread and vaccination stall situation.

Niantic maintains that they appreciate players as they “continue to navigate through this together.” Niantic also suggested that their change process will be done “in a staggered way, when it makes sense for each place in the world, to help people play safely.”

Some changes made in 2020 will remain in-effect. Bonuses introduced in Pokemon GO in 2020 that will not be going away (at least “for the foreseeable future”) include:

• 30 Gifts can be opened per day (up from 20 before 2020)
• Max Gifts carried remain at 20
• 3x Stardust and XP for first Pokemon catch of the day
• Remote Trainer battle challenge remains
• Requirements for friend challenge lowered to Good Friends
• Go Battle League walking requirement remains removed
• Insence stays at 60 minutes duration

Changes made with this most recent update to Pokemon GO in August of 2021 include:

• Interaction distances revert to standard for PokeStop and Pokemon Gym locations
• Buddy Pokemon gifts reduced (no longer up to 5 gifts, up to 3 times a day)
• Incense remains at 60 minutes, but effectiveness is reduced back to “normal” if you’re standing still – effectiveness rises “when you are moving”

It’s entirely possible that the changes made at the start of this month will be rebooted if and when Niantic’s sense of urgency with the COVID-19 pandemic returns. It’s also possible that Niantic only changed these bonuses so that they might introduce new, different sorts of means for at-home players to continue to play the game safely.

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Game

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla The Siege of Paris DLC and Season 3 dated: Here’s what’s new

Following leaks that apparently revealed the release date for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla: The Siege of Paris, today Ubisoft revealed the actual date for the expansion. In addition to announcing the release date for The Siege of Paris – which is the second expansion for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla – Ubisoft also detailed the more immediate Season 3 update, which is heading to the game later this week.

The Siege of Paris, as Ubisoft has announced, will be arriving in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla on August 12th. Previously, leaks suggested an August 5th release date for The Siege of Paris, but it turns out those leaks were off by a week. In any case, The Siege of Paris will add new weapons, abilities, gear, and skills to the game, and it sounds like players will need those as they go up against brand new enemies as well.

The Siege of Paris is based on the real Viking invasion and siege of the area in 845. Ubisoft says that the expansion will “set Eivor on a dangerous path of full of gripping questlines across the Frankish countryside, towards one of the infamous conquest battles in Viking history.” The expansion will also serve up Infiltration missions, which are the successors to the Black Box missions from earlier in the franchise. The Siege of Paris will cost $24.99 as a standalone purchase, but it’s also included in the Season Pass.

Later this week, Ubisoft will launch the Season 3 update for Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, which will kick off with the Sigrblot Festival on July 29th. The festival will run until August 19th and will offer various activities at the bonfire in the Ravensthorpe settlement, including three new quests, dice mini-games, fighting tournaments, and new rewards like settlement decorations and customization items.

Of note, one of the rewards you can get from participating in the festival is the one-handed sword Skrofnung, which can be purchased from the festival shop with the Sigrblot tokens you earn. To participate in the festival, you’ll need to have reached England and completed either Grantebridgescire or Ledecestrescire in the main narrative and have a settlement level of at least 2, which most players should have by now. Look for the season 3 update to drop on July 29th.

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