Thanks for all your feedback on this newsletter’s makeover. We’ve refined a few design elements, but you also told us there are some bugs if you’re using Outlook to read the daily email. We’re working to fix that as soon as possible. Now, on to today’s news.
Lego’s collaboration with Nintendo on a set of Super Mario figures and ‘levels’ sounds really intriguing. It also sounds really expensive. The Starter Course is now available to pre-order for $59.99/€59.99 — the same price as a Switch game at launch. In Lego’s defense, these sets are a bit more elaborate than an Overwatch playset or other prior projects.
The Mario figure has LCD screens packed into his eyes, with a larger one set into his overalls. He also packs a built-in speaker -- no wonder he’s bigger than the typical Lego figure. The company adds that there will be a companion Lego Super Mario app for tracking scores as well as housing instruction manuals and suggestions for “other creative ways to build and play.” At these prices (the Bowser kit is just shy of $100), the replayability factor is crucial.
PS5 DualSense controller has a built-in mic and adaptive triggers
Meet Sony’s new gamepad.
We haven’t actually seen the PlayStation 5 yet, but at least we’ve met its controller. The DualSense sports a two-tone look and a smaller light bar that wraps around the touchpad. The Share button has been swapped out for a Create button, which should inspire many future Twitch streamers, and a built-in microphone array promises to enable in-game chatting even if you don’t wear a headset.
And that DualSense name? Haptic feedback should provide more immersion than mere rumbling, while adaptive L2 and R2 triggers give you a feel of resistance for actions like drawing back an arrow.
Dell's XPS 15 and 17 leak with sleek new designs
Time for a new look.
Seen the new XPS 13? Someone on Reddit put an image up showing new designs for the larger XPS 15 and 17, which give them a similar look, with tall 16:10 screens and no bezels or big USB-A ports.
What to know before buying a smartwatch
Our guide to getting the most for your money.
Just a couple of years ago, the case for smartwatches wasn’t clear. Today, the wearable world is filled with a bunch of high-quality devices to choose from, and a few key players have pushed themselves to the front of the pack. But which one? Well, that depends on what you want, but, yes, the Apple Watch is right up there, as are some Fitbit models.
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WhatsApp imposes even stricter limits on message forwarding
It’s to slow the spread of misinformation.
If you receive a frequently forwarded message -- one that’s been forwarded more than five times and identifiable with a double arrow icon -- you’ll only be able to forward them on to one chat at a time. It’s a defense against misinformation: The company says it’s seen a “significant increase” in the number of forwarded messages on the platform, and while many of them are relatively innocent -- memes and prayers, for example -- this practice is contributing to the spread of misinformation.
It’s not the first time WhatsApp has imposed such measures. After both it and its parent company, Facebook, were accused of playing a pivotal role in the spread of misinformation during violence in India in 2018, WhatsApp reduced the number of times a message could be forwarded from 20 to five. This time it’s a global effort, however.
Netflix's new parental controls include PIN-protected profiles
And you can turn off auto-play for kids’ profiles.
Netflix has had separate user profiles, including ones that stick to kids’ content, for a while, but some new changes could make parents more comfortable. Adults can use a PIN to secure their own profiles so kids can’t open the app and watch whatever they want. Adults can also remove series or films by title, select between different age filters for a kid’s profile and see the history of what children have been watching.
Google releases Chrome 81 with 'app badging' for subtle notifications
The next version will be Chrome 83, update your notes accordingly.
Keeping up to date with Google’s reworked schedule, the latest version of Chrome is going out to everyone. It has new tweaks for WebXR and some NFC support, plus widely available support for app badges. That lets web apps update their icons to let you know there’s something new, like a waiting email or a message in Slack, without popping up an intrusive notification.
The best Xbox games
Given the 2020 refresh.
Today, we walk through the best games to get for your Xbox One -- there’s still time before the next-gen consoles get here, you know. And if you want something that doesn’t center around guns or blades, we recommend the newest addition to the list: Ori and the Blind Forest.
The best board games with an app-based twist
Ten Engadget favorites that blend digital and analog play.
Conversely, how about some games involving less screen time. The caveat, here, is that not all of these are lockdown appropriate, but if you’re living with family or several roommates, we have a few ideas to distract from Monopoly or another Netflix binge.