Your tech news digest, by way of the DGiT Daily tech newsletter, for Thursday, 17 September 2020.
1. PlayStation 5: Finally, everything!
Here it is, the next-gen Sony PlayStation 5, with pricing and availability! Finally!
- Yesterday evening, Sony announced the PlayStation 5 costs $499.99 (disc-based) and $399.99 (Digital Edition, no differences other than missing a disc-drive and slimmer body).
- It releases Thursday November 12, 2020 in the US, Japan, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and South Korea.
- It’ll be out Thursday November 19th, 2020 in the rest of the world, meaning many of the usual first-release countries like the UK, Germany, France, and India have to wait a week. Pricing is £449/€499 and/£359/€399.
- China was confirmed as a release country, but Sony excluded it from a release schedule for now. 2021?
The good news:
- This pricing is competitive. While the lower-spec Xbox Series S undercuts the PS5 Digital Edition by $100, it is lower-spec.
- At the top, the Series X and the PS5 with optical drive are both $500.
- It’s a little bit odd that the optical drive is worth $100 but I humbly suggest it’s totally worth it.
- If you only ever download games, you’ll save $100. But for those that rent games, buy games, swap with friends, trade-in, re-sell, having discs is super worthwhile.
- And confusingly, for reasons I cannot explain, discs sent in the mail or picked up in-store are often cheaper than digital editions.
- Pre-orders have begun today, but with Sony working with what it calls “select retailers,” there’s some chaos figuring out how to get one.
- Some pre-orders started at midnight. Those waking up early but at normal person hours to get one found it’s sold out everywhere.
- The likes of Best Buy saw its website crash, Amazon had limited availability. There are loads of stories already where people missed out or got lucky.
- There’s also a touch more demand because there are hints that there may be a shortage of consoles available, something Sony denied.
- The consensus: Sony just didn’t handle this well, which led to this kind of thing:
- And while Microsoft has been having fun being allchummy (Twitter) with PlayStation, it did take note of the pre-order shemozzle and issue a ‘we’ll do it better’ type tweet.
Also: PlayStation 5’s list of launch games starts taking shape, including the 10 biggest announcements from yesterday’s showcase but some games will be priced at $69.99 as that $60 mark is breached (Polygon). The new DualSense 5 will also be $69.99.
2. Oculus Quest 2 is cheaper and better — what gives?
Facebook Connect was also yesterday and the new Oculus Quest 2 looks like the next VR headset most people will get, if having a Facebook account isn’t a problem for you.
- The Oculus Quest 2 has much, much better specs.
- In terms of what you’ll see, there’s a switch from OLED displays to fast refresh LCDs with a resolution 1832×1920, up from the old 1,440×1,600. 50% more pixels will be nice.
- There’s support for 90Hz refresh rates which promises much more smoothness, but that faster rate is coming after launch.
- It’s a touch lighter, with a 10% weight drop, and better, revamped controllers.
- At $299, it’s $100 less than the original and almost seems so cheap that it’ll be a loss-leader. Facebook wants to grow the ecosystem, clearly. It’s coming October 13, so it beats the next-gen consoles to market too.
- Lastly on the specs, there’s now a Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 chipset which promises better gaming capabilities and performance, and 6GB RAM helps.
- Other new bits: Oculus Move for VR fitness, which lets your Oculus headset track fitness metrics in games, there are new Oculus Business tools for virtual desktops and meetings in an experience called Infinite Office.
- And new games of course, including Star Wars: Tales from the Galaxy’s Edge, and a VR battle royale in Population: One.
- The Quest 2 is already in the hands of some reviewers!
- The Verge and Wired and others have detailed reviews, most of which say some similar things: this is the new default and it’s very buyable.
- On the downside, it does require a Facebook account, the Link cable and better strap costs extra, while the battery life isn’t amazing, but you can buy a battery pack to strap on too.
- And that $300 price is for the 64GB version, for gamers who want to store lots of games, the 256GB version is priced at a steeper $400, and that Link cable is $79.
- All-in-all, it’s still a better starting point to jump into VR, and the upgrade is probably going to be close to worth it for existing Quest owners, but The Verge note it’s not a must just yet, but finished the review with: “…the Quest 2 is the first headset I can reasonably recommend for a wide audience.”
Bonus: ‘Aria’: Facebook is working on smart glasses, with Ray-Ban (The Verge).
3. The new Sony Xperia 5 II was revealed: a 6.1-inch more compact powerhouse with Snapdragon 865 SoC, 8GB of RAM, 120Hz OLED display at Sony’s 21:9 aspect ratio, and with headphone jack, and pro camera setup, and 4,000 mAh battery. There’s also real-time eye-autofocus on that camera, but no 5G for the US. Downside? December launch (Android Authority).
4. The OnePlus Nord might be coming to the US soon: sub-$400 price for 5G, called the N10 5G, slower Snapdragon 690 onboard? (Android Authority).
5. You can now get a gaming headset version of the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II (Android Authority).
6. There’s a new GoPro: the GoPro Hero 9, shooting in 5K, and for under $500, with a reusable case and no plastic packaging. Looks great — here’s a review, just note you’re likely to still need a second battery (The Verge).
7. Report: Samsung Galaxy S30 Ultra won’t get a battery capacity buff (Android Authority).
8. Surface Pro X with better Microsoft SQ2 chip and Platinum color option is on the way (Windows Central).
9. Nvidia RTX 3080 review: 4K greatness at $699 — and good news for cheaper GPUs (Ars Technica).
10. Mozilla wants your help to fix terrible YouTube recommendations (The Verge).
11. China to launch space mining bot: testing, not mining, for now (IEEE).
12. Traffic in New Jersey stops for UFO sighting, which was actually the Goodyear blimp (Jalopnik).
13. “If you could wake up inside a videogame world for a day, which one would it be and why?” (r/askreddit).
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