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5 big game releases to get you through the coming summer drought

Mario Kart 8

The summer months can bring drought conditions in many areas across the world, but as any hardcore gamer will tell you, the gaming industry suffers the same condition each year. It's even tougher in years like 2014, where two major consoles just launched and early adopters are clamoring for new software for their pricey investments.

While I can't do anything about the lack of new games that are set to drop this summer, I can certainly help you get through it. Over the next two months, right before summer hits, we are going to see a few high profile games released that we think will dull the summer gaming blues. Some are old favorites, while a couple are brand new IP that look to offer unique gaming experiences. Here's my list of the five games to pick up this summer, in order of release date:


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Microsoft Surface Pro 3 pricing comes with a $129 caveat

Surface pro 3 prices

Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 3 this morning, and noted that the device would be priced starting at $799. Of course, with multiple configurations and processors available, you're probably wondering what pricing across the entire Surface Pro 3 line might look like. Well, we've got the answer:

  • Intel Core i3, 64GB SSD, 4GB RAM: $799
  • Intel Core i5, 128GB SSD, 4GB RAM: $999
  • Intel Core i5, 256GB SSD, 8GB RAM: $1299
  • Intel Core i7, 512GB SSD, 8GB RAM: $1,549
  • Intel Core i7, 512GB SSD, 8GB RAM: $1,949

Here's the kicker, though. Microsoft has positioned the Surface Pro 3 as the tablet that can replace your laptop. Well, in order to do that, you need a keyboard. The Surface Pro 3 Type Cover keyboard costs a ridiculous $129.99. So, in other words, that $799 entry-level Surface Pro 3 price jumps to $929 with keyboard. Extra Surface Pens cost $49.99 as well, so, you'll want to not lose the one that comes with the device.

You can pre-order the Surface Pro 3 now. Who's buying one?


Why Microsoft unbundling Kinect is a broken promise to all Xbox One owners

Xbox One Kinect

As we mentioned earlier, Microsoft has decided to do an about-face, now offering the Xbox One without Kinect for $399. The move continues Microsoft's seemingly cowardly backtracking trend that it's been doing with the Xbox One for about a year now. While many see this simply as a price drop and a way to get the Xbox One without an accessory that they may now want, for all intents and purposes, this kills Kinect dead. Right where it stands.

Allow me to explain. When the original Kinect launched for the Xbox 360, there was a lot of hype and excitement surrounding its release. For the first time, you could use your body as the controller for a new type of gaming experience. It was cool, and about as novel as the original Wii. It was a toy and a gimmick, and soon many folks stopped playing Kinect games, and none really took off at retail. However, Microsoft was getting good data and feedback for what we realized the "real" Kinect would be. The one that launched with the next Microsoft console.


Microsoft slashes price of Xbox One to $399 without Kinect

Xbox One without Kinect $399

Microsoft surprised the gaming world this morning with the announcement it will sell the Xbox One without Kinect for $399 starting on June 9th in the U.S. This brings the price of the Xbox 360 in line with that of the PlayStation 4, which should bring the two consoles into even more heated competition.

An odd move (though some might say it was expected in order to compete,) since the company wouldn't stop talking about how essential Kinect is to the Xbox One functionality and gaming direction less than a year ago. I guess Microsoft has been feeling the heat if the PlayStation 4 sales, and had to adjust that strategy right quick.

You can pre-order the Xbox One without Kinect now.


Apple seeks to acquire Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion

Apple Acquires Beats Electronics

Apple is purportedly set to make its biggest acquisition in the history of the company, as The Financial Times is reporting that it is about to buy Beats Electronics for $3.2 billion. What would Apple get out of Beats Audio? Well, for starters, there's the Beats Music subscription platform, which allows customers to listen to on-demand music along with curated mood-based playlists. That would be a great complement to iTunes Radio, which doesn't allow users to put songs on repeat, and limits skip functionality. Additionally, Beats is likely most known for its iconic Beats by Dr. Dre headphone line. Apple would become owner of the audio hardware in the case of an acquisition, and could even use the Beats Audio sound profile in future iOS devices (similar to what HTC did in its phones when it was a stakeholder in Beats Audio a couple of years ago.)

Apple and Beats Electronics are both keeping silent for now, but if the deal does go through, it's large enough that an official announcement will be made by both companies.


HTC One (M8) review: The best Android phone gets even better

HTC One M8 review

Last year, HTC impressed us with the release of the original HTC One, a phone that featured what we believed to be the best build quality of any Android smartphone. This year, the HTC One (M8) takes its place as the flagship handset from HTC.

On the surface, the HTC One (M8) improves upon the original in a multitude of ways. Faster internals. Dual-lens UltraPixel camera. Larger display. Improved industrial design. The question is, though, does the final product add up to being another that can stand above the crowded Android line-up? We've put the device through its paces, and we are here to answer all of those questions here in our full HTC One (M8) review.

Click to continue reading HTC One (M8) review: The best Android phone gets even better


Apple updates MacBook Air with faster processor, cheaper price

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, PC / Laptop

MacBook Air 2014

As we reported yesterday, Apple has released an updated MacBook Air lineup today. While we expected the slightly faster processors to be included, we were pleasantly surprised to see that Apple cut the price of all MacBook Air models by $100 as well. That means that the starting price of the MacBook Air is now $899.

"With MacBook Air starting at $899, there’s no reason to settle for anything less than a Mac," said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "Macs have never been more popular, and today we've boosted the performance and lowered the price of MacBook Air so even more people can experience the perfect everyday notebook."

So, what's changed? Both the 11- and 13-inch models now sport a 1.4GHz dual-core Intel Core i5 Haswell processor and 4GB RAM. The base model configurations of each size include 128GB PCIe-based flash storage, which can be doubled to 256GB for $200. Build-to-order options allow you to add things like a 1.7GHz processor, 8GB RAM, and 512GB PCIe storage.

Additionally, the new models get better battery life for iTunes movie playback, with the 11-inch model going from 8 hours to 9 hours, and the 13-incher going from 10 hours to 12 hours.

You can pick up the new MacBook Air now.


Apple reports $45.6 billion Q2 2014 revenue: 43.7m iPhones, 16.3m iPads, 4.1m Macs sold

iPhone 5s 5c 2014 earnings

Today, Apple announced its second quarter earnings results, with revenue at $45.6 billion, beating the guidance of $42-44 billion that it previously gave, while also soundly beating analyst estimates.

How did Apple make that money? Mostly on the back of the iPhone. Device sales for Q2 2014 include 43.7 million iPhones sold, 16.3 million iPads, 3 million iPods, and 4.1 million Macs. In the same quarter last year, the iPhone sold 37.4 million, iPad 19.5 million, iPod 5.6 million, and Mac 3.9 million. The company also announced that Apple TV sales has now surpassed 20 million.

Apple isn't done yet. During today's earning call, CEO Tim Cook reiterated that Apple has new hardware categories that it's excited to reveal here in 2014. Time will tell if they'll be big enough to garner their own bulletpoint in the quarterly results in the future.


Unboxing Live 139: HTC One (M8)

I give you a look at the new HTC One (M8) smartphone in this episode of Unboxing Live. The M8 is the follow-up to my favorite Android phone of last year, the HTC One (see our original HTC One video review.) I open it up and give you a tour of the smartphone, which boasts impressive specs and some of the nicest hardware out there on a smartphone.

Want your own? Get the HTC One M8 from these carriers:

Main Specs:

  • 5-inch 1080p display
  • Quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor
  • 16GB capacity
  • HTC UltraPixel camera
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi
  • 5-megapixel wide angle front camera
  • Android Jelly Bean with HTC Sense
  • HTC BoomSound dual front stereo speakers
  • 2600mAh battery

Don't forget to subscribe to Gear Live's YouTube channel, and don't forget--we are giving away awesome perks for our Patreon backers - thanks for your support!

 

Discounted refurbished iPad mini with Retina display now available

Posted by Andru Edwards Categories: Apple, Handhelds, Hot Deals

iPad mini with Retina display refurbished

For the first time, Apple is selling refurbished models of the iPad mini with Retina display. The benefit here, of course, is that buyers are now able to pay less for Apple's popular tablet, while maintaining a free 1-year of AppleCare warranty as well. For now, it's just the Wi-Fi models that are available refurbished--nothing yet for the Wi-Fi + Cellular versions.

The 16GB Retina iPad mini is $339, which is a 15% discount from the full $399 price. The 32GB version sells for $419, which is $80 less than the standard price, and the 64GB model is $509, which is a price drop of $90. For now, there are no 128GB versions of the iPad mini with Retina display available as a refurb.

These are gonna go fast, so head on over to Apple and grab a refurb iPad mini if you wanna take advantage of the deal.

Read More | Refurbished iPad mini with Retina display

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