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Apple Watch Series 7 review | Engadget

Keith Chambers

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Apple Watch Series 7 review | Engadget


The new Modular Duo screen is the most useful. It lets you place two expanded complications on top of each other, while still showing the time and an additional small complication at the top. You can choose to show the world clock with a timer or your favorite stock’s performance with Apple Music, for example. I went with a Spotify controller and the Weather forecast. Though the latter worked well, showing me hourly temperature and sunlight data on the screen, the Spotify complication was, in a word, trash. It just shows the words “Tap to play music,” and I’d have to waste a tap and a second to pull up playback controls.
A second doesn’t sound like much, but when I’m out running or juggling my groceries, I don’t want to waste that time holding up my arm and watching my screen for more than a fraction of a second. I’m not going to harp on this because this is more of a Spotify problem than an Apple Watch issue, but given how many people use the music app, it would do both companies good to make this complication work better. I’d love to see more useful complications from other apps too.
One last note on the Series 7’s screen: Though its actual peak brightness hasn’t changed, Apple has tweaked the system so that the Always On display is up to 70 percent brighter when you’re indoors. This way, it’s easier to read if you have your hand hidden below a table while you’re at a meeting.
Battery life, charging and performance
That pretty much sums up all the screen-related updates on the Series 7. But there are a few other noteworthy upgrades. The most significant of these is that it charges faster, and in about 10 minutes, I got close to 10 percent capacity. It reached almost 100 percent in under an hour with the new cable that Apple includes in the box. Meanwhile, the Apple Watch SE only got to about 60 percent in an hour.
Cherlynn Low / Engadget
You’ll need both the new charger and the Series 7 to get these faster charging speeds, by the way. It’s the coils on both the watch and the wireless disc that enable the higher rate, so this isn’t something you can get just by running out and buying a new accessory. As someone who’s constantly forgetting to charge my watch until I’m about to run out the door, I appreciate the faster speeds. That said, I still wish smartwatches in general lasted longer and took less time to charge.
Speaking of the battery, the Series 7 promises the same runtime as its predecessor, which is to say, about 18 hours. I generally found myself getting about half a day more from the new watch than the SE, despite the lack of an Always On display on the SE. The Series 7 usually stuck around for a day and a half, almost two, with the screen set to Always On, and tracking between three and five workouts. I also used the device to send plenty of messages and map my walks while I ran errands with the GPS on. That endurance is impressive given the larger screen, but it’s worth noting that I haven’t used the watch for sleep tracking yet.
The battery efficiency can be partly attributed to Apple’s new S7 system-in-package (SIP), which is based on the same processor as the S6. In general, I didn’t feel much of a difference between the Series 7 and the SE when launching workouts or getting Siri to text my friends. The Apple Watch has been and continues to be a responsive device that feels as fast as, if not faster than, its Android counterparts.
Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Sleep tracking, watchOS 8 and other updates
One area where Apple continues to lag the competition is sleep tracking. While companies like Fitbit and Samsung can use their wearables’ heart rate monitors to detect what sleep zone you’re in, Apple still doesn’t offer that. And you’ll need to make sure you have the Sleep Focus mode on (either manually or by setting a schedule) before the Watch will log your slumber. The others are all able to automatically tell when you’ve gone to sleep and don’t need you to set a schedule. In fact, Fitbit has been doing it since 2015.
The Series 7 does usher in a new feature that logs your respiration rate while you sleep, and then tells you your breath-per-minute rate the next morning. Cool. Respiratory tracking is something that’s coming via watchOS 8 and isn’t exclusive to the Series 7, and the same is true of features like the new Mindfulness app, guided meditation sessions, redesigned Photos app, SharePlaying Fitness+ workouts and more. This means they’re less likely to sway your decision on whether to get the Series 7 if you already have an Apple Watch. The main things exclusive to the Series 7 are the Modular Duo and Contour watch faces, larger font sizes and buttons, and the QWERTY keyboard.
Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Wrap-up
Though the differences between the Series 6 and 7 seem minor, it’s worth a reminder that most people who own last year’s model likely aren’t looking to upgrade yet anyway. For anyone else who’s looking for a new smartwatch, the Series 7 will be a satisfying purchase, especially if you’ve never used one before. WatchOS is a capable and comprehensive system that can help you track your workouts, automatically log your sessions, prompt you to be more active and mindful of your mental health all while being a great extension of your smartphone. It’s not the best at sleep-tracking, though, so if that’s a priority you might prefer a Fitbit. Despite its relatively high starting price of $400, what Apple offers is currently the best in the market, especially for the iOS ecosystem.All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Resident Evil’s Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine come to ‘Fortnite’ | Engadget

Keith Chambers

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Jon Fingas



Epic Games’ fondness for Capcom continues unabated. The game developer has added legendary Resident Evil characters Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine (aka the “master of unlocking“) to Fortnite, complete with numerous nods to the zombie-slaying franchise. Chris and Jill have alternate costumes that make nods to their appearances in Village and Nemesis, while the Back Bling offers three shades of Resident Evil’s life-sustaining herbs. There are themed pickaxes and even a “brolly stroll” emote making fun of everyone’s least-favorite fictional corporation.
The outfits and equipment are available to buy in separate S.T.A.R.S. Team and S.T.A.R.S. Team Gear bundles. The Resident Evil packs are particularly timely drops given Halloween and the hordes of “Cube Monsters” in the current season, and we won’t be surprised if they lose some of their early luster. Still, this is a Fortnite gaming crossover that makes sense — Chris and Jill are already well-dressed for a bitter fight for survival.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Astronomers directly observe one of the youngest planets to date | Engadget

Keith Chambers

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Jon Fingas



Astronomers have spotted young planets before, but rarely this young — or with such easy observation. As CBS News says, a University of Hawaii-led team has discovered 2M0437b, one of the youngest planets ever found at ‘just’ several million years old. The baby planet was found in the Taurus Cloud “nursery” and young enough that it’s still emanating lava-like heat from its birth.
Importantly, this is also a very rare chance at directly observing an infant world. Researchers will still need to use special optics to compensate for Earth’s atmosphere, but they won’t have to use the host star or other tricks to study the planet. It helps that 2M0437b is about one hundred times further from its star than Earth is from the Sun, reducing the chances for interference.
The scientists first spotted the planet in 2018 using the Subaru Telescope, but spent the next three years using the Keck Observatory and other Hawaii telescopes to track the planet and confirm it was tied to its host.
Future observations could shed more light on planetary formation. It might not take much longer to glean more details, either. The team hoped the imminent James Webb Space Telescope could help detect atmospheric gases and newly forming moons. As significant as 2M0437b might be now, it could be more important going forward.All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Hasbro unveils ‘ultimate’ Nerf version of the Halo Needler gun | Engadget

Keith Chambers

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Jon Fingas



Past attempts at a Nerf version of Halo’s Needler gun have fallen short, but the latest iteration might just live up to (most of) the promises. The Verge reports Hasbro has introduced a Nerf LMTD Halo Needler that looks and acts more like the iconic Covenant weapon. It still won’t shoot homing rounds, unfortunately, but the motorized blaster will shoot 10 darts in a row from a rapid-fire drum. The needles light up when you grab the handle, and they’ll dim one at a time as you unleash foam rounds upon your foes.
There’s a Halo Infinite tie-in, as you might imagine. Hasbro promises a card in the box with a code for in-game Infinite content. While the toymaker didn’t say what you’d get, it won’t be surprising if it’s linked to the Needler.
The blaster will chew through six AA 1.5V batteries at a time. You might not mind so much, however, when there’s a light-up display mode and matching stand to show off your acquisition.
You’ll have to be particularly patient if you want to brandish real-world Halo gear. The Nerf LMTD Halo Needler is available to pre-order from Amazon now for $100, but it’s not slated to ship until December 1st, 2022. Look at it this way, though: this could easily be the most impressive Halo blaster you can buy for a long, long time.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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