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Save $1,000 on a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon, plus more laptop deals this weekend

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  • OUR TOP PICK: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 — save $329.01

  • BEST LENOVO DEAL: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 — save $1,219.60

  • BEST GAMING DEAL: Razer Blade 15 — save $601.86

  • BEST 2-IN-1 DEAL: Asus Chromebook Flip C434 — save $135.99


What’s better than a great laptop? A great laptop that’s cheap. Nowadays, even budget machines can pack the punch to carry you through whatever’s on your to-do list, whether it’s work, watching Netflix, or endlessly browsing your go-to social media sites. If you’re looking to pick up a new laptop yourself but don’t necessarily want to drop your life savings in one go, we’ll be compiling a list of the best deals on cheap laptops right here, each and every week. So, take a look at what we found this time around, and happy shopping.

OUR TOP PICK: Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 — $969.99

The clean and elegant Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 is up to two times faster than its predecessor and can last you most of the day with its 11.5-hour battery life (plus a one-hour quick charge feature that can get you back up to 80% battery). If you’ve been holding off on buying a MacBook because you have an aversion is Apple’s OS, the Surface Laptop 3 may be your answer.

Credit: Microsoft

Save $329.01 at Amazon

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BEST LENOVO DEAL: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 — $1,829.40

The ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 8 is a fantastic work laptop, boasting excellent performance and features that’ll please any non-Mac user. The included 10th Generation Intel Core i7-10510U processor is speedy and responsive, making for a smooth experience each and every time you open the device. You’ll also get other sought-after perks like a fingerprint reader, Dolby Atmos speaker system, a 4K display, almost 20 hours of battery life on a single charge, and the tough construction that ThinkPad laptops have become known for.

Credit: Lenovo

Save $1,219.60 at Lenovo

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BEST GAMING DEAL: Razer Blade 15 — $1,698.13

The Razer Blade 15 is packed with solid internals that’ll work well for PC gaming newbies and seasoned players alike. Under the hood, you’ll get a 10th Gen Intel Core i7-10750H processor with up to 5.0 GHz max turbo and 6 cores, as well as an NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card that has the power to run some pretty visually intense games. The 144Hz screen provides buttery-smooth framerate performance and offers full HD visuals within a bezel-less display. It’s all housed within a thin, compact body that you can take anywhere.

Credit: Razer

Save $601.86 at Amazon

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BEST 2-IN-1 DEAL: Asus Chromebook Flip C434 — $434

Having your laptop and your tablet in one place is a convenience that you need in your life. The Asus Chromebook Flip C434 is a fantastic budget 2-in-1 device, with speedy performance, a full HD touchscreen, and components that should be able to handle all of your daily tasks.

Credit: Asus

Save $135.99 at Amazon

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Explore related content:

  • Our picks for the best 2-in-1 laptops of 2020

  • The best blue light glasses for combatting digital eye strain

  • 13 cheap laptops you can get for under $500

How to shop for a new laptop:

Choosing a laptop is entirely dependent on what you’ll be using it for. Beginner laptop owners need something user-friendly and straightforward, frequent travelers need something light with a long battery life, designers and gamers need top-notch 4K graphics and quick central processors, and everyone needs something that will last. 

The first thing you should do is ask yourself a simple question: PC or Mac? This is an important question, as it’s going to make a world of difference in what you can and can’t do with your computer. Are you a gamer? A video editor? A business professional? An Apple device owner? The answer to any of these will probably point you towards your final answer.

If you’re constantly buying the new iPhone every year, editing YouTube videos, recording a podcast, or other creative endeavors of the sort, your best bet may be a Mac laptop. Apple obsessives will be happy with their Mac’s compatibility with their other Apple products, and everyone can benefit from Macs’ propensity to have better virus protection than that of a PC. 

That brings us to the perks of picking up a PC. You can still complete a number of creative projects on a personal computer, but where PCs really shine are their options for customization. PCs are much easier to upgrade part-by-part, as they aren’t constrained to Apple-manufactured products (like Macs). And because there is a seemingly endless supply of PC manufacturers, there are a lot more options from what brand you chose, to the software you buy, to the type of graphics card you pick out for your gaming rig. Yes, gamers should always go the PC route — they are far more powerful than what a Mac laptop can handle, and also give you the option to connect VR headsets, if you’re into that sort of thing.  

What size laptop should you get?

This really comes down to two things: Personal preference and lifestyle. Personal preference is self-explanatory, really — do you like having a huge display, or do you prefer something more compact? Lifestyle is where practicality comes into play. If you’re traveling often and usually have your computer on your back in some way, you’re going to want to go with something more light and compact (thin, 11-inch models will most likely be the best). But, if you’re a huge movie buff who doesn’t normally take their laptop on the road with them, spring for a 15-inch (and higher) screen with a bulky construction so you can have epic Netflix and chill sessions. If you’re getting a gaming laptop, you should probably “go big or go home,” as well.  

How much should you spend on a new laptop?

This is much more subjective, and at the end of the day, it’s really going to come down to your budget. But, if money isn’t the number one concern for you, you should really think hard about what you’re going to use your laptop for. Need a device with lots of power under the hood and bountiful storage space? Aim for something in the $800 and beyond range. Only using your laptop to edit the occasional Google Doc? Then you can probably get away with spending way below the $500 mark. In other words, don’t blow your savings if you don’t need to. And if you’re looking to go all out, meaning buying a laptop with every bell and whistle imaginable, you can get a monster of a machine for somewhere closer to $2,000. Why not.  

Are cheap laptops worth it?

You know the old saying: You get what you pay for. But thanks to the technology boom of the last few decades, a cheap laptop can actually take you pretty far and won’t break down immediately. It’s all about knowing which one to select. Depending on what you use your laptop for the most, staying stingy might be your best option. Check out our roundups for the ones that we think are worth it — here are our favorite cheap laptop models under $500, and the best under $300.  

What does it mean when a laptop is certified refurbished?

Don’t let the words “refurbished” or “renewed” scare you away — these types of devices are usually perfectly viable options and can end up saving you a lot of money without sacrificing much of anything.

A refurbished device, in its simplest terms, is a product that has been bought, but then returned for some reason. Notice that we didn’t necessarily say that it was returned due to some sort of fault on the device’s part. While that can certainly be true in some cases, it isn’t always. Oftentimes, a certified refurbished laptop never even left its original packaging.

While yes, saving money is a huge benefit of buying a “refurb,” it’s far from the only reason to consider getting one. What’s great about refurbished devices is that they undergo rigorous performance tests to ensure that they are still in good condition (sometimes more strictly than the stuff coming right off the production line). There’s also a chance that any refurbished laptop you buy may have been so lightly used, that it could almost be considered brand-new (just way cheaper).

We’re big fans of buying refurbished gear for kids, especially when it comes to electronics. If you’re shopping for a laptop for a kid who is under the age of 15, then refurbished is really the way to go. For kids of high school age and beyond who are a bit more careful with their digital gear, then a new laptop isn’t as risky. Of course, it depends on the kid. Happy laptop shopping!

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/save-dollar1000-on-a-lenovo-thinkpad-x1-carbon-plus-more-laptop-deals-this-weekend-60f1cc942376bbd01316d471?s=rss

AR/VR

Warplanes: WW1 Fighters to See Official Oculus Quest Store Launch This Week

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Back in March, Home Net Games launched the popular Warplanes: WW1 Fighters for PC VR headsets as well as Oculus Quest via App Lab – making it one of the earliest. The studio has now announced that Warplanes: WW1 Fighters will be officially released on the Oculus Store at the end of July.

Warplanes: WW1 VR

Whilst App Lab has been a great way for indie developers to get their projects onto Oculus Quest finding them is another matter, with services like SideQuest or App Lab DB simplifying discovery. The end goal for all developers is to get their videogame onto the proper Oculus Store and that’s exactly what Home Net Games is going to achieve this month.

Through App Lab Warplanes: WW1 Fighters has received lots of positive feedback for its World War 1 aerial combat, where you can jump into the cockpit of authentic planes from the era. With single-player and multiplayer modes where you can complete campaign missions or go head-to-head with other pilots, multiplayer battles include Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch and Last Man Standing or team up with friends on co-op missions. Warplanes: WW1 Fighters features 18 planes; from light scout planes to heavy bombers. Progression will allow you to build your own squadron, upgrading and customizing your planes.

These can realistic or simple to control thanks to Warplanes: WW1 Fighters‘ customizable flight models. Set them for a more arcade-like experience or go full simulation with real-life aerodynamics. Gameplay options allow further in-depth tweaking such as enabling manual takeoffs and landing, aggressive AI, disabling HUD and realistic damage which affects flight.

Warplanes: WW1 VR

Warplanes: WW1 Fighters supports Oculus Quest 2’s 90Hz mode for improved performance, great for those dogfighting exchanges. The studio also confirms that: “If you purchased the game on App Lab, the game will be upgraded to the Oculus Store version with no extra cost. All saves and settings will be compatible with the new version. Of course, you’ll be getting all future updates as well.”

Home Net Games will be officially launching Warplanes: WW1 Fighters for Oculus Quest on 29th July 2021. For further updates on the latest App Lab titles, keep reading VRFocus.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/07/warplanes-ww1-fighters-to-see-official-oculus-quest-store-launch-this-week/

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Facebook is Unlocking AR Capabilities for Developers on Quest 2

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Facebook announced today that an upcoming update to the Quest development SDK will include experimental support for a Passthrough API which will allow Unity developers to build AR experiences and features into apps on Quest 2.

Although Quest wasn’t launched as an AR headset initially, its impressive passthrough camera capability showed that it could handle AR functions surprisingly well. In fact, if you use the passthrough view as your default background, the Quest boundary and main menu floats against the backdrop of your playspace—effectively making it an AR experience that’s been available on the headset for some time.

Until now Facebook kept the tools for building AR apps on the headset to itself, but today it announced it’s unlocking the same capabilities for third-party developers too.

Initially rolling out as an “experimental” feature, the so called ‘Passthrough API’ will become available in the v31 update to the Quest development SDK. The Passthrough API is only available on Quest 2 for now; it isn’t clear if Facebook plans to extent it to the original Quest.

Facebook expects the new capabilities will enable a brand new class of applications on Quest 2 that take advantage of AR in interesting ways. Here’s some examples and explanations of the features developers can use:

Composition: You can composite Passthrough layers with other VR layers via existing blending techniques like hole punching and alpha blending.

Styling: You’ll be able to apply styles and tint to layers from a predefined list, including applying a color overlay to the feed, rendering edges, customizing opacity, and posterizing.

Custom Geometry: You can render Passthrough images to a custom mesh instead of relying on the default style mesh—for example, to project Passthrough on a planar surface.

Although transparent AR headsets—like HoloLens and Magic Leap—give a much clearer (and color) view of the real-world, passthrough AR headsets like Varjo XR-3 (and now Quest 2), tend to offer a much more immersive field-of-view and more convincing virtual imagery thanks to complete opacity control and the potential for perfect latency between  real world imagery and virtual imagery. Though Quest 2’s AR view is still fairly low resolution and black & white, it’s expected that future headsets from Facebook will focus on improving the passthrough AR view.

While developers will be able to start experimenting with AR on Quest 2 with the v31 SDK via Unity, support for other engines—and the ability to actually publish AR apps to users—is expected later this year.

With a device like Quest 2 loaded full of cameras, it’s definitely worth thinking about privacy, especially now that third-party apps can make use of AR capabilities. On that front, Facebook says that “apps that use Passthrough API cannot access, view, or store images or videos of your physical environment from the Oculus Quest 2 sensors,” and that “raw images from device sensors are processed on-device,” meaning that the images the camera sees don’t get sent to Facebook or to third-party developers.

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Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/facebook-unlocking-ar-quest-2/

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AR/VR

Two New ‘Harry Potter’ VR Experiences Launch at Harry Potter New York

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Two new Harry Potter VR experiences have launched at the Harry Potter New York retail location. Wizards Take Flight and Chaos at Hogwarts were developed in collaboration with Dreamscape, Wevr, and Keylight.

The Harry Potter New York store, which launched last month as a retail destination for fans of the series, is now home to two new VR experiences offering visitors a chance to cast spells with wands at Hogwarts and ride flying brooms through London.

Both experiences launched last week, supporting up to six players at at time, and have a total run time of about 30 minutes (including gearing up and down).

Chaos at Hogwarts

After missing the Hogwarts Express at King’s Cross Station, Dobby helps get us to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Students! Dobby needs your help. Journey through Hogwarts Castle, cast spells with your wand, round up Pixies, discover hidden secrets, and find whether you and your friends can manage the Chaos at Hogwarts.

Wizards Take Flight

Take flight into the wizarding world on your own broom. Fly freely in the skies above Hogwarts before meeting Hagrid at Knockturn Alley. Then battle Death Eaters over the city of London, casting spells with your wand as you try to escape through the clouds to the safety of Hogwarts Castle.

For Chaos at Hogwarts, players will wear a VR backpack, headset, foot-trackers, and hand-trackers. In Wizards Take Flight players will each be seated on a physical broom accessory and wear a VR headset and hand-trackers. Both experiences are said to make use of “various haptics and special effects.”

Both Harry Potter VR experiences are priced at $34, and while tickets are technically available on the Harry Potter New York website, it appears that both VR experiences are completely sold out through August 15th.

Chaos at Hogwarts and Wizards Take Flight were made in collaboration with VR LBE, development, and production companies Dreamscape Immersive, Wevr, and Keylight.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.

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Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/harry-potter-vr-new-york-chaos-at-hogwarts-wizards-take-flight/

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AR/VR

The VR Drop: A Breezey RPG Summer

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It’s hot, it’s sunny so why stay inside playing virtual reality (VR) videogames? Because it’s hot, too sunny and quite frankly July has been filled with awesome releases. And that’s set to continue as the month comes to a close next week with more VR titles than you can shake a stick at gearing up for launch. Here are five that VRFocus is looking forward to in the coming days.

Winds & Leaves

Winds & Leaves – Trebuchet

After previously releasing Prison Boss VR Canadian developer Trebuchet returns with a far more open-air experience. In Winds & Leaves you become a virtual gardener bringing life back to a barren planet. Using a unique connection to the trees and plants around you, the only way you can explore the world is by planting forests that provide life-giving energy whilst offering a safe haven to return to. A VR experience for nature lovers.

  • Supported platforms: PlayStation VR
  • Launch date: 27th July

Arcsmith – Bithell Games

In Arcsmith you become a space engineer guided by a rather reluctant master arcsmith Korith Dinn. Onboard his usually quiet space station you’ll learn how to construct a variety of space-based items and machinery, fitting parts together in your own way. Whilst these three-dimensional engineering puzzles have specifications to work to, the modular design of the components means you can get creative with each assembly.

Arcsmith

Zombieland VR: Headshot Fever – XR Games

Initially due for release earlier this month on Steam, Zombieland fans can get in on the action in a few days. An official franchise tie-in with the films, Zombieland VR: Headshot Fever is an arcade-style shooter testing your aim and speed across a variety of zombie-filled courses. Get two headshots in a row to activate slow-mo, giving you more time to rack up those kills and points to unlock more goodies.

Vengeful Rites – Deep Dive Interactive

A Steam Early Access title that arrived back in 2018, Vengeful Rights is a big, story-driven role-playing game (RPG) set for an official launch next week. Filled with puzzles to solve and monsters to fight you’ll be able to wield swords, bows and magical abilities as you seek to save the world in this classic fantasy adventure.

Neon Hat

Neon Hat – Entalto Studios

From Spanish indie team Entalto Studios, Neon Hat is a very vibrant, cyber racer designed for use with PlayStation Move controllers, each one serves as a rocket booster allowing players to fly around corners and through checkpoints. Featuring its own original synthwave soundtrack, Neon Hat features ten courses across three gameplay modes. 

  • Supported platforms: PlayStation VR
  • Launch date: 29th July

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/07/the-vr-drop-a-breezey-rpg-summer/

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