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To better accommodate its users in emerging markets, many of whom only have access to 2G signal, Facebook announced a number of improvements to News Feed on Tuesday. In short, the news services has been revamped to ensure that it loads efficiently, regardless of network speed or the model of device being used. So if you're trying to load News Feed from a flip phone on a shaky connection, the service will push fewer video posts (which wouldn't load anyway) in favor of more status updates and link posts.

The wait is almost over, Star Wars fans: a new Battlefront is almost upon us. On Thursday, EA will open the Star Wars: Battlefront beta to all players, giving the gaming community it's first mainstream taste of online competitive multiplayer Star Wars since 2005. Can't wait? Tune in to Engadget Playdate at 6PM ET (3PM PT) on, the Engadget gaming homepage and right here -- Tim Seppala and I made a deal with Jabba the Hutt and nabbed a few PC and PS4 beta codes early. Play your cards right (by answering stupid questions in our chat) and one could soon be yours.

Must Reads

  • Engadget giveaway: win an iPhone 6s courtesy of Spigen!

    Live and learn, right? While having a bare-bottomed phone looks great, with one or two catastrophes under your belt, you may not be going commando again any time soon. This is especially true if you have a high-end handset like Apple's iPhone 6s. That's where companies like Spigen come in, to wrap...

  • Twitter's curated Moments slows down the newsfeed for new users

    Twitter moves at the speed of human consciousness. With our attention span more and more resembling that of a gnat, that's pretty quick. That's partially the reason that the social network is finding it difficult for new users grasp. Breaking news on the service has a life cycle of about an hour or...

Reddit's Ask Me Anything videos are getting off to a very good start. The social site has just posted its first batch of these moving AMAs, and one of these stars none other than Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Hayden Planetarium director known for making astrophysics accessible to everyone. As you might guess, the video format gives deGrasse Tyson the opportunity to answer with the kind of depth and expressiveness that you don't get with a text reply. Among other things, he chooses the universe's best art (spoiler: it's not a painting) and explains why he doesn't like mind-altering substances.

What would happen if you took the large, open-world chaos that defines the Far Cry series, removed the guns, vehicles, modern weapons and political character motivations? You'd have Far Cry Primal -- a survival epic staged in a re-imagined stone age. It's a different, but intriguing idea. The player takes on the role of Takkar, a lone hunter trying to survive on his own in the savage land of Oros. Really, the trailer says it all.

For all its promise and potential, the original Microsoft Band wasn't exactly a runaway hit. It's OK -- they can't all be winners. Even more surprising than the Band's existence in the first place is that Microsoft is taking another crack at the fitness gadget formula with a 2015 model of its oft-scorned wearable. It's a little smarter and a little sleeker, and maybe -- just maybe -- that'll be enough to change a few minds on the matter.

We already showed the Hubble Telescope some love back in the spring when it turned 25. However, since it's Space Week, we thought we'd revisit some of its amazing space imagery once more. Since it launched aboard the Space Shuttle discovery in 1995, Hubble has captured breathtaking views of planets, galaxies and more for us to enjoy. That being said, let's get started with the telescope's most recent work: a photo of spiral galaxy NGC 613.

Mattel wants to make virtual reality kid-friendly. The company's been trying to bring its toys into the digital age for the last year or so. Barbie received a speech-recognition makeover; a plush Smart Toy learned how to talk; and earlier this year, the toymaker announced it would leverage Google's Cardboard technology to revamp its iconic View-Master. The new iteration of the viewer was expected to offer an introductory virtual reality experience at an affordable price. Now as the viewer makes its way to shelves this month, the company has unveiled the 360-degree experiences that are designed to be a child's first brush with virtual reality.

You can't enjoy retro games without digging the music, and a YouTube video (below) shows exactly how those tunes evolved. As explained by the 8-Bit Guy and Obsolete Geek, early PCs and Apple machines used "beeper speakers" that were driven strictly by your computer's CPU. Those only produced crude sounds, because forcing the CPU to do more actually hurt gameplay. Computers and consoles eventually got dedicated sound chips, but each used a different number of "voices," producing the distinctive differences between, say, a Nintendo NES and a Commodore 64 system.

If you haven't yet read our iPhone 6s and 6s Plus review (and why not?), the whole thing can be summed up in just one sentence: These are the best iPhones Apple has ever made. Kidding! We actually had quite a bit more to say than that. As on last year's models, there are some tradeoffs unique to both the 4.7- and 5.5-inch editions, with the smaller 6s being easier to hold, but the 6s Plus offering longer battery life and optical image stabilization. Other than that, the two have many of the same pros and cons, which ultimately explains why we elected to give each a score of 91 out of 100. In particular, both benefit from faster performance and a pressure-sensitive 3D Touch display (yay) but, on the down side, start with a meager 16GB of storage (boo). All told, we recommend both, but the question as to which you should buy boils down to how big a phone you're comfortable using. That's the gist, as recapped in our mini review video above, and if you have time to read up on on the finer points, you can find our full review here.

It's become commonplace for phone manufacturers to offer two sizes of their flagship phones: big and bigger. Microsoft is following suite with the new Lumia 950 and 950 XL, the latter of which is poised to compete directly with devices like the brand-new iPhone 6S Plus and the Nexus 6P. If you're looking for a flagship phone running your platform of choice, now's a great time to be in the market. The most notable difference about these devices is what operating system they run, but if you want to see how they stack up on a spec-by-spec basis, check out the table below.

Microsoft's Surface and Lumia event: by the numbers

The dust is settling on Microsoft's Windows 10 Devices event where the company showed off all the shiny devices that it's about to start selling. But if you weren't able to sit through our excellent liveblog, then perhaps you'd like to read this breakdown of the show based on the key numbers. It's like an extended highlights reel, but with a more statistical edge.

Get all the news from today's Microsoft event right here.

The smaller of the new Lumias is quite the powerhouse on paper, but how does it stack up against the latest iOS and Android devices? At first glance, Microsoft's newest flagship, the Lumia 950, seems plenty powerful with its 1.8GHz hexa-core Snapdragon 808, 3GB of RAM and 5.2-inch Quad HD AMOLED display. However, we've got the face-off after the break with a side-by-side comparison between the Lumia 950, iPhone 6s and Nexus 5x so you can decide for yourself which one best suits your needs.

Surface Book vs. the competition: flagship laptops go head-to-head

And then there were three: with the introduction of the Surface Book, Microsoft has joined Apple and Google in offering a premium laptop that runs its own platform. But how does it stack up next to its rivals, the 13-inch MacBook Pro and the Chromebook Pixel? We've put the specs of each side by side to help you sort things out. As you'll soon see, the three only share a few things in common. They reflect the unique philosophies of their creators, whether it's Microsoft's fondness for tablets, Apple's preference for powerful (if conventional) laptops or Google's desire for lean-and-mean web machines.

It's been an up-and-down ride for Microsoft's line of Surface tablets -- but the company finally hit on a formula that worked with the Surface Pro 3. It's a device that has inspired a number of competitors, most recently from Microsoft's long-standing rivals Apple and Google. The newly-announced iPad Pro and Pixel C both take clear and obvious cues from the Surface lineup, but fortunately for Microsoft it now has a brand-new Surface Pro 4 to compete with these newcomers. While much of your interest in these devices will likely come from which operating system you prefer, we've lined up the specs below so you can get an idea as to how these tablets will all stack up when they hit stores later this year.

You could be forgiven for forgetting that Windows Phones were ever really a thing -- iOS and Android devices keep making headlines. After all, it's been ages since we got a high-end phone from Microsoft or one of its partners. It was... frustrating to say the least, especially if you were one of those people who fell under the spell of Microsoft's mega-marketing blitz. Now, though, we've got two new high-end Windows Phones -- the Lumia 950 and 950 XL -- ready to bring the best of Redmond's new vision of software straight into our pockets. I spent a little time here in New York City to futz around with both, and one thing seems clear: While the hardware doesn't feel like Microsoft's best, there are plenty of good ideas here.

As promised, VAIO (Sony's now spun-off PC brand) is returning to the US. To start, it's just a single model, the Z Canvas. The 12.3-inch convertible Windows 10 PC comes with a stylus capable of 1024 levels of sensitivity, a wireless keyboard and with pretty sharp WQXGA+ screen it's pitched to sketchers and photographers, and trying to appeal to the same crowd that's eyeing up that incoming iPad Pro. It's on sale now, online at VAIO and Microsoft's retail sites, with prices starting at $2,199 with 8GB of memory and a 256GB SSD. Those looking to do serious business can upgrade all the way up to a 1TB storage setup and 16GB of memory.


As great as Reddit can be for discovering interesting news, it's not always ideal for newcomers -- it takes time to navigate that sea of posts, and some communities aren't so friendly. Reddit thinks it can help, though. It's launching Upvoted, an experimental news website that includes both curated stories from Reddit as well as original content... but not Reddit's community or voting. While it'll still link back to Reddit, it's really meant as an introduction for readers (and, we'd add, advertisers) that might be spooked by the occasional hostile comment on the main site. It's also meant to keep more news within the Reddit ecosystem, rather than letting other sites write about it first.

The Surface Pro 4 is here and ... it's pretty much just like the Surface Pro 3. Microsoft basically refined its design from last year to create a hybrid tablet that's slightly thinner and 30 percent more powerful. It also included a slightly larger 12.3-inch screen in the Surface Pro 4 (0.3 inch bigger than the SP3) without making the case larger. Instead, Microsoft just chipped away at the bezel around the screen. All that makes for a Surface Pro that feels exceedingly familiar, but also wonderfully refined. While the Surface Pro 3 was good enough to replace most laptops for me, the SP4's improvements should make that true for even more people.