Razer Blade 14 (2024) review: A portable, but pricey, powerhouse

Razer’s Blade family of gaming laptops are among the most premium on the market. And while there aren’t a ton of major changes on the 2024 Blade 14, for the first time ever, it will be available in both classic black and Mercury (aka silver) at launch. Now this might not sound like a big deal, but it means you can get a portable rig with strong performance that doesn’t shout about it like a lot of other gaming laptops do. When you combine that with an exquisite chassis milled from a single block of aluminum and a wealth of ports, you end up with a system that straddles the line between a beefy gaming machine and a portable all-rounder.

Design: Now in silver from the jump

On the outside, Razer is definitely taking the approach of “If it ain't broke, don't fix it.” That’s not a bad thing on a laptop that’s pretty much the closest thing to a MacBook Pro for gaming. The entire system feels incredibly solid with only the slightest bit of flex on spots like the lid. And unlike a MacBook, the Blade offers a wide variety of ports including four USB (two 3.2 Type-A and two Type-C with USB 4), a 3.5mm audio jack and a full-size HDMI 2.1 connector). 

Plus, there’s a dedicated power socket so you don’t need to hog an extra slot while charging. The Blade 14 even supports USB-PD (power delivery) so you can use third-party chargers in a pinch, though you won’t get full performance this way due to a lower 100-watt limit (versus 230 watts when using Razer’s included brick).

The two small downsides to the Blade 14 are that its super sturdy frame weighs a touch more (4.05 pounds) than similar laptops like the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (3.31 pounds). You also don’t get an SD card reader like you do on the bigger Blade 16. That’s a bummer for anyone planning to occasionally use this thing as a photo or video editing machine, but it’s not a deal breaker.

Display and webcam: Bright and blazing-fast

The Razer Blade 14 comes with a single display option: a bright 2,560 x 1600 panel with a 240Hz refresh rate.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Though there’s only a single display option for the Blade 14, it’s a good one. It features a 2560 x 1600 LCD panel that supports AMD FreeSync and a gamut that covers 100% of the DCI-P3 spectrum. It’s also more than bright enough at over 450 nits while the matte anti-glare coating helps keep reflections to a minimum. This means not only do games and movies look great with vivid hues, it’s also accurate enough for editing. The only thing I wish there was a config with an OLED panel like there is on the Blade 16.

Meanwhile, above the display, there’s a 1080p webcam with an IR sensor for Windows Hello. But my favorite thing about this component is that Razer included a tiny physical shutter, which should reduce concerns about government agents spying on you.

Performance: Class-leading speed

As you'd expect on a Razer laptop, the Blade 14 features customizable RGB lighting.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

The Blade 14 is available in two basic configurations: a base model with an AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS chip, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage and an NVIDIA RTX 4060 GPU. There’s also an upgraded model with 32GB of memory and an RTX 4070 (which is the version we reviewed). In short, this thing flies, delivering about as much performance as you can get out of a 14-inch laptop. In PCMark 10, the Blade 14 scored 7,436 versus 6,170 from an ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED with an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H chip. But more importantly, it can handle almost any game you can throw at it with ease.

In Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p and ultra settings, the Blade 14 hit 101 fps compared to 67 fps from an MSI Stealth 14 Studio with an RTX 4060. When I increased the resolution to 1440p, it still pumped out a very playable 66 fps. Meanwhile in Returnal at 1080p and epic presets, Razer enjoyed a similar lead reaching 92 fps versus 78 for the MSI. So unless you feel like moving up to a larger 15- or 16-inch system with room for an RTX 4080 or above, this performance is essentially as good as it gets in this segment.

Battery life: Better than expected unless your gaming unplugged

The Blade 14 offers a wealth of ports including two USB-A, two USB-C (USB 4 with support for USB-PD), 3.5mm audio and an HDMI 2.1 jack.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Gaming laptops are notorious for short run times. However, on PCMark 10’s Modern Office rundown test, the Blade 14 turned in a respectable time of 6 hours and 46 minutes. That’s more than an hour longer than the MSI Stealth Studio 14 (5:19) and nearly good enough to last through an entire workday. But it still falls way short of more typical ultraportables without discrete graphics like the ZenBook 14 OLED (12:43).

That said, even with some power-saving tricks like automatically reducing its display to 60Hz when running on battery, you’re still going to want to keep the Razer’s power brick handy. When I played Teamfight Tactics, the Blade’s battery dropped from 85 to 45 percent after a single 40-minute game.

Wrap-up

The Blade 14's included power brick is rated at 240 watts, but you can also charge the laptop via USB-PD at up to 100 watts in a pinch.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

With a starting price of $2,200 or $2,700 as configured, the Blade 14 is on the pricey side. But that’s not really new for Razer’s laptops and there’s no doubt this thing delivers a thoroughly premium experience, with its excellent build quality, beautiful display and great performance. It’s equally adept at gaming or editing on the go, and with the silver model being available at launch, you can get a machine that blends in better outside of LAN parties. The main thing that would stop me from buying one is the existence of ASUS’ refreshed ROG Zephyrus G14, which has similar specs and a much lower starting price of $1,600. But if you have the means, the Blade 14 won’t do you wrong.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/razer-blade-14-2024-review-a-portable-but-pricey-powerhouse-specs-price-160020891.html?src=rss

Razer Blade 14 (2024) review: A portable, but pricey, powerhouse

Razer’s Blade family of gaming laptops are among the most premium on the market. And while there aren’t a ton of major changes on the 2024 Blade 14, for the first time ever, it will be available in both classic black and Mercury (aka silver) at launch. Now this might not sound like a big deal, but it means you can get a portable rig with strong performance that doesn’t shout about it like a lot of other gaming laptops do. When you combine that with an exquisite chassis milled from a single block of aluminum and a wealth of ports, you end up with a system that straddles the line between a beefy gaming machine and a portable all-rounder.

Design: Now in silver from the jump

On the outside, Razer is definitely taking the approach of “If it ain't broke, don't fix it.” That’s not a bad thing on a laptop that’s pretty much the closest thing to a MacBook Pro for gaming. The entire system feels incredibly solid with only the slightest bit of flex on spots like the lid. And unlike a MacBook, the Blade offers a wide variety of ports including four USB (two 3.2 Type-A and two Type-C with USB 4), a 3.5mm audio jack and a full-size HDMI 2.1 connector). 

Plus, there’s a dedicated power socket so you don’t need to hog an extra slot while charging. The Blade 14 even supports USB-PD (power delivery) so you can use third-party chargers in a pinch, though you won’t get full performance this way due to a lower 100-watt limit (versus 230 watts when using Razer’s included brick).

The two small downsides to the Blade 14 are that its super sturdy frame weighs a touch more (4.05 pounds) than similar laptops like the ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14 (3.31 pounds). You also don’t get an SD card reader like you do on the bigger Blade 16. That’s a bummer for anyone planning to occasionally use this thing as a photo or video editing machine, but it’s not a deal breaker.

Display and webcam: Bright and blazing-fast

The Razer Blade 14 comes with a single display option: a bright 2,560 x 1600 panel with a 240Hz refresh rate.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Though there’s only a single display option for the Blade 14, it’s a good one. It features a 2560 x 1600 LCD panel that supports AMD FreeSync and a gamut that covers 100% of the DCI-P3 spectrum. It’s also more than bright enough at over 450 nits while the matte anti-glare coating helps keep reflections to a minimum. This means not only do games and movies look great with vivid hues, it’s also accurate enough for editing. The only thing I wish there was a config with an OLED panel like there is on the Blade 16.

Meanwhile, above the display, there’s a 1080p webcam with an IR sensor for Windows Hello. But my favorite thing about this component is that Razer included a tiny physical shutter, which should reduce concerns about government agents spying on you.

Performance: Class-leading speed

As you'd expect on a Razer laptop, the Blade 14 features customizable RGB lighting.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

The Blade 14 is available in two basic configurations: a base model with an AMD Ryzen 9 8945HS chip, 16GB of RAM, 1TB of SSD storage and an NVIDIA RTX 4060 GPU. There’s also an upgraded model with 32GB of memory and an RTX 4070 (which is the version we reviewed). In short, this thing flies, delivering about as much performance as you can get out of a 14-inch laptop. In PCMark 10, the Blade 14 scored 7,436 versus 6,170 from an ASUS ZenBook 14 OLED with an Intel Core Ultra 7 155H chip. But more importantly, it can handle almost any game you can throw at it with ease.

In Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p and ultra settings, the Blade 14 hit 101 fps compared to 67 fps from an MSI Stealth 14 Studio with an RTX 4060. When I increased the resolution to 1440p, it still pumped out a very playable 66 fps. Meanwhile in Returnal at 1080p and epic presets, Razer enjoyed a similar lead reaching 92 fps versus 78 for the MSI. So unless you feel like moving up to a larger 15- or 16-inch system with room for an RTX 4080 or above, this performance is essentially as good as it gets in this segment.

Battery life: Better than expected unless your gaming unplugged

The Blade 14 offers a wealth of ports including two USB-A, two USB-C (USB 4 with support for USB-PD), 3.5mm audio and an HDMI 2.1 jack.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

Gaming laptops are notorious for short run times. However, on PCMark 10’s Modern Office rundown test, the Blade 14 turned in a respectable time of 6 hours and 46 minutes. That’s more than an hour longer than the MSI Stealth Studio 14 (5:19) and nearly good enough to last through an entire workday. But it still falls way short of more typical ultraportables without discrete graphics like the ZenBook 14 OLED (12:43).

That said, even with some power-saving tricks like automatically reducing its display to 60Hz when running on battery, you’re still going to want to keep the Razer’s power brick handy. When I played Teamfight Tactics, the Blade’s battery dropped from 85 to 45 percent after a single 40-minute game.

Wrap-up

The Blade 14's included power brick is rated at 240 watts, but you can also charge the laptop via USB-PD at up to 100 watts in a pinch.
Photo by Sam Rutherford/Engadget

With a starting price of $2,200 or $2,700 as configured, the Blade 14 is on the pricey side. But that’s not really new for Razer’s laptops and there’s no doubt this thing delivers a thoroughly premium experience, with its excellent build quality, beautiful display and great performance. It’s equally adept at gaming or editing on the go, and with the silver model being available at launch, you can get a machine that blends in better outside of LAN parties. The main thing that would stop me from buying one is the existence of ASUS’ refreshed ROG Zephyrus G14, which has similar specs and a much lower starting price of $1,600. But if you have the means, the Blade 14 won’t do you wrong.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/razer-blade-14-2024-review-a-portable-but-pricey-powerhouse-specs-price-160020891.html?src=rss

Layoffs and weird PR emails | This week’s gaming news

Let's all take a breath. Layoffs are still churning in the video game industry, even as the frigid winter air is beginning to thaw. Amid the turmoil of these past few months, there are still things to be excited about: new games and hardware, the evolution of established franchises, and plenty of small teams building surprises to shake up the status quo. Look at all of the rad things happening over at Playdate for just one example of positive momentum in video games (we'll talk more about this next week).

Breathe in, breathe out.

Now, let's dive back into the news cycle:

This week's stories

PlayStation layoffs

The layoffs crisis in video games isn’t slowing down, and the latest company to announce drastic staffing cuts is PlayStation. Sony on Tuesday fired roughly 900 people from its PlayStation division and fully shut down its London Studio, which had been building a co-op multiplayer game for PS5. Insomniac, Naughty Dog and Guerrilla all lost employees, despite being behind some of the platform’s most successful games in recent memory. First-party studio Firesprite was also hit by the layoffs, and it reportedly had to cancel a live-service Twisted Metal project. It’s barely March, but already more than 7,000 video game workers have been laid off in 2024; last year, more than 9,000 people in the industry lost their jobs to layoffs.

Happy Pokémon Day!

February 27 was Pokémon Day, and in celebration, Nintendo revealed two new games: Pokémon Legends Z-A and Pokémon Trading Card Game Pocket. Pokémon Legends Z-A is set in Lumiose City, which you might remember from Pokémon X and Y on the 3DS, and it looks like it features Mega Evolutions. Pokémon Legends Z-A is due to hit Switch in 2025. The other title, Pokémon Trading Card Game Pocket, is a mobile game that should land on Android and iOS devices by the end of the year. It’s exactly what it sounds like — Nintendo is putting the physical card-opening mechanic inside your phone, complete with flashy animations and addictive sound effects when you rip off the digital packaging. You’ll also be able to engage in quick battles. Nintendo has clarified that Pocket will not have NFTs, but it is described as “free to start,” so expect microtransactions.

Random PR roundup

It’s been a strange and slow week here in Engadget video game land, so I thought we’d have some fun this episode. As tech reporters, we receive ridiculous emails from startups and PR agencies literally every day, and even though we don’t end up covering many of the proposed products, some of the messages themselves deserve a moment in the spotlight. Many of the pitches we get are just silly or tone deaf, but some of them are outright dystopian. And honestly, I thought you all might enjoy seeing some of the weirdness that hits our inboxes.

This is all meant in good fun — I appreciate the communications teams who are just trying to sell their stuff in creative ways. The real enemy here, as always, is capitalism.

So, here are some emails that recently found their way into my inbox and made me go wut:

GameScent - New Groundbreaking Device Enhances Player Immersion by Releasing Gameplay Corresponding Scents

“As players dive into a game, GameScent’s patent-pending adaptor captures audio in real-time. These real-time audio cues are processed by GameScent's innovative AI to release scents that correspond with the on-screen action. Inhale the smoky aroma of battle, the exhilarating scent of speeding race cars, the calming fragrance of a forest, or the fresh smell of rain after a storm.”

Unsurprisingly, this little doodad comes with replaceable scent cartridges, though it's unclear how to actually buy those at the moment. Scents include gunfire, explosion, racing cars, blood, sports arena and other brotastic flavors.

Is this... cool? There's definitely a fun idea here about the future of immersion, right? Or I've completely lost the plot. Either could be true.


Seeking Products for Pickleball Stories? (Samples Available)

Ma'am, this is Engadget.


Deconstructeam Delivers a Valentine's Day Surprise of Cosmic Proportions

This was for the game The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood, and the surprise was a huge dildo. I thought the whole email was cute, actually — it was tasteful and coyly advertised a giveaway in partnership with a well-known adult toy company. The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is a sexy game and it stars a muscular behemoth the size of a planet, so it all made sense. It just didn’t fit in our general news feed, ya know?


(Story Idea:) Here’s Doom Running On A Robotic Lawn Mower: Yes, A Robotic Lawn Mower! (You Have To See It To Believe It!) (Video Included)

"I am reaching out with a great story that is sure to go viral… This spring, Husqvarna will make the iconic 1993 video game DOOM, available to play on the company’s robotic lawn mowers."

I find this email charming because it’s just a traditional, infomercial-style email with lots of unnecessary exclamation points and parenthesis. I respect it. But seriously, are we still doing this Doom thing? Next you’ll be asking me if this lawn mower can run Crysis and making jokes about Leeroy Jenkins, and I’m just here in 2024, begging for some new references.

The best part of this one is the fact that, after I added it to my list of silly emails, we actually hit this as news on Engadget dot com. Who's the joke now? (It's me).


Meet My Regina | PC Preview – Dickhead-Destroying Extravaganza Cookie Cutter

“I’ve got something to show you, Jessica.

She’s one of the most incredible things I’ve ever held between my legs.

She’s small but tough and can take a beating.

And everyone knows she’s smart because she has a British accent.

She’ll giggle if you tickle her just right.

And she even glows in the dark!

Are you ready to meet her?

Well, are you?

Don’t be shy now.

Good. Well, here she is!”

I asked to be removed from this list.

Bonus Content

  • In more layoffs news, Until Dawn studio Supermassive Games fired about a third of its workforce, or roughly 90 employees, and the team is reorganizing. Also, indie studio Die Gut Fabrik, which created Sportsfriends, Johann Sebastian Joust and Saltsea Chronicles, has halted production amid funding issues and developers there are looking for other jobs.

  • Nintendo is suing Yuzu, a popular and long-running emulator that allows players to put their Switch games on other platforms. Nintendo argues that the app is "facilitating piracy at a colossal scale,” and says it illegally circumvents DMCA protections. Nintendo wants Yuzu shut down and the company is seeking damages.

  • Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth finally comes out on February 29 and our review from Mat Smith is live now. He’s a really big Final Fantasy nerd, and he really liked Rebirth.

Now Playing

Home Safety Hotline is the perfect game to play at your desk, on the PC, so you can let the mid-90s computer interface fully engulf your senses. In this game, you take calls from people complaining about pests and paranormal creatures invading their homes, and using a detailed reference guide, you identify what’s going on and help them sort it out. Or, you get it wrong and get fired while a family of three screams for their lives on the other end of the line. There’s also a broader meta-horror unfurling in the background, and I’m having a lovely, spooky time sorting through all of it. Home Safety Hotline is out now on Steam.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/layoffs-and-weird-pr-emails--this-weeks-gaming-news-173041054.html?src=rss

Layoffs and weird PR emails | This week’s gaming news

Let's all take a breath. Layoffs are still churning in the video game industry, even as the frigid winter air is beginning to thaw. Amid the turmoil of these past few months, there are still things to be excited about: new games and hardware, the evolution of established franchises, and plenty of small teams building surprises to shake up the status quo. Look at all of the rad things happening over at Playdate for just one example of positive momentum in video games (we'll talk more about this next week).

Breathe in, breathe out.

Now, let's dive back into the news cycle:

This week's stories

PlayStation layoffs

The layoffs crisis in video games isn’t slowing down, and the latest company to announce drastic staffing cuts is PlayStation. Sony on Tuesday fired roughly 900 people from its PlayStation division and fully shut down its London Studio, which had been building a co-op multiplayer game for PS5. Insomniac, Naughty Dog and Guerrilla all lost employees, despite being behind some of the platform’s most successful games in recent memory. First-party studio Firesprite was also hit by the layoffs, and it reportedly had to cancel a live-service Twisted Metal project. It’s barely March, but already more than 7,000 video game workers have been laid off in 2024; last year, more than 9,000 people in the industry lost their jobs to layoffs.

Happy Pokémon Day!

February 27 was Pokémon Day, and in celebration, Nintendo revealed two new games: Pokémon Legends Z-A and Pokémon Trading Card Game Pocket. Pokémon Legends Z-A is set in Lumiose City, which you might remember from Pokémon X and Y on the 3DS, and it looks like it features Mega Evolutions. Pokémon Legends Z-A is due to hit Switch in 2025. The other title, Pokémon Trading Card Game Pocket, is a mobile game that should land on Android and iOS devices by the end of the year. It’s exactly what it sounds like — Nintendo is putting the physical card-opening mechanic inside your phone, complete with flashy animations and addictive sound effects when you rip off the digital packaging. You’ll also be able to engage in quick battles. Nintendo has clarified that Pocket will not have NFTs, but it is described as “free to start,” so expect microtransactions.

Random PR roundup

It’s been a strange and slow week here in Engadget video game land, so I thought we’d have some fun this episode. As tech reporters, we receive ridiculous emails from startups and PR agencies literally every day, and even though we don’t end up covering many of the proposed products, some of the messages themselves deserve a moment in the spotlight. Many of the pitches we get are just silly or tone deaf, but some of them are outright dystopian. And honestly, I thought you all might enjoy seeing some of the weirdness that hits our inboxes.

This is all meant in good fun — I appreciate the communications teams who are just trying to sell their stuff in creative ways. The real enemy here, as always, is capitalism.

So, here are some emails that recently found their way into my inbox and made me go wut:

GameScent - New Groundbreaking Device Enhances Player Immersion by Releasing Gameplay Corresponding Scents

“As players dive into a game, GameScent’s patent-pending adaptor captures audio in real-time. These real-time audio cues are processed by GameScent's innovative AI to release scents that correspond with the on-screen action. Inhale the smoky aroma of battle, the exhilarating scent of speeding race cars, the calming fragrance of a forest, or the fresh smell of rain after a storm.”

Unsurprisingly, this little doodad comes with replaceable scent cartridges, though it's unclear how to actually buy those at the moment. Scents include gunfire, explosion, racing cars, blood, sports arena and other brotastic flavors.

Is this... cool? There's definitely a fun idea here about the future of immersion, right? Or I've completely lost the plot. Either could be true.


Seeking Products for Pickleball Stories? (Samples Available)

Ma'am, this is Engadget.


Deconstructeam Delivers a Valentine's Day Surprise of Cosmic Proportions

This was for the game The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood, and the surprise was a huge dildo. I thought the whole email was cute, actually — it was tasteful and coyly advertised a giveaway in partnership with a well-known adult toy company. The Cosmic Wheel Sisterhood is a sexy game and it stars a muscular behemoth the size of a planet, so it all made sense. It just didn’t fit in our general news feed, ya know?


(Story Idea:) Here’s Doom Running On A Robotic Lawn Mower: Yes, A Robotic Lawn Mower! (You Have To See It To Believe It!) (Video Included)

"I am reaching out with a great story that is sure to go viral… This spring, Husqvarna will make the iconic 1993 video game DOOM, available to play on the company’s robotic lawn mowers."

I find this email charming because it’s just a traditional, infomercial-style email with lots of unnecessary exclamation points and parenthesis. I respect it. But seriously, are we still doing this Doom thing? Next you’ll be asking me if this lawn mower can run Crysis and making jokes about Leeroy Jenkins, and I’m just here in 2024, begging for some new references.

The best part of this one is the fact that, after I added it to my list of silly emails, we actually hit this as news on Engadget dot com. Who's the joke now? (It's me).


Meet My Regina | PC Preview – Dickhead-Destroying Extravaganza Cookie Cutter

“I’ve got something to show you, Jessica.

She’s one of the most incredible things I’ve ever held between my legs.

She’s small but tough and can take a beating.

And everyone knows she’s smart because she has a British accent.

She’ll giggle if you tickle her just right.

And she even glows in the dark!

Are you ready to meet her?

Well, are you?

Don’t be shy now.

Good. Well, here she is!”

I asked to be removed from this list.

Bonus Content

  • In more layoffs news, Until Dawn studio Supermassive Games fired about a third of its workforce, or roughly 90 employees, and the team is reorganizing. Also, indie studio Die Gut Fabrik, which created Sportsfriends, Johann Sebastian Joust and Saltsea Chronicles, has halted production amid funding issues and developers there are looking for other jobs.

  • Nintendo is suing Yuzu, a popular and long-running emulator that allows players to put their Switch games on other platforms. Nintendo argues that the app is "facilitating piracy at a colossal scale,” and says it illegally circumvents DMCA protections. Nintendo wants Yuzu shut down and the company is seeking damages.

  • Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth finally comes out on February 29 and our review from Mat Smith is live now. He’s a really big Final Fantasy nerd, and he really liked Rebirth.

Now Playing

Home Safety Hotline is the perfect game to play at your desk, on the PC, so you can let the mid-90s computer interface fully engulf your senses. In this game, you take calls from people complaining about pests and paranormal creatures invading their homes, and using a detailed reference guide, you identify what’s going on and help them sort it out. Or, you get it wrong and get fired while a family of three screams for their lives on the other end of the line. There’s also a broader meta-horror unfurling in the background, and I’m having a lovely, spooky time sorting through all of it. Home Safety Hotline is out now on Steam.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/layoffs-and-weird-pr-emails--this-weeks-gaming-news-173041054.html?src=rss

The US will investigate cars built in China over security concerns

The White House has announced an investigation into cars built in China and other unnamed "countries of concern." The Biden administration notes that cars are "constantly connecting" with drivers' phones, other vehicles, American infrastructure and their manufacturers, and that newer models use tech such as driver assist systems.

"Connected vehicles collect large amounts of sensitive data on their drivers and passengers; regularly use their cameras and sensors to record detailed information on US infrastructure; interact directly with critical infrastructure; and can be piloted or disabled remotely," the White House said in a statement. Officials are concerned that "new vulnerabilities and threats" could arise from connected vehicles if foreign governments are able to access data from them. They are especially wary that said countries of concern could use such information in ways that put national security at risk.

The Department of Commerce will lead the investigation. "We need to understand the extent of the technology in these cars that can capture wide swaths of data or remotely disable or manipulate connected vehicles, so we are soliciting information to determine whether to take action under our ICTS [information and communications technology and services] authorities," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.

Through its advance notice of proposed rulemaking [PDF], the agency is looking for feedback from the public to help determine "the technologies and market participants that may be most appropriate for regulation." The investigation will help the Commerce Department decide whether to take action. It's the first time that the agency's Bureau of Industry and Security is carrying out an investigation under Trump-era Executive Orders "focused on protecting domestic information and communications technology and services supply chains from national security threats," the White House said.

"China is determined to dominate the future of the auto market, including by using unfair practices. China’s policies could flood our market with its vehicles, posing risks to our national security. I’m not going to let that happen on my watch," President Joe Biden said. "Connected vehicles from China could collect sensitive data about our citizens and our infrastructure and send this data back to the People’s Republic of China. These vehicles could be remotely accessed or disabled."

As The Washington Post points out, cars built in China aren't especially common on US roads as yet, but they're becoming an increasingly familiar sight in other markets, such as Europe. While many of the vehicles that are causing concerns are EVs, its cars' cameras, sensors and software that are the focus of the probe.

It's not the first time that the US has investigated Chinese companies over concerns that they pose security risks to the country's infrastructure. A few years ago, it banned the import and sale of telecom networking equipment made by Huawei and ZTE (after stopping government employees from using the companies' phones). The government also required telecoms to remove and replace Huawei and ZTE gear in existing infrastructure at great expense.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-us-will-investigate-cars-built-in-china-over-security-concerns-155037465.html?src=rss

The US will investigate cars built in China over security concerns

The White House has announced an investigation into cars built in China and other unnamed "countries of concern." The Biden administration notes that cars are "constantly connecting" with drivers' phones, other vehicles, American infrastructure and their manufacturers, and that newer models use tech such as driver assist systems.

"Connected vehicles collect large amounts of sensitive data on their drivers and passengers; regularly use their cameras and sensors to record detailed information on US infrastructure; interact directly with critical infrastructure; and can be piloted or disabled remotely," the White House said in a statement. Officials are concerned that "new vulnerabilities and threats" could arise from connected vehicles if foreign governments are able to access data from them. They are especially wary that said countries of concern could use such information in ways that put national security at risk.

The Department of Commerce will lead the investigation. "We need to understand the extent of the technology in these cars that can capture wide swaths of data or remotely disable or manipulate connected vehicles, so we are soliciting information to determine whether to take action under our ICTS [information and communications technology and services] authorities," Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said.

Through its advance notice of proposed rulemaking [PDF], the agency is looking for feedback from the public to help determine "the technologies and market participants that may be most appropriate for regulation." The investigation will help the Commerce Department decide whether to take action. It's the first time that the agency's Bureau of Industry and Security is carrying out an investigation under Trump-era Executive Orders "focused on protecting domestic information and communications technology and services supply chains from national security threats," the White House said.

"China is determined to dominate the future of the auto market, including by using unfair practices. China’s policies could flood our market with its vehicles, posing risks to our national security. I’m not going to let that happen on my watch," President Joe Biden said. "Connected vehicles from China could collect sensitive data about our citizens and our infrastructure and send this data back to the People’s Republic of China. These vehicles could be remotely accessed or disabled."

As The Washington Post points out, cars built in China aren't especially common on US roads as yet, but they're becoming an increasingly familiar sight in other markets, such as Europe. While many of the vehicles that are causing concerns are EVs, its cars' cameras, sensors and software that are the focus of the probe.

It's not the first time that the US has investigated Chinese companies over concerns that they pose security risks to the country's infrastructure. A few years ago, it banned the import and sale of telecom networking equipment made by Huawei and ZTE (after stopping government employees from using the companies' phones). The government also required telecoms to remove and replace Huawei and ZTE gear in existing infrastructure at great expense.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-us-will-investigate-cars-built-in-china-over-security-concerns-155037465.html?src=rss

EA is laying off over 650 employees

Video game company Electronic Arts will lay off 5 precent of its workforce according to a report it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday. More than 650 EA employees will lose their jobs as a result of the move, part of a broader restricting that will see the company cutting back on office space and ending work on some video games.

EA’s cuts are the latest in a long line of layoffs that have rocked the video game industry since last year. In 2023, more than 10,500 video game workers lost their jobs, and more than 6,000 people in the industry were cut in January 2024 alone. The video game companies that have laid off workers so far include Microsoft, Riot Games, and Unity among many others. On Tuesday, Sony announced that it was laying off 900 people from its PlayStation division, roughly 8 percent of its headcount.

In a memo sent to EA employees, CEO Andrew Wilson wrote that the company is “streamlining our company operations to deliver deeper, more connected experiences for fans everywhere.” EA expects to finish making the cuts by early next quarter, the memo says. The cuts, Wilson adds, will let EA focus more on its “biggest opportunities — including our owned IP, sports, and massive online communities.”

One of the games that the move will directly impact is a Star Wars first-person shooter being worked upon by Respawn, a game development studio that EA acquired in 2017, according to IGN. "It's always hard to walk away from a project, and this decision is not a reflection of the team's talent, tenacity, or passion they have for the game," EA Entertainment president Laura Miele reportedly told staff in a note. "Giving fans the next installments of the iconic franchises they want is the definition of blockbuster storytelling and the right place to focus."

Update, February 28 2024, 5:45 PM ET: This story has been updated with more details of the canceled Star Wars game.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ea-is-laying-off-over-650-employees-221221637.html?src=rss

EA is laying off over 650 employees

Video game company Electronic Arts will lay off 5 precent of its workforce according to a report it filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday. More than 650 EA employees will lose their jobs as a result of the move, part of a broader restricting that will see the company cutting back on office space and ending work on some video games.

EA’s cuts are the latest in a long line of layoffs that have rocked the video game industry since last year. In 2023, more than 10,500 video game workers lost their jobs, and more than 6,000 people in the industry were cut in January 2024 alone. The video game companies that have laid off workers so far include Microsoft, Riot Games, and Unity among many others. On Tuesday, Sony announced that it was laying off 900 people from its PlayStation division, roughly 8 percent of its headcount.

In a memo sent to EA employees, CEO Andrew Wilson wrote that the company is “streamlining our company operations to deliver deeper, more connected experiences for fans everywhere.” EA expects to finish making the cuts by early next quarter, the memo says. The cuts, Wilson adds, will let EA focus more on its “biggest opportunities — including our owned IP, sports, and massive online communities.”

One of the games that the move will directly impact is a Star Wars first-person shooter being worked upon by Respawn, a game development studio that EA acquired in 2017, according to IGN. "It's always hard to walk away from a project, and this decision is not a reflection of the team's talent, tenacity, or passion they have for the game," EA Entertainment president Laura Miele reportedly told staff in a note. "Giving fans the next installments of the iconic franchises they want is the definition of blockbuster storytelling and the right place to focus."

Update, February 28 2024, 5:45 PM ET: This story has been updated with more details of the canceled Star Wars game.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/ea-is-laying-off-over-650-employees-221221637.html?src=rss

Samsung’s new microSD card is faster than some SSDs

Samsung’s upcoming microSD card will offer a dramatic speed boost. The company’s 256GB SD Express microSD — Samsung’s first SD Express card — can read data at up to 800 MB/s, significantly faster than the microSDs you can buy today. However, we don’t yet know how much it will cost, and the card won’t be available until later this year.

The 256GB SD Express microSD will have (theoretical) sequential read speeds of up to 800 MB/s, which is over 2.5 times as fast as the read speeds in UHS-II microSD cards and 1.4 times faster than SATA SSDs. So, at least in theory, Samsung’s new card should be noticeably faster than the cheapest solid-state drives.

Samsung added heat management capabilities to help keep temperatures in check. “To ensure stable performance and reliability for the small form factor, Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) technology maintains the optimum temperature for the SD Express microSD card, even during long usage sessions,” the company wrote in a press release announcing the new card.

Samsung (perhaps unsurprisingly) is shoehorning the almighty “AI” buzzword into the card’s zippier speeds. “With our two new microSD cards, Samsung has provided effective solutions to address the growing demands of mobile computing and on-device AI,” Samsung VP Hangu Sohn wrote.

The company’s Galaxy S24 series goes big on AI, but Samsung hasn’t included a microSD slot in its flagship phones for the last four generations. (Nor has most of the rest of the smartphone playing field.) So, while future AI-powered devices could benefit from the extra speeds, Samsung’s current batch of high-end phones aren’t on that list. In addition, although SD Express is backward compatible, not many devices (yet) support SD Express, which requires an extra row of pins on the host device. In other words, the card’s full potential won’t be realized until we have new gear to support it.

Product image for a 1TB Samsung microSD card. Two cards (one white, another blue) against a white background.
Samsung

Although unrelated to the speedy SD Express card, Samsung also unveiled a new 1TB microSD with UHS-1 speeds. “Samsung’s new 1TB microSD card stacks eight layers of the company’s 8th generation 1-terabit (Tb) V-NAND within a microSD form factor, realizing the high-capacity package that used to be possible only in SSDs,” the company wrote. The 1TB card includes protection against water, extreme temperatures, drops, X-rays and magnets.

Samsung’s zippy 256GB SD Express microSD card will launch “later this year,” while the 1TB UHS-1 microSD arrives in the third quarter of 2024. The company hasn’t said how much either will cost.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/samsungs-new-microsd-card-is-faster-than-some-ssds-191251687.html?src=rss

Samsung’s new microSD card is faster than some SSDs

Samsung’s upcoming microSD card will offer a dramatic speed boost. The company’s 256GB SD Express microSD — Samsung’s first SD Express card — can read data at up to 800 MB/s, significantly faster than the microSDs you can buy today. However, we don’t yet know how much it will cost, and the card won’t be available until later this year.

The 256GB SD Express microSD will have (theoretical) sequential read speeds of up to 800 MB/s, which is over 2.5 times as fast as the read speeds in UHS-II microSD cards and 1.4 times faster than SATA SSDs. So, at least in theory, Samsung’s new card should be noticeably faster than the cheapest solid-state drives.

Samsung added heat management capabilities to help keep temperatures in check. “To ensure stable performance and reliability for the small form factor, Dynamic Thermal Guard (DTG) technology maintains the optimum temperature for the SD Express microSD card, even during long usage sessions,” the company wrote in a press release announcing the new card.

Samsung (perhaps unsurprisingly) is shoehorning the almighty “AI” buzzword into the card’s zippier speeds. “With our two new microSD cards, Samsung has provided effective solutions to address the growing demands of mobile computing and on-device AI,” Samsung VP Hangu Sohn wrote.

The company’s Galaxy S24 series goes big on AI, but Samsung hasn’t included a microSD slot in its flagship phones for the last four generations. (Nor has most of the rest of the smartphone playing field.) So, while future AI-powered devices could benefit from the extra speeds, Samsung’s current batch of high-end phones aren’t on that list. In addition, although SD Express is backward compatible, not many devices (yet) support SD Express, which requires an extra row of pins on the host device. In other words, the card’s full potential won’t be realized until we have new gear to support it.

Product image for a 1TB Samsung microSD card. Two cards (one white, another blue) against a white background.
Samsung

Although unrelated to the speedy SD Express card, Samsung also unveiled a new 1TB microSD with UHS-1 speeds. “Samsung’s new 1TB microSD card stacks eight layers of the company’s 8th generation 1-terabit (Tb) V-NAND within a microSD form factor, realizing the high-capacity package that used to be possible only in SSDs,” the company wrote. The 1TB card includes protection against water, extreme temperatures, drops, X-rays and magnets.

Samsung’s zippy 256GB SD Express microSD card will launch “later this year,” while the 1TB UHS-1 microSD arrives in the third quarter of 2024. The company hasn’t said how much either will cost.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/samsungs-new-microsd-card-is-faster-than-some-ssds-191251687.html?src=rss