Where to sell your used and unwanted gadgets

Every year means new iterations of your favorite phones from the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google, so you might be tempted to upgrade to your handset. But with some new phones costing over $1,000, keeping up with the latest and greatest can really take a toll on your wallet. So why not offset the cost by putting your old device up for sale? If you’re wondering which trade-in service will yield you the biggest bang for your buck, and how easy it will be, we have answers to those questions (and more). We've rounded up some of the leading contenders for offloading your old electronics. It’s not just phones, either — perhaps you have an old laptop that isn't quite cutting it anymore, or maybe you've got some other stuff sitting in the closet collecting dust.

Trade-in sites

RECYCLE-PHONES/

If you're looking for the littlest hassle and want your money as soon as possible, there are plenty of sites that will automate the trade-in process. You'll select your device from a list, get a quote within minutes and send the device back for cash in a matter of days.

Decluttr

Decluttr definitely lives up to its name. Not only can you sell phones from a number of manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung and Google, but the site also takes lots of physical media, including CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, video games and books. For devices, you'll be asked for a general assessment of its condition, and given a quote immediately. Once you complete your order the site will send you a free shipping label. Decluttr also will accept handsets as old as the iPhone 6S, though it'll offer you only $7 for a 16GB model in good condition.

uSell

uSell operates as a broker, searching other sites for their best offers on a given device and taking care of the rest. Like most buyback sites, it's big on iPhones, but you can still sell off other manufacturers' devices; it really depends on who's buying them at that point. The selection is a bit of a grab bag — newer phones like the Galaxy S21 aren't listed, though you can get a quote for the iPhone 11 ($210 for an unlocked, “flawless” 64GB model). Once you complete your order the site will send you a free shipping kit to send out your phone, and you can get paid for the item via PayPal, Venmo or an old fashioned check.

ecoATM

If you don't want to have to worry about packaging up your old device and mailing it off, or would like to receive your payout right away, there's always ecoATM. It's literally there in the name: an automated machine that you place your device into and it examines the handset and pays you on the spot. It accepts the biggest brands (i.e., Apple, Google and Samsung), along with devices from a wide variety of manufacturers, including LG, Motorola and ZTE. If the machine determines that your device isn't worth anything at all, you can still use ecoATM to responsibly recycle your old gadget. You'll find ecoATM kiosks in Walmart and Kroger locations, as well as malls and check cashing stores across the country.

Amazon

While browsing Amazon listings, it’s likely you’ve come across products marked as “refurbished.” Well, if you’ve ever wondered where those come from, a lot of them likely hail from Amazon’s trade-in program. The company will put its own products, like Kindle readers and Fire tablets front and center, but you can also send in phones and gaming products in for an Amazon gift card as well. It’s not great if you want cash, but if you’re looking to upgrade an Amazon device this option is your best bet, as trading in an older one also nets you a 25 percent discount in addition to the store credit. You’ll need to print out a shipping label, or you can drop off your electronics at select Amazon Locker or Whole Foods locations.

Apple

This is a good option if you’re looking to upgrade to a newer Apple device. You can trade in iPhones, iPads, Macs and even Apple Watches. That’s notable as wearables are a category you don’t often see on trade-in sites. Apple will even take your old Android phone if you were thinking of making the switch. The trade-in values are on par with other sites, but you can get a smaller payout in the form of a gift card instead if you’d rather wait before making a new purchase, want to put it toward media purchases or even just use it in an Apple Store. Which, by the way, also accepts trade-ins in case you’re not comfortable shipping your old but still expensive device.

It'sWorthMore

The nice thing about It’sWorthMore is that its on-site forms handle a larger variety of gadgets than other sites, incorporating companies such as Microsoft, AMD and even GoPro in addition to standards like Apple, Samsung and Google. You’ll answer a few standard questions about your device’s condition and whether you still have the original box — obviously, the more you’ve kept from the original packaging, the better. You’ll then get a ballpark estimate of its worth and a prepaid shipping label to print out. Once your device is received you’ll generally get the assessment and payment via check, PayPal, Venmo or Zelle within two to three business days.

BuyBackWorld

The appeal of BuyBackWorld is that device assessment is a streamlined process: Instead of having to answer a barrage of detailed questions for your device you give it a general assessment and let the site handle the rest. Just like with It’sWorthMore, BuyBackWorld will provide a printable shipping label in your confirmation email but, if you don’t have a printer or boxes to pack your device up, you can always have the site send you a free shipping kit, which can handle everything the site takes except desktop computers.

GadgetGone

If you’ve read through the other site descriptions, GadgetGone’s modus operandi should be familiar: To sell a product, you’ll have to answer a few questions about what type of device you have and what condition it’s in, after which the site will generate a prepaid shipping label. At least here you can find brands like OnePlus included among the options, and you can also sell MacBooks and Mac Minis here. You can get paid a number of ways, too, including PayPal, virtual VISA card, Amazon and Target gift cards or just good old fashioned bank transfer.

Store trade-ins

C1YC8B A GameStop video game store in the Herald Square shopping district in New York gamestop; videogames; shopping; electronic

Sometimes you need your money right now, or just don't want to trust your device to the vagaries of various shipping companies. There are a few nationwide retailers that accept trade-ins for cash or store credit. Additionally, wireless carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint will all give you credit toward a new phone.

Best Buy

Best Buy also offers trade-ins both by mail and in-store — with more than 1,000 locations, this might be extremely convenient for you. You fill out the form online and bring that to customer service. It's easy, but there's one big downside: You can get your payout only via a Best Buy gift card. This is great if you spend a lot of money with them anyway, but less good if you really need cash.

GameStop

GameStop is infamous for buying games back at ridiculously low prices and flipping them at near retail, but don't let that stop you from making some easy cash when you need to quickly clear your closet of old electronics and games. And yes, I said cash: GameStop offers store credit, a Visa prepaid card or actual money if you want to take your bounty elsewhere. For example, you can trade in Animal Crossing for the Switch and get $22 in store credit or $18 cash, which isn't bad when new copies are going for $48 on Amazon. GameStop also accepts phones, tablets and Apple Watches, though the prices aren't going to match what you'd get from an online trade-in site.

Consumer to consumer

eBay Introduces Boxing Weekend On Dec. 26 and 27 At Eight Westfield Malls Across The Country, Making It Even Easier For Consumer

Sometimes you prefer to cut out the middleman and get a bit more personal — a transaction where you're selling your device directly to another person instead of letting a faceless site flip it for you as a "refurbished" unit. In those cases, you want a site that's more user-to-user, though a few will still automate certain bits to make your sale as smooth as possible.

Swappa

Swappa is a marketplace site, which means sellers can set their own price. So if you're getting rid of a newer phone, this is probably the best way to go — the iPhone 13 fetches around $515, for example. That's a huge improvement over what you'd get selling through a site like Decluttr, which is offering only $422 for a 128GB unit.

Amazon

When shopping on Amazon, you've probably been tempted by some of those marketplace deals in the past and, chances are, if you list an item on there, someone will give your old device a look. Since almost everyone on earth seems to have an Amazon account, your potential customer base is huge, and it costs only $0.99, plus a percentage based on category, to sell an item through the site. The downsides are that Amazon isn't really optimized for individual sales; you'll be competing with wholesale companies and even bots that will tweak the price of a product automatically in response to the competition.

eBay

eBay is sort of the Wild West of sales sites, but the biggest advantage is that you can sell anything there and hopefully find a buyer, regardless of how old a product is. Even so, the site has come a long way in the past decade or so, adding structured categories that can help lead customers to your product. For phones, you can search by network, color or storage capacity, and even filter for features like 4K video or fingerprint sensors.

In the end, it still works as it always did: You list a product and set an end date for the listing with a minimum price, or just set a "Buy It Now" price if you don't want to wait to see how an auction turns out. Chances are you already have an eBay account with a feedback score, so there's no extra setup required on your part. Your first 250 listings are free every month, and you'll pay up to 15 percent of the purchase price only if an item sells. The biggest downside is that you're competing with a lot more sellers, and chances are there's always someone willing to undercut you on price.

Cash-back comparison

Ultimately, the site you go with should be whatever's most useful and convenient, but if you just care about how much money you'll end up with, we've priced out a few recent flagship handsets just to give you an idea of what each site offers. We've also thrown in the Nintendo Switch, because it might be time to sell yours off and finally upgrade to an OLED model.

All phone prices are for the lowest storage capacity, usually 128GB. The prices are for the unlocked models when available, or the carrier where it's being traded. These prices were valid the day this post was written, but they fluctuate daily or, in the case of sites like Amazon and eBay, hourly.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Google Pixel 6

Nintendo Switch

Declutter

$432

$226

$135

$125

uSell

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

ecoATM

$280

$155

$40

N/A

Sprint

$230

$115

$45

N/A

Verizon

$282

$220

$15

N/A

T-Mobile

$230

$115

$45

N/A

AT&T

$280

$230

$130

N/A

Best Buy

$330

$150

$105

$50

GameStop

$291 cash / $364 credit

$131 cash / $164 credit

N/A

$80 cash / $100 credit

Swappa

$455

$224

$124

$238

Amazon

$401

$275

$190

$75

eBay

$405

$368

$200

$131

BuyBackWorld

$415

$230

$140

$110

It'sWorthMore

$442

$273

$153

$100

GadgetGone

$465

$271

$141

$41

If you were looking to sell some games, we've also got a shorter list, because not every site accepts trade-ins. GameStop will offer you more money than what's listed below if you're a member of its Elite or Elite Pro programs.

Elden Ring (Xbox)

Horizon Forbidden West (PS5)

Pokémon Legends Arceus (Switch)

Decluttr

$17

$17

$20

GameStop

$11 cash / $14 credit

$13 cast / $16 credit

$14 cash / $17 credit

Amazon

$8

$51

$14

eBay

$21

$20

$25

Once you've picked a site and listed your item, there are a few important things to remember before you ship off your device. The most important, when disposing of a phone or laptop or any other device containing personal data, is to do a full factory reset. That also means turning off "Find My iPhone" and the activation lock on iOS devices. See if you can unlock the phone, too; you'll actually get more money selling it carrier-free. And finally, make sure you've backed up any important data you may have, like contact info, game saves and, of course, photos. Cash is great, but it won't save your memories.

Images: Mike Blake / Reuters (ecoATM); Alamy (Gamestop); Getty Images for eBay (eBay)

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/where-to-sell-used-electronics.html?src=rss

The best PC games for 2023

So how do you categorize a beast like gaming on the PC? With decades of titles to pluck from (and the first port of call for most indie titles, too), there's so much to choose from. Playing on your PC or gaming laptop adds the benefits of (nearly always flawless) backward compatibility and console-beating graphical performance — if you've got the coin for it. The whole idea of what a gaming PC is and where you can play it is shifting, too, with the rise of handheld “consolized” PCs like the Steam Deck. We've tried to be broad with our recommendations here on purpose – there are so many great new titles out there for PC gamers to play, consider these some starting points.

Best PC games to play right now

Rollerdrome

Rollerdrome is lush. It’s incredibly stylish, taking cues from 1970s Hollywood sci-fi but with an attractive cel-shaded filter over every scene. Even better than its stunning visuals, Rollerdrome has smooth, precise mechanics that allow players to fall into a flow in every level. The game is all about gliding through the environments on rollerblades, picking up speed and doing tricks while dodging and shooting enemies, managing weapons and controlling time – and it all comes together in a thrilling dystopian bloodsport.

It’s a joy to dodge, dodge, dodge and then leap into the air, slow down time and take out the people shooting at you, refilling ammo and collecting health in the process. Meanwhile, an unsettling story of corporate greed unfolds naturally beneath the rollerblading bloodshed, keeping the stakes high. Rollerdrome was a sleeper hit of 2022, so if you’ve been napping on this one, now’s the time to wake up and play.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Stray

Stray a perfectly contained adventure game that has you embodying a cat in a post-apocalyptic world humans have left behind. It has plenty of fresh ideas, each one pared down to its purest form. Plenty of actions in Stray exist simply because they make sense for a cat protagonist (and probably because they’re cute as hell). There’s a discrete button to meow, and the robots the cat shares its world with react with shock and frustration when you cut across their board game, throwing pieces to the floor. It’s possible to curl up and sleep basically any time, anywhere – even directly on top of a robot stranger. When the cat gets pets and cuddles from the robots, it purrs and the DualSense’s haptics fire up in response. The environmental puzzles take advantage of this cat-level perspective, inviting players to look at the world with different, light-reflective eyes.

As well as puzzle-solving, ledge-leaping and blob-dodging, Stray introduces a world of lighthearted dystopia, where robots don’t hate the humans that came before them. Instead, they attempt to cultivate plants that can survive in the dark, just because people would have liked that. Compared with most dystopian cyberpunk games, Stray is downright joyful.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Overwatch 2

Even though Activision Blizzard has improved the onramp for new players this time around, Overwatch 2 still has a steep learning curve. Stick with it, though, and you’ll get to indulge in perhaps the best team shooter around. Overwatch 2 has a deceptively simple goal — stand on or near an objective and keep the other team away long enough to win. It’s much more complex in practice. To the untrained eye, matches may seem like colorful chaos, but Overwatch 2 has a deceptively simple goal — stand on or near an objective and keep the other team away long enough to win.

It’s much more complex in practice. Blizzard reduced the number of players on each team from six to five. That, along with across-the-board new character tweaks, has made gameplay faster-paced and more enjoyable compared with the original Overwatch. There's a greater emphasis on individual impact, but you'll still need to work well with your teammates to secure a victory.

Now featuring a cast of more than 30 heroes, each with distinct abilities and playstyles, you’ll surely find a few Overwatch 2 characters that you can connect with. The first batch of new heroes are all a blast to play. There are many great (though often fairly expensive) new skins to kit them out with too. The game looks and sounds terrific too, thanks to Blizzard’s trademark level of polish. At least until you figure out how to play Overwatch 2, you can marvel at how good it looks.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Multiplayer

  • Free to play: Yes

Elden Ring

Did you think this list would not include Elden Ring? The strengths of FromSoftware’s latest action-RPG are many, but what’s most impressive about the game is how hand-crafted it feels despite its scale. Elden Ring is big, but it never feels like it’s wasting your time. Far from it; FromSoftware has created a rich open world, with something surprising, delightful or utterly terrifying around every corner. I’ll never forget the moment I found a chest that teleported my character to a cave full of Eldritch monsters. Elden Ring is full of those kinds of discoveries.

And if you’re worried about hitting a brick wall with Elden Ring’s difficulty, don’t be. Sure, it can be tough as nails, but it’s also From’s most accessible game to date as well. If you find combat overly punishing, go for a mage build and blast your enemies from afar. And if all else fails, one of the rewards for exploring Elden Ring’s world is experience that you can use to make your character stronger.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player with co-operative

  • Free to play: No

Apex Legends

You can find everything compelling about the battle royale genre in a round of Apex Legends. Every move you and your 59 fellow combatants make depends on your collective actions just beforehand. You’re always reacting to one another, whether you see it or not. Each game becomes an intricate web of choices, all stemming back to that initial, seemingly harmless drop onto the map. As with other battles royale, Apex demands you think ahead, assess risks and actually pay attention to your surroundings rather than charge into combat recklessly. And it’s still a thrill when the end is near.

Where Apex stands out compared to rivals like Fortnite, PUBG and Warzone – which are still good times in their own ways – is its character and game feel. Its roster of playable characters is Overwatch-like in its diversity of abilities and styles of movement. Likewise, each gun and attachment has a different impact on how you play. All of it remains exceptionally smooth to control, as expected from the team behind the Titanfall series.

Fortnite may still be the most accessible battle royale shooter, but Apex will feel right at home to anyone familiar with FPS games, and its ping system still makes it possible to work with your teammates without saying a word. It’s still receiving regular updates four years into its life, and it remains a free-to-play game that doesn’t require a dime for you to be competitive.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Multiplayer

  • Free to play: Yes

Beat Saber

Beat Saber is a euphoric gaming sensation that makes the most of virtual reality. You'll swing your unofficial lightsabers at incoming boxes, slicing and slamming them to the beat of the soundtrack. Similar to iconic rhythm-rail-shooter, Rez, which has its own VR iteration, Beat Saber often makes you feel like you're creating the music as you hit your cues. We might have had initial reservations on the soundtrack at launch but new tracks and customizations continue to add to the challenge. There's even a level creator for PC players, making this the definitive version.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player or online PVP

  • Free to play: No

Control

Take the weird Twin Peaks narrative of Alan Wake, smash it together with Quantum Break's frenetic powers and gunplay, and you've got Control. Playing as a woman searching for her missing brother, you quickly learn there's a thin line between reality and the fantastical. It's catnip for anyone who grew up loving The X-Files and the supernatural. It's also a prime example of a studio working at their creative heights, both refining and evolving the open-world formula that's dominated games for the past decade.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Disco Elysium Final Cut

Disco Elysium is a special game. The first release from Estonian studio ZA/UM, it's a sprawling science-fiction RPG that takes more inspiration from D&D and Baldur's Gate than modern combat-focused games. In fact, there is no combat to speak of, instead, you'll be creating your character, choosing what their strengths and weaknesses are, and then passing D&D-style skill checks to make your way through the story. You'll, of course, be leveling up your abilities and boosting stats with items, but really the game's systems fall away in place of a truly engaging story, featuring some of the finest writing to ever grace a video game.

With the Final Cut, released 18 months after the original, this extremely dialogue-heavy game now has full voice acting, which brings the unique world more to life than ever before. After debuting on PC, PS5 and Stadia, Final Cut is now available for all extant home consoles – including Nintendo’s Switch.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: Yes, as a free upgrade if you already own Disco Elysium

Halo Infinite

Master Chief's latest adventure may not make much sense narratively, but it sure is fun to play. After the middle efforts from 343 Industries over the last decade, Halo Infinite manages to breathe new life into Microsoft's flagship franchise, while also staying true to elements fans love. The main campaign is more open than ever, while also giving you a new freedom of movement with the trusty grappling hook. And the multiplayer mode is wonderfully addictive (though 343 still needs to speed up experience progression), with a bevy of maps and game modes to keep things from getting too stale. The only thing keeping it from greatness is its baffling and disjointed story.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Multiplayer or campaign

  • Free to play: Yes

FTL: Faster Than Light

Who hasn't wanted to captain their own spaceship? Well, after a few hours of FTL: Faster Than Light, you might be rethinking your life goals. FTL is a roguelike, which means every game starts from the same spot. All you have to do is travel through a number of star systems, recruiting crew members and collecting scrap as you make your way towards a final showdown against a stupidly overpowered ship. Gameplay is roughly divided between a map view, where you can take as much time as you like to chart the most efficient route to your goal, and combat events which play out in real-time (although you can and will be using a pause button to slow things down).

Where the real fun comes in is in the narrative, which plays out in two ways. There's the structured side, where every so often you'll be asked to make decisions that may improve or hinder your chances of survival. And then there's the natural story you create for yourselves, as you're forced to decide, for example, whether it's worth sacrificing a crew member for the greater good.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single–player

  • Free to play: No

Hades

Hades was the first early access title to ever make our best PC game list. It's an action-RPG developed by the team behind Bastion, Transistor and Pyre. You play Zagreus, son of Hades, who's having a little spat with his dad, and wants to escape from the underworld. To do so, Zagreus has to fight his way through the various levels of the underworld and up to the surface. Along the way, you’ll pick up “boons” from a wide range of ancient deities like Zeus, Ares and Aphrodite, which stack additional effects on your various attacks. Each level is divided into rooms full of demons, items and the occasional miniboss.

As Hades is a “roguelike” game, you start at the same place every time. With that said the items you collect can be used to access and upgrade new weapons and abilities that stick between sessions. Hades is on this list not for any reason other than it’s super accessible and very, very fun. You can jump in for 30 minutes and have a blast, or find yourself playing for hours.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Half-Life: Alyx

Half-Life: Alyx feels like a miracle. After 13 years away from the franchise, Valve delivered a genuinely thrilling prequel to Half-Life 2 while also charting new territory for VR gameplay. The gravity gloves, its key new feature, is the closest I’ve ever felt to having telekinetic powers. It gives you multiple movement options so you don’t get sick trotting around the expansive environments. Oh yeah, and it’s also absolutely terrifying, banking on the claustrophobic nature of VR. There’s no looking away when a facehugger leaps at you from the dark, or when a horrifically deformed zombie gets in your face. It might sound a bit hyperbolic, but Alyx might end up being one of the most important titles of this generation. Building a big-budget game for a niche VR market doesn’t make much sense for most companies, but for Valve, it’s Tuesday.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Nier Automata

Nier Automata takes the razor-sharp combat of a Platinum Games title and puts it in a world crafted by everyone's favorite weirdo, Yoko Taro. Don't worry, you can mostly just run, gun and slash your way through the game, but as you finish, and finish and finish this one, you'll find yourself pulled into a truly special narrative, that's never been done before and will probably never be done again. It's fair to say that the new PC release, as is unfortunately often the case, wasn't exactly the best and is still remarkably lacking in options, but it's at least stable now, and trust us when we say this one is unmissable.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator came out at the perfect time, when the world was on lockdown and airline travel was an impossibility for most people. Not only does Flight Sim let players pilot a vast array of aircrafts, but it presents the world on a platter in stunning, ridiculous detail. It’s an escape, it’s educational and it’s entertaining – is that what they mean by E3? – and there’s really nothing else on its level when it comes to realistic physics simulations. Pandemic or no, Microsoft Flight Simulator is an incredible achievement with a long tail both inside and outside of the video game industry.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Both

  • Free to play: No

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Many were ready to write off the Resident Evil series after the disaster that was Resident Evil 6. What started as the horror game on the original PlayStation had become a bloated mess of an action game. Instead of throwing the whole franchise in the trash and forgetting about it, Capcom took a hard look at what wasn't working, which — surprise! — was basically everything, and thoroughly rebooted the formula. Borrowing from Kojima's PT and, in some ways, Creative Assembly's Alien: Isolation, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is horror through powerlessness. For the majority of the game, you're basically unable to do anything but run from or delay your foes. And that's what makes it so good.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Return of the Obra Dinn

This is an unforgettable ghost-story-slash-murder-mystery with a distinctive old-school graphical style. It's unlike any game we've played in a while, with a low-key musical score and a style of puzzle solving that's like one satisfying, grisly riddle. In Return of the Obra Dinn, you're put aboard a ship, alone. There is, however, a corpse near the captain's cabin. As you track the deceased's final footsteps, leading to yet more grisly ends, you need to figure out what happened. Who killed who? And who is still alive? Special mention to the sound effect that kicks in every time you solve the fates of three of the crew. Goosebumps.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

The Witcher 3

It might be the best open-world RPG out there. Despite now being several years old, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a dense action game that acknowledges the maturity of the player with multiple — occasionally harrowing — storylines, choices that have consequences and almost too much game to wrestle with. It's not perfect; the combat system is rough, frustrating death comes in the form of falling from just a few feet and there's a lot of quest filler alongside many incredibly well thought out distractions. The scope and ambition on display will have you hooked, and once you're done, there are some excellent expansions to check out.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 deftly walks a fine line by being an extremely deep and complex racing game that almost anyone can just pick up and play. The game has hundreds of cars that you can tweak endlessly to fit your driving style, and dozens of courses spread all over a gorgeous fictional corner of Mexico. If you crank up the difficulty, one mistake will sink your entire race, and the competition online can be just as fierce.

But if you’re new to racing games, Forza Horizon 5 does an excellent job at getting you up and running. The introduction to the game quickly gives you a taste at the four main race types you’ll come across (street racing, cross-country, etc.), and features like the rewind button mean that you can quickly erase mistakes if you try and take a turn too fast without having to restart your run. Quite simply, Forza Horizon 5 is a beautiful and fun game that works for just about any skill level. It’s easy to pick up and play a few races and move on with your day, or you can sink hours into it trying to become the best driver you can possibly be.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Both

  • Free to play: No

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV is an ideal MMO for people who don’t play MMOs. Yes, there’s a hotbar and raids and gear to loot, and yes, it requires an enormous time investment to get the most out of it. But at its core, this is a story-driven RPG like any other Final Fantasy. Most of it is built to be played solo; you can even tackle dungeons with AI party members instead of other people. The narrative grows in scope and nuance as you work through its four major expansions, but the base game has its virtues, too. It’s an epic about work, about putting in labor and compassion to rebuild a world that will always be a little broken, one quest at a time. The latest expansion, Endwalker, concludes the core, eight-year-long storyline in rousing fashion.

Being able to quickly swap between classes on one character lets you shake up the admittedly straightforward combat, and you can pick up side “jobs” that are more explicitly about existing in the land instead of saving it. If you want to craft meals as a Culinarian or harvest resources as a Botanist, go for it. If you want to hunt for treasure maps, play at the casino, battle in PvP arenas, listen to Bards play actual music or just be one of those buff green dudes who stands around Limsa Lominsa wearing nothing but bunny ears, you can. Like the best MMOs, Final Fantasy XIV feels like another world, one you’ll probably never grasp in its entirety. And if you do want to play with others, it’s all brought to life by a genuinely welcoming community. Just note that you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription fee, though you can access the base game and first expansion for no added cost.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Multiplayer

  • Free to play: Limited free trial

Euro Truck Simulator 2

Euro Truck Simulator 2 tasks you with driving a bunch of big trucks across Europe, delivering cargo and building out your own trucking business. As the name implies, it’s a sim, so the trucks handle realistically and you’re expected to follow the rules of the road, refuel your car and complete your deliveries on time, with minimal damage. This is a condensed version of Europe, but each trip takes time, and usually, little else of note happens along the way.

That slowness is the point. Euro Truck Simulator 2’s pleasures are similar to those of actual driving: cruising down an open road, listening to real streaming radio stations, glancing at the sights as you pass by. It’s a deeply relaxing game as a result. All you have is the road, a destination and a hulking rig to keep on track. You’ll get there when you get there. The management bits of Euro Truck Simulator 2 aren’t as interesting as the driving, but there are loads of mods and DLC to shake up the experience. If you’d prefer trucking through the US, American Truck Simulator is a similar title from the same studio.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Both

  • Free to play: Limited free trial

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-best-pc-games-150000910.html?src=rss

The best gaming laptops for 2023

For a few years now, gaming laptops have been some of the most intriguing PCs around. They’ve gotten thinner and lighter, naturally — but they’ve also become vastly more powerful and efficient, making them suitable for both work and play. They’ve adopted some bold innovations, like rotating hinges and near desktop-like customizability. Gaming laptops are where PC makers can get adventurous.

If you’re a professional in the market for a beefy new computer, and you like to play a few rounds of Apex Legends on occasion, it may make more sense to go for a gaming notebook instead of a MacBook Pro-like workstation. You’ll still get plenty of power for video encoding and 3D rendering, plus you may end up paying less. We'll help you figure out which is the best gaming laptop for you, from budget options like the Dell G15 to premium notebooks like the Razer Blade 15 and everything in between.

ASUS ROG G14
Devindra Hardawar/Engadget


What's your budget? 

Your laptop buying journey starts and ends with the amount of money you're willing to spend. No surprise there. The good news: There are plenty of options for gamers of every budget. In particular, we're seeing some great entry-level PC gaming choices under $1,000, like Dell's G15 lineup. A cheap gaming laptop in this price range will definitely feel a bit flimsier than pricier models, and they'll likely skimp on RAM, storage and overall power. But they should be able to handle most games in 1080p at 60 frames per second, which is the bare minimum you'd want from any system.

Things get interesting when you start looking at the best gaming laptops in the mid-range space, with prices at $1,000 and higher. At that point, you'll start finding PCs like the ASUS Zephyrus ROG G14, one of our favorite gaming notebooks. In general, you can look forward to far better build quality than budget laptops (metal cases!), improved graphics power and enough RAM and storage space to handle the most demanding games. These are the gaming machines we'd recommend for most people, as they'll keep you gaming and working for years before you need to worry about an upgrade.

If you're willing to spend around $1,800 or more, you can start considering more premium options like Razer's Blade. Expect impeccably polished cases, the fastest hardware on the market, and ridiculously thin designs. The sky's the limit here: Alienware's uber customizable Area 51m is an enormous beast that can cost up to $4,700. Few people need a machine that high-end, but if you're a gamer with extra cash to burn, it may be worth taking a close look at some of these pricier systems.

Origin Evo16


What kind of CPU and GPU do you want?

The answer to this question used to be relatively simple: Just get an Intel chip with an NVIDIA GPU. But over the last few years AMD has stepped up its game with its Ryzen notebook processors, which are better suited for juggling multiple tasks at once (like streaming to Twitch while blasting fools in Fortnite). Intel responded with its impressive 12th and 13th-gen chips, but it’s nice to have decent Ryzen AMD alternatives available, especially since they’re often cheaper than comparable Intel models.

When it comes to video cards, though, AMD is still catching up. Its Radeon RX 6000M GPU has been a fantastic performer in notebooks like ASUS’s ROG Strix G15, but it lags behind NVIDIA when it comes to newer features like ray tracing. (We’re still waiting to test AMD’s new Radeon 7000 series mobile graphics.) At the very least, a Radeon-powered notebook can approach the general gaming performance of the NVIDIA RTX 3070 and 3080 GPUs.

If you want to future-proof your purchase, or you’re just eager to see how much better ray tracing can make your games look, you’re probably better off with an NVIDIA video card. They’re in far more systems, and it’s clear that they have better optimized ray tracing technology. NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs also feature the company’s DLSS technology, which uses AI to upscale games to higher resolutions. That’ll let you play a game like Destiny 2 in 4K with faster frame rates. That’s useful if you’re trying to take advantage of a high refresh rate monitor.

You’ll still find plenty of laptops with NVIDIA’s older RTX 30-series GPUs these days, and they’ll still give you tremendous performance. But to be safe, it’s probably worth opting for the newer RTX 40-series systems, since they support the newer DLSS 3 technology and offer a wealth of performance upgrades. (If you’re looking out for the best deals, you can probably find some killer RTX 3070 laptops out there.) The entry-level RTX 4050 is a solid start, but we’d suggest going for a 4060 or 4070 if you’re aiming to maximize your framerates on faster screens. The RTX 4080 and 4090 are both incredibly powerful, but they typically make systems far too expensive for most users.

It’s worth noting that NVIDIA’s mobile GPUs aren’t directly comparable to its more powerful desktop hardware. PC makers can also tweak voltages to make gaming performance better in a thinner case. Basically, don’t be surprised if you see notebooks that perform very differently, even if they’re all equipped with the same GPU.

Razer Blade 15


What kind of screen do you want?

Screen size is a good place to start when judging gaming notebooks. In general, 15-inch laptops will be the best balance of immersion and portability, while larger 17-inch models are heftier, but naturally give you more screen real estate. There are some 13-inch gaming notebooks, like the Razer Blade Stealth, but paradoxically you'll often end up paying more for those than slightly larger 15-inch options. We’re also seeing plenty of 14-inch options, like the Zephyrus G14 and Blade 14, which are generally beefier than 13-inch laptops while still being relatively portable.

But these days, there is plenty to consider beyond screen size. For one: refresh rates. Most monitors refresh their screens vertically 60 times per second, or at 60Hz. That's a standard in use since black and white NTSC TVs. But over the past few years, displays have evolved considerably. Now, 120Hz 1080p screens are the bare minimum you'd want in any gaming notebook — and there are faster 144Hz, 240Hz and even 360Hz panels. All of this is in the service of one thing: making everything on your display look as smooth as possible.

For games, higher refresh rates also help eliminate screen tearing and other artifacts that could get in the way of your frag fest. And for everything else, it just leads to a better viewing experience. Even scrolling a web page on a 120Hz or faster monitor is starkly different from a 60Hz screen. Instead of seeing a jittery wall of text and pictures, everything moves seamlessly, as if you're unwinding a glossy paper magazine. Going beyond 120Hz makes gameplay look even more responsive, which to some players gives them a slight advantage.

Gigabyte Aero 15
Steve Dent/Engadget

Not to make things more complicated, but you should also keep an eye out for NVIDIA's G-SYNC and AMD's FreeSync. They're both adaptive sync technologies that can match your screen's refresh rate with the framerate of your game. That also helps to reduce screen tearing and make gameplay smoother. Consider them nice bonuses on top of a high refresh rate monitor; they're not necessary, but they can still offer a slight visual improvement.

See Also:

One more thing: Most of these suggestions are related to LCD screens, not OLEDs. While OLED makes a phenomenal choice for TVs, it's a bit more complicated when it comes to gaming laptops. They're mostly limited to 60Hz, though some models offer 90Hz. Still, you won’t see the smoothness of a 120Hz or 144Hz screen. OLEDs also typically come as 4K or 3.5K panels – you'll need a ton of GPU power to run games natively at that resolution. They look incredible, with the best black levels and contrast on the market, but we think most gamers would be better off with an LCD.

ASUS ROG G14
Devindra Hardawar/Engadget


A few other takeaways:

  • Get at least 16GB of RAM. And if you're planning to do a ton of multitasking while streaming, 32GB is worth considering.

  • Storage is still a huge concern. These days, I'd recommend aiming for a 1TB M.2 SSD, which should be enough space to juggle a few large titles like Destiny 2. (If you can afford the jump to a 2TB SSD though, just do it.) Some laptops also have room for standard SATA drives, which are far cheaper than M.2's and can hold more data.

  • Get your hands on a system before you buy it. I'd recommend snagging the best gaming laptop for you from a retailer with a simple return policy, like Amazon or Best Buy. If you don't like it, you can always ship it back easily.

  • Don't forget about accessories! For the best performance, you'll need a good mouse, keyboard and headphones.

Best overall: ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

If you can't tell by now, we really like the Zephyrus G14. It's shockingly compact, at just 3.5 pounds, and features AMD's new Ryzen chips paired together with its Radeon 6000M graphics (we’d recommend the Ryzen 9 model with an RX 6700M for $1,400). While its 14-inch screen is a bit smaller than our other recommendations, it looks great and features a fast 144Hz refresh rate. We also like its retro-future design (some configurations have tiny LEDs on its rear panel for extra flair). While the G14 has jumped in price since it debuted, it’s still one of the best gaming notebooks around, especially since ASUS has finally added a built-in webcam.

Read our Full Review of ASUS ROG Zephyrus G14

Best budget: Dell G15

We've been fans of Dell's G5 line ever since it first appeared a few years ago. Now dubbed the G15, it starts at under $1,000 and, while not the most powerful gaming laptop, it features all of the latest hardware, like Intel's 13th-generation CPUs and NVIDIA's RTX 40-series cards. (You can also find AMD Ryzen chips in some models.) This budget gaming laptop is a bit heavy, weighing over five pounds, but it's a solid notebook otherwise. And you can even bring it into mid-range gaming territory if you spec up to the RTX 4060.

Best premium gaming laptop: Razer Blade 15

Razer continues to do a stellar job of delivering bleeding-edge hardware in a sleek package that would make Mac users jealous. The Blade 15 has just about everything you'd want, including NVIDIA's RTX 4080, Intel's 13th-gen CPUs and speedy quad-HD screens. Our recommendation? Consider the model with a Quad HD 165Hz screen and an RTX 4060 GPU for $2,500. You can easily save some cash by going for a cheaper notebook, but they won't feel nearly as polished as the Blade.

Read our Full Review of Razer Blade 15

Another good option: Acer Predator Triton 500 SE

While we've seen some wilder concepts from Acer, like its 360-degree hinge-equipped Triton 900, the Triton 500 is a more affordable bread and butter option. This year, it’s bumped up to a 16-inch display, giving you more of an immersive gaming experience. It’s relatively thin, weighs just over five pounds, and it can be equipped with Intel's 11th-gen CPUs and NVIDIA's RTX 30-series GPUs. Acer's build quality is as sturdy as ever, and it has most of the standard features you’d need in a gaming notebook.

Read our Full Review of Acer Predator Triton 500 SE Gaming Laptop

Best large gaming laptop: Alienware m18

Alienware’s m18 is its biggest gaming laptop ever, and it packs in just about everything we’d want. It can be equipped with Intel and AMD’s fastest CPUs, as well as NVIDIA’s fastest GPUs (including the 4090). Its base configuration with an RTX 4060 is also surprisingly affordable for an 18-inch laptop, starting at $2,100. We’ve always liked Alienware’s m-series gaming laptops, but this year they’re more refined, with better cooling and a slightly sleeker design. You can also opt for CherryMX mechanical keys, which deliver a desktop-like gaming and typing experience.

Best with a dual screen: ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16

You know if you actually need a dual-screen laptop: Maybe a single 17-inch screen isn’t enough, or you want a mobile setup that’s closer to a multi-monitor desktop. If that’s the case, the Zephyrus Duo 16 is the best laptop for you. It’s powerful, and its extra 14-inch screen can easily let you multitask while gaming dutifully working. It also has all of the latest hardware you’d want, like AMD’s new Ryzen chips and NVIDIA’s RTX 4000 GPUs. Sure, it’s nowhere near portable, but a true multitasker won’t mind.

Read our Full Review of ASUS ROG Zephyrus Duo 16 Gaming Laptop

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-gaming-laptops-172033838.html?src=rss

The best PC games for 2023

So how do you categorize a beast like gaming on the PC? With decades of titles to pluck from (and the first port of call for most indie titles, too), there's so much to choose from. Playing on your PC or gaming laptop adds the benefits of (nearly always flawless) backward compatibility and console-beating graphical performance — if you've got the coin for it. The whole idea of what a gaming PC is and where you can play it is shifting, too, with the rise of handheld “consolized” PCs like the Steam Deck. We've tried to be broad with our recommendations here on purpose – there are so many great new titles out there for PC gamers to play, consider these some starting points.

Best PC games to play right now

Rollerdrome

Rollerdrome is lush. It’s incredibly stylish, taking cues from 1970s Hollywood sci-fi but with an attractive cel-shaded filter over every scene. Even better than its stunning visuals, Rollerdrome has smooth, precise mechanics that allow players to fall into a flow in every level. The game is all about gliding through the environments on rollerblades, picking up speed and doing tricks while dodging and shooting enemies, managing weapons and controlling time – and it all comes together in a thrilling dystopian bloodsport.

It’s a joy to dodge, dodge, dodge and then leap into the air, slow down time and take out the people shooting at you, refilling ammo and collecting health in the process. Meanwhile, an unsettling story of corporate greed unfolds naturally beneath the rollerblading bloodshed, keeping the stakes high. Rollerdrome was a sleeper hit of 2022, so if you’ve been napping on this one, now’s the time to wake up and play.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Stray

Stray a perfectly contained adventure game that has you embodying a cat in a post-apocalyptic world humans have left behind. It has plenty of fresh ideas, each one pared down to its purest form. Plenty of actions in Stray exist simply because they make sense for a cat protagonist (and probably because they’re cute as hell). There’s a discrete button to meow, and the robots the cat shares its world with react with shock and frustration when you cut across their board game, throwing pieces to the floor. It’s possible to curl up and sleep basically any time, anywhere – even directly on top of a robot stranger. When the cat gets pets and cuddles from the robots, it purrs and the DualSense’s haptics fire up in response. The environmental puzzles take advantage of this cat-level perspective, inviting players to look at the world with different, light-reflective eyes.

As well as puzzle-solving, ledge-leaping and blob-dodging, Stray introduces a world of lighthearted dystopia, where robots don’t hate the humans that came before them. Instead, they attempt to cultivate plants that can survive in the dark, just because people would have liked that. Compared with most dystopian cyberpunk games, Stray is downright joyful.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Overwatch 2

Even though Activision Blizzard has improved the onramp for new players this time around, Overwatch 2 still has a steep learning curve. Stick with it, though, and you’ll get to indulge in perhaps the best team shooter around. Overwatch 2 has a deceptively simple goal — stand on or near an objective and keep the other team away long enough to win. It’s much more complex in practice. To the untrained eye, matches may seem like colorful chaos, but Overwatch 2 has a deceptively simple goal — stand on or near an objective and keep the other team away long enough to win.

It’s much more complex in practice. Blizzard reduced the number of players on each team from six to five. That, along with across-the-board new character tweaks, has made gameplay faster-paced and more enjoyable compared with the original Overwatch. There's a greater emphasis on individual impact, but you'll still need to work well with your teammates to secure a victory.

Now featuring a cast of more than 30 heroes, each with distinct abilities and playstyles, you’ll surely find a few Overwatch 2 characters that you can connect with. The first batch of new heroes are all a blast to play. There are many great (though often fairly expensive) new skins to kit them out with too. The game looks and sounds terrific too, thanks to Blizzard’s trademark level of polish. At least until you figure out how to play Overwatch 2, you can marvel at how good it looks.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Multiplayer

  • Free to play: Yes

Elden Ring

Did you think this list would not include Elden Ring? The strengths of FromSoftware’s latest action-RPG are many, but what’s most impressive about the game is how hand-crafted it feels despite its scale. Elden Ring is big, but it never feels like it’s wasting your time. Far from it; FromSoftware has created a rich open world, with something surprising, delightful or utterly terrifying around every corner. I’ll never forget the moment I found a chest that teleported my character to a cave full of Eldritch monsters. Elden Ring is full of those kinds of discoveries.

And if you’re worried about hitting a brick wall with Elden Ring’s difficulty, don’t be. Sure, it can be tough as nails, but it’s also From’s most accessible game to date as well. If you find combat overly punishing, go for a mage build and blast your enemies from afar. And if all else fails, one of the rewards for exploring Elden Ring’s world is experience that you can use to make your character stronger.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player with co-operative

  • Free to play: No

Apex Legends

You can find everything compelling about the battle royale genre in a round of Apex Legends. Every move you and your 59 fellow combatants make depends on your collective actions just beforehand. You’re always reacting to one another, whether you see it or not. Each game becomes an intricate web of choices, all stemming back to that initial, seemingly harmless drop onto the map. As with other battles royale, Apex demands you think ahead, assess risks and actually pay attention to your surroundings rather than charge into combat recklessly. And it’s still a thrill when the end is near.

Where Apex stands out compared to rivals like Fortnite, PUBG and Warzone – which are still good times in their own ways – is its character and game feel. Its roster of playable characters is Overwatch-like in its diversity of abilities and styles of movement. Likewise, each gun and attachment has a different impact on how you play. All of it remains exceptionally smooth to control, as expected from the team behind the Titanfall series.

Fortnite may still be the most accessible battle royale shooter, but Apex will feel right at home to anyone familiar with FPS games, and its ping system still makes it possible to work with your teammates without saying a word. It’s still receiving regular updates four years into its life, and it remains a free-to-play game that doesn’t require a dime for you to be competitive.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Multiplayer

  • Free to play: Yes

Beat Saber

Beat Saber is a euphoric gaming sensation that makes the most of virtual reality. You'll swing your unofficial lightsabers at incoming boxes, slicing and slamming them to the beat of the soundtrack. Similar to iconic rhythm-rail-shooter, Rez, which has its own VR iteration, Beat Saber often makes you feel like you're creating the music as you hit your cues. We might have had initial reservations on the soundtrack at launch but new tracks and customizations continue to add to the challenge. There's even a level creator for PC players, making this the definitive version.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player or online PVP

  • Free to play: No

Control

Take the weird Twin Peaks narrative of Alan Wake, smash it together with Quantum Break's frenetic powers and gunplay, and you've got Control. Playing as a woman searching for her missing brother, you quickly learn there's a thin line between reality and the fantastical. It's catnip for anyone who grew up loving The X-Files and the supernatural. It's also a prime example of a studio working at their creative heights, both refining and evolving the open-world formula that's dominated games for the past decade.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Disco Elysium Final Cut

Disco Elysium is a special game. The first release from Estonian studio ZA/UM, it's a sprawling science-fiction RPG that takes more inspiration from D&D and Baldur's Gate than modern combat-focused games. In fact, there is no combat to speak of, instead, you'll be creating your character, choosing what their strengths and weaknesses are, and then passing D&D-style skill checks to make your way through the story. You'll, of course, be leveling up your abilities and boosting stats with items, but really the game's systems fall away in place of a truly engaging story, featuring some of the finest writing to ever grace a video game.

With the Final Cut, released 18 months after the original, this extremely dialogue-heavy game now has full voice acting, which brings the unique world more to life than ever before. After debuting on PC, PS5 and Stadia, Final Cut is now available for all extant home consoles – including Nintendo’s Switch.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: Yes, as a free upgrade if you already own Disco Elysium

Halo Infinite

Master Chief's latest adventure may not make much sense narratively, but it sure is fun to play. After the middle efforts from 343 Industries over the last decade, Halo Infinite manages to breathe new life into Microsoft's flagship franchise, while also staying true to elements fans love. The main campaign is more open than ever, while also giving you a new freedom of movement with the trusty grappling hook. And the multiplayer mode is wonderfully addictive (though 343 still needs to speed up experience progression), with a bevy of maps and game modes to keep things from getting too stale. The only thing keeping it from greatness is its baffling and disjointed story.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Multiplayer or campaign

  • Free to play: Yes

FTL: Faster Than Light

Who hasn't wanted to captain their own spaceship? Well, after a few hours of FTL: Faster Than Light, you might be rethinking your life goals. FTL is a roguelike, which means every game starts from the same spot. All you have to do is travel through a number of star systems, recruiting crew members and collecting scrap as you make your way towards a final showdown against a stupidly overpowered ship. Gameplay is roughly divided between a map view, where you can take as much time as you like to chart the most efficient route to your goal, and combat events which play out in real-time (although you can and will be using a pause button to slow things down).

Where the real fun comes in is in the narrative, which plays out in two ways. There's the structured side, where every so often you'll be asked to make decisions that may improve or hinder your chances of survival. And then there's the natural story you create for yourselves, as you're forced to decide, for example, whether it's worth sacrificing a crew member for the greater good.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single–player

  • Free to play: No

Hades

Hades was the first early access title to ever make our best PC game list. It's an action-RPG developed by the team behind Bastion, Transistor and Pyre. You play Zagreus, son of Hades, who's having a little spat with his dad, and wants to escape from the underworld. To do so, Zagreus has to fight his way through the various levels of the underworld and up to the surface. Along the way, you’ll pick up “boons” from a wide range of ancient deities like Zeus, Ares and Aphrodite, which stack additional effects on your various attacks. Each level is divided into rooms full of demons, items and the occasional miniboss.

As Hades is a “roguelike” game, you start at the same place every time. With that said the items you collect can be used to access and upgrade new weapons and abilities that stick between sessions. Hades is on this list not for any reason other than it’s super accessible and very, very fun. You can jump in for 30 minutes and have a blast, or find yourself playing for hours.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Half-Life: Alyx

Half-Life: Alyx feels like a miracle. After 13 years away from the franchise, Valve delivered a genuinely thrilling prequel to Half-Life 2 while also charting new territory for VR gameplay. The gravity gloves, its key new feature, is the closest I’ve ever felt to having telekinetic powers. It gives you multiple movement options so you don’t get sick trotting around the expansive environments. Oh yeah, and it’s also absolutely terrifying, banking on the claustrophobic nature of VR. There’s no looking away when a facehugger leaps at you from the dark, or when a horrifically deformed zombie gets in your face. It might sound a bit hyperbolic, but Alyx might end up being one of the most important titles of this generation. Building a big-budget game for a niche VR market doesn’t make much sense for most companies, but for Valve, it’s Tuesday.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Nier Automata

Nier Automata takes the razor-sharp combat of a Platinum Games title and puts it in a world crafted by everyone's favorite weirdo, Yoko Taro. Don't worry, you can mostly just run, gun and slash your way through the game, but as you finish, and finish and finish this one, you'll find yourself pulled into a truly special narrative, that's never been done before and will probably never be done again. It's fair to say that the new PC release, as is unfortunately often the case, wasn't exactly the best and is still remarkably lacking in options, but it's at least stable now, and trust us when we say this one is unmissable.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Microsoft Flight Simulator

Microsoft Flight Simulator came out at the perfect time, when the world was on lockdown and airline travel was an impossibility for most people. Not only does Flight Sim let players pilot a vast array of aircrafts, but it presents the world on a platter in stunning, ridiculous detail. It’s an escape, it’s educational and it’s entertaining – is that what they mean by E3? – and there’s really nothing else on its level when it comes to realistic physics simulations. Pandemic or no, Microsoft Flight Simulator is an incredible achievement with a long tail both inside and outside of the video game industry.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Both

  • Free to play: No

Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

Many were ready to write off the Resident Evil series after the disaster that was Resident Evil 6. What started as the horror game on the original PlayStation had become a bloated mess of an action game. Instead of throwing the whole franchise in the trash and forgetting about it, Capcom took a hard look at what wasn't working, which — surprise! — was basically everything, and thoroughly rebooted the formula. Borrowing from Kojima's PT and, in some ways, Creative Assembly's Alien: Isolation, Resident Evil 7: Biohazard is horror through powerlessness. For the majority of the game, you're basically unable to do anything but run from or delay your foes. And that's what makes it so good.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Return of the Obra Dinn

This is an unforgettable ghost-story-slash-murder-mystery with a distinctive old-school graphical style. It's unlike any game we've played in a while, with a low-key musical score and a style of puzzle solving that's like one satisfying, grisly riddle. In Return of the Obra Dinn, you're put aboard a ship, alone. There is, however, a corpse near the captain's cabin. As you track the deceased's final footsteps, leading to yet more grisly ends, you need to figure out what happened. Who killed who? And who is still alive? Special mention to the sound effect that kicks in every time you solve the fates of three of the crew. Goosebumps.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

The Witcher 3

It might be the best open-world RPG out there. Despite now being several years old, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is a dense action game that acknowledges the maturity of the player with multiple — occasionally harrowing — storylines, choices that have consequences and almost too much game to wrestle with. It's not perfect; the combat system is rough, frustrating death comes in the form of falling from just a few feet and there's a lot of quest filler alongside many incredibly well thought out distractions. The scope and ambition on display will have you hooked, and once you're done, there are some excellent expansions to check out.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Single-player

  • Free to play: No

Forza Horizon 5

Forza Horizon 5 deftly walks a fine line by being an extremely deep and complex racing game that almost anyone can just pick up and play. The game has hundreds of cars that you can tweak endlessly to fit your driving style, and dozens of courses spread all over a gorgeous fictional corner of Mexico. If you crank up the difficulty, one mistake will sink your entire race, and the competition online can be just as fierce.

But if you’re new to racing games, Forza Horizon 5 does an excellent job at getting you up and running. The introduction to the game quickly gives you a taste at the four main race types you’ll come across (street racing, cross-country, etc.), and features like the rewind button mean that you can quickly erase mistakes if you try and take a turn too fast without having to restart your run. Quite simply, Forza Horizon 5 is a beautiful and fun game that works for just about any skill level. It’s easy to pick up and play a few races and move on with your day, or you can sink hours into it trying to become the best driver you can possibly be.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Both

  • Free to play: No

Final Fantasy XIV

Final Fantasy XIV is an ideal MMO for people who don’t play MMOs. Yes, there’s a hotbar and raids and gear to loot, and yes, it requires an enormous time investment to get the most out of it. But at its core, this is a story-driven RPG like any other Final Fantasy. Most of it is built to be played solo; you can even tackle dungeons with AI party members instead of other people. The narrative grows in scope and nuance as you work through its four major expansions, but the base game has its virtues, too. It’s an epic about work, about putting in labor and compassion to rebuild a world that will always be a little broken, one quest at a time. The latest expansion, Endwalker, concludes the core, eight-year-long storyline in rousing fashion.

Being able to quickly swap between classes on one character lets you shake up the admittedly straightforward combat, and you can pick up side “jobs” that are more explicitly about existing in the land instead of saving it. If you want to craft meals as a Culinarian or harvest resources as a Botanist, go for it. If you want to hunt for treasure maps, play at the casino, battle in PvP arenas, listen to Bards play actual music or just be one of those buff green dudes who stands around Limsa Lominsa wearing nothing but bunny ears, you can. Like the best MMOs, Final Fantasy XIV feels like another world, one you’ll probably never grasp in its entirety. And if you do want to play with others, it’s all brought to life by a genuinely welcoming community. Just note that you’ll need to pay a monthly subscription fee, though you can access the base game and first expansion for no added cost.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Multiplayer

  • Free to play: Limited free trial

Euro Truck Simulator 2

Euro Truck Simulator 2 tasks you with driving a bunch of big trucks across Europe, delivering cargo and building out your own trucking business. As the name implies, it’s a sim, so the trucks handle realistically and you’re expected to follow the rules of the road, refuel your car and complete your deliveries on time, with minimal damage. This is a condensed version of Europe, but each trip takes time, and usually, little else of note happens along the way.

That slowness is the point. Euro Truck Simulator 2’s pleasures are similar to those of actual driving: cruising down an open road, listening to real streaming radio stations, glancing at the sights as you pass by. It’s a deeply relaxing game as a result. All you have is the road, a destination and a hulking rig to keep on track. You’ll get there when you get there. The management bits of Euro Truck Simulator 2 aren’t as interesting as the driving, but there are loads of mods and DLC to shake up the experience. If you’d prefer trucking through the US, American Truck Simulator is a similar title from the same studio.

  • Single-player or multiplayer: Both

  • Free to play: Limited free trial

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-best-pc-games-150000910.html?src=rss

The best laptops for gaming and schoolwork

There's never been a better time to be a PC gamer, especially if you’re always on the go. Gaming notebooks are lighter, more powerful and cheaper than ever before. They're particularly useful for students because their beefy hardware could be helpful for rendering video and doing any other schoolwork that would make super-thin ultraportables sweat. You can find some general advice on choosing gaming laptops in our guide. But if you want to narrow down the field to a few great options, you’ve come to the right place.

Are gaming laptops good for school?

As we’ve mentioned, gaming laptops are especially helpful if you're doing any demanding work. Their big promise is powerful graphics performance, which isn't just limited to games. Video editing and 3D rendering programs can also tap into their GPUs to handle demanding tasks. While you can find decent GPUs on some productivity laptops, like Dell's XPS 15, you can sometimes find better deals on gaming laptops. My general advice for any new workhorse machine: Get at least 16GB of RAM and the largest solid state drive you can find (ideally 1TB or more). Those components are both typically hard to upgrade down the line, so it’s worth investing what you can up front.

The one big downside to choosing a gaming notebook is portability. For the most part, we'd recommend 15-inch models to get the best balance of size and price. Those typically weigh in around 4.5 pounds, which is significantly more than a three-pound ultraportables. Today's gaming notebooks are still far lighter than older models, though, so at least you won't be lugging around a 10-pound brick. And if you’re looking for something lighter, there are plenty of 14-inch options these days. And if you're not into LED lights and other gamer-centric bling, keep an eye out for more understated models (or make sure you know how to turn those lights off).

Best midrange for most people: ASUS Zephyrus G14

ASUS Zephyrus G14
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

The Zephyrus G14 is a bit more expensive than when it launched a few years ago, but it remains a fantastic 14-inch gaming laptop. This year, it’s toting AMD’s Ryzen 9 6900HS CPU and Radeon 6700S GPU. That’s enough power to play just about any modern game in 1,440p, and they should perform smoothly on the 120Hz or 144Hz QHD screens. Unlike the first G14 model, there’s also a built-in webcam with Windows Hello login support. What’s most impressive is that the G14 is still pretty portable for a gaming laptop, weighing in between 3.6 and 3.8 pounds.

Buy Zephyrus G14 at Amazon - $2,100

Best high-end option: Razer Blade 15

Razer Blade 15
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

For years, Razer has built a reputation for making gaming laptops that look as good as MacBooks. And that's still true. Razer's Blade 15 features a sleek and sturdy metal case, an understated design (unless you really kick up those RGB keyboard lights), and just about all the power you'd want in a portable gaming powerhouse. If money is no object, you can equip the Blade 15 with Intel's latest 12th-gen processors, NVIDIA's powerful RTX 3080 Ti and your choice of 144Hz 4k, 240Hz QHD or 360Hz HD screens..

While you'll pay a bit more for the Blade 15 compared to some other models, you've still got a few different price points to work with. The entry-level model starts at $1,799 with an RTX 3060 GPU and 144Hz 1080p display. That's certainly enough power for most games and creative apps. If you're looking for something a bit smaller, Razer's new AMD-powered Blade 14 looks compelling as well.

Buy Razer Blade 15 at Amazon - $3,000

A thin 14-inch option: Alienware X14

Alienware X14
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

If you’re looking for a thin and light computer that can still handle some gaming and demanding schoolwork, Alienware’s X14 is one of the best choices around. It measures at just 0.57 inches thick, which means it can fit into all sorts of slim bags, and weighs a bit more than four pounds. Its gorgeous 1080p screen supports Dolby Vision and NVIDIA G-SYNC, so it’ll look great both for movie-watching and gameplay. And, well, it just looks really cool – it’s the most portable variation of Alienware’s sci-fi aesthetic.

Buy Alienware X14 at Dell - $1,470

Best budget option: Dell G5 15

Dell G5 15 gaming laptop
Engadget

While Alienware has established itself as a solid premium brand, Dell's cheaper G-series notebooks are worth a look for anyone on a budget. In particular, the G5 15 continues the trend of delivering very capable hardware – including Intel’s latest 12th-gen CPUs, AMD’s Ryzen 6000 chips and NVIDIA’s RTX 30-series GPUs – for under $1,000. Sure, the case is mostly plastic, and the screen doesn't offer all of the latest niceties, but for the price it's hard to find anything more powerful.

Buy G5 15 at Dell - $920

Best no-limit gaming laptop: ASUS Zephyrus Duo 16

ASUS Zephyrus Duo 16
ASUS

Taking the idea of a gaming laptop to the absolute extreme, ASUS's latest Zephyrus Duo 16 combines AMD's latest Ryzen mobile processors with all of NVIDIA's great RTX 30-series hardware. And, true to its name, it has two screens: a gorgeous 16-inch main display (with optional Mini-LED backlighting), and a very wide 14-inch secondary panel right below. That opens up a near desktop-level of multitasking, since you can have windows spread across both screens. It could help you to browse the web while keeping an eye on Twitter at the same time. (Or maybe following an online lecture while fitting in a Halo Infinite match on your main screen. We won’t tell.)

Buy Zephyrus Duo 16 at Amazon - $4,200

The best midrange smartphones for 2023

As one of Engadget’s resident mobile geeks, I’ve reviewed dozens of midrange phones and have found that a great smartphone doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Years of commoditization have brought features once exclusive to high-end devices – including big batteries, multi-camera arrays and high refresh rate displays – down to their more affordable siblings. If your budget is less than $600, I can help you figure out what features to prioritize when trying to find the best midrange phone for the money.

What is a midrange phone, anyway?

While the term shows up frequently in articles and videos, there isn’t an agreed-upon definition for “midrange” beyond a phone that isn’t a flagship or an entry-level option. For this guide, our recommendations for the best phone in this category cost between $400 and $600. Any less and you should expect significant compromises. If your budget is higher, though, you should consider flagships like the Apple iPhone 13 and Samsung Galaxy S22.

What factors should you consider when buying a midrange smartphone?

Buying a new device can be intimidating, but a few questions can help guide you through the process. First: what platform do you want to use? If the answer is iOS, that narrows your options down to exactly one phone. (Thankfully, it’s great.) And if you’re an Android fan, there’s no shortage of compelling options. Both platforms have their strengths, so you shouldn’t rule either out.

Obviously, also consider how much you’re comfortable spending. Even increasing your budget by $100 more can get you a dramatically better product. And manufacturers tend to support their more expensive devices for longer. It’s definitely worth buying something toward the top limit of what you can afford.

Having an idea of your priorities will help inform your budget. Do you want a long battery life? Do you value speedy performance above all else? Or would you like the best possible cameras? While they continue to improve every year, midrange phones still involve some compromises, and knowing what’s important to you will make choosing one easier.

Lastly, pay attention to wireless bands and network compatibility. If you don’t want to worry about that, your best bet is to buy directly from your carrier. To make things easier, all the phones we recommend are compatible with every major US wireless provider and can be purchased unlocked. 

What won’t you get from a midrange smartphone?

Every year, the line between midrange and flagship phones gets blurrier as more upmarket features trickle down. When we first published this guide in 2020, it was difficult to find $500 devices with waterproofing or 5G. Now, the biggest thing you might miss out on is wireless charging. Just remember to budget for a power adapter too – many companies have stopped including them. Performance has improved in recent years, but can still be hit or miss as most midrange phones use slower processors that can struggle with multitasking. Thankfully, their cameras have improved dramatically, and you can typically expect at least a dual-lens system on most midrange smartphones below $600.

The best midrange Android phone: Pixel 6a

There’s a lot to like about Google's Pixel 6a. For one, the Pixel 6a features the best cameras at this price. It may not have as many lenses as some of the other options on this list, but thanks to Google’s expertise in computational photography, the 6a delivers pictures that are on par with phones that cost hundreds more. Nighttime photos in particular are stellar thanks in part to Night Sight, which helps brighten up dim environments and bring out more detail.

The Google Pixel 6a has a few other things going for it. Thanks to its large battery and efficient chipset, you won’t have to worry about running out of juice. It lasted just over 19 hours in our battery testing, and Google's Tensor chipset allows the 6a to run very similarly to the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro handsets. And those who plan to hang on to their smartphone for as long as possible will appreciate that Google plans to support the 6a with software updates for the next five years.

In addition to its solid battery life and performance, the Google Pixel 6a even has some advanced features you may not expect to see on a midrange phone. Its design looks very similar to the flagship models with the striking camera bar on the handset's rear top half, and it has a 2,400 x 1,080 resolution OLED touchscreen with an under-display fingerprint sensor. You'll only get a refresh rate of 60Hz on the 6a, but that's a small sacrifice to make when you're getting a number of other features at a killer price.

The best (and only) iPhone under $600: iPhone SE

If you can get past its dated design and small 5.4-inch display, the Apple iPhone SE is the fastest phone you can buy for less than $600. No other device on this list has a processor that comes close to the SE’s A15 Bionic. What’s more, you can expect Apple to support the 2022 model for years to come. The company is only just ending support for the first-generation SE after six years. The company hasn’t said how long it intends to furnish the latest SE with new software, but it’s likely to support the device for a similar length of time.

For all its strengths, the iPhone SE is held back by a dated display. Not only is the SE’s screen small and slow, but it also uses an IPS panel instead of an OLED, meaning it can’t deliver deep blacks. Additionally, that screen is surrounded by some of the largest bezels you’ll find on a modern phone. That’s not surprising. The SE uses the design of the iPhone 6, which will be a decade old in two years. And if the SE looks dated now, it will only feel more tired in a few years.

The midrange phone with the best screen: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

For the best possible display at this price, look no further than Samsung’s $450 Galaxy A53 5G. It features a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display that is ideal for watching TV shows and movies. Plus the 120Hz panel is the fastest on this list. Other standout features of this Samsung phone include a 5,000mAh battery and versatile camera system. The A53’s three cameras may not deliver photos with the same detail and natural colors as the Pixel 6a, but it can capture bigger scenes with its two wide-angle lenses.

Like the other Android smartphones on this list, the Samsung Galaxy A53 isn’t the fastest performer. At best, Samsung’s Exynos 1280 is a lateral move from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G found in the Galaxy A52 5G. And though the A53 is $50 cheaper than its predecessor, this Samsung phone no longer comes with a power adapter and headphone jack, so the difference may not end up being much.

An ultra-budget 5G option: OnePlus Nord N200 5G

If you only have around $200 to spend on your next phone, you could do a lot worse than the OnePlus Nord N200. To start, this budget phone features a big 5,000mAh battery that will easily last you a full day. The N200 also has a 90Hz display and 5G connectivity, which are tricky to find at this price. Best of all, it doesn’t look like a cheap phone.

But the N200 is also a good illustration of why you should spend more on a budget phone if you can. It's the slowest device on this list, due to its Snapdragon 480 chipset and paltry 4GB of RAM. Its triple main camera system is serviceable during the day but struggles in low light and doesn’t offer much versatility beyond a disappointing macro lens. OnePlus also doesn’t plan to update the phone beyond the soon-to-be-outdated Android 12. In short, the N200 is unlikely to last you as long as any of the other recommendations on this list.

Chris Velazco contributed to this report.

The best midrange smartphones for 2023

As one of Engadget’s resident mobile geeks, I’ve reviewed dozens of midrange phones and have found that a great smartphone doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Years of commoditization have brought features once exclusive to high-end devices – including big batteries, multi-camera arrays and high refresh rate displays – down to their more affordable siblings. While there are still some things you'll only find on flagship smartphones, you don't have to compromise as much anymore if you're looking for a solid device at a lower price tag. If you have less than $600 to spend, I can help you figure out what features to prioritize when trying to find the best midrange smartphone.

What is a midrange phone, anyway?

While the term shows up frequently in articles and videos, there isn’t an agreed-upon definition for “midrange” beyond a phone that isn’t a flagship or an entry-level option. Our recommendations for the best midrange smartphones cost between $400 and $600 — any less and you should expect significant compromises. If your budget is higher, though, you should consider flagships like the Apple iPhone 13 and Samsung Galaxy S22.

What factors should you consider when buying a midrange smartphone?

Buying a new device can be intimidating, but a few questions can help guide you through the process. First: what platform do you want to use? If the answer is iOS, that narrows your options down to exactly one phone. (Thankfully, it’s great.) And if you’re an Android fan, there’s no shortage of compelling options. Both platforms have their strengths, so you shouldn’t rule either out.

Obviously, also consider how much you’re comfortable spending. Even increasing your budget by $100 more can get you a dramatically better product. And manufacturers tend to support their more expensive devices for longer. It’s definitely worth buying something toward the top limit of what you can afford.

Having an idea of your priorities will help inform your budget. Do you want a long battery life or fast charging speed? Do you value speedy performance above all else? Or would you like the best possible cameras? While they continue to improve every year, even the best midrange smartphones still demand some compromises, and knowing what’s important to you will make choosing one easier.

Lastly, pay attention to wireless bands and network compatibility. If you don’t want to worry about that, your best bet is to buy directly from your carrier. To make things easier, all the phones we recommend are compatible with every major US wireless provider and can be purchased unlocked. 

What won’t you get from a midrange smartphone?

Every year, the line between midrange and flagship phones gets blurrier as more upmarket features and specs trickle down to more affordable models. When we first published this guide in 2020, it was difficult to find $500 devices with waterproofing or 5G. Now, the biggest thing you might miss out on is wireless charging. Just remember to budget for a power adapter too – many companies have stopped including chargers with their smartphones. Performance has improved in recent years, but can still be hit or miss as most midrange phones use slower processors that can struggle with multitasking. Thankfully, their cameras have improved dramatically, and you can typically expect at least a dual-lens system on most midrange smartphones below $600.

The best midrange phones for 2023

Google Pixel 7a: The best midrange Android phone

The $500 Pixel 7a delivers everything we look for in a great affordable phone. New features include a faster Tensor G2 chip, a smoother 90Hz display and for the first time on one of Google’s A-series phones: support for wireless charging. And with a refreshed design with IP67 water resistance, it looks and feels like the standard Pixel 7 but for $100 less. You also get great support thanks to five years of security updates and at least three OS upgrades. The phone’s only shortcomings are rather small and include a lack of a dedicated zoom lens and no support for mmWave 5G (unless you purchase a slightly more expensive $550 model from Verizon).

iPhone SE (3rd generation): The best iPhone under $600

If you can get past its dated design and small 5.4-inch display, the Apple iPhone SE is the fastest phone you can buy for less than $600. No other device on this list has a processor that comes close to the SE’s A15 Bionic. What’s more, you can expect Apple to support the 2022 model for years to come. The company is only just ending support for the first-generation SE after six years. The company hasn’t said how long it intends to furnish the latest SE with new software, but it’s likely to support the device for a similar length of time.

For all its strengths, the iPhone SE is held back by a dated display. Not only is the SE’s screen small and slow, but it also uses an IPS panel instead of an OLED display, meaning it can’t deliver deep blacks. Additionally, that screen is surrounded by some of the largest bezels you’ll find on a modern phone. That’s not surprising. The SE uses the design of the iPhone 6, which will be a decade old in two years. And if the SE looks dated now, it will only feel more tired in a few years.

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G: The midrange phone with the best display for streaming

For the best possible display at this price, look no further than Samsung’s $450 Galaxy A53 5G. It features a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display that is ideal for watching TV shows and movies. Plus the 120Hz panel is the fastest on this list. Other standout features of this Samsung phone include a 5,000mAh battery and versatile camera system. The A53’s three shooters may not deliver photos with the same detail and natural colors as the Pixel 7a, but it can capture bigger scenes with its two wide-angle rear cameras.

Like the other Android smartphones on this list, the Samsung Galaxy A53 isn’t the fastest performer. At best, Samsung’s Exynos 1280 is a lateral move from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G found in the Galaxy A52 5G. And though the A53 is $50 cheaper than its predecessor, this Samsung phone no longer comes with a power adapter and headphone jack, so the difference may not end up being much.

OnePlus Nord N200 5G: The best cheap smartphone when on a budget

If you only have around $200 to spend on your next phone, you could do a lot worse than the OnePlus Nord N200. To start, this budget phone features a big 5,000mAh battery that will easily last you a full day. The N200 also has a 90Hz display and 5G connectivity, which are tricky to find at this price. Best of all, it doesn’t look like a cheap phone.

But the N200 is also a good illustration of why you should spend more on a budget phone if you can. It's the slowest device on this list, due to its Snapdragon 480 chipset and paltry 4GB of RAM. Its triple main camera setup is serviceable during the day but struggles in low light and doesn’t offer much versatility beyond a disappointing macro lens. OnePlus also doesn’t plan to update the phone beyond the soon-to-be-outdated Android 12. In short, the N200 is unlikely to last you as long as any of the other affordable phones on this list.

Chris Velazco contributed to this report.

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/the-engadget-guide-to-the-best-midrange-smartphones-120050366.html?src=rss

Where to sell your used and unwanted gadgets

Every year means new iterations of your favorite phones from the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google, so you might be tempted to upgrade to your handset. But with some new phones costing over $1,000, keeping up with the latest and greatest can really take a toll on your wallet. So why not offset the cost by putting your old device up for sale? If you’re wondering which trade-in service will yield you the biggest bang for your buck, and how easy it will be, we have answers to those questions (and more). We've rounded up some of the leading contenders for offloading your old electronics. It’s not just phones, either — perhaps you have an old laptop that isn't quite cutting it anymore, or maybe you've got some other stuff sitting in the closet collecting dust.

Trade-in sites

RECYCLE-PHONES/

If you're looking for the littlest hassle and want your money as soon as possible, there are plenty of sites that will automate the trade-in process. You'll select your device from a list, get a quote within minutes and send the device back for cash in a matter of days.

Decluttr

Decluttr definitely lives up to its name. Not only can you sell phones from a number of manufacturers, including Apple, Samsung and Google, but the site also takes lots of physical media, including CDs, DVDs, Blu-rays, video games and books. For devices, you'll be asked for a general assessment of its condition, and given a quote immediately. Once you complete your order the site will send you a free shipping label. Decluttr also will accept handsets as old as the iPhone 6S, though it'll offer you only $7 for a 16GB model in good condition.

uSell

uSell operates as a broker, searching other sites for their best offers on a given device and taking care of the rest. Like most buyback sites, it's big on iPhones, but you can still sell off other manufacturers' devices; it really depends on who's buying them at that point. The selection is a bit of a grab bag — newer phones like the Galaxy S21 aren't listed, though you can get a quote for the iPhone 11 ($210 for an unlocked, “flawless” 64GB model). Once you complete your order the site will send you a free shipping kit to send out your phone, and you can get paid for the item via PayPal, Venmo or an old fashioned check.

ecoATM

If you don't want to have to worry about packaging up your old device and mailing it off, or would like to receive your payout right away, there's always ecoATM. It's literally there in the name: an automated machine that you place your device into and it examines the handset and pays you on the spot. It accepts the biggest brands (i.e., Apple, Google and Samsung), along with devices from a wide variety of manufacturers, including LG, Motorola and ZTE. If the machine determines that your device isn't worth anything at all, you can still use ecoATM to responsibly recycle your old gadget. You'll find ecoATM kiosks in Walmart and Kroger locations, as well as malls and check cashing stores across the country.

Amazon

While browsing Amazon listings, it’s likely you’ve come across products marked as “refurbished.” Well, if you’ve ever wondered where those come from, a lot of them likely hail from Amazon’s trade-in program. The company will put its own products, like Kindle readers and Fire tablets front and center, but you can also send in phones and gaming products in for an Amazon gift card as well. It’s not great if you want cash, but if you’re looking to upgrade an Amazon device this option is your best bet, as trading in an older one also nets you a 25 percent discount in addition to the store credit. You’ll need to print out a shipping label, or you can drop off your electronics at select Amazon Locker or Whole Foods locations.

Apple

This is a good option if you’re looking to upgrade to a newer Apple device. You can trade in iPhones, iPads, Macs and even Apple Watches. That’s notable as wearables are a category you don’t often see on trade-in sites. Apple will even take your old Android phone if you were thinking of making the switch. The trade-in values are on par with other sites, but you can get a smaller payout in the form of a gift card instead if you’d rather wait before making a new purchase, want to put it toward media purchases or even just use it in an Apple Store. Which, by the way, also accepts trade-ins in case you’re not comfortable shipping your old but still expensive device.

It'sWorthMore

The nice thing about It’sWorthMore is that its on-site forms handle a larger variety of gadgets than other sites, incorporating companies such as Microsoft, AMD and even GoPro in addition to standards like Apple, Samsung and Google. You’ll answer a few standard questions about your device’s condition and whether you still have the original box — obviously, the more you’ve kept from the original packaging, the better. You’ll then get a ballpark estimate of its worth and a prepaid shipping label to print out. Once your device is received you’ll generally get the assessment and payment via check, PayPal, Venmo or Zelle within two to three business days.

BuyBackWorld

The appeal of BuyBackWorld is that device assessment is a streamlined process: Instead of having to answer a barrage of detailed questions for your device you give it a general assessment and let the site handle the rest. Just like with It’sWorthMore, BuyBackWorld will provide a printable shipping label in your confirmation email but, if you don’t have a printer or boxes to pack your device up, you can always have the site send you a free shipping kit, which can handle everything the site takes except desktop computers.

GadgetGone

If you’ve read through the other site descriptions, GadgetGone’s modus operandi should be familiar: To sell a product, you’ll have to answer a few questions about what type of device you have and what condition it’s in, after which the site will generate a prepaid shipping label. At least here you can find brands like OnePlus included among the options, and you can also sell MacBooks and Mac Minis here. You can get paid a number of ways, too, including PayPal, virtual VISA card, Amazon and Target gift cards or just good old fashioned bank transfer.

Store trade-ins

C1YC8B A GameStop video game store in the Herald Square shopping district in New York gamestop; videogames; shopping; electronic

Sometimes you need your money right now, or just don't want to trust your device to the vagaries of various shipping companies. There are a few nationwide retailers that accept trade-ins for cash or store credit. Additionally, wireless carriers like Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint will all give you credit toward a new phone.

Best Buy

Best Buy also offers trade-ins both by mail and in-store — with more than 1,000 locations, this might be extremely convenient for you. You fill out the form online and bring that to customer service. It's easy, but there's one big downside: You can get your payout only via a Best Buy gift card. This is great if you spend a lot of money with them anyway, but less good if you really need cash.

GameStop

GameStop is infamous for buying games back at ridiculously low prices and flipping them at near retail, but don't let that stop you from making some easy cash when you need to quickly clear your closet of old electronics and games. And yes, I said cash: GameStop offers store credit, a Visa prepaid card or actual money if you want to take your bounty elsewhere. For example, you can trade in Animal Crossing for the Switch and get $22 in store credit or $18 cash, which isn't bad when new copies are going for $48 on Amazon. GameStop also accepts phones, tablets and Apple Watches, though the prices aren't going to match what you'd get from an online trade-in site.

Consumer to consumer

eBay Introduces Boxing Weekend On Dec. 26 and 27 At Eight Westfield Malls Across The Country, Making It Even Easier For Consumer

Sometimes you prefer to cut out the middleman and get a bit more personal — a transaction where you're selling your device directly to another person instead of letting a faceless site flip it for you as a "refurbished" unit. In those cases, you want a site that's more user-to-user, though a few will still automate certain bits to make your sale as smooth as possible.

Swappa

Swappa is a marketplace site, which means sellers can set their own price. So if you're getting rid of a newer phone, this is probably the best way to go — the iPhone 13 fetches around $515, for example. That's a huge improvement over what you'd get selling through a site like Decluttr, which is offering only $422 for a 128GB unit.

Amazon

When shopping on Amazon, you've probably been tempted by some of those marketplace deals in the past and, chances are, if you list an item on there, someone will give your old device a look. Since almost everyone on earth seems to have an Amazon account, your potential customer base is huge, and it costs only $0.99, plus a percentage based on category, to sell an item through the site. The downsides are that Amazon isn't really optimized for individual sales; you'll be competing with wholesale companies and even bots that will tweak the price of a product automatically in response to the competition.

eBay

eBay is sort of the Wild West of sales sites, but the biggest advantage is that you can sell anything there and hopefully find a buyer, regardless of how old a product is. Even so, the site has come a long way in the past decade or so, adding structured categories that can help lead customers to your product. For phones, you can search by network, color or storage capacity, and even filter for features like 4K video or fingerprint sensors.

In the end, it still works as it always did: You list a product and set an end date for the listing with a minimum price, or just set a "Buy It Now" price if you don't want to wait to see how an auction turns out. Chances are you already have an eBay account with a feedback score, so there's no extra setup required on your part. Your first 250 listings are free every month, and you'll pay up to 15 percent of the purchase price only if an item sells. The biggest downside is that you're competing with a lot more sellers, and chances are there's always someone willing to undercut you on price.

Cash-back comparison

Ultimately, the site you go with should be whatever's most useful and convenient, but if you just care about how much money you'll end up with, we've priced out a few recent flagship handsets just to give you an idea of what each site offers. We've also thrown in the Nintendo Switch, because it might be time to sell yours off and finally upgrade to an OLED model.

All phone prices are for the lowest storage capacity, usually 128GB. The prices are for the unlocked models when available, or the carrier where it's being traded. These prices were valid the day this post was written, but they fluctuate daily or, in the case of sites like Amazon and eBay, hourly.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Google Pixel 6

Nintendo Switch

Declutter

$432

$226

$135

$125

uSell

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

ecoATM

$280

$155

$40

N/A

Sprint

$230

$115

$45

N/A

Verizon

$282

$220

$15

N/A

T-Mobile

$230

$115

$45

N/A

AT&T

$280

$230

$130

N/A

Best Buy

$330

$150

$105

$50

GameStop

$291 cash / $364 credit

$131 cash / $164 credit

N/A

$80 cash / $100 credit

Swappa

$455

$224

$124

$238

Amazon

$401

$275

$190

$75

eBay

$405

$368

$200

$131

BuyBackWorld

$415

$230

$140

$110

It'sWorthMore

$442

$273

$153

$100

GadgetGone

$465

$271

$141

$41

If you were looking to sell some games, we've also got a shorter list, because not every site accepts trade-ins. GameStop will offer you more money than what's listed below if you're a member of its Elite or Elite Pro programs.

Elden Ring (Xbox)

Horizon Forbidden West (PS5)

Pokémon Legends Arceus (Switch)

Decluttr

$17

$17

$20

GameStop

$11 cash / $14 credit

$13 cast / $16 credit

$14 cash / $17 credit

Amazon

$8

$51

$14

eBay

$21

$20

$25

Once you've picked a site and listed your item, there are a few important things to remember before you ship off your device. The most important, when disposing of a phone or laptop or any other device containing personal data, is to do a full factory reset. That also means turning off "Find My iPhone" and the activation lock on iOS devices. See if you can unlock the phone, too; you'll actually get more money selling it carrier-free. And finally, make sure you've backed up any important data you may have, like contact info, game saves and, of course, photos. Cash is great, but it won't save your memories.

Images: Mike Blake / Reuters (ecoATM); Alamy (Gamestop); Getty Images for eBay (eBay)

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/where-to-sell-used-electronics.html?src=rss

All the gear you need to game-stream like a pro

If you’re a fan of playing video games and meeting new people, streaming is a fantastic activity to get in on, but it’s also fairly technical. It’s not just about having the latest consoles or PC gear, either. The most successful streams offer crisp audio, dynamic lighting and clear video, on top of smooth gameplay and a steady drip of irresistible charm (though, that last one isn’t for sale at any store). YouTube and Twitch streamers have specific, high-tech needs, and you don’t have to look far to find a gadget that’ll make playing games on these platforms easier — or even just a little more colorful. Here’s some of our favorite gear for going live with a good game and a few (hundred? thousand?) friends.

Microphones

Blue Yeti USB microphone

BEACN Mic

Headphones and headsets

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x and ATH-M50xSTS

Sony WH-1000XM5

Cameras

Logitech C922 Pro HD Stream Webcam

Elgato Facecam

Lights

Logitech Litra Glow

Razer Key Light Chroma

Philips Hue Lightstrip Plus

Accessories

Elgato Stream Deck MK.2

8bitdo Ultimate Controller

Elgato HD60X capture card

This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-game-streaming-gear-160012102.html?src=rss

All the gear you need to game-stream like a pro

It’s the season to cozy up in front of your monitor with a big blanket, a cup of hot cocoa, a great game and all of your best friends in the Twitch chat. But before going live on Twitch or YouTube, there are dozens of factors to consider, such as lighting, audio quality, video output and software organization — and that’s just to get on-air. If you want to succeed as a streamer, it also takes practice, charisma, luck and, of course, the proper equipment.

While we can’t help with the patience, natural talent or social factors that determine who becomes a streaming star, we can recommend the tools to make a channel look as professional as possible from day one. If anyone on your gift list is serious about diving into the business of video game streaming, these are the gadgets they’ll be ecstatic to unwrap (and show off on-camera).

Elgato Wave:3

Elgato Wave:3
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

The Wave:3 is solid. This mic plugs into a PC via USB and delivers high-quality audio in a sleek black package. The Wave:3 is a cardioid mic, meaning it’s designed to isolate background noise and pick up just one speaker at a time, making it ideal for streamers. It’s simple to plug in and go live with this baby, and a mute button at the top of the mic also makes it easy to cut off your audio at the source. If you’re looking for broadcast-quality sound at a reasonable price point, the Wave:3 is the mic for you.

Buy Elgato Wave:3 at Amazon - $150

BEACN Mic

BEACN Mic
BEACN

Now you’re just showing off. The BEACN Mic delivers incredibly high-quality audio, complete with noise cancellation so precise you’ll be able to ditch your headset, even with a game raging through your speakers. This alone makes it great for Twitch and YouTube streams, but the BEACN also looks fantastic on-camera in either black or white, with a customizable strip of RGB lighting running around its midsection. The BEACN is a dynamic mic that connects to a PC via USB-C, but its kit comes with a USB adapter as well. BEACN is a great choice for anyone who wants the best or prettiest mic around.

Buy BEACN Mic at Amazon - $280

Astro A10 Gen 2

Astro A10 Gen 2
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Astro’s A10 Gen 2 will get the job done and look cute while doing so, no matter what your personal style is. The Gen 2 comes in a variety of colors and patterns, from deep black with neon details to pastel purple or teal, meaning there’s something for every kind of live streaming vibe. It has a flip-to-mute boom mic, an incredibly flexible body, and replaceable ear pads and headband cushion. This headset is compatible with PC, Mac, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S and Switch, so have at it, no matter how you play.

Buy Astro A10 Gen 2 at Amazon - $60

Steelseries Arctis Nova Pro

Steelseries Arctis Nova Pro
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

This one is especially great for PC streamers with serious live-streaming intentions. The Arctis Nova Pro is a top-of-the-line headset that delivers the most crisp sound possible, including 360 degree spatial audio. Meanwhile, the mic has AI-powered noise cancellation abilities, and the whole thing comes with a 10-band equalizer for swapping settings on the fly. The Arctis Nova Pro uses a USB connection and it’s compatible with PC, Mac, PS4, PS5 and Switch.

Buy Arctis Nova Pro at Amazon - $239

Elgato Stream Deck

Elgato Stream Deck
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Elgato’s Stream Deck makes live streaming easier, while also making users feel like they’re the captain of a 1970s spaceship. The Stream Deck is a customizable desktop controller with 15 LCD keys that can be set to launch and manage apps like Twitch, YouTube, OBS, Spotify and XSplit. Not only does this allow streamers to swap among programs with ease, but the buttons themselves are a lot of fun to press. This baby looks cute, feels good and it’s extremely useful in streaming situations – what more do you need?

Buy Elgato Stream Deck at Amazon - $180

8bitdo Pro 2 Bluetooth controller

8bitdo Pro 2 Bluetooth controller
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

8bitdo knows its way around a wireless gamepad, and the Pro 2 Bluetooth controller is no exception. Whether in the transparent-body special edition or the classic black, white or gray, the Pro 2 delivers precise inputs, support for up to three custom profiles, and two extra back buttons. The Pro 2 looks like an old-school controller but it has advanced, modern capabilities, and it works with PC, Mac, Android and Switch.

Buy 8BitDo Pro 2 at Amazon - $50

Razer Ripsaw HD

Razer Ripsaw HD
Razer

Capture cards ensure your gameplay and streaming antics are preserved in their best possible form, and Razer’s Ripsaw HD is a fantastic option for any player. It’s a pluggable device that records and streams gameplay at 1080p and 60fps, while allowing the game itself to hit 4K and 60fps. This is professional-level streaming with a plug-and-play interface.

Buy Razer Ripsaw HD at Amazon - $219

Logitech StreamCam

Logitech StreamCam
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

Logitech is one of the oldest desktop camera brands around and its expertise is apparent in the StreamCam. The Logitech StreamCam records in full HD – 1080p and 60fps – with a 78 degree field of view, auto-focus and dynamic auto-framing that keeps you centered as you shift around in the shot. The whole thing connects to a PC or Mac via USB-C, and it works out of the box with popular streaming software including OBS and Streamlabs.

Buy Streamcam at Amazon - $170

Logitech Litra Glow

Logitech Litra Glow
Will Lipman Photography for Engadget

The best thing you can do for your live-streaming setup is to get some good lighting, and Logitech’s Litra Glow has you covered. This is a small, mountable LED square that delivers a diffuse, soft glow without any harsh shadows or defined edges, and it’s designed to make its subjects look their best. It comes with an extendable three-way monitor mount and is USB-powered.

Buy Litra Glow at Amazon - $60

Nanoleaf Hexagon Smarter Kit

Nanoleaf Hexagon Smarter Kit
Nanoleaf

Every stream needs a little flair, and that’s where Nanoleaf comes in. The company has a line of light panels in various shapes and configurations, but the Hexagon Smarter Kit is a great place to start. The kit comes with seven light-up hexagon panels, and all the things you’ll need to install and customize them. You’re able to sync the lights to your gameplay or music, and they connect to Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Homekit, Samsung SmartThings and Razer Chroma.

Buy Nanoleaf starter kit at Amazon - $200

Wanxing neon signs

Wanxing neon signs
Wanxing

Nanoleaf may be the premier brand when it comes to live-stream lighting, but there are plenty of other, cheaper options in the realm of on-screen glow. Wanxing, for instance, has a line of neon signs that’ll make any streaming space pop, at prices that won’t bust your budget. There are plenty of designs to choose from, including skulls, hearts, ghosts, game controllers and cute text, each available for less than $40.

Shop Wanxing neon signs