Samsung’s entry Galaxy S22 Ultra may come with less memory than last year’s model

With Samsung scheduled to announce its next Galaxy S flagships in February, a new leak suggests the company may have a pricing change planned for its high-end phone lineup. Per a tweet spotted by Android Police from WinFuture’sRoland Quandt, European pricing for the Galaxy S22 series will start at €849, with the base models of the Galaxy S22 Plus and Ultra slated to cost €1049 and €1249, respectively. Effectively, this means in 2022 Samsung’s Galaxy S lineup will cost just as much as it did in 2021. What’s more, Quandt’s tweet suggests the company will continue its practice of charging a €50 premium for a storage bump on the standard and Plus models.

What may change is that Samsung could tweak the base model Ultra variant to offer less value than its predecessor. In Europe at least, the €1249 Galaxy S22 Ultra will ship with 8GB of RAM, according to Quandt, and cost the same amount as money as the entry-level Galaxy S21 Ultra, which features 12GB of RAM. Consumers in Europe will reportedly need to pay a €100 premium to get the S22 Ultra with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. It’s not clear if Samsung will implement the same pricing strategy in the US. As Android Police points out, a separate leak earlier this month suggested the company could charge an extra $100 stateside for every model in the Galaxy S22 lineup. As always, we’ll have to wait until the company shares official pricing information before we know just how much it will cost to own the latest Galaxy S phones.

WhatsApp is nearly ready to migrate Android chats to iPhone

WhatsApp may soon release two highly-requested features. The first is one iPhone users have been waiting for since the company made it possible for Samsung Galaxy owners and later those with Pixel phones to migrate their chat history from an iOS device. Per a post spotted by The Verge, WABetaInfo found evidence in the latest WhatsApp iOS beta release of a feature that lets you migrate your chat history from Android to iOS. The discovery builds on an earlier one the outlet made in September.

WhatsApp
WABetaInfo

Screenshots shared by WABetaInfo suggest the app will ask for your permission before it starts migrating your chat history. We also know from the earlier leak you’ll need to use Apple’s Move to iOS app as part of the transfer process. On Android, that same process can be convoluted, as you need a Lightning to USB-C cable and phone that’s either brand new or has been recently factory reset.

In a separate articleWABetaInfo published over the weekend, the website found that WhatsApp is also working on a two-step verification feature for its desktop and web clients. Should the company move forward with a release, the tool will allow you to add a personal pin to your account. In that way, anytime you want to access WhatsApp either through your computer or online, you’ll need to input that passcode, as well as the six-digit pin WhatsApp sends to your phone, to do so. That’s something that will help protect you from SIM swap attacks.

It’s unclear when the company plans to release either feature. A month before the migration one launched on Samsung devices, WhatsApp head Will Cathcart said it would arrive on iOS phones “soon.”

Google may already be making another Chromecast with Google TV

Google tends to release new Chromecast models only sparingly (you can still buy a years-old 1080p unit today), but it may be more aggressive with the Google TV model. 9to5Googlesources claim the company is already developing a new Chromecast with Google TV. Documentation and code sleuthing have reportedly revealed the codename "Boreal," while 9to5 understood the Android TV media hub would launch later in 2022.

The purported leak doesn't mention specifications, although newer processing power with broader video support might be necessary. XDA and others have heard Android TV will require AV1 video format support after March 31st, and that's conspicuously absent on the existing Chromecast with Google TV. The company might also use the opportunity to address common complaints, such as the modest storage.

Provided the leak is accurate, the question is whether or not this is a straightforward replacement for the existing Chromecast or a higher-powered separate model. Given that the existing Chromecast already supports 4K HDR, though, a replacement seems more likely. It's clear any changes would be substantial enough to warrant a new internal nickname — Google doesn't typically hand out names for minor revisions.

‘Dying Light 2’ will include free PS5 and Xbox Series X/S upgrades

After multiple delays, Dying Light 2 will finally arrive on February 4th. If you haven’t had a chance to purchase a PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S yet, developer Techland is making the decision of whether to buy the game now or later easy. In an announcement spotted by Eurogamer, the studio shared this week it will provide free current-gen upgrades to those who buy Dying Light 2 on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.

What that means is that you’ll have the chance to play the game with improved graphics at a later date. Like many recent PS5 and Xbox Series X/S releases, Dying Light 2 will ship with multiple rendering modes, thereby allowing you to configure the game to prioritize either graphical fidelity or better performance. 

If you want the best possible graphics, you can choose between separate “Quality” and “Resolution” modes. As you can probably tell from the name, the latter will attempt to render the game at 4K. Less obvious is the Quality mode, which adds raytracing to the experience. And if all you want is a smooth framerate, the included “Performance” mode will render Dying Light 2 at 60 frames per second or greater. You can see the different modes in action in the video above.

The news comes in the same week Techland announced the cloud version of Dying Light 2 for Switch will be delayed by up to half a year. The studio said it made the decision to push back the release to ensure it could provide the best possible experience to Nintendo fans.

Robinhood opens cryptocurrency wallet to beta testers

Back in September, Robinhood announced plans to test a cryptocurrency wallet within its app. At the time, the company said it would open the beta to a small number of people before expanding availability ahead of a full-scale release. If you joined the waiting list Robinhood create, you can now test the wallet for yourself – provided you were one of the first 1,000 people to sign up for the beta.

In a blog post the company published today, Robinhood said it would invite 10,000 individuals to the beta by March, with more to follow later. In addition to storing cryptocurrencies, the company’s wallet allows you to move them off the app to other external wallets. During the testing period, the company will limit daily withdrawals to a total of $2,999. It will also limit users to 10 transactions per day, and, to take part in the beta, you’ll need to enable two-factor authentication. With today's rollout, the wallet supports Bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin. 

As it works to polish the wallet, Robinhood says it will add “delightful” QR scanning experiences and an improved transaction history interface, among other features. When Robinhood first announced the wallet beta, it told The Verge it planned to make the feature available to everyone sometime in 2022.

Leak offers a glimpse at Microsoft’s canceled Andromeda OS for dual-screen devices

Before Microsoft announced the Surface Duo in 2019, the company spent several years working on an operating system codenamed Andromeda. It was envisioned as a reboot of Windows Phone with an emphasis on inking. The company worked on the software until it eventually decided to instead include Android on the Surface Duo. Until now, we’ve only seen glimpses of Andromeda in things like patent filing. But Windows Central recently obtained an internal build of the operating system and installed it on a Lumia 950.

Outside of a rare look at an unfinished project, what’s interesting about seeing Andromeda after all these years is how many of the ideas Microsoft was working on then either made their way to the Surface Duo or apps the company has released since. On the lock screen, for instance, you can see an early version of the Surface Duo’s peek functionality. Meanwhile, a lot of the features you see on the “Journal” home screen eventually made their way to the company’s Whiteboard app, and that’s something you can download from the Microsoft Store.

At the same time, it’s an interesting look at what could have been. Even in the software’s unfinished state, there’s a lot we see in the video that’s genuinely different from anything Android and iOS offer, even to this day. The fact Andromeda allowed you to jot down notes directly on the lock screen, and that they would still be there the next time you unlocked the phone, is something that looks genuinely useful.

Of course, there are probably many good reasons Microsoft ultimately decided not to pursue Andromeda. Launching a device that does something different, let alone a completely new operating system, is no easy task in a mature marketplace. Unless a device does nearly everything right, it’s difficult to overcome the fact most people tend to stick with products they know and are comfortable with.

iRobot’s Roomba j7+ is $250 off, plus the rest of the week’s best tech deals

A bunch of new tech sales cropped up at the start of the week for things like robot vacuums, game controllers and more, and many of them are still around today. A trio of iRobot devices remain discounted, with the most affordable of the bunch coming in at $179. Some of Amazon's Fire tablets are up to 50 percent off, while Xbox's Elite Wireless Series 2 controller is back down to $140. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today.

iRobot Roomba j7+

The new Roomba j7+ is $250 off right now and down to $599 at both Amazon and Wellbots. The higher-end Roomba s9+ is also $250 and down to $850. The former just came out at the end of last year and has 10x the suction power of a standard Roomba plus advanced obstacle avoidance, which means it will avoid things like pet poop more easily than other models. The s9+, on the other hand, has 40x suction power and a more corner-friendly design. Both also support automatic emptying and come with clean bases, too.

Buy Roomba j7+ at Amazon - $599Buy Roomba j7+ at Wellbots - $599Buy Roomba s9+ at Amazon - $849Buy Roomba s9+ at Wellbots - $849

iRobot Roomba 694

The Roomba 694 is down to $179, or $95 off and a return to its record-low price. It earned a spot in our best budget robot vacuums guide thanks to its strong cleaning power, on-device button controls and handy companion mobile app.

Buy Roomba 694 at Amazon - $179

24-inch iMac M1

2021 Apple iMac
Apple

Apple's 8-core GPU iMac is down to $1,399, or $100 off. This is the latest 24-inch, M1 iMac that we gave a score of 89 for its speedy performance, stunning display and impressibly thin design.

Buy 24-inch iMac at Amazon - $1,399

Amazon Fire tablets

Amazon Fire HD 8 (2020)
Valentina Palladino / Engadget

A number of Amazon Fire tablets are on sale, with some of the best deals being on the Fire HD 8 and HD 8 Plus, both of which are 50 percent off. The Fire 7 tablet is 30 percent off and down to $35 as well. We think the Fire HD 8 slabs are the better ones to get since they have improved designs, USB-C charging, long battery lives and decent performance.

Buy Fire HD 8 at Amazon - $45Buy Fire HD 8 Plus at Amazon - $55Buy Fire 7 at Amazon - $35

Xbox Elite Wireless Series 2 controller

Microsoft Xbox Elite Series 2 controller
Microsoft

Microsoft's Elite Wireless Series 2 controller for Xbox remains on sale for $140, or $40 less than usual. If you want to treat yourself (or someone else) to a fancy gaming accessory, this is a good option. It comes with six thumbsticks, four paddles, two D-pads, a charging dock, a carrying case and a USB-C cable, and its battery can last up to 40 hours on a single charge.

Buy Series 2 controller at Microsoft - $140

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

The Galaxy Buds 2 are down to $100 right now, or $50 off their normal price. We gave them a score of 84 for their improve sound quality, adjustable ambient sound mode, comfortable design and support for wireless charging.

Buy Galaxy Buds 2 at Woot - $100

Samsung Galaxy S21 FE

Samsung's latest smartphone, the Galaxy S21 FE, is officially available and starting to ship and Amazon throws in a $100 gift card if you order the handset through the online retailer. We briefly tested the FE at CES 2022 and called it "last year's flagship without the frills," and it includes a 5-nanometer processor, a 120HZ display, a 32-megapixel front-facing camera, a larger battery and more.

Buy Galaxy S21 FE bundle at Amazon - $700

Samsung T7 Touch SSD

Samsung T7 Touch SSD in black and silver against a white background.
Samsung

The Samsung T7 Touch SSD in 1TB is down to a record low of $140 right now. That's even better than the price it was during the holiday shopping season last year. We like the drive's compact design, fast speeds and built-in fingerprint reader for extra security.

Buy T7 Touch (1TB) at Amazon - $140

Libro.fm

Engadget readers can get a total of two free audiobooks when signing up for Libro.fm, the audiobook subscription service that supports local bookstores. Similarly to Audible, a Libro.fm membership costs $15 per month and gives you one audiobook credit per month, plus 30 percent off any audiobooks you buy á la carte.

Subscribe to Libro.fm - $15/month

New tech deals

83-inch Sony A90J Bravia XR OLED smart TV

This massive Sony OLED set is $2,000 off right now, bringing it down to a record low of $6,000. It includes features like Cognitive Processor XR, Motion Clarity, HDMI 2.1 for gaming, Acoustic Surface Audio+, Dolby Vision and more.

Buy 83-inch Sony A90J OLED at Amazon - $6,000Buy 83-inch Sony A90J OLED at Best Buy - $6,000

Elgato Ring Light

Elgato's Ring Light is cheaper than ever at $150 on Amazon. Online content creators like game streamers will probably get the most out of this gadget, but it could be useful if you need better lighting for Zoom calls too. It has a 2500-lumen output, onboard brightness and color temperature controls and integration with Elgato's Stream Deck.

Buy Elgato Ring Light at Amazon - $150

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

Samsung’s 1TB T7 Touch SSD is $50 off at Amazon

Samsung's handy T7 Touch portable SSD is cheaper right now than it was during the holiday shopping season just a couple of months ago. The 1TB black model is down to a new low of $140, which is $50 off and the best price we've seen it. Most other versions are also discounted, including the 500GB model for $105, but you'll get the best deal if you go for the black 1TB drive.

Buy T7 Touch (1TB) at Amazon - $140

Storage gadgets are some that are useful to keep around, but often expensive to get your hands on. That's why we recommend waiting for a sale like this one to pick up an extra drive, SD card and the like while you can get them for less. Samsung's T7 Touch is a palm-sized portable SSD with read speeds up to 1,050 MB/s and write speeds up to 1,000 MB/s, plus features like Dynamic Thermal Guard to control heat levels. While the drive supports optional password protection, the kicker here is its built-in fingerprint reader that you can use as an extra layer of security.

The T7 Touch's compact design helps it fit into nearly any bag you may be carrying, plus its shock- and drop-resistant aluminum unibody should protect it from too much damage if it accidentally takes a tumble. We also appreciate that it comes with both USB-C to C and USB-C to A cables, allowing you to use the drive with most laptops, smartphones, tablets and even some game consoles.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

The Xbox Series S is 7 percent off at Woot

If you've been trying to buy a next-gen console, you're no doubt aware that it's been quite a challenge due to component shortages. However, Microsoft has done a great job making the Xbox Series S model available over the past few months, and now we're starting to see our first real discounts. It's on sale for today only at Woot for $280, which is $20 or 7 percent off the regular $300 price. That's not a lot, but given that they haven't been available at all until recently, any discount is appreciated. 

Buy Xbox Series S at Woot - $280

We said that the Xbox Series S was a "formidable next-gen console wrapped up in an adorable package" in our Engadget review, while also noting that it was an "incredible value." That's thanks to the compact design (looking at you, Sony PS5), improved game performance and the huge backward-compatible library. 

More specifically, the console can handle games at up to 1440p and hit variable refresh rates up to 120fps, though not many games can do both at the same time. It can't handle 4K like the Xbox Series X or PS5, but refresh rate is a more important issue for most gamers. You also get dramatically faster load times thanks to Microsoft's new Xbox Velocity architecture and custom 512GB SSD, though the relatively paltry storage might be an issue for some users. 

Lack of storage aside, the Xbox Series S is already one of the best console deals out there, and even more so at the discounted $280 price. You'd better act quickly if you want one, however, as the deal will disappear within 24 hours or when stock sells out, whichever comes first.

Follow @EngadgetDeals on Twitter for the latest tech deals and buying advice.

Casio made a super fun singing keyboard

Casio hasn’t been a serious player in the world of synthesizers for some time. Gone are the days of the beloved CZ series, while the current lineup lacks the lo-fi charm of classic keyboards like the SK-1 and VL-1. But for the last few weeks the company has been teasing what seemed like a return to real-deal synths, possibly with a vocoder.

Well, bad news: The CT-S1000V is not a return to Casio’s analog glory days. Nor is it a vocoder. And the $450 list price is a little hard to swallow.

So what exactly is the CT-S1000V? It looks like a midrange Casiotone that uses the company’s flagship AiX engine, with vocal synthesis tossed in as a bonus. In short, it’s a singing keyboard. Frankly, the novelty of being able to whip up some lyrics in the companion app, send them to the CT-S1000V, and then play the words as a melody was more than enough to pique my interest. I’m a sucker for vocoders, over-the-top autotune and talkboxes, so a singing synth is right up my alley.

Before we dig too far into the vocal synthesis side of things, let’s quickly cover the AiX engine and the hardware. AiX made its debut in 2018 and its strength supposedly lies in recreating acoustic sounds. And look, credit where credit is due: The piano sounds on this are pretty decent. Can I say the same about the other acoustic instruments represented here, like violins, guitars or trumpets? No. But there are enough quality sounds, including some recreations of classic Casio synth tones, to keep you entertained for a while.

Don’t come to the S1000V expecting a truly customizable synth, though. While there are some tweaks that you can make, this is not the keyboard for someone looking to learn synthesis or get into sound design. That should be immediately obvious, however, when you look at its front panel. The controls are minimal. Physically it has much more in common with the $250 CT-S400 than it does with the $480 CT-X5000 (the closest Casio has to a traditional synth).

Casiotone CT-S1000V
Terrence O'Brien / Engadget

I haven’t played a modern Casio in some time, but I do have to say, the speaker system is impressive. Because the CT-S1000V is clearly aimed at budding pianists and home entertainment, being self-contained is a huge plus. While the built-in speakers on other keyboards often seem like an afterthought, Casio clearly put effort into them here. When you switch over to the drum and rhythm presets, it’s really quite shocking how much bass you get from the kicks.

On the whole, the CT-S1000V feels well built. It’s plasticky and the full-sized keys are a tad springy, but it feels solid and the click wheel that serves as your primary tool for navigating the interface is satisfying. Casio did make some strange decisions, though. For instance, the mod knob above the pitch wheel. Mod wheels and mod strips? Sure. But a mod knob? In this configuration, where the placement would suggest it’s a performance tool, seems very odd.

Casiotone CT-S1000V
Terrence O'Brien / Engadget

The keyboard also comes with a Bluetooth adapter in the box, but it can only be used for streaming audio and MIDI data. It can’t connect to the companion Lyric Creator app. There are no dedicated MIDI ports on the back and, while it can supposedly be used for MIDI over USB I was unable to get it to work. There are, however, two pedal inputs on the back (one of which can be used for expression), plus ¼-inch stereo audio outs and ⅛-inch jacks for audio in and headphones. There’s also a pair of USB ports: one USB-A specifically for the Bluetooth adapter and a micro-USB (sigh) connector for transferring lyrics from the app on your phone.

The app is very well designed and thorough, and lyric transfers over USB using a camera kit adapter with my aging iPhone X were almost instantaneous. Casio says transfer over Bluetooth isn’t supported because it would simply be too slow, but just having it as an option would be nice.

In the app you can either type out or dictate phrases and it will do its best to automatically parse the text. Your mileage may vary, though. Computers aren’t always the best at reproducing human pronunciation and the CT-S1000V is no different. For example, “Engadget” was automatically broken down as “en-gadget”. But when the keyboard sang it back, it became “engage.” I had to go in and manually tweak the lyric to be “En-gad-jet” for it to sound right.

Casiotone CT-S1000V
Terrence O'Brien / Engadget

You can really dive deep and customize the phonemes if you want, and punch in specific timings using standard music notation. But there’s no avoiding the fact that getting lyrics to sound right requires a lot of trial and error, which would be less of an issue if you could preview the rendered vocals on your phone before transferring them to the keyboard. Right now it’s just a lot of back and forth.

On the keyboard itself, you have two primary ways of playing back lyrics: Either in Phrase mode or in Note mode as individual syllables. The former will play back the words using the timing you programmed in. As long as you're holding keys down, it will sing the lyrics to you. The one issue here is that playback will start over from the beginning if you ever let go of the keys. With syllable playback you have more control over timing and it’s a bit easier to knock out a melody (at least for someone like me who can’t really play piano). But it’s still important that your syllables be broken down just right or the timing will be off when you try to play back a vocal lick.

There are 22 different voices for you to pick between that range from synthetic choirs, to demonic growls, to talkbox emulations. Some of them get pretty same-sounding, but the variety is welcome. There are a few ways to tweak the voices, including changing the “age” and “gender”, though they dramatically alter the core tone of each.

Casiotone CT-S1000V

One last feature worth mentioning is the S1000V’s sampling capabilities. There are two different sampling modes: melody and drum. The latter lets you assign samples to individual keys to create custom drum kits. It’s also probably the easiest of the sampling methods to use. Melody, on the other hand, lets you play back a single sample chromatically across the keyboard by slowing it down or speeding it up. This latter trick is a fun and simple way to create custom instruments, and it’s part of what gave Casio’s SK series its charm.

But it’s worth noting that the sampling process here is slightly more cumbersome than on those old-school instruments. There’s no dedicated sampling controls on the front, you have to do a little menu diving. And there’s no built-in microphone for quick and dirty recording, you need to use the ⅛-inch jack around back, or a Bluetooth connection. It’s a nice tool to have, but I do wish it were featured more prominently and the interface a little less obtuse.

Casiotone CT-S1000V
Terrence O'Brien / Engadget

Casio deserves credit for doing something somewhat unique in building a singing keyboard. Sure, it’s a bit gimmicky to type out (or dictate) your favorite song and then play it back using a synthesized choir. But it’s undeniably fun. And including the ability to record custom samples, and layer them with the keyboard’s built-in sounds is a welcome feature.

It’s hard to overlook the $450 price, though, especially considering the limited sound design controls. The CT-S1000V is probably best suited for someone learning to play piano who wants a fun keyboard with a bit of versatility to practice on. But its price is a bit steep for what feels like mid-range Casiotone. You can get a more capable sampler for around the same price, and Arturia's MicroFreak delivers limited vocal synthesis and a real vocoder for less. Obviously, the Casio has advantages over those — quality built-in speakers, expansive full-sized keyboard — but you'll have to decide how much those features are worth in terms of tradeoffs and price.