2016 was a hard year to be an Apple fan

Tim Cook and the rest of Apple’s leadership will probably not look back fondly on 2016. iPhone sales declined for the first time, and Apple’s profits followed suit. There are still bright spots, like the company’s growing services business, and the company is still making insane amounts of money. Even so, the stalled growth has to be concerning to both the company and its investors.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not here to pity Apple. I’m here to commiserate with its fans, the ones who Apple shafted this year. Particularly those of us who waited all year long for a substantial update to the Mac lineup only to be offered a pair of intriguing but compromised new laptops. Or those of us who bought an iPhone 7 and can’t use the headphones included with it in our new MacBook Pro, or even those of us trying to figure out which iPad to buy.

Across the board, Apple has confusing product lineups with weird and unnecessary compromises. And if you believe the wailing of aggrieved fans across the internet, it seems like plenty of loyal Apple supporters might be contemplating life outside the company’s ecosystem. How did we get here?

Apple fans: 2016 Year in Review

The product that most exemplifies Apple’s difficulty in 2016 is the Mac. The Mac may only compose a small part of Apple’s overall business, but that doesn’t excuse the neglect it’s endured recently. For 10 full months, the only update was a processor refresh on the 12-inch MacBook. (OK, you can also buy it in pink now. Thanks, Apple.) The company’s main three machines — the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro and iMac — went untouched. That’s still the case for the iMac and MacBook Air; it’s hard to recommend that anyone buy them right now. And we all know what happened when the MacBook Pro was finally updated: A portal to the dongleverse was opened.

I’m not here to pity Apple. I’m here to commiserate with its fans, the ones who Apple shafted this year.

Yes, Apple had already released the 12-inch MacBook with just a single USB-C port. But that computer was designed with extreme portability in mind; it was a laptop inspired by the iPad. It’ll likely take the aging MacBook Air’s place in the lineup as the company’s entry-level Apple laptop. That was fine when the MacBook Pro and its many ports existed, but Apple has now made it clear it’s not interested in keeping any legacy I/O around, even for its “pro” customers. That’s an aggressive move, and one that has been met with widespread displeasure.

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In a vacuum, there are plenty of things to like about the new MacBook Pro. The screen is excellent, the reductions in size and weight are welcome improvements, performance and audio quality are both improved, and even the controversial Touch Bar has potential. Other things, such as the redesigned keyboard, are a matter of personal preference, not a definitive drawback. But reduced battery life, the loss of physical function keys and only one type of port mean that many of the professionals Apple is targeting will need to change their workflow.

And that’s not even mentioning the price increases: It’ll cost you at least $ 1,799 to get a MacBook Pro with a Touch Bar. History suggests that prices of the new MacBook Pro will eventually drop as the old models are phased out, but there’s still some significant sticker shock here.

This confusing middle ground between old and new makes it hard to decide which MacBook Pro is the best for a given shopper. Is your $ 1,499 better spent on the previous-generation model or the new one? If you opt for the new model, you get a piddly two ports and no Touch Bar, while opting for last year’s computer gets you all the ports you could want but in a heavier package with an older processor and worse screen. My guess is that lots of people will decide not to make a purchase instead of being forced to compromise one way or another. The new entry-level MacBook Pro would be a great step up from the MacBook Air for a lot of users — but the $ 500 separating the two computers is a difficult gap to close.

The most frustrating thing about all of this is that Apple could have silenced its critics by simply including a USB 3 port and not removing the SD reader. Space may be at a premium on this new device, but I’d be willing to bet that many potential buyers would be happy to give up two of the four USB-C ports in exchange for those legacy connections. But that wouldn’t be a “courageous” move now, would it? Hell, Apple could even throw us the smallest of bones by including a USB 3 to USB-C dongle in the box so users can charge their iPhones without any further hassle.

Speaking of the iPhone, let’s go over that headphone situation one more time. Putting aside Schiller’s ridiculous “courage” line, it’s not unreasonable to wonder if we can evolve beyond the headphone jack. No other port has been immune to the march of time, and Apple probably has the data to show that most iPhone buyers use the included headphones. In theory, switching to the included Lightning headphones wouldn’t be a big deal, and there’s a dongle in there if you have a nice pair you want to keep using. What’s the harm?

Just as with the MacBook Pro, the problem is making consumers change their routines without a clear benefit. Apple executives gave a few rare interviews about the headphone jack decision when the iPhone 7 first came out, but the rationale mostly came down to using the limited space inside the iPhone for more useful technology, such as water resistance, a bigger battery and better cameras. Those are indeed great features to add to the iPhone. But they’re also table stakes at this point. It’s easy to forget that before the Galaxy Note 7 started exploding, Samsung had closed basically all the hardware gaps between its offerings and the iPhone, which means these updates were necessary, not revolutionary. And without also presenting an improved headphone solution, it’s hard to not feel like something was lost in this move.

Adding insult to injury, Apple did come up with an improved wireless-headphone experience: AirPods are much simpler to use than your average Bluetooth headset. But the price and mediocre audio quality make them a tough sell, and Apple didn’t even manage to have the headphones out on time. They only just hit the Apple Store a few weeks ago, and they’ll be in short supply for a good long time. They should have been ready to go alongside the iPhone 7, but Apple’s latest handset has been on the market for nearly three months without its companion wireless earphones. That’s a major tactical blunder.

Many of Apple’s more fervent supporters have scoffed at the notion that Apple is floundering a bit. After all, the company’s bottom line grew for 15 years: It clearly knows how to build products that resonate. But there’s been a growing chorus of unhappy fans who say that Apple doesn’t have the same eye for detail as it used to. Some point to the goofy charging experiences for the new Apple Mouse and Pencil as design decisions that Steve Jobs never would have allowed.

For me, it’s this new world of dongles that I’d have to use to make a new MacBook Pro work the way I need it to. Something isn’t right when the MacBook Air, which hasn’t substantially changed in design for five years, is still better for my needs than the brand-new MacBook Pro. I’d happily open my wallet and pay $ 1,799 for that new computer if it had an SD slot and a full-sized USB port. Part of me feels like those are tiny things to quibble over when weighed against the improvements — I’m dying for a better display at this point — but we all have to draw the line somewhere.

For others, that line might be the missing headphone jack, the late AirPods, the lack of substantial Mac updates (the Mac Pro hasn’t been touched for three years), the confusing iPad lineup, the lackluster Apple Watch reception or any other chink in Apple’s armor. Apple fans were sold on the promise that “it just works.” When that stops being the case, it’s much easier to start looking at competitors like Microsoft and Google. And that won’t help Apple make 2017 a better year.

Check out all of Engadget’s year-in-review coverage right here.

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Samsung’s 2016 went up in smoke

Samsung’s year started well, all things considered. The Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge were bona fide hits. The company’s financials looked great. Its position as the global leader in the smartphone market was assured. And then the Galaxy Note 7 happened. After months of success, Samsung’s year started to unravel — quickly.

In hindsight, it’s a little shocking how quickly the situation unfolded. The phone was officially announced on August 2nd, and it launched on August 19th to critical acclaim and commercial success. Toward the end of that month, the first report of a Note 7 explosion emerged from South Korea, triggering a cascade of similar reports from around the world. Samsung’s new phablet was not only flawed but also actively dangerous. After a week, Samsung halted Note 7 shipments to Korean consumers, and just days after that the company issued its first widespread Note 7 recall. As you probably remember, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission helped facilitate a recall in the US shortly after that, which should’ve been the end of it.

It wasn’t. Some of the supposedly safe replacement devices Samsung delivered to customers kept overheating, and there was even one incident that grounded a Southwest Airlines flight. Enough was finally enough. On October 10th, Samsung officially halted global sales and exchanges of the Note 7. The next day, the production lines were stopped entirely. In less than two months, Samsung’s “finest phone yet,” to quote our own review, had become a black mark on the company’s track record.

Perhaps the worst part: We still don’t know what caused all this. At first, it looked like batteries made by Samsung SDI could be to blame. Then devices with batteries sourced from other suppliers, such as Japan’s TDK, began to overheat too. Now a new report from engineering firm Instrumental suggests the Note 7’s failures were due to the fact that the batteries themselves were too big to be squeezed into a smartphone so “aggressively” designed — that is, Samsung should have made allowances for the natural swelling batteries undergo over time. Beyond the potential for explosions, though, Anna Shedletsky, the author of the report, suggests the phone would have been doomed regardless.

“If the Galaxy Note 7 wasn’t recalled for exploding batteries,” the report reads, “I believe that a few years down the road these phones would be slowly pushed apart by mechanical battery swell. A smaller battery using standard manufacturing parameters would have solved the explosion issue and the swell issue. But, a smaller battery would have reduced the system’s battery life below the level of its predecessor, the Note 5, as well as its biggest competitor, the iPhone 7 Plus. Either way, it’s now clear to us that there was no competitive salvageable design.”

Samsung’s woes didn’t end with smartphones. Between March 2011 and April 2016, Samsung produced 34 top-loading washing machine models that, due to failures in design, could quite literally blow their tops. US regulators took notice of the trend and took action in September — great timing for Samsung. The company once again collaborated with the CPSC to get a recall going, but not before some 730 reports of washing machine explosions had rolled in.

Unlike with the Note 7, Samsung has at least explained what was going on with these washing machines. According to company statements, excessively strong vibrations can occur when bedding or other bulky items are washed at high speeds. Those vibrations can dislodge the lid, leading it to shoot off the washing machine and strike people nearby. All told, some 2.8 million top-loading washing machines had to be recalled, and reports of trouble from around the world are still surfacing. Earlier this month, a family in Sydney fled their home when their Samsung washing machine caught fire. Prior to that, nine injuries related to washing machine malfunctions were reported, including a broken jaw in one case. It’s difficult to say what kind of exploding consumer good is more unnerving: the one that we carry in our pocket everywhere we go or the one that sits quietly in a corner of our home until it violently remind us of its existence.

So, yes, Samsung had a bad year. That doesn’t mean the company is doomed. Despite its recent failures, it would take a lot more than this to kill a corporate octopus flush with so much money and influence. Consider the following: The most recent estimates we could find suggested the Note 7 recall would cost at least $ 5.3 billion. That might sound like a lot (and it is!), but as far as Samsung is concerned, that’s chump change. As laid out in a long-term plan published in late November, the conglomerate wants to keep no more than 70 trillion Korean won in its cash reserves: That works out to just shy of $ 60 billion. That’s $ 60 billion Samsung is keeping handy for rough spells (though some of that treasure trove was probably tapped for that Harman acquisition last month).

That’s not to say Samsung was completely unaffected by the events of the past few months. Samsung’s most recent earnings release, from October, showed its mobile division tanking, with operating profit down 96 percent from the year before. No matter, though: Continued growth in the conglomerate’s chip and display business helped absorb the financial blow from the mobile side. We’re not sure how the numbers will shake out the next time earnings are released (especially in light of a potential structural shakeup), but for now Samsung’s money-making machinery still works fine. The bigger question centers on Samsung’s reputation and the trust it built with its customers. The path forward would benefit from clarity and contrition, but the truth is that rich companies can afford to muddle along until consumers forget about their past failures.

Samsung won’t forget about its troubled turn this year, but with luck the company will use it as a sobering reminder to do better in the future. After all, another pivotal moment in Samsung’s history was also forged in fire. It, too, involved phones, coincidentally enough, but none nearly as complex as the Note 7.

In early 1995, Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee gave out cell phones as gifts to celebrate the new year, and for one reason or another they didn’t work. Lee was incensed. The phones’ failure to function properly not only reflected poorly on him personally but also highlighted the slow progress of Lee’s plan to make Samsung synonymous with quality around the world. Two years prior, Lee — fed up with Samsung’s cheap, often slipshod work — bellowed at his senior managers to “change everything except your wife and children.” If Samsung was to achieve its potential, it had to change, and it wasn’t happening fast enough.

In March 1995, Lee had those phones gathered in the courtyard of Samsung’s Gumi factory, in the heart of one of Korea’s many industrial centers. Thousands of devices lay there, surrounded by some 2,000 Samsung workers with headbands that said “quality first” lashed to their foreheads. As Lee and his board of directors looked on, the phones, along with monitors and fax machines, were battered with hammers and heaved into a fire. The message was clear: Poor quality would no longer be tolerated.

Samsung has transcended its humble origins, but the message delivered that day over 20 years ago bears repeating. Company mythology points to the fire in Gumi as an act of cleansing, signaling a new era for a revitalized Samsung. Every company has bad years. What’s more important is how the company carries itself in the weeks, months and years that follow. Samsung turned things around for itself in 1995, and it can rebound now too.

Check out all of Engadget’s year-in-review coverage right here.

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In 2016, emoji kept it 💯

In addition to everything else that happened in tech this year, something small, cute and unassuming wormed its way into your smartphone, your social network and even your MacBook keyboard. While emoji have been around a while, this was the year these pictographs firmly lodged themselves into our lives. It’s become less like immature shorthand and more like another language.

Apple and Google both showed they were both taking the tiny icons seriously. The iPhone’s iOS 10 added search and predictive features for emoji to its keyboard, making it even easier to inject winks and explosions into everything you type. (Apple also added emoji functions to the OLED Touch Bar on its new MacBook Pro.)

Google took it even further, with its latest Android keyboard and gBoard on iOS both including predictive emoji. The company even baked them into its new AI assistant, Allo. The assistant can play emoji-based movie guessing games. In fact, the internet juggernaut has a real emoji crush: In early December, its main Twitter account even started offering local search results if you tweeted an emoji at it.

Granted, the results are … mixed. It won’t be replacing Yelp anytime soon, but it demonstrates how emoji are moving beyond their quick-and-dirty text-message roots.

Quicker access to emoji on your phone also comes at a time when most of our digital interactions (or at least mine) happen through smartphones. It’s become easier to use emoji, and new uses are introduced all the time. GoDaddy launched a service that allows you to create and register website addresses written purely in emoji. It could open a new wave of easily memorable sites — and there’s no shortage of emoji combinations available.

Perhaps the biggest challenge in use of emoji is how open to interpretation many of the pictograms are. More than the written or spoken word, emoji can be easily misunderstood — a fact compounded by the subtle visual differences between identical symbols in different emoji fonts. Send an iPhone emoji to someone using Google hangouts on a PC, and they might not pick up the exact same meaning.

Credit: Grouplens

They can also deliver entirely new uses, beyond the simple word was once meant to represent. There’s a reason for the popularity of the eggplant emoji and it has nothing to do with moussaka.

This vagueness and playfulness is part of their charm; some things are just funnier or easier to say in emojis. Occasionally, they can be haunting:

It’s not all frivolity and euphemisms. Updates to the emoji series attempt to better represent modern culture and society. Unicode’s latest character set for 2016 had a strong focus on gender and jobs, offering dancing bunny-boys and female police officers in an effort strike a better balance between the sexes. It even added the option of a third, gender-neutral option — although that’s apparently proved more difficult to visually express.

This year, Sony Pictures announced that it’s making a CGI feature film based entirely around emoji. It sounds like a terrible idea, but the studio believes it can make money from it. (There might even be more than one movie.)

The effect of emoji has even been noted by one of the world’s most prestigious design museums, with the Museum of Modern Art inducting emoji earlier this year. The debut set of symbols, designed for Japanese phone carrier Docomo back in 1999, is now filed under the same roof as the works of van Gogh and Dali. Used at the time to convey the weather and other messages (in a character-frugal way), the symbols were soon copied by other Japanese carriers, but it took another 12 years before they were translated into unicode in 2010, which Apple then expanded when it launched the original iPhone the following year.

So have we reached peak emoji? The initial set of low-pixel characters totaled 176. Now, at the end of 2016, there’s over 1,300 of them — and no shortage of new suggestions.

Check out all of Engadget’s year-in-review coverage right here

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The Morning After: Tuesday, November 22, 2016

It’s Tuesday, which means Facebook and Instagram have nicked another feature from Snapchat. Meanwhile, the Snapbot has landed in NYC, Apple has a battery problem of its own to deal with and the HTC Evo name makes a triumphant return.


Yo, I heard you liked the OnePlus 3Review: OnePlus 3T

Even though its predecessor is just six months old, Cherlynn Low found the OnePlus 3T “a refinement that not only feels timely, but also well-planned and executed.” It’s missing Android 7.0 Nougat and expandable storage options, but adding an upgraded processor to match the Google Pixel, a slightly larger battery and a new front camera for just $ 40 extra makes this phone a pretty good deal.


Stop us if you’ve heard this one beforeInstagram adds live video and Snapchat-style disappearing photos

Facebook’s quest to offer a version of every Snapchat feature continues with the latest Instagram update. Now, users can send disappearing messages through Instagram Direct, potentially making your next headfirst slide into the DMs less risky. There’s also built-in support for live video, which works a lot like Facebook Lives, except inside Instagram.


Choose the Mad Max: High Octane Collection — trust usHoliday Gift Guide 2016: The Movie Buff

Friends don’t let friends struggle with their home theater setups. Whether you’re ready to spend a lot or just a little, we have a few ideas about what gifts to put in your favorite videophile’s stocking.


Snapbot sightedSnapchat Spectacles have arrived in NYC

So far, Snapchat’s camera-infused sunglasses have been a West Coast-only thing, now they’re in the Big Apple. If you’re willing to try your luck, head to the Spectacles pop-up shop at 5 East 59th Street in Upper Midtown Manhattan and prepare to wait in line. The store will be open through New Year’s Eve (but closed 11/24, 12/24 and 12/25) so you will have a full month of opportunities.


At least they’re not explodingApple is replacing some iPhone 6s batteries

Just last week, Apple announced a repair program for the iPhone 6 Plus and its “touch disease,” and now it’s facing a problem with the iPhone 6. The company says a “small number” of handsets have a battery fault that causes them to spontaneously shut down. If your device was manufactured between September and October 2015, then you may be in line for a replacement or a credit.


Not what you’d expect for the holidays.Jony Ive and Marc Newson’s latest project is a… Christmas tree?

It doesn’t have a headphone jack or Christmas lights.


The missing detailNTSB is investigating the first flight of Facebook’s Aquila drone

When Facebook announced its “successful” first flight of the Aquila internet drone on June 28th, it mentioned a “structural failure” just before landing. That may have been worthy of more than a footnote, however, since the NTSB has classified it as an accident.

But wait, there’s more…

  • The HTC Evo is back! (If you live in Europe)
  • 4K Netflix streaming comes to Windows 10
  • What’s on TV this week? Try Netflix’s Brazilian sci-fi series “3%”
  • To battle fake news is to battle brain chemistry

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The Morning After: Friday, November 18, 2016

Is a folding drone the next must-have accessory in your travel bag? We review the Passport, dig into Snapchat’s Spectacle strategy and investigate news for iPhones old and new. Plus: The old Top Gear crew is back today on Amazon with The Grand Tour — that’s one way to head into the weekend.


Desktops are cool againReview: Microsoft Surface Studio

There’s a new option for desktop all-in-ones, now that Microsoft has released the Surface Studio. The Surface Dial accessory brings a unique twist on interaction and touch control, while its slick design and powerful specs help meet the marks pros are actually looking for in a computer. On the other hand, mobile graphics and a stodgy hybrid storage system, plus its high price and the need for more software support, make it hard to recommend switching right away.


Big phone problemsApple’s repair program for the iPhone 6 Plus will fix touchscreen issues — for a price

We’ve been hearing from iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners about a so-called touch disease affecting their phones, and Apple’s response is here. Without copping to a problem with the phones, its repair program will fix your iPhone 6 Plus if it’s having problems with flickering or multitouch for $ 149, out of warranty. The only problem? That may not go far enough, as the CEO of iFixit disputes Apple’s claim that the problem comes from dropped phones, and many people have said it affects the smaller iPhone 6 too.


Bring a wind sock tooReview: Hover Camera Passport

Sure, everyone wants a drone, but most don’t have a drone like this. While it’s not as big as the top-flight units from the likes of DJI and GoPro, Zero Zero Robotics’ Hover Camera Passport combines a tiny form factor and foldable case. It’s small enough that you can bring it along easily, without needing FAA registration. Controlled by an app on your phone, it’s also smart enough to do face and body tracking for optimal selfie angles. Of course, small size means small battery, which means short flight time, plus the fact that a strong breeze could blow away your $ 600 machine in an instant.


Popping tagsInstagram tries to pull in advertisers with new shopping tags

Everyone has to make money, and Instagram’s next big idea is the integration of shopping tags for brands like Warby Parker and Kate Spade. Only on iOS in the US for now, it’s just one of Instagram’s business-focused features currently rolling out.


Comcast will ruin this somehowSpaceX wants FCC approval for its satellite-based internet provider

Focused on more things than reaching Mars, Elon Musk’s space company took the next step in its internet project this week. An FCC filing reveals it’s seeking to launch 800 satellites that will provide internet service in the US, then growing its network to 4,425 satellites capable of 1Gbps connections around the globe.


Experiences, not thingsAirbnb’s latest category rents more than just spare rooms

Airbnb has a new “comprehensive” travel venture that goes beyond just putting you up in a stranger’s house for the weekend. A new Experience category promises access to both short events and longer multi-day “Immersions,” as well as features that help guide travelers to interesting places near where they’re staying. The new features are live in 12 cities now, and will be available in more than 50 next year.


The Galaxy iPhoneIs 2017 the year OLED comes to the iPhone?

OLED tech just came to the MacBook Pro, and a rumor from Bloomberg suggests that next year Apple will release at least one version of the iPhone using this display technology. Samsung has relied on these screens for models of its Galaxy phones, but word on the street is that obtaining enough supply for the iPhone could be a problem.


They’re playing hard to getSnapchat is relying on fans to get the word out about Spectacles

The first hardware from Snap Inc. is unique not just because of its glasses-integrated camera, but also in how it’s launching. The slow rollout of Snapbots is driving up the hype about where its vending machines will arrive next, without the usual wave of media reviews.

But wait, there’s more…

  • Sony’s cord-cutting service comes to Apple TV
  • Obama: We have to get serious about facts
  • The Prince estate is suing Jay Z’s Roc Nation, saying Tidal’s streaming rights have expired

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Amazon Prime Day 2016: UK deals you need to know about

It’s July 12th. For many, it’s just another Tuesday, but for Amazon, it’s another chance to sell millions of customers gadgets, homeware and lots of other stuff they don’t need. Yes, it’s “Prime Day,” a marketing gimmick where Amazon discounts thousands of products for Prime subscribers. To keep on top of things, you’d normally have to track shopping websites or keep an eye on social media, but we want to help. We’ve listed a number of all-day deals that we think are worth keeping an eye on, but act quick, other deals on the site will only be available for a couple of hours at the most.

  • Fire Tablet – £35 (normally £50): We’ve put Amazon’s diminutive tablet through its paces and even at £50 we’d consider taking the plunge. You’ll save £15 if you decide to buy today.
  • Fire TV Stick – £20 (normally £35): Amazon’s high-definition streaming stick supports Prime Video, Netflix and a whole host of other apps. If you need a streamer for your spare TV, you can’t go wrong with this.
  • Amazon Fire TV 4K – £55 (normally £80): If you’ve already got a 4K TV and are looking for Ultra HD content to watch, the 4K Fire TV can help. It also supports voice search and play games with its smart remote.
  • Kindle Paperwhite – £80 (normally £110): With its improved high-resolution 300ppi display, the Paperwhite is the Rolls Royce of Kindles. With a bigger discount than Black Friday, now might be the time to pick one up.
  • Lenovo N22 11.6-Inch Chromebook – £100 (normally £160): It’s not an Amazon sale without a cheap laptop, and this year it’s a Chromebook that is getting the discount treatment. The Lenovo N22 comes with an HD display, Intel Celeron N3060 processor, 2 GB RAM and 32GB of internal storage.
  • Surface Pro 4 Bundle – £750 (normally £944): Microsoft’s 2-in-1 is also seeing some decent discounts today. The Pro 4 bundles with a 2.2 GHz Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD and a range of coloured Type keyboards have been reduced by almost £200 today.
  • Xbox One 500GB Bundle: Amazon has a number of Xbox One deals on today. First is the standard Kinect bundle for £210, then there’s the Kinect Bundle plus Overwatch for £230. However, if you want Guitar Hero, that’ll cost you £235. Finally, there’s the Kinect Bundle, Forza 6 and a extra controller deal for £246.
  • PlayStation 4 500GB Bundle: There aren’t as many deals for the PS4, but Amazon is putting on an Uncharted 4 bundle that costs £240 and will save you quite a bit of cash. If you want Uncharted 4 on its own, that too is discounted and will set you back £32 for today only.
  • Microsoft Band 2 – £129 (normally £200): Microsoft’s fitness tracker is enjoying another big sale.
  • Nvidia Shield 16GB – £100 / 500GB – £170: Both boxes are £50 off today (and still come with a free controller).
  • 12 Months of Xbox Live plus £10 credit – £31.49 (normally £40): To get the most out of your Xbox One, you’ll need a subscription to Xbox Live. This deal will see you right for a full year and give you some extra cash to spend on games or DLC.
  • SanDisk SDSSDHII-480G-G25 Ultra II SSD – £77 (normally £95): If you’re looking for a way to speed up your PC (or even Mac), Sandisk’s Ultra II SSDs will definitely help things zip along.
  • Beoplay H2 On-Ear Headphones – £79 (normally £150): Bang & Olufsen’s on-ear headphones are almost half off today and are available in green or silver.
  • Anker PowerCore+ 26800 portable charger – £35 (normally £50): Anker markets the PowerCore+ 26800 as the world’s highest capacity portable charger with Quick Charge 2.0 technology. It’ll juice your iPhone 6 over 10 times and a MacBook over three.

Source: Amazon Prime Day

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