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Razer’s new Blade Pro 17 has a 300Hz display option

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Razer has announced the 2020 version of its Blade Pro 17. Like last year’s model, there is a 4K 120Hz touch display option for creative professionals. But Razer has upgraded the gaming-focused display option to a 300Hz 1080p panel. Razer says the 4K screen will cover 100 percent of the Adobe RGB space, and the 1080p display comes with a glare-reducing matte finish.

Specs don’t look too different from last year’s Blade Pro 17, but the new model has been bumped up to the newest generation of mobile processors from Intel and GPUs from Nvidia. Razer says they’ll make the new Blade faster than its predecessor, both in gaming and creative work.

It looks like you can get the 300Hz screen with Nvidia’s RTX 2070 Max-Q or an RTX 2080 Super Max-Q, for $2,599 and $3,199, respectively. The gaming rigs come with a 512GB SSD upgradeable to 2TB, while the creator version comes with 1TB (also upgradable to 2TB). There’s no RTX 2060 model this time around.

The 4K model only comes with an RTX 2080 Super Max-Q; that model is $3,799. All configurations come with 8-core, 2.3GHz Intel Core i7-10875H processor with turbo boost up to 5.1GHz. They’ll also include 16GB of dual-channel RAM (DDR4).

There’s a new keyboard layout with per-key RGB lighting.
Image: Razer

The laptop has Razer’s vapor-chamber cooling system, which is a staple of higher-end Blade models. We found the system to be effective in last year’s model, which didn’t get too hot unless under very heavy load. It does add extra weight to the Blade, though; this one is just over six pounds.

Finally, Razer has made a tweak to the keyboard. There are now half-height directional keys, with the right shift key extended above them, like how Razer’s recent Blade 15 and Blade Stealth updates have. Previously, the up arrow was squeezed between the shift key and the forward slash. The layout gave Verge reviewer Cameron Faulkner a lot of grief, saying it tripped him up “about once every five minutes.” (There’s per-key RGB lighting, too).

Design-wise, the 2020 Pro 17 doesn’t look too different from last year’s model; you can see the same fairly thin bezels and speaker grilles on either side of the keyboard. But we found that the 2019 Pro didn’t quite deliver the performance its hefty price tag led us to expect; we weren’t able to reach the screen’s FPS ceiling in 4K resolution without bumping down the graphics. It’ll be interesting to see whether a new generation of hardware does a better job.

The new models will be available later this month.

Microsoft

Mixer is getting a big Fortnite tournament series hosted by Ninja

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Microsoft’s Mixer streaming platform is making a bigger splash in the live event game with a new tournament series starting this week featuring Fortnite player Tyler “Ninja” Blevins. Called Ninja Battles Featuring Fortnite, the weekly tournament series will take place starting this week on May 28th and lasting every Thursday through July, reports Deadline.

The event will be hosted on Ninja’s Mixer channel, which is the platform’s most popular channel since the streamer left Twitch last August to join Microsoft’s competitor as part of a lucrative multiyear streaming deal. Ninja’s high-profile departure, orchestrated in part by his management team at the talent agency Loaded, inspired a wave of new contracts spanning the entire live-streaming ecosystem. In the months after Ninja left Twitch, several popular gaming entertainers followed him and signed new deals with other streaming platforms.

Just in the last few months alone, Twitch and YouTube have locked down popular creators like Imane “Pokimane” Anys and YouTube megastar Felix “Pewdiepie” Kjellberg to their respective platforms.

Ninja Battles Featuring Fortnite will feature $400,000 in prize money and bring together 60 Fortnite pros and other big names in the Twitch and broader live-streaming world, including Nicholas “Nick Eh 30” Amyoony, Fortnite World Cup champion Kyle “Bugha” Giersdorf, and Faze Clan streamers Nate Hill and Soleil “Ewok” Wheeler. Everyone will be streaming from the comfort of their home during the pandemic.

Ninja will of course be a centerpiece of the event, which is being co-produced by Ninja himself and his management team Loaded. He’ll participate in the competitions, while popular community members “BallaTW” and “MonsterDface” will commentate. Notably, Ninja was the first streamer to host a live and in-person Fortnite tournament in early 2018, just months after the game first came out and long before developer Epic Games formed an official esports circuit for the title.

“I joined Mixer to push boundaries, create different types of streaming content and interact with fans in new ways,” Ninja said in a statement. “Ninja Battles brings a new kind of gameplay to the community. I am excited to share this competitive experience with my fans as well as have my fellow gamers and friends participate.”

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Cortana now lets you schedule meetings by voice inside Outlook

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Microsoft is adding new abilities to Outlook’s “Play My Emails” feature, allowing you to use voice control to organize your emails and day-to-day schedule. The company originally released Play My Emails for Outlook last November, letting Microsoft’s AI assistant Cortana read emails out loud to users.

With the new features, Cortana will allow you to accept or decline meetings as well as set up a meeting with someone. If someone emails you regarding important or time-sensitive information, it will suggest setting a meeting during the next available 30-minute time slot on your calendar. Cortana will also give you an option to view your schedule and select a time to set up a meeting, and it’ll allow you to add emails to your task list.

Use Cortana to join a Microsoft Teams meeting, too.
Image: Microsoft

The new update will also include support for the recently released Microsoft Surface Earbuds, allowing owners to use Outlook voice commands and navigate their emails by swiping back and forth on the surface of the earbuds. Additionally, Cortana will soon allow you to quickly join a Microsoft Teams meeting if you’re behind on your schedule, so you can join the meeting within a minute before it’s slated to start or join once it’s in progress.

Microsoft is releasing this feature first on iOS devices, though Android support is slated to roll out “in the coming weeks,” according to the company.

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Windows 10 May 2020 Update now available with built-in Linux kernel and Cortana updates

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Microsoft is releasing its Windows 10 May 2020 Update today. It’s the latest “major” update to Windows 10, and its big features include the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 and Cortana updates. Microsoft released a final version of the update to testers last month, and everyone on Windows 10 can get access to the May 2020 Update through Windows Update today.

The biggest change to the May 2020 Update is that it includes the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2), with a custom-built Linux kernel. This Linux integration in Windows 10 will greatly improve the performance of Microsoft’s Linux subsystem in Windows. Microsoft is also promising to update this kernel through Windows Update, and it will be open source so developers can create their own WSL kernel and contribute changes.

WSL 2 won’t include Linux GUI application support or GPU hardware acceleration just yet, as Microsoft is promising both of these features for future Windows updates.

The May 2020 Update also includes some big Cortana improvements. Cortana can now be undocked from the Windows 10 taskbar, and it includes the ability to choose between typing or talking to the digital assistant. This includes tweaks to the overall Cortana interface to make it more conversational, and Microsoft has also added quick searches to the search home interface with this latest update. These include quick access to weather, news, today in history, and new movies.

You can download the Windows 10 May 2020 Update by checking for updates in Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update.

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