Engadget's Tech Week in Review

By Engadget | Bookending the week with a look at our top stories from the past 7 days.

Science creates a cast that lets you scratch those itches

It's as hard as a fiberglass cast, but look how much of your skin is exposed!<p>If you made a list of things that sucked about breaking your arm, the fiberglass cast to heal you would be close to the top. You can't shower with it, you can't get at your skin and you wind up an itchy, sweaty mess for …

Samsung offers Note 7 owners $100 off another Galaxy phone

You'll only get $25 to exchange for another brand, but you're probably best off getting a full refund.<p>In an attempt to keep users, Samsung is issuing a $100 credit to exchange the defective Galaxy Note 7 for a Galaxy S7 Edge or other Samsung device. By comparison, it'll give you just $25 if you …

The Galaxy Note 7's death creates an environmental mess

Phone recycling is still too young to avoid creating a significant amount of waste.<p>Samsung's decision to discontinue the Galaxy Note 7 and recover remaining units isn't just a blow to smartphone fans... it's not so hot for the environment, either. Experts speaking to <i>Motherboard</i> point out that phone …

BMW's motorcycle of the future doesn't require a helmet

The Motorrad Vision Next 100 would use self-balancing tech to keep you safe.<p>BMW has unveiled a slew of concept vehicles to mark its 100th birthday, but its fourth and last example might be the most daring. Its new Motorrad Vision Next 100 concept motorcycle would supposedly be so smart that you …

Amazon Echo Dot review (2016): Forget the Echo. Buy this instead.

You’ll get Amazon’s Alexa assistant in a smaller, cheaper form factor<p>The robot assistants we were promised as children are finally ready for the home. Well, sort of. Instead of walking, talking humanoid automatons like Rosie from <i>The Jetsons</i> and Robby the Robot from <i>Lost in Space</i>, our well-spoken …

HP's new laptops and all-in-one are slimmer than ever

The notebooks will go from zero to ninety percent charged in ninety minutes.<p>Just as it did last year, HP is updating its convertible, all-in-one and thin-and-light laptop again. This time, the company is making sure its devices are (more than) slim enough for your bags and crowded desks. In …

Google's Project Fi now has family plans

Additional lines cost $15 a month, and data stays at $10 per GB.<p>If you don't use a ton of data, Google's Project Fi (a cell phone service that jumps between Sprint, T-Mobile and US Cellular, depending on signal strength) is one of the better deals in wireless. Now, Google's making it a bit easier …

Samsung ends production of the Galaxy Note 7 for good

The smartphone's name is ruined after two recalls and numerous fires.<p>Samsung has "permanently discontinued" production of the Galaxy Note 7, the company told Engadget in a short statement. Sales of the flagship phone were halted yesterday because replacements for the original, recalled model were …

Casual 'Pokemon Go' trainers now have a fighting chance

No, I don't have a 2000 CP Dragonite. I have a job and a family.<p><i>Pokémon Go</i> players know if their pocket monster is a 'catch' and can even have one of them scurry behind your avatar. The latest update is aimed at balancing the in-game battles, giving the Pidgeottos and Mr. Mimes of the world a …

Lady Gaga album leaks through Amazon's Echo speaker

"Alexa, play previews of unreleased songs."<p>Lady Gaga is starting to reveal some of the songs on her upcoming album <i>Joanne</i>, but it might not be <i>quite</i> the controlled release she was hoping for. Fans with Amazon's Echo speakers recently discovered that they could listen to 30-second previews of …

LinkedIn can quietly tell headhunters you want a new job

It's a bit easier than blinking 'Help Me Find A New Job' in morse code while you walk to work.<p>Let's say you're not happy with the way you've been treated at work, but your objections have fallen on deaf ears. If you start hunting around for another job, it's all too easy for that information to …

Nike's self-lacing Mags are hot, won't catch fire

Leave that to the hoverboard.<p>For Nike, yesterday was the culmination of a passion project which began in 2007. It was then that iconic designer Tinker Hatfield, who is behind the most popular Air Jordan models, took on the task of creating an innovative shoe based on the one worn by Marty McFly …

Replacement Note 7 starts smoking on Southwest flight

The device began smoking after it was turned off.<p>A Southwest flight was evacuated in Lousiville, Kentucky when a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 overheated and began smoking on board. Lousiville Metro Arson investigators confirmed to <i>WAVE News 3</i> that a Samsung device was the cause of the incident. All …

PlayStation VR review: Great games outweigh limited specs

It's less immersive than the Rift or Vive, but it has titles you'd actually want to play.<p>The PlayStation VR is just what the fledgling virtual reality industry needs today. While the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive made headlines for being the first truly high-end VR headsets on the market, they're held …

RIP, third-gen Apple TV

Make way for 4K -- oh wait.<p>The Apple TV of old -- the one that doesn't have a tiny, Siri-enabled remote, or any desire to play games -- is no more. As <i>MacRumors</i> reports, the third-gen hardware is no longer listed on Apple's site, all but sealing its fate. Maybe you'll see one in a brick-and-mortar …

Google WiFi is a router that simplifies whole-home wireless

You just have to add more devices to expand coverage.<p>Those rumors of Google giving WiFi routers another shot? They're true. Meet Google WiFi, a router designed entirely in-house... and with a few nice advantages over the OnHub line. Apart from being much smaller (no vase-like design here), its big …

Google claims the Pixel has the 'best smartphone camera ever'

The 12.3-megapixel camera is also said to be the quickest one the company has tested.<p>Google has revealed the specs for its new Pixel smartphone's 12.3-megapixel rear camera and they're pretty impressive. For starters, its 89 score from DXOMark makes it the "best smartphone camera" ever, the company …

Google's Pixel and Pixel XL phones make their debut

Apple has its iPhone, and now phones are 'Made by Google' too.<p>For years, the Nexus mobile range has been synonymous with a "pure" Android experience. No more. Google just announced the Pixel and Pixel XL, two smartphones developed in-house that the company hopes will redefine the Android</i> …

Oregon authorities are investigating Kickstarter darling Coolest (updated)

Some backers haven't received their do-it-all cooler or a refund, but it's being sold by retailers.<p>When Coolest debuted on Kickstarter back in 2014, it set a funding record. The do-it-all cooler campaing took in $13 million for an outdoor beverage option with blender, Bluetooth speaker, USB …

UK retailer leaks Google's Pixel phones in detail

Unlimited full-size photo storage, rapid charging, standard looks.<p>Here are Google's Pixel phones. Again! In some unfortunate error somewhere along the way, UK phone seller Carphone Warehouse has full listings for two phones, cementing what we've already heard or seen, as well as demonstrating how …

US regulators warn customers about exploding Samsung washers

Owners of the top-loading appliances say the machines exploded while they were doing laundry.<p>Just days after Samsung began replacing defective Galaxy Note 7s due to a risk of exploding batteries, the company faces another major product issue. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued …

We were stealing music way before the internet and millennials

Columbia House, we have wronged you.<p>When I was 13, my babysitter showed up with a box of 12 new cassettes. I was amazed that she had been able to afford all this music. I grew up poor and even one new purchase was news; a dozen purchases was cause for celebration. Had she robbed a bank? Found a wad …

'FIFA 17' marks a new beginning for the soccer franchise

EA's 'Frostbite' engine makes the game look and perform better than ever.<p>I've been playing <i>FIFA</i> since its first title launched on Super Nintendo, when characters on the screen looked like nothing more than colorful stick figures. Nowadays, thanks to the power of modern gaming consoles, the visuals …

BlackBerry is done making smartphones

But the brand will still be attached to handsets.<p>In BlackBerry's latest quarterly financials released today, the company revealed it's getting out of the hardware business once and for all, choosing instead to "outsource that function to partners." It's not a huge shock given BlackBerry CEO John …

Your health insurance might score you an Apple Watch

Insurer Aetna will subsidize a "significant portion" of its cost.<p>Apple will exclusively provide its Watch, iPad and iPhone products to Aetna for new app-oriented fitness tracking program, the US insurance giant announced. A cornerstone of the project is health tracking, so Aetna will subsidize the …

Microsoft's Edge browser stays secure by acting as a virtual PC

"Application Guard" locks Edge away from the Windows 10 processes.<p>Microsoft has unveiled Windows Defender Application Guard for Microsoft Edge, a new system that will isolate the browser on Windows 10 Enterprise PCs, making them harder to hack. In a blog, the company wrote that it's "the first …

Xiaomi's Mi 5s hides a fingerprint reader under its glass

There's also a larger Mi 5s Plus with a dual-lens camera.<p>We were already big fans of Xiaomi's Mi 5 flagship smartphone, so it's only natural for the Chinese company to build on this model's success by bringing us the Mi 5s. It should be no surprise that this dual-SIM device -- which has ditched the …

How to watch tonight's US presidential debate

There's no shortage of online viewing options as Clinton and Trump square off.<p>So you're determined to watch the first of 2016's US presidential debates, but you don't subscribe to TV... or you live in a country that won't have a live broadcast. What to do? Relax. This year, there are more choices …

PlayStation 4 Slim review: Wait for the PS4 Pro if you can

With a more powerful PS4 arriving soon, you're better off upgrading to that instead.<p>After selling over 40 million consoles, Sony is refreshing the PlayStation 4. That starts with the PlayStation 4 Slim, available now for $299, along with the PlayStation VR headset (out next month) and the …