Hands On

I hitched a ride in Mercedes’ F 015 self-driving car

I hitched a ride in Mercedes’ F 015 self-driving car

When you take away the driving from the driver, what do the meat-popsicles inside an autonomous car do while the AI is at the wheel? That's the question Mercedes-Benz has tackled with the F 015 Luxury in Motion, a dramatically different approach to the future of transportation. Starting with the assumption that space will eventually be the biggest luxury, the self-driving concept treats driving much in the same way that a smartphone does the voice call: just one of many features and, as I discovered when I hitched a ride in the space-age pod, no longer the most important.

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Up close with F 015, Mercedes’ incredible self-driving car

Up close with F 015, Mercedes’ incredible self-driving car

Mercedes-Benz dropped jaws back at CES 2015 in January when its autonomous F 015 Luxury in Motion concept drove onto the opening keynote stage. Then, the UFO-like prototype turned heads when the German firm drove it through the streets of San Francisco last week. The size of an S Class but markedly different from every angle, not only can the F 015 drive itself and four people, but do so surrounded with ridiculous levels of both technology and luxury. So, when Mercedes-Benz asked us if we'd like to check out the F 015 in person, an opportunity to get closer to the autonomous car than ever before, we didn't turn them down.

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Nokia HERE Maps for iPhone is out: Here’s why you want it

Nokia HERE Maps for iPhone is out: Here’s why you want it

iPhone owners have another navigation app option today, with Nokia's HERE Maps for iOS landing in the App Store complete with full - and free - offline mapping support. The app, which has been available to Android users since a beta last October, allows those who might commonly be relying on Apple Maps or Google Maps to instead download entire countries-worth of navigation data to their iPhone, meaning even with data turned off while abroad they can still get around.

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This is Apple Watch: Hands-on

This is Apple Watch: Hands-on

Six months ago, Apple showed us the Apple Watch. Today, I got to look past the prototypes of last year's event and instead try out a fully-functional version, more than a little curious about whether Apple had, indeed, cracked the smartwatch question. There's no denying that plenty of thought and design effort has been put into the timepiece - and some details are, frankly, inspired compared to what the competition is doing - but will that mean Apple Watch is an instant must-have?

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This is the new Apple MacBook: Hands-on

This is the new Apple MacBook: Hands-on

With a newly thinned-out body, trackpad, keyboard, and parred-down collection of ports, the New MacBook is truly simplified. This device is not a MacBook Air - and it's certainly not a MacBook Pro. This device sits beside the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro in a lineup that'll go through 2015 and beyond. Will the MacBook replace the MacBook Air eventually? Maybe. For now, it looks like this notebook is going to stand on its own as a rather unique piece of work - a new generation of MacBook hardware, to be sure.

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Unreal Tournament 4 pre-alpha hands-on (with 12K screenshots)

Unreal Tournament 4 pre-alpha hands-on (with 12K screenshots)

It's time we got up close and personal with the pre-Alpha of Unreal Tournament 4, do you think? We got the opportunity to do so this week with Epic Games, they being prepared to show the game in this pre-alpha stage to the public, showing the game in a state that is indeed very, very early - but already mightily impressive to behold. The game mechanics are simple, and multiplayer is limited, but already the game is extremely fun to play with - and of course to take in.

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The Hobbit VR hands-on: a Thief in the Shadows

The Hobbit VR hands-on: a Thief in the Shadows

Earlier this week, Epic Games announced that WETA Digital had created a VR experience for The Hobbit. This collaboration is called "Thief in the Shadows", and was the combined efforts of Epic Games, WETA Digital, NVIDIA, and Oculus, and it'd bring the wearer to the Lonely Mountain, put in place of Bilbo Baggins as he (the wearer of the Oculus VR headset) encounters the dragon Smaug for the first time. Oh, Stupendous One, how awesome it is to look upon your face from such a realistic perspective.

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Gigantic hands-on with Xbox One

Gigantic hands-on with Xbox One

Earlier this week at GDC 2015, Microsoft's Head of Xbox Phil Spencer announced competitive action game Gigantic would be coming to Xbox One. This game was previously revealed to be coming to Windows 8 and Windows 10, and it'll be rolling with Xbox One at launch as well. We got the opportunity to go hands-on with the game this afternoon, in full team-based battle warrior form. This game will be cross-play and cross-advance, meaning basically everything will cross over, platform to platform, device to device.

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Back to Dinosaur Island: hands-on with Crytek’s newest in VR

Back to Dinosaur Island: hands-on with Crytek’s newest in VR

This week we've had the opportunity to take a peek at the newest in virtual reality computing and entertainment at GDC 2015. Oculus VR is working with multiple content creators and game engine-makers - one of the most impressive of which is Crytek. Utilizing the newest in new - Oculus VR's Crescent Bay VR headset - Crytek implements a CryEngine demonstration called "Back to Dinosaur Island" for the masses. This demonstration works with the full Crescent Bay headset / motion camera setup - and it's mildly terrifying.

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Turns out, the Jolla Tablet is really onto something

Turns out, the Jolla Tablet is really onto something

Sometimes a few inches is all it takes to make a difference. Back when Jolla first started, a team of former Nokians taking MeeGo and spinning it into their own Sailfish OS, it became a smartphone curio. The simple UI and gesture-based navigation had promise, but compared to an iPhone, Android, or even Windows Phone device, it felt underwhelmingly simple. Now, the Finns are back with not only Sailfish 2.0, but a tablet for it to run on, and it turns out that makes for a great pairing.

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