Power Up with 8 Battery Packs that Keep You on the Go

mobile battery packs2

Batteries are not a hot business topic, but we each crave longer battery life for our devices and equipment, especially when traveling. This short list of portable battery packs may help you just enough to keep an important business conversation going on your phone or allow you to finish a document on a tablet.

A technical abbreviation that you’ll want to know when considering an external portable battery pack is milliampere hour (mAh). It describes the energy charge that a battery holds and how long a device will run before you need to recharge it. I’ve included the Amazon link for each battery pack, when possible and some of these devices were sent to me for media reviews.

Anker: Astro Slim2

portable battery packs

This is my favorite for travel. Ultra-slim external portable battery that stacks against your smartphone and supplies simultaneous, full-speed charges for two devices. If you do a search for portable battery on Amazon, Anker frequently pops up first.  It’s available here (not an affiliate link) on Amazon for $27.99.

  • Compact, easy-to-grip slim design specifically sized to stack battery behind your smartphone while in use.
  • Hideaway micro USB cable for Android  reduces the number of cords you need to carry to stay connected; USB port available for iPhone. Elegant.
  • 4500mAh battery offers enough power for 2-3 charges on most phones.
  • Dual ports supply 1Amp of power each so you can power up in no time.
  • LED column lets you know exactly how much battery power is left.

Satechi Portable Energy Station

Another favorite of mine. This company makes lots of great travel products and innovative gadgets. I have owned this one for a long time and it has taken some abuse and held up well. You can find it on Amazon here for $59.99.

  • Instant dual power – recharge your tablet and smart phone or other mobile devices simultaneously.
  • 10000 mAh Lithium Polymer Battery – Rapid charging – faster than charging from a traditional outlet.
  • Battery life indicator & auto OFF feature that detects when fully charged. (When you look at these tiny devices, this becomes somewhat important.)
  • Lightweight and compact – easily carry it on long flights in your laptop or tablet bag. You can expect the weight to increase when you increase mAh.
  • It offers an overload protection feature to keep your battery safe.

iWALK: Extreme Series Universal Backup Batteries

This company has a large selection of portable batteries for devices, even one to power your laptop. Here is a link to the compact 5200 mAh model on Amazon, which sells for $43.99.

  • 9 compact models ranging from 1,800mAH to 15,000mAH.
  • Equipped with LED battery charge and discharge level indicator.
  • Ideal for smartphones, navigation units, cameras, Bluetooth headsets.
  • Extreme 15000 – largest capacity unit in the world with 8 different connectors.
  • Extreme 8200 Duo – capable of charging two devices at the same time.

Snow Lizard: SLPower 7

Like some of the chargers above, slim and easy to pack. Plus, you have to give them credit for a creative name. It’s memorable. Not sure what it has to do with batteries though. Amazon has it for $51.91 here. White or black.

  • Boasting a 7000 mAh battery the SLPower 7 has enough power to rapidly charge your iPad, tablet and smartphone.
  • Designed for on the go use, the low profile charger provides power and portability at just over one half inch thick.
  • 2 USB connections – Dedicated iPhone Connection and USB connection for tablets and  smartphones.

Digital Treasures: PowerFlask

portable battery packs

Although I don’t think I would walk around with this battery in my pocket, it certainly fits. A portable, novel way to charge two USB devices simultaneously. You can find it on Amazon for $71.91.

  • 13,000 mAh rechargeable lithium-ion battery which will keep supplying extra juice for devices on-the-go. I did find that when I had depleted the charge it took overnight to fully recharge.
  • Two ultra-bright flashlight LED’s are situated at the top of the PowerFlask for lighting options while the user is on the road. (It took me a while to figure out how to turn these on – should have read the manual sooner.)
  • The PowerFlask is wrapped in supple leather with an aluminum finish for a high-quality and eye-catching aesthetic.

Scosche: goBAT II

Dual USB portable charger and backup battery. Available at: Amazon for $42.88. You can also get it at BestBuy.com and Buy.com.

  • Internal 5000 maH rechargeable lithium ion battery can charge a drained iPhone 4 2.6 times.
  • 10 Watt (2.1 Amp) port is perfect for charging tablets and 5 Watt (1 Amp) port can charge virtually any other USB powered handheld.
  • Four blue LED lights indicate how much battery life is left.

New Trent: Powerpak+

This battery is rugged looking and powerful. One of the small things I liked about it is the ridges on the side that made it less likely to slip out of my hand. You can find it on Amazon for $54.95.

  • Powerful 13,500mAh battery pack quickly and efficiently charges USB-based devices.
  • Features a 1A and 2.1A port to juice up both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. (I found this handy for the occasional time when I needed to charge both devices.)
  • Charges most smartphones up to 6 times.
  • Slim and compact design allows it to easily fit into any backpack, purse or carry-on.

Goal Zero: Switch 8 Solar Recharging Kit

portable battery packs

This small 3.5 Watt Solar Panel recharging system is pretty cool. It comes with four AA batteries (and will also recharge AAA). You also can purchase a portable unit called the “Switch” that is smaller than a roll of quarters, but powerful enough for smartphones, iPods or your GPS. It is available on Amazon for $119.99 (for the panel only) and $39.95 for the Switch.

If you are out in the field a fair amount, this solar recharger may be the unit for you. You can plug your device into the solar panel charger directly. Of course, you could buy extra battery units for your device(s), instead, but this one at least gives you some recharge options.

  • Charges devices via USB port.
  • Power pack and solar panel combined weight only .7 lbs. (less than one pound). It is small enough to fit in a backpack, briefcase or purse.
  • Foldable and rugged Nomad 3.5 Solar Panel recharges Switch in 2-4 hours.

You may not think about batteries on a daily basis, but if you find your devices running low all too often this list may help. It might help you to prevent that beeping tone that says, “You have less than 10% battery life remaining, plug in now…”

How do you handle keeping your devices charged while on the road?

Full Charge Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

3 Things You Can Recycle But Probably Don’t

If you haven’t noticed, just about anything can be recycled these days. Think about what items land in your trash can (and then the landfill, of course) and whether you can find an eco-friendlier home for them. Chances are you can — as long as you know where to turn.

recycle phones

Here are three commonly tossed items and how to give them a new life:

Foam Peanuts

Foam peanuts and other plastic-based packaging and shipping materials often get tossed, because they’re not generally recycled curbside.  If you can’t reuse them yourself, many pack-and-ship stores accept and reuse used packaging materials.

Not sure if there are any such stores in your area? The Plastic Loose Fill Council has a “Peanut Hotline” (800- 828-2214) that you can call to find foam peanut drop-off sites in your area. (You can also use its online search form.) You may be able to find a home for other types of plastics using the search form on PlasticMarkets.org.

Office Supplies

Used paper clips, folders and other common office supplies often get tossed in the trash with little thought. But many of these items can be used multiple times, if someone takes the initiative to save them.

If you have employees, set up a spot where employees can leave extra used supplies and encourage other employees to check that spot first before picking up new ones. Once you do need to throw out worn or unusable supplies, most of them can be recycled.

Personal Gadgets

Manufacturers of popular smartphones will often take back your old gadgets for free and make sure they’re responsibly recycled. (Apple, for instance, will recycle used iPhones and other Apple products .)

But other companies, such as Gazelle and NextWorth, will even give you money for old smartphones, digital cameras and other devices and pay you for them. Have a mass quantities of old gadgets to toss (30 or more)? Project Kopeg will recycle them all and cut you a check. (Keep in mind that some nonprofits will also take old gadgets and give them away for a good cause. You might then be eligible for a tax deduction.)

If you have a miscellaneous array of things to get rid of and can’t find a good home, check out Freecycle.org. This site helps match you up with people in your community looking for something you no longer want. (Also don’t forget about Craigslist.)

Of course, before you give away or recycle any old technological device, make sure to thoroughly clean the hard drive. You don’t want your personal or sensitive business information getting into the wrong hands.

Recycle Photo via Shutterstock

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Get Cooking Accurately With the Meld Knob + Clip

meld knob cooking gadget

Many people enjoy making a home cooked meal.

Unfortunately, the joys of cooking can quickly turn to frustration. Your family or a phone call distracts you and now the food’s burnt.

You find a recipe that looks promising but vague directions or differences in cookware ruin your efforts.

Lazy cooks or those that value accuracy might find a possible solution to their frustrations in the Meld Knob + Clip.

The Meld Knob is an automated device that can attach to your existing cooktop and cookware to adjust your burner’s cooking temperature. The result, as Meld claims, is a precisely controlled cooking temperature that is accurate to within less than a degree.

The idea for this smart cookware came from Jon Jenkins and Darren Vengroff. The two met while both working at Amazon. A decade later, the duo decided it was time to start their own company and Meld was born.

Now the company has taken to Kickstarter to launch its first product. The Meld Knob easily surpassed its campaign goal and have raised more than $150,000.

For more information on the Meld Knob + Clip check out the Kickstarter video below.

They state on Kickstarter:

“Our research showed one simple – but fundamental – issue with successful cooking: it’s nearly impossible to accurately control the temperature of your cookware. Even worse, we found that stoves set to “medium” can vary as much as 100? between different cooktops!”

To achieve their claim of extremely accurate cooking temperatures, Meld uses a system that works in three parts.

First is the Meld Knob, which replaces the temperature knob on your cooktop. The team claims the Meld Knob is easy to install, requires no tools, and fits virtually any cooktop, gas or electric.

The Knob is controlled by the Meld Clip and an accompanying app for iOS and Android. The Clip attaches to your cookware and monitors the temperature of your food while it cooks. Basically, it’s a thermometer.

This information is sent to the app on your smartphone via Bluetooth. The company claims its app then controls the Knob, adjusting the heat up or down to maintain the perfect cooking temperature.

This system seems like it could be a little cumbersome. Meld claims its app comes loaded with hundreds of recipes and you can add your own, too. But you’ll have to search to find the recipe you want and attach the Clip to your cookware before you start cooking.

Meld says that the app will let you manually control the temperature but you would have to know the exact temperature.

Also, be aware that the Meld system isn’t ideal for all forms of cooking. The company says Meld works best for slow cooking, simmering, sous vide, poaching, frying, and candy making.

Meld does not really work for other methods like baking or grilling, for example.

Even with these possible drawbacks, Meld has gained attention and support. If you are interested in pre-ordering your own Meld, the Kickstarter price starts at $129. The retail price will be $149. Shipping is estimated to begin in October.

Image: Meld

More in: Crowdfunding, Gadgets

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

Garmin Changes Smartwatch from Geek Gadget to Status Symbol

Garmin's Fenix Chronos Changes Smartwatch from Geek Gadget to Status Symbol

Smartwatches are still somewhat of a niche product, but that hasn’t stopped manufacturers from creating premium versions with some hefty price tags. The Fenix Chronos by Garmin (NASDAQ:GRMN) takes the proven and highly acclaimed functionality of the  company’s Fenix 3 line of smartwatches and adds some luxury for high-end customers.

The adoption rate of smartwatches is growing. Business people are using them because of the convenience they offer. Not having to take your smartphone out to see text and emails is a great feature, and if the watch looks professional like the Chronos line, so much the better.

However, the price might be a bit much for most people. The price Garmin has set can buy you a decent analog watch that will not become obsolete. It will continue to work years from now without having to worry about connectivity issues, end of life support, batteries and more. But if you can afford it, the Chronos line is a high end watch with smart device functionality.

Garmin Fenix Chronos Details

The Fenix Chronos is a stainless steel sapphire watch available in three different settings:

  • Fenix Chronos with leather band: $899.99
  • Fenix Chronos Steel: with stainless steel band: $999.99
  • Fenix Chronos Titanium: with brushed titanium case and forged titanium links and buttons: $1,499.99

Garmin's Fenix Chronos Unboxing

Garmin dominates the activity smartwatch segment with a wide range of products used by everyone from professional triathletes to sailors, pilots and more. And making a watch users don’t have to remove when they go back to work or out for the night ma add to its appeal with some business users.

The Chronos line is basically the same as the Fenix 3 HR, and just like that watch it has some important features to consider. The difference is the crafted premium jeweler’s grade materials which includes durable metal housing and a high-strength, scratch-resistant sapphire lens.

The metal housing contains within it the EXO omni-directional GPS and GLONASS antenna in the bezel, along with Garmin’s latest outdoor navigation and fitness training features. All of the information the watch provides is displayed on the 1.2-inch always-on, sunlight-readable color Garmin Chroma Display. You can view emails, texts and alerts as well as daily activity tracking, smart notifications, activity profiles and more.

The Fenix Chronos Display

The battery life for the Chronos will greatly depend on how you use it, and according to the company, you can expect up to 25 hours with the UltraTrac battery saver mode, up to 13 hours in GPS mode, and one week in smart watch mode depending on the setting. Some of the other features include, 32MB of storage that can track up to 100 hours of activity data, Bluetooth 4.0 LE for connectivity and a 10ATM (100m) water rating.

What makes the Garmin line of activity smartwatches stand out are the applications that take advantage of the technology. Connect IQ automatically lets users upload their data, start a LiveTrack session, and share their activity on social media. Some of the activity profiles include run, bike, lap swim, open water, SUP, row, golf and more. Users can also monitor their heart rate 24/7, the number of steps they have taken throughout the day, calories burned, stairs climbed, and use the sleep mode to see how well they sleep at night.

Gamin's Fenix Chronos - Notifications Display Gamin's Fenix Chronos - Calendar Display Gamin's Fenix Chronos - Weather Display

If you like going on long hikes, the nifty TracBack feature makes getting lost a thing of the past. The GPS plus ABC (altimeter, barometer and 3-axis compass) sensor features let you navigate back to your starting point the same way you began your journey. It does this by creating a bread crumb trail as you move. The sensor can display heading, elevation and weather changes, while letting you mark locations such as start/finish line, your vehicle, campsite or other point of interest for future visits.

Gamin's Fenix Chronos - GPS Features

Garmin is not the only company addressing this high-end market. Traditional watch makers such as TAG Heuer, Tissot, Movado, Hublot and Bulgari have products out in the market or have announced they will be releasing products in the future.  While these companies are well established in the luxury market, Garmin has a head start with the technology the company has been developing in the activity segment. The question is, will customers settle for Garmin when they can have brands like Bulgari and Hublot on their wrists?

Images: Garmin

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

8 Ways to Write Your Blog Posts with SEO in Mind

Blog SEO Tips: 8 Ways to Write Your Blog Posts with SEO in Mind

As an SEO company, one of the most frequent questions we get from our clients is how they should be managing and writing their blog. While there is some variation to what does and does not work for different forms of content, there are certain best practices that can help enhance your blog from both an SEO and user perspective. If you aren’t already, put these tips into practice for a blog that’s as helpful as it is successful.

Blog SEO Tips

1. Unique, Quality Content. For a while now, we’ve heard over and over that content is king. However, you can’t crank out unoriginal, boring content and expect significant user engagement. What’s more, search engines value high quality content and give well-constructed pieces much greater consideration in their rankings than they do poor bulk content. Avoid copying and pasting other content that you find on the internet unless you are quoting a publication. Always try and add your own spin to whatever you’re writing about, especially if it’s a popular topic, and foster strong content writing habits that will make regular production of blog posts a more natural process.

2. Be Engaging. If you write engaging content, your readers will want to keep coming back. Not only will they want to come back, but they’ll also be more willing to share what you write with their friends. A big part of creating engaging content is providing users with information that’s actionable, specific and offers utility. This is why content like listicles, checklists and infographics are so successful; they’re easy for users to quickly absorb and apply, which then makes them more likely to share the content with others.

3. Social Tools. Incorporating social sharing tools into your blog posts gives your readers an easy option to share content on their social media accounts. This is also important because search engines analyze social signals to determine which companies or websites people like and share as a means of determining the legitimacy of sites. These signals are incorporated into search engine algorithms, so having social sharing tools built into your posts is a must. You can add social sharing sidebars to your content through websites such as addthis.com and sharethis.com.

4. Length of Posts. Even though search engines are looking for content with substance, they do give consideration to the word count of a post. Length isn’t always a true gauge of the quality of a post, but it doesn’t hurt to shoot for somewhere between 250-600 words. Quality content will fair far better than fluff pieces with little depth, but high quality long form content does tend to do better. In short, there isn’t an ideal length for blog posts, because it depends on what you’re writing. Instead of paying attention to length, try and treat each piece of content as an individual resource, and accomplish the end goal of that post in whatever length works the best.

5. Opportunity for Comments. I always recommend allowing comments, because you want to stay connected to your readers. You also get an SEO benefit from the comment content being added to the page, because search engines like it when pages are updated and added to often. If you choose to allow comments, make sure you moderate often and have a comment spam solution in place.

6. Spelling and Grammar. Search engines pay close attention to spelling and grammar, as well as informed users. There are several low quality websites that outsource their writing needs to content shops that churn out low quality content littered with improper spelling and grammar. Sniffing out and devaluing that low quality content was and is one of the primary objectives for the Google Panda updates. Moreover, a polished and knowledgeable website should be as free of such errors as possible in order to be considered an authority.

7. Linking Strategies.When writing your posts, don’t forget to look for opportunities to link to other content within your website –even better if you have the opportunity to link back to that content with a keyword phrase you’re trying to rank for on the linked page. It’s also encouraged to link outside of your website if there’s an authoritative source on the topic of your post. Obviously, you won’t receive as much of a benefit as you would if you were linking to your own website, but the post could earn some trust points with engines. As a rule of thumb, try and limit yourself to 1-2 links per 200 words.

8. Tags. After you have written your blog post, title, description, and keywords, you also generally have the option to set tags. Tags can be used for categorization by the search engines, but probably don’t hold much weight. Content will be the ultimate guide for their algorithms. When you do tag, try and keep the tags limited to ideas, concepts, locations, events and product names. It’s also important to avoid overusing tags. 10 tags should be plenty to categorize a blog post, but aim for 4 or less.

SEO Photo via Shutterstock

More in: Publisher Channel Content

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

100+ SMB Blogging Ideas

0With so many social media studies showing that companies are looking to up their involvement in social activities this year, I thought I’d help cure that age-old “what should I blog about today?” question. Or at least give you a healthy head start for the year by providing 100+ potential blog topics for your small business blog.  Consider it my contribution to your yearly editorial calendar. I know you’re creating one, right?

So, here are some potential topics. Grab a pen and jot down your favorites. [Or maybe just hit Print.]

Focus on your Industry

  1. Write 10 ways your industry will change this year
  2. Break down the new laws that will affect your niche in the coming year
  3. Create a list of the best industry resources
  4. Talk about why things are better today (or not) than they were 10 years ago
  5. Attend industry events and blog about them
  6. Your best marketing tips
  7. How your industry is like Your Favorite TV Show [I suggest using Glee. Because that’s my favorite show.]
  8. The ugly truth about your industry
  9. The 8 people in your industry you want to meet
  10. What someone needs to consider before getting involved in your industry
  11. Comment on an industry-related conversation going on in LinkedIn or Google Groups
  12. Talk about the “thing” that would rock your industry if invented or put together
  13. Create a chart that breaks down a complicated industry issue or problem
  14. Interview someone well-known in your world and profile them
  15. Rewrite an old post with fresh eyes and new ideas
  16. Publish a presentation you gave somewhere else (with permission)
  17. Have a chat with a competitor and blog about it (again, with permission)
  18. Search Google News for relevant press releases and news about your industry. Write your own take.
  19. Debunk a long-standing myth
  20. Host a seminar or meetup and blog about
  21. Create a list of the 10 books that someone in your industry should read.
  22. Post about what you’d like to see fixed in your industry
  23. Conferences people in your industry should attend/speak at
  24. Your favorite untapped traffic sources in your industry
  25. Issues in your space that deserve more attention

Go Social

  1. How you’re using Twitter to increase earnings
  2. Post a video that has nothing to do with your industry but that you think people would enjoy.
  3. Post a picture. [Browse StumleUpon for inspiration]
  4. Participate in a blog meme like last month’s Best of 09
  5. Share the best social media campaigns you’ve seen, big and small
  6. Hold a contest and pit people against each other
  7. Create a poll. Blog the result.
  8. Invite a guest blogger to post on your blog
  9. How social media increased your ROI this year
  10. How social media did nothing but confuse you this year
  11. Search Delicious for popular posts on your topics and take a new stance
  12. Go to your industry’s Wikipedia page and see what people are talking about in the Discussions area. Comment on it on your blog.
  13. Post photos from your company party/team building workshop
  14. Find a question on Yahoo Answers or OnStartups and respond on your blog
  15. Create a list of the Must Follow Twitter people in your industry

About your Business

  1. Why you’re different (and better) than your competition
  2. A video tutorial showing how to use your most popular product
  3. The problems your sales people hear about most
  4. The answer to the most common email you get
  5. Share the tools do you use to do your job
  6. The secret ways to use your site/product
  7. The top 10 WordPress plugins you use on your site
  8. How you use your favorite social media site
  9. How you built your email list
  10. How you’re using Facebook
  11. Look at your site logs & answer customer questions
  12. How you delegate tasks (or what you mucked up by not delegating)
  13. Use Wordtracker’s Keyword Question Tool and answer popular questions
  14. Write about why you’re not using social media at all
  15. Answer questions left in your comment section
  16. Write about the personal branding tactics you use
  17. Give 5 reasons to sign up to your email newsletter
  18. How you learned to do what you do
  19. Create a list of your favorite X
  20. What you’re doing to beat the summer slump or winter blues
  21. Share a case study
  22. Provide an end of the week link roundup
  23. Review something
  24. Reveal the best niche blogs to guestblog for
  25. What keeps you up at night
  26. Share a time when you got it wrong in 2010
  27. Your strategies for coming up with blog topics.
  28. Branding tips that have worked for your business
  29. 50 reasons why someone should hire you
  30. 5 things people should be focusing on but aren’t
  31. What can other industries learn from yours

Highlight Your Customers

  1. Put the spotlight on your most active commenters
  2. Praise your best customers
  3. Post a question and let the community to answer it
  4. How customers can woo your customer service department for free stuff
  5. Give something away to one of your blog readers.
  6. Feature a video detailing a customer’s success with your product
  7. Share your biggest screw up with a customer and how you made it right
  8. Publish a customer testimonial
  9. Explain the benefits of being a customer
  10. Share local organizations you support and ask customers to share their favorites
  11. How customers can connect with you on social media
  12. Hold an event for Twitter followers to meet and blog it

Get Personal

  1. What have you read lately that inspired/angered you?
  2. Introduce your staff
  3. Share the best decision you made as a SMB
  4. Your biggest challenge as a SMB owner
  5. What you love best about being a SMB owner. What you don’t like.
  6. The danger of doing everything by yourself
  7. Write about the achievement you’re most proud of
  8. A time when you got it right in 2009
  9. Create a video introducing your team to your community
  10. Get your rant on
  11. How to remain productive working at home
  12. Introduce a new employee and what they bring to the table
  13. Share the local vendors you trust
  14. Give people a video tour of your building
  15. Describe your company culture
  16. Your new baby (whether that’s a real baby, a pet, a new project for 2010, the car you’ve been restoring for the past two years, etc)
  17. Share your company’s history or story
  18. Tell a story not about your company
  19. Share 10 things you’re thankful for
  20. What’s next for your company
  21. A list of your most trafficked posts

The point is, there are TONS of things for a small business owner to blog about and share with their audience.  Now that I’ve helped get the ball rolling, get to it.

More in: Content Marketing

[“source-smallbiztrends”]

PS4 Pro Unboxing: What to Expect

PS4 Pro Unboxing: What to ExpectPS4 Pro Unboxing: What to Expect
HIGHLIGHTS
The PS4 Pro comes with a revamped DualShock 4
Other additions include a headset and an HDMI cable
It will release internationally on November 10
The release date for the PS4 Pro is November 10. In the run up to that some early units have made their way to select reviewers, one of whom was kind enough to let us know what you get when you buy the PS4 Pro.

According to VG247’s Alex Donaldson, there’s an HDMI cable, a power plug that’s similar to what the original Xbox One (not Xbox One S) used, a Micro-USB cable (not USB Type-C) that many Android smartphones ship with, and Sony’s standard headset which in our experience, you should replace with something more substantial.

(Also see: Here Are the PS4 Pro’s Launch Games)
In terms of literature, there’s a Quick Start Guide, and a leaflet for Horizon Zero Dawn. And in case you were wondering, yes, it does ship with the [revamped] DualShock 4 controller we’ve seen with the PS4 Slim. The light bar on it has been modified so you can see what colour is emanating from it while playing without having to tilt it. Also, you can allow for it to relay button presses via USB connection, making it ideal for games that require split second response times, such as Street Fighter V. The new DualShock 4 works with older PS4s as well.
(Also see: The PS4 Pro Won’t Solve the PS4’s Biggest Problem)

As for India, there’s no clarity as to when the PS4 Pro would hit the shelves. Though if we were to take a guess given Sony India’s actions in the past, we’d peg it for a January release at Rs. 39,990. Reason being, it occupies the $399 price – which is what the PS4 was at launch. This translated to a Rs. 39,990 price. It will be interesting to see if foreign exchange fluctuations result in a higher price though.

Are you waiting on the PS4 Pro? Or the PS4 adequate enough? Let us know in the comments below.

Tags: PS4 Pro, PS4 Pro Release Date, PS4 Pro unboxing, PS4 Pro Unboxed, PS4 Pro Price, PS4 Pro India Price

[“source-ndtv”]

The Original Diablo Will Be Playable in Diablo 3

The Original Diablo Will Be Playable in Diablo 3
HIGHLIGHTS
The first Diablo game will be playable in Diablo 3 via a patch
It will contain the pixellated graphics of the original
Blizzard will also bring Seasons to consoles
With 2016 marking 20 years of Diablo, Blizzard announced something special for fans of the action role-playing game franchise at BlizzCon 2016. And no it was not Diablo 4.

Rather, it’s a content patch called The Darkening of Tristram for Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls. This update will bring a 16-level dungeon to the game complete with the four bosses from the original Diablo.

(Also see: Blizzard Announces New Overwatch Character Sombra at BlizzCon 2016)

Along with this, there will be special graphic filters to make the game pixelated and grainy just as it was in its original December 31, 1996 release. Movement will be locked to eight directions as well. It will be available to all current characters in-game although it’s recommended to try it out with a new character.

There’s no release date yet but The Darkening of Tristram patch will be playable via Public Test Realm (PTR) – a service to test patches before release to the general populace, next week.

(Also see: Blizzard and Google DeepMind to Use StarCraft II for AI Research)

In addition to this, two new zones will be added to the game’s Adventure Mode. These include the Shrouded Moors and the Temple of the Firstborn. Also, console owners will get Seasons, an optional competitive game mode that allows players to create and level up a new character from scratch without previous items and currency.

While there was little in the way of an announcement of a new Diablo game or expansion to mark two decades of the series, some fans are holding out, expecting a hint during one of BlizzCon 2016’s many panels. Though it seems unlikely given that the opening presentation would have been the perfect stage for such a reveal.

Tags: Diablo, Diablo 3, Diablo 4, The Darkening of Tristram, BlizzCon, BlizzCon 2016, Blizzard, Diablo 3 Seasons, PS4, Xbox One, PC Games, PC Gaming, Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls

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Blizzard Reveals Necromancer for Diablo 3 at BlizzCon 2016 as Paid DLC

Blizzard Reveals Necromancer for Diablo 3 at BlizzCon 2016 as Paid DLCBlizzard Reveals Necromancer for Diablo 3 at BlizzCon 2016 as Paid DLC
HIGHLIGHTS
The Necromancer will be coming to Diablo 3 in 2017
It will be a part of the Rise of the Necromancer Pack
Blizzard has not said how much it would cost
BlizzCon 2016 saw more Diablo announcements than usual to celebrate the series’ twentieth anniversary. Aside from stating that the original Diablo will be coming to Diablo 3 and Seasons Mode making it to consoles, Blizzard had one more trick up its sleeve, with plans to bring the Necromancer class to Diablo 3. But there’s a catch – it will be a part of paid downloadable content (DLC) referred to as the Rise of the Necromancer Pack.

“Necromancers can expect darker, more controlled gameplay centered around the raw materials of life: blood and bone. Grounded in a philosophical, pragmatic approach to life and death, they’re more like a calculated conductor of the darkest arts,” reads the description on Blizzard’s website. “ Deadly serious in their practice, they are the experts of curses and reanimation—and their pets obey their every command.”

(Also see: The Darkening of Tristram to Bring the Original Diablo to Diablo 3)
Though Blizzard are yet to detail the Necromancer’s abilities, a screenshot from BlizzCon 2016 has been doing the rounds confirming what you could expect when the class hits in 2017.

Diablo 3 Necromancer abilities: ​
Corpse Explosion: target an area exploding all corpses dealing damage.
Blood Rush: shed your mortal flesh and re-appear yards away, passing through most obstacles.
Siphon Blood: drain the blood of your enemies dealing damage and restoring essence.
Bone Spear: summon a piercing bone projectile that causes damage to all enemies it passes through
Decrypify: a crippling curse that reduces the enemy unit’s movement speed and damage done to you
Command Skeletons: command your skeletal minions to attack the target and increase their damage. The skeleton cap seems to be ten units ( seven melee and three ranged skeletons).
(Also see: Blizzard Announces New Overwatch Character Sombra at BlizzCon 2016)
“In addition to unlocking the Necromancer as a playable character, players will also receive an in-game pet, two additional character slots, two additional stash tabs (on PC), a portrait frame, pennant, banner, and banner sigil,” the site claims in way of what else will make up the cost of playing as a Necromancer.

It will be interesting to see what else comes along with the Necromancer since it is a paid piece of content. Other Blizzard games like Overwatch don’t charge for new characters, making this an oddity of sorts. And it seems that Blizzard isn’t ready to say much else about it right now aside from well, it will be purchasable.

“We’re not ready to announce a price just yet,” states an official FAQ.

While there was little in the way of an announcement of a new Diablo game or expansion to mark two decades of the series, some fans are holding out, expecting a hint during one of BlizzCon 2016’s many panels. Though it seems unlikely given that the opening presentation would have been the perfect stage for such a reveal.

Tags: BlizzCon, BlizzCon 2016, Blizzard, Diablo, Diablo 3, Diablo 3 Reaper of Souls, PC games, PC gaming, Xbox One, PS4, Necromancer, Diablo 3 Necromancer, Rise of the Necromancer Pack, Diablo 3 Paid DLC, Necromancer ability list, Diablo 3 Necromancer ability list

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Blizzard Unveils New E-Sports Overwatch League at BlizzCon 2016

Blizzard Unveils New E-Sports Overwatch League at BlizzCon 2016Blizzard Unveils New E-Sports Overwatch League at BlizzCon 2016
HIGHLIGHTS
The Overwatch League is Blizzard’s attempt to make e-sports acceptable
The Overwatch League will take place from next year
It is unlikely that India will be a part of it
A new hero for Overwatch in Sombra wasn’t the only announcement for Blizzard’s first-person shooter. At BlizzCon 2016 the company unveiled the Overwatch League.

According to Blizzard CEO and President Mike Morhaime, the Overwatch League “represents a true next-generation e-sports experience.”

Players would be evaluated during tryouts by team owners. There would be regular schedules, professional contracts, free agency, and a baseline salary for players.

(Also see: Blizzard Announces New Overwatch Character Sombra at BlizzCon 2016)

“The Overwatch League represents not only the pinnacle of Overwatch competition, but also a genuine career opportunity for the most skilled Overwatch players,” said Morhaime. “We’re building a league that’s accessible to players and fans, sustainable, and exciting for everyone involved.”

In elaborating this it was obvious that the Overwatch League would ideally like to possess a greater degree of structure and stability versus what most e-sports leagues are seen as – fickle and lacking in transparency.

The Overwatch League’s maiden season will take place next year. Play well enough and you might be invited to join teams. In taking such a hands-on approach to Overwatch’s e-sports potential, it seems that Blizzard wants to build the EPL or IPL of Overwatch.

(Also see: The State of E-Sports in India: Untapped Potential but It Doesn’t Have to Be)

Right now, there is no clarity if the Overwatch League would be making it to India in its first year. Considering that Blizzard has a local distributor but chose not to release Diablo 3: Ultimate Edition or Overwatch officially makes the nation’s prospects seem unlikely at this stage. That hasn’t stopped other companies from cashing in on its popularity though.

For what it’s worth, we found Overwatch to be one of the year’s best games. There are various heroes to choose from, near perfect gameplay, and the promise of extended support and free content, most of which Blizzard has made good on so far.

Tags: BlizzCon, BlizzCon 2016, Overwatch, Overwatch League, Esports, Overwatch India, Overwatch League India, PC games, PC gaming, PS4, Xbox One

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