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Former Activision Developers Announce NFT-Powered Open-World Multiplayer


Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are getting more prominent in gaming, and MetalCore Foundation, a video game publishing company formed by developers who have previously worked at Activision, Disney, Lucas Films and Midway among others, has launched a new open-world game that prominently features NFTs. The game, named MetalCore, is a multiplayer combat game that aims to combine traditional gaming mechanics and GameFi-driven blockchain technology. As per reports, MetalCore will host its first NFT presale in January 2022, while a private alpha is expected to launch for limited PC players in early 2022.

Developed by Studio 369, the game follows a proven formula followed by a number of existing blockchain games. MetalCore will allow players to collect rare weapons, cosmetic nets, and skins that can be used in battle and traded as NFTs on the open market. Players will have the opportunity to earn in-game rewards and become virtual landowners too, where they will be able to mine in-game assets and generate tax revenue.

A brief trailer of the game shows robot-like war machines reminiscent of Titanfall, in an alien environment and avatars that control these war machines. The first-look trailer also provides a glimpse of the in-game items that will likely be tradable as NFTs.

GameFi technology is already among the most sought after in the crypto ecospace, and early investors can expect gaming-related collectables to power virtual economies. As the name suggests, GameFi is essentially an intersection of decentralised finance (DeFi), NFTs and the gaming industry and is attracting a lot of attention from the biggest of gaming guilds because of its most common feature being ‘play to earn’.

Two of the biggest titles in the blockchain gaming space currently happen to be Axie Infinity and Decentraland — both ecosystems driven by GameFi.

Speaking of play-to-earn, Ubisoft during an earning call recently spoke about its intention of implementing a play-to-earn blockchain model in the future. Whether Ubisoft plans on rolling NFTs into the rewards structure of its existing open-world franchises or creating entirely new blockchain games is what we’re yet to learn.

Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.


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Mozilla Firefox 94 Brings New Homepage, More Features on iOS, Android


Mozilla Firefox on iOS and Android is getting a new home screen and tab management features. The updated version of the mobile Web browser, Firefox 94, will allow users to access the last open active tab and search histories organised by topics right from the home screen. With the latest update, users can see recently saved bookmarks on the Firefox homepage as well. Firefox 94 will also reduce the visual clutter of having multiple open tabs, by grouping them as per topics.

The release notes of Firefox version 94 say that the new homepage will bring a completely new experience and has simplified on-the-go mobile experiences into one central location. The new design is said to be built based on user feedback and turns the homepage into a re-entry point to pick up where the user left off the last time they were online. Firefox 94 has started rolling out for both Android and iOS.

As mentioned, the new Firefox homepage works as a re-entry point with access to previously opened tabs with articles the user has yet to finish. With a few taps, the user can jump back into the last open active tab. Firefox version 94 will show sites bookmarked as well. Firefox accounts users can now see their recently saved bookmarks from desktop available on the mobile platform. The new homepage also organises search queries by topic on Firefox for Android. These saved searches will be available for 14 days.

In order to keep the browsing experience clutter-free, Firefox will change a tab into an “inactive state” if the users haven’t visited it within the last 14 days. This feature will be available on Android as of now and will soon come to the iOS version.

Finally, Mozilla’s latest Firefox 94 is bringing customisation options for Pocket feed. Android users will now be able to choose the topics of the stories they want to appear on the feed. iOS users can access the Pocket stories, but customisation of topics is not available at the moment. The topics may include food, entertainment, health, science, technology, and travel.

Additionally, Firefox 94 for Web is bringing 18 new themes based on six colourways with three “experiences” of each colour — soft, balanced, and bold.

This week on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, we discuss the Surface Pro 8, Go 3, Duo 2, and Laptop Studio — as Microsoft sets a vision for Windows 11 hardware. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.


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Watch the Money Heist Season 5 ‘Volume 2’ Trailer


Money Heist fans, Diwali has come early. On Diwali Eve on Wednesday, Netflix unveiled the full-length official trailer for Money Heist season 5 “Volume 2” — that’s the final batch of the final five episodes of the final season of the hit Spanish series (known as La casa de papel to Spanish-speaking viewers). In it, The Professor (Álvaro Morte) is haunted by his actions and their fallout, while his heist team and the special forces prepare for all-out war inside the Royal Mint of Spain. In title cards and description, Netflix is dubbing Money Heist season 5 “Volume 2” as the end to the world’s greatest heist. Netflix has released a bunch of new images from Money Heist season 5 “Volume 2” as well.

The Professor (Morte) arrives in a red Beetle at the start of the Money Heist season 5 “Volume 2” trailer, feeling like he’s surrounded by the ghosts of Christmas past. He’s greeted instead by Spanish soldiers. A crying Rio (Miguel Herrán) reiterates the bombshell development from season 5 “Volume 1” — Tokyo (Úrsula Corberó) is dead — before he’s comforted by Lisbon (Itziar Ituño). Elsewhere, the cop Alicia Sierra (Najwa Nimri) rubs in what The Professor is experiencing: “You see the disappointed faces of the people you failed. It’s as if a javelin was hurled through your chest.”

Money Heist season 5 “Volume 2” trailer

As The Professor seemingly drives away in a car, the Money Heist season 5 “Volume 2” trailer cuts to the soldiers whose chief says: “We came in here to complete a mission: put an end to this heist. And that’s what we’re gonna do.” The soldiers prepare to barge in, as Palermo (Rodrigo de la Serna) says elsewhere: “I really doubt we’re gonna get out of here.” In reply, Helsinki (Darko Perić) tells Palermo: “You’ll get me out of here. You promised, and you’ll do it.”

The rest of the Money Heist season 5 “Volume 2” trailer is made up of action sequences, and the climax signals an ominous end for the red-suited thieves. How will it go actually go down? You will have to wait to watch the series on Netflix to find out.

In addition to Morte, Herrán, Corberó, Ituño, Nimri, Serna and Perić, Money Heist season 5 cast also includes Pedro Alonso as Berlin, Jaime Lorente as Denver, Esther Acebo as Stockholm, Hovik Keuchkerian as Bogota, Belén Cuesta as Manila, Enrique Arce as Arturo, Luka Peros as Marseille, Fernando Cayo as Coronel Tamayo, and José Manuel Poga as Gandía. New to season 5 are Patrick Criado as Berlin’s son Rafael, Miguel Ángel Silvestre as Tokyo’s ex-boyfriend René, José Manuel Seda as army chief Sagasta.

Behind the scenes, Pina is the creator and showrunner on Money Heist — and executive producer alongside Jesús Colmenar and Cristina López Ferraz. Javier Gómez Santander is the head writer on Money Heist season 5. The Netflix series is a production of Pina-run Vancouver Media.

Money Heist season 5 “Volume 2” releases December 3 on Netflix in India and around the world.

Money Heist Season 5 Watch on Netflix
  • Release Date 3 September 2021
  • Genre Crime, Action, Drama
  • Duration 4h 18min
  • Cast

    Úrsula Corberó, Álvaro Morte, Itziar Ituño, Pedro Alonso, Paco Tous, Alba Flores, Miguel Herrán, Jaime Lorente, Esther Acebo, Enrique Arce, María Pedraza, Darko Perić, Darko Perić, Kiti Mánver, Hovik Keuchkerian, Luka Peroš, Belén Cuesta, Fernando Cayo, Rodrigo de la Serna, Najwa Nimri

  • Cinematography Migue Amoedo
  • Music Manel Santisteban, Iván Martínez Lacámara
  • Producer Álex Pina, Sonia Martínez, Jesús Colmenar, Esther Martínez Lobato, Nacho Manubens
  • Production Atresmedia, Vancouver Media
  • Episodes 5
  • Users Rating


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Mi Notebook Ultra Review: Good Features, Good Value for Money


The 2021 Mi Notebook models which are called the Mi Notebook Pro and Mi Notebook Ultra, aren’t direct replacements for last year’s Mi Notebook 14 family of ultraportables. These are both a more premium but also a bit larger, with value-added features that you might find compelling for everyday work as well as entertainment on the go. They are positioned above the new Redmibook series, which was launched this year. More importantly, they fix a lot of the shortcomings of last year’s models, giving Xiaomi a stronger foothold in the Indian laptop market.

We have with us today the new Mi Notebook Ultra, which is a premium 15.6-inch laptop aimed at creative professionals and anyone who wants more power and performance than the entry-level segment can deliver. Priced starting at Rs. 59,999, this is not the most slick or portable laptop around, but it does offer style, features, and performance. Let’s get started with our full review.

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The Mi Notebook Ultra weighs 1.7kg and measures 17.99mm in thickness

Mi Notebook Ultra price in India

The Mi Notebook Ultra is a step above the Mi Notebook Pro which was launched at the same time. The Ultra model is physically larger, with a bigger screen and battery, but specifications are quite similar across both product families. Prices start at Rs. 59,999 for the base variant of the Mi Notebook Ultra, which has an 11th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU and 8GB of RAM.

Stepping up to the variant with 16GB of RAM will cost Rs. 64,999 – this is slightly higher than the Rs. 63,999 price that Xiaomi advertised at launch time, but still makes a lot of sense because the RAM is not upgradeable. The top-end variant, which we’re reviewing today, has a Core i7 CPU and 16GB of RAM, and costs Rs. 76,999.

Mi Notebook Ultra design and features

The body of the Mi Notebook Ultra is made of Series 6 aluminium. This laptop weighs 1.7kg which is well outside of ultraportable territory, but it’s still easy enough to carry around every day if you need to commute. It’s also quite slim at 17.9mm. In terms of construction quality, I have no complaints. The hinge feels solid, and the lid doesn’t flex too much. You can open this laptop with one finger. There’s a large grille for air intake on the bottom, and hot air is expelled through vents on the rear that are masked by the hinge barrel.

The metallic body has a sandblasted texture and looks quite nice, though the big black Xiaomi logo is a departure from last year’s completely blank look. Other than that, the body is quite minimalist and doesn’t call much attention to itself. The Mi logo below the screen on last year’s models has been updated in keeping with the company’s recent rebranding effort, though the product name is still Mi Notebook Ultra.

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The keyboard isn’t cramped, and the power button has an integrated fingerprint sensor

The most notable feature of the Mi Notebook Ultra is its 15.6-inch, 16:10 aspect ratio screen. The borders are quite slim, but there’s still space at the top for a 720p webcam – dropping the webcam was a big miss for Xiaomi with the previous Mi Notebook lineup, especially since remote work and video calls have become far more important and commonplace over the past year or so.

There’s enough room for a large, comfortable keyboard on the lower half of this laptop. I was happy to see a column of paging keys on the right, and thankfully, the arrow keys aren’t cramped at all. You even get one macro key in the top right corner, which lets you launch any one program quickly. Adjustable backlighting addresses another of the big shortcomings with last year’s models, but there are only two brightness levels (Xiaomi says three, but it counts “off” as one of them).

The power button has an integrated fingerprint sensor for Windows Hello authentication. It caches your fingerprint when you turn on the laptop so you don’t have to touch it again to sign in after Windows boots up – but you have to get used to touching the button with the pad of your finger. The trackpad is large and comfortable. Windows multi-touch gestures are supported and work well. On the downside, the physical click mechanism is a little stiff.

On the left, you’ll see one USB 3.2 Gen1 (5Gbps) Type-C port, an HDMI video output, one USB 3.2 Gen1 (5Gbps) Type-A port, and one Thunderbolt 4 Type-C port. DisplayPort video output is supported only through the latter, but the Mi Notebook Ultra can be charged using either of these ports. On the right is another USB Type-A port but disappointingly, this one only works at USB 2.0 speed. Finally, there’s a 3.5mm audio socket. Unfortunately this laptop doesn’t have an SD card slot or physical Ethernet port.

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All the ports on the left and right of the Mi Notebook Ultra

Mi Notebook Ultra specifications

On the inside, Xiaomi has gone with Intel’s 11th Gen H35-series CPUs, which are actually slightly more powerful versions of the U-series chips used for ultraportable laptops, and not part of the more powerful H-series used for gaming and high-end models. H35 refers to the 35W TDP rating, which is a measure of how much power a CPU can draw in order to run faster for longer stretches of time. Xiaomi is sticking with the integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics, and there are no discrete GPU options.

You can choose between 8GB or 16GB of RAM if you go with the Core i5-11300H CPU, but the Core i7-11370 is only paired with 16GB. The RAM is soldered and is not upgradeable. All three variants have a 512GB NVMe SSD which can be swapped, if you choose to upgrade in the future.

The 15.6-inch screen stands out in this segment for a number of reasons. It has a resolution of 3200×2000 pixels, which works out to a very comfortably 16:10 aspect ratio. It also has a 90Hz refresh rate which is uncommon for laptops in general, and Xiaomi says it covers 100 percent of the sRGB colour gamut. Brightness is however only rated at 300nits. This panel really is great for getting work done and multitasking. It’s fairly crisp and bright. Colours aren’t the most vibrant when watching video, but the anti-reflective finish is good for productivity.

The Mi Notebook 14 has a stereo speaker system and built-in mic. Xiaomi doesn’t specify a battery capacity rating but says the battery life is good enough for 12 hours of local video playback. You get a 65W Type-C charger in the box, and should be able to charge up to 50 percent in 45 minutes. This laptop also supports Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1.

You get Windows 10, which is upgradeable to Windows 11. Xiaomi also includes a full license for Microsoft Office Home & Student 2019, and a utility called MIUI+ which is said to allow easy sharing of files with smartphones running MIUI, in much the same way that Apple’s AirDrop feature works.

mi notebook ultra screen ndtv mi notebook

The 16:10 display aspect ratio is great for work, and the 90Hz refresh rate is uncommon

Mi Notebook Ultra performance

I didn’t have any trouble with the Mi Notebook Ultra in everyday use. I was able to get work done, which involved multitasking with 20 or more Web apps across browser tabs. The top-end variant that I’m reviewing has more than enough power for everyday productivity and even a bit of light content creation work. Typing was comfortable thanks to good key travel, though I would have liked a slightly springier action.

The large, high-res screen is a pleasure to work on if you’re used to more compact laptops. It’s also decent for watching TV shows and movies on. However, music doesn’t sound great at all, since the bottom-firing speakers are only just about okay in terms of volume and fullness.

Benchmarks show how well a device performs in situations that simulate intense real-world usage. Starting with PCMark 10, the Mi Notebook Ultra managed 4,680 and 4,195 points in the standard and Extended runs respectively. These figures are only marginally higher than what last year’s Mi Notebook 14 Horizon Edition, with a 10th Gen Intel Core i7 CPU managed. SSD performance was measured at 2378.7MBps and 1508.2MBps for sequential reads and writes, while random reads and writes came in at 1171.2MBps and 458.5MBps respectively, which are pretty good speeds.

Cinebench R20 managed 548 and 2,014 in its single-threaded and multi-threaded tests. POVRay’s render benchmark took 2 minutes, 45 seconds to complete. Compressing a 3.24GB folder of assorted files using 7zip took 2 minutes, 29 seconds and transcoding a 1.3GB AVI file to H.265 in Handbrake took 1 minute. These are both big improvements over last year’s model.

The Unigine Superposition graphics benchmark averaged 15.96fps at its 1080p Medium preset. 3DMark’s Time Spy and Time Spy Extreme tests returned scores of 1,363 and 576 respectively, while the Night Raid scene managed 14,209 and the Fire Strike Extreme test score was 1,555. Interestingly, last year’s model performed better in some cases, likely thanks to its entry-level discrete Nvidia GeForce MX350 GPU.

You should be able to play casual games just fine, but 3D titles struggled to run smoothly. Many games recognise 16:10 screens, so scaling down means you won’t have to deal with stretching or letterboxing. At 1280×800 and using the Medium quality setting, Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s built-in benchmark only managed to average 23fps. Far Cry 5 was able to average 30fps. Neither game looked very good at these settings, so you’ll have to settle for older or simpler titles if you want to game on the Mi Notebook Ultra.

As for battery life, you should be able to get through a workday on one full charge, if your usage consists mainly of Web browsing and productivity. The heavy Battery Eater Pro 3D test ran for 2 hours, 8 minutes, which is quite good. With heavier tasks such as games and benchmarks running, the entire left side of the body including the wrist rest got quite warm. The cooling fan isn’t audible at all, except when this laptop is heavily stressed.

mi notebook ultra lid ndtv mi notebook

The Mi Notebook Ultra has an understated look, and construction quality is good


The Mi Notebook Ultra has a lot going for it in terms of features and performance. You get great value for money, even compared to the entry-level Redmibook series which was also launched quite recently. The display and keyboard are the highlights of this device. Battery life is good enough for a work machine too, and the hardware should be more than enough to last for a few years. On the downside, things like the speakers, trackpad, and port selection could still be better.

Xiaomi has struck a good balance between cost, features, and performance. This isn’t the most portable laptop and it definitely isn’t aimed at gamers either, but you should still be able to carry it around every day and get a lot of work done comfortably. It could be a good option for students, self-employed or remote workers, and home users. The Core i7 variant tested here is well worth checking out if you have a budget that can stretch up to Rs. 80,000.

The mid-tier variant with its less powerful CPU should also be good enough for most people. This could be even better value since you still get the same high-res 90Hz 16:10 screen, comfortable keyboard, and Thunderbolt port at a significantly lower price, and the CPU specs aren’t all that different. However, I wouldn’t suggest considering the base variant, since it has only 8GB of RAM which isn’t upgradeable. The price difference won’t amount to much savings over the life of a laptop.


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