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Hier — 24 septembre 2021Microsoft

Halo Infinite: These are the weapons you can use during the beta

These are the weapons you can use in the Halo Infinite multiplayer.

When players load into builds of the Halo Infinite beta, they're going to be picking up lots of weapons as they duke it out with other players in PvP matches. Halo Infinite features plenty of weapons from past games as well as brand new ones, and all of the weapons have a unique role within its sandbox. Here's an overview of every weapon that you can use in Halo Infinite, including an explanation about what they do and details on how you can maximize their effectiveness.

List of weapons in the Halo Infinite beta

For the first beta preview that runs from July 29 until August 1, there are a total of 12 different weapons available for players to try out and use in matches against bots as well as during weapon training drills.

MA40 Assault Rifle

The latest variation of Master Chief's iconic weapon, the MA40 Assault Rifle, is one of the best jack-of-all-trades options available to players in the Halo Infinite multiplayer. It does good, consistent damage at close and medium ranges thanks to its automatic firing, and it's a great weapon to soften foes up with before you finish them off with a quick melee strike. The Assault Rifle is generally weaker than precision weapons when outside of its optimal range, though, and up close, the shotgun will beat it as well.

BR75 Battle Rifle

The BR75 Battle Rifle is an excellent choice for dealing precision damage at range thanks to its stellar accuracy, and the damage is strong, too. Picking up one of these whenever you find them is recommended as precision weapons are the core of the Halo sandbox. Try to make sure you keep your foes at a distance while using the Battle Rifle, though, as it will struggle against close range weapons if you let them close the distance.

VK78 Commando

The VK78 Commando is an automatic precision weapon that's essentially a combination of the Assault Rifle and Battle Rifle that's effective in the roles both weapons fill, making it a great option if you want something solid in both close and long range combat. It loses to the Assault Rifle up close and to the Battle Rifle from afar, though. With the Commando, you're ultimately getting versatility instead of specialization.

Pulse Carbine

The Pulse Carbine is a unique burst-fire plasma weapon that's ideal for short and medium ranges and does excellent damage to shields, making it an awesome weapon to pair with something headshot-capable. It also does respectable damage to unshielded targets, but ballistic human weapons outperform it in this situation. If you fire it too much too quickly, the Pulse Carbine will overheat, so keep that in mind during use. It also has some light tracking properties that will help you land shots.

Plasma Pistol

The Plasma Pistol returns in Halo Infinite, and like in previous titles, it's incredible at stripping shields — especially if you overcharge by holding down the trigger. This will cause the weapon to discharge a massive plasma bolt that tracks enemies and knocks out their shields instantly, leaving them wide open for a headshot. This bolt can also EMP vehicles, which will be useful in Big Team Battle modes. It does abysmal damage to enemies once their shields are down, though.

MK50 Sidekick

With its ability to do good chunks of precision damage and its quick fire rate, the MK50 Sidekick is a great sidearm that's ideal for finishing weakened enemies off. It can also act as a respectable primary weapon, too, although it's less effective in that role compared to more specialized options.

Disruptor

The Disruptor is a fast-firing pistol style weapon that shoots small electric bolts. It's unclear what these do at the moment, though we anticipate they do high damage to shields but low damage to regular health enemies. It's also possible that the Disruptor will be capable of disabling enemy vehicles.

CQS48 Bulldog

The CQS48 Bulldog shotgun is one of the few close range power weapons in the Halo Infinite beta, and it's a powerful one. Between its high close range damage, tight bullet spread, and fast firing rate, the Bulldog solidifies itself as the most powerful close-quarters combat weapon in the game — though that may change when the Energy Sword is available to use.

S7 Sniper

The S7 Sniper is the ultimate long range power weapon, giving players the ability to two-shot enemies by hitting them in the body or one-shot them with headshots. It's clunky in close range situations, but if you're able to put lots of distance between you and your targets, the sniper rifle will excel. Just make sure to aim carefully before firing, as both ammo and magazine size is limited.

Hydra

The Hydra has returned after its initial appearance in Halo 5: Guardians, and it appears to have a similar function. Players can use it to shoot moderately-damaging explosive shells at enemies, which will likely throw off their aim and soften them up for precision headshots (or just kill them outright). Zooming in with the Hydra may also give its explosive rounds tracking like it did in Halo 5, though we aren't sure if this is the case or not yet.

Needler

Fear the pink mist! Halo's wackiest weapon is back in Halo Infinite, and like previous iterations, it's a great medium range tool for taking down fast-moving targets thanks to its aggressive tracking and speedy fire rate. Once you sink seven needles into another player, the needles will "supercombine" and explode, killing them instantly while also dealing some damage to anyone around them.

Mangler

The Mangler is a slow-firing precision weapon used by the Banished. It does strong damage, but its slow fire rate means that hitting your shots is crucial when going up against more forgiving weapons. It's a great alternative to the Sidekick if you'd prefer raw damage output over the ability to fire several rounds quickly.

Ravager

Even though the Banished Spiker resembles the Spiker from Halo 3 and Halo: Reach, the weapon performs more like the Brute Shot and Concussion Rifle that the Covenant used in previous Halo titles. The Ravager allows players to blanket an area with area-of-effect damage by shooting small explosive plasma projectiles, which is useful for softening enemies up or knocking them out of position. If you get an opportunity to hit multiple players at once with the Ravager, there's a good chance you'll get a multikill on all of them by following up with a headshot weapon.

Cindershot

The Cindershot is a Banished grenade launcher type weapon that shooters slower than the Ravager, but also creates larger explosions. The plasma grenades it shoots can also be bounced around corners and off of surfaces, giving the weapon creative playmaking potential.

Shock Rifle

The Shock Rifle is a Banished weapon intended for mid-to-long range usage. It deals moderate damage and can be used to pick players off if you score headshots, but it also has the capability to arc off of players or map objects into other players. This allows you to damage multiple enemies at once if they're bunched up.

Stalker Rifle

The Stalker Rifle is a Banished weapon that we haven't seen in-game yet, although the weapon's shape suggests that it's the Banished's dedicated sniper weapon. It's likely that it will do less damage than the S7 Sniper overall, but will offer some unique utility.

Gravity Hammer

The Gravity Hammer has returned in Halo Infinite, and like its previous versions, its an excellent weapon if you like to get up close and personal with your foes. It delivers one-hit kills in a small area-of-effect around you when you swing it, but the range of the swing itself is small. Therefore, it's best used as an ambush tool against groups of enemy players.

Energy Sword

The classic Halo melee weapon is back in Halo Infinite, and like its previous iterations, it delivers one-hit kills and allows players to lunge at enemies from a short distance by attacking when their reticule is red.

Heatwave

The Heatwave is a Forerunner weapon that players can use to bounce deadly energy projectiles off of surfaces, which is a useful way to deal indirect damage around corners. You can also shoot it at players directly if necessary. Notably, players can switch the trajectory of the projectiles between a vertical and horizontal mode to control the weapon more precisely.

Sentinel Beam

The Sentinel Beam returns in Halo Infinite, and like its previous iterations, you damage enemies with it by holding the trigger down and firing an energy beam. The damage is effective, but the weapon as high recoil so be prepared to control it.

Skewer

Last but not least is the Skewer, which is one of Halo Infinite's most effective anti-vehicle weapons. It shoots an extremely deadly projectile at high velocity, tearing through any armored vehicle that it hits. It also sends lighter vehicles flying, which will help disable vehicles that it doesn't destroy outright. The Skewer also one-shots other players if they're not in a vehicle, making it a deadly anti-infantry power weapon when in skilled hands. It's slow and awkward up close, though, so switch to something better suited for that range if needed.

Your thoughts

What do you think of the weapons featured in the Halo Infinite beta? Let me know. Personally, I think they're all interesting and fun to use, and hopefully the weapons that 343 Industries adds in the future will be as well. For more on the Halo Infinite beta, don't miss our list of all the maps and modes in the Halo Infinite beta. Also, make sure to check out our guide on how to play the Halo Infinite beta for info on how you can participate in the tests yourself. Hopefully, these beta tests help 343 Industries shape Halo Infinite into one of the best Xbox games ever.

The next adventure in the saga

Halo Infinite

$60 at Best Buy See at Microsoft See at Steam

A new Great Journey awaits

Halo Infinite is sure to be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021, we can't wait for the full release.

Halo Infinite game-breaking beta glitch gives you rapid fists of fury

Are you ready to punch people? I hope you're ready to punch people.

What you need to know

  • A glitch in the Halo Infinite beta allows you to rapidly beat people up with multiple melee attacks at once.
  • The glitch is performed by melee attacking, then swapping your weapon and immediately melee attacking again at the same time. You can then chain the melee attacks with each swap.

Since the Halo Infinite beta is a work-in-progress version of the full game that's coming later this year, players were bound to discover new bugs and glitches when they got their hands on it this weekend. Most of these issues are boring technical bugs, such as problems with the game's performance or UI elements not working properly. However, some of the bugs are quite funny; for example, during the last beta test, melee attacks could send enemy players flying.

One of the funniest (and most game-breaking) bugs from this beta test is an exploit that allows players to melee attack extremely rapidly, essentially giving them rapid fists of fury that can annihilate any player in their way. With this glitch, you can beat down anyone — including someone who has an overshield — in a fraction of a second. Have a look at the exploit below:

😳#HaloInfinite #HaloInfiniteMP pic.twitter.com/BnoM16HFc7

— Halo Polska 🇵🇱 (@HaloPOL) September 24, 2021

If you're looking to use this glitch during the beta before it's patched, you can do so by melee attacking, then quickly swapping to your second weapon, then immediately melee attacking again. You can chain this insta-melee glitch as you continue to swap back and forth between your weapons, allowing you to rapidly beat the snot out of anything and anyone in front of you.

What do you think of this glitch? Are you excited to try it out? Let us know. For more on the Halo Infinite beta, stay up to date with our Halo Infinite beta schedule and check out our guide on how to download the Halo Infinite beta.

A new journey awaits

Halo Infinite

$60 at Microsoft $60 at Amazon $60 at Best Buy $60 at Steam

The next big adventure

Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021 and Gamescom, we can't wait for the full release.

Here's everything we know about the next Halo Infinite beta

Join the Halo Insider Program today, Spartan.

343 Industries and Microsoft are planning to launch Halo Infinite later in 2021, and based on what was said during the Xbox E3 2021 show, 343 Industries is planning to use the Halo Insider Program to roll out test flights before the game launches. These test flights help the developers identify and fix bugs that may have otherwise gone unnoticed (check out my spotlight of the Master Chief Collection's incredible 2020 journey to see just how effective Insider flighting has been for 343 Industries thus far), and they also give fans an opportunity to go hands-on with Halo projects before they release.

Considering the game in question is Halo Infinite, that's quite an exciting prospect. You'll need to sign up for the Halo Insider Program to have a chance at participating in Halo Infinite beta playtests, but thankfully the process to do so isn't difficult at all and will only take a few minutes. Here's a quick guide on how to sign up and become a Halo Insider.

Halo Infinite beta:

What is the Halo Infinite beta and 'flighting'?

Test flights are periods of time in which 343 Industries provides Halo Insiders with access to a test build of a game. These flights usually last about a week or two and are active 24 hours a day, but could be shorter or longer and may also have more specific start and end times. The content available in the flight can vary widely depending on what 343 Industries wants to test. For Halo Infinite, we expect that the flights will focus on the multiplayer primarily, but may include campaign content down the line.

Halo Infinite's flights will operate mostly the same way, with the Halo Infinite team planning to release different technical previews and betas for players to test, each with a different focus. The goal is for 343i to collect information they otherwise wouldn't be able to collect on their own, in order to "stress test" Halo Infinite ahead of a wider launch.

Though these test flights are an opportunity for players to have fun with Halo Infinite, it's important to keep in mind that they are meant to help the developers find and solve issues first and foremost. Therefore, issues can (and likely will) crop up that will impact your experience with the game.

When is the start time and date for the Halo Infinite beta?

  • Last flight: The previous Halo Infinite beta flight ran from Thursday, Jul. 29, 2021, until Monday, Aug. 2, 2021.
  • Next flight: The current Halo Infinite beta flight will run from Friday, Sept. 24, 2021 until Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 and Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 until Monday, Oct. 4, 2021.

The first official Halo Infinite beta test flight recently took place on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Windows 10 PCs (via Steam). When future flights occur, Halo Insiders should check their email address and their profile on Halo Waypoint to see if they were chosen to participate in the flight. If so, they should then follow the official instructions on how to download the Halo Infinite beta. Notably, all players who registered as a Halo Insider before Sept. 13, 2021, are able to participate in the second test flight according to 343 Industries.

Access to the second beta is now live, but the flight will only have matchmaking active at specific times during each test day. These times are as follows:

  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT / 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET
  • 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET

The Halo Infinite Insider program will likely feature multiple flights spread across several weeks or even months in the future, so there is no definitive start or end time for all Halo Infinite testing. Most of the flights will likely live relatively short lives before 343i and the Halo community moves on to the next one, so we'll update this section and our guide below regularly.

If you want to stay up to date with every Halo Infinite flight as it happens, be sure to bookmark our ultimate guide for the Halo Infinite beta schedule and start time, which will include dates and related times for every flight as it happens.

What can I expect from the Halo Infinite beta?

Players can expect Halo Infinite's beta tests to be centered around the game's action-packed and sandbox-driven multiplayer experience. Halo Infinite's multiplayer has been broken down by 343 Industries in a recent overview, with the developers explaining that the core focus of the game is to encourage players to use anything they can find on the map to take down other players skillfully and creatively. Flights will test a lot of aspects of the game, including Halo Infinite's weapons and Halo Infinite's maps and locations.

In terms of game modes, we know that traditional Arena modes, as well as the brand new Halo Infinite Big Team Battle with 24 players will be available for beta testing. Additionally, the beta tests also include access to the game's Academy content suite, which includes both weapon drills and a training mode that players can use to practice before hopping into multiplayer.

There's also a chance that future flights will include campaign content to test out. The developers haven't confirmed that a campaign-focused flight is coming in the future, but given the open-ended nature of Halo Infinite's campaign compared to previous Halo titles, it would make sense for the developers to want to test it. If a campaign flight does launch, it's likely that 343 Industries will curate a small section of one of the campaign's levels for us to playtest.

Every flight will likely focus on a different element of Halo Infinite, with 343i wanting to collate feedback and suggestions to help push Halo Infinite to the finish line. Early flights of the Halo Infinite beta, called technical previews, will focus more on the foundational technologies of the game and will likely be very rough around the edges. To keep track, be sure to bookmark our guide on all the Halo Infinite beta known bugs and issues.

What are all the flights in the Halo Infinite beta?

We're expecting Halo Infinite to feature multiple flights and beta builds on the road to launch later this year, and it could become easy to lose track of them over time. We're going to update this section regularly with every Halo Infinite flight, what content they covered, and how Halo Infinite has evolved with the help of the passionate Halo community.

The first flight

Halo Infinite's first flight was a technical preview that focused on early stress tests for Halo Infinite's servers and commerce engines, and various elements of the game, including:

  • Arena maps. Three maps (Bazaar, Recharge, and Live Fire) from the Arena game mode were introduced in the first Halo Infinite test, letting players explore the environments for themselves.
  • Gameplay vs. bots. On the three aforementioned maps, players were able to square up against the newly introduced bots, which are positioned as a way for new players to become accustomed to the game through the new Halo Academy.
  • Gameplay vs. players. During the evening of Aug. 1, the developers briefly enabled Arena PvP between players.
  • Weapon drills. Players were also able to use an assortment of Halo Infinite weapons for the first time through the Halo Academy weapon drills. The weapons featured included:
    • MA40 AR
    • BR75
    • MK50 Sidekick
    • CQS48 Bulldog
    • Needler
    • VK78 Commando
    • S7 Sniper
    • Plasma Pistol
    • Pulse Carbine
    • Ravager
    • Heatwave
    • Skewer
  • Battle Pass and menu UI. An important aspect of any game is the UI players use to navigate, and 343i is looking for feedback here. Players were able to test the Halo Infinite menus, customization, and Battle Pass UI. Players were even given a bit of Halo Infinite currency to help with the testing, although anything that was unlocked will not carry over to the main game.
  • New Halo Waypoint. Halo Waypoint is being rebuilt from the ground up for Halo Infinite, including a new mobile app. The first Halo Infinite technical preview included the first tests for the new Waypoint experience on web, Android, and iOS.

If you want to learn more about the first Halo Infinite flight, you can check out the stream above (which also includes plenty of hands-on footage of Halo Infinite, including debut Halo Infinite footage on Xbox One and a full match played on Xbox Series X).

The first Halo Infinite flight ran from July 29 to Aug. 2, 2021, and was available through Steam for PC players. Because this was the first Halo Infinite flight, the number of players that were invited to participate is relatively small.

The second flight

Developers have provided some details about the second Halo Infinite test flight in the July "Inside Infinite" blog post as well as within a recent Halo Infinite Development Update video. Here's what you can expect from the current flight:

  • Arena PvP. The developers have confirmed that the second flight includes a longer and more focused test of Halo Infinite's Arena PvP modes.
  • Big Team Battle. 343 Industries has also confirmed that it's planning on testing Big Team Battle, Halo Infinite's premiere 12v12 game mode, in the second test flight.
  • Training Mode. The second flight gives players access to a new training mode that allows them to play against bots in an offline environment, with "training wheels" options such as invincibility and infinite ammo.
  • Behemoth and Fragmentation maps. Two maps we know about but haven't been able to play yet are Behemoth and Fragmentation, both of which appear to be Big Team Battle maps based on trailer footage. Behemoth features sandy terrain that reminds us of Zanzibar/Last Resort from Halo 2 and 3, while Fragmentation looks a lot like Valhalla from Halo 3 and 4. We expect to be able to play on both of these maps during any future Big Team Battle tests.
  • Vehicle combat. Big Team Battle wouldn't be Big Team Battle without vehicles, so we anticipate their presence in the second flight if it includes the mode. Light vehicles may appear in Arena tests as well, as the developers have confirmed that they'll be in some of the game's Arena maps. Some of the vehicles we're expecting to see based on previous trailers include:
    • Warthog
    • Rocket Warthog
    • Razorback
    • Mongoose
    • Ghost
    • Chopper
    • Wraith
    • Wasp
    • Banshee
    • Scorpion
  • Expanded customization test. Though the initial Halo Infinite flight only included a small number of customization items to unlock and use, we anticipate that the developers will want to expand what's available to beta players in the future to test the unlock system thoroughly.

In terms of when players can expect the second Halo Infinite beta flight to begin, we know that it's slated to launch on Sept. 23, 2021, although matchmaking won't begin until the day after on Sept. 24. The second weekend of the testing begins on Sept. 30, 2021, though matchmaking will again not be available until Oct. 1, 2021.

Compared to the first flight in July, the current flight that's running during the end of September and the beginning of October has significantly more players due to the fact that all Halo Insiders who signed up for the program before Sept. 13, 2021 were given access to it.

How can I sign up for the Halo Infinite beta?

The Halo Insider Program is 343 Industries' official system for testing upcoming Halo experiences, and it proved itself very effective with the Master Chief Collection. Both Xbox and PC players (through Steam and the Windows 10 Store) can sign up for the program, and since Halo Infinite will be released on both of those platforms, testing will likely be done on both platforms for the game.

To get started with your registration, follow the steps below.

  1. Visit the Halo Insider page on Halo Waypoint.
  2. Click Signup.
  3. Under "Sign in to your Xbox Live account," click Sign In.
  4. Sign in with your Microsoft Account credentials.

  5. Grant Halo Waypoint access to your Xbox Live information if requested.
  6. Confirm that you are 18 or older.
  7. Confirm that you agree to the Halo Insider Program Confidentiality Statement.
  8. Click Join the Program.

  9. In the provided fields, enter your preferred email, location, time zone, and experience with Halo games.
  10. Click Continue.
  11. If you're an Xbox player, click Yes when asked if you'd like to be considered for console flighting.
  12. Fill out your console ownership and setup details and then click Continue.

  13. If you're a PC player, click Yes when asked if you'd like to be considered for PC flighting.
  14. Follow the on-screen instructions to obtain and upload your PC specifications with Windows 10's DirectX Diagnostic.
  15. If you use Steam, click the Link Steam Account button and login with your Steam credentials.
  16. Click Continue.

  17. When asked about flight availability, select the days and times you are typically available for test sessions.
  18. Click Complete Signup.
  19. Open the Halo Insider email sent to your provided address.
  20. Click Verify my Email Address in the email.

You're done! Your Halo Insider profile will automatically pop up once you're finished, and your information can be edited at any time if something changes. Keep in mind that the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles haven't been listed as consoles you can say you use yet, so if you own one of these consoles, check back frequently and select the appropriate option when it's added. You'll also need to sign up for the Xbox Insider Program if you play on Xbox since you'll need access to the Xbox Insider Hub application.

Will there be rewards in the Halo Infinite beta?

Previous Halo betas and flights have granted certain rewards to testers, like unique nameplates and other cosmetic items, but it's not been clear whether that will be the case for Halo Infinite.

What we do know is that players should assume that any progression or unlocks in a Halo Infinite flight will not carry over to the main game, including purchases and cosmetic items. In fact, the first Halo Infinite flight gives players a load of in-game currency and encourages them to buy everything they can (to test the commerce engine).

It has been confirmed that Halo Infinite Insiders will get a unique nameplate when Halo Infinite launches that was also present in Halo 5 and partially in Halo: The MCC, so there's at least one reward heading our way for helping to shape Halo Infinite.

Will there be an open beta for Halo Infinite?

While Insider test flighting is confirmed, many wonder if a traditional public beta will be held for the game. At the time of writing, this is unclear. Many believe that 343 Industries will hold a beta because, in a 2015 interview with Game Informer, Head of 343 Industries Bonnie Ross stated that all future Halo titles would have a beta following the disastrous launch of The Master Chief Collection.

"Going forward, you will never see a Halo game coming out without a beta. It (The Master Chief Collection) was obviously painful for our fans and for us," Ross said. "But it won't happen again."

However, it's also entirely possible that 343 Industries considers Insider test flighting to fit the definition of what a "beta" is. It's also important to keep in mind that Ross's comments were made years before the Halo Insider Program was created; the Insider Program may be a system that 343 Industries developed for long-term use to keep its word. Ultimately, only time will tell whether Halo Infinite will have a traditional-style open beta.

When is the release date for Halo Infinite?

Halo Infinite is expected to release on Dec. 8, 2021 on the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows 10 PCs. The campaign costs $60 (the multiplayer is free to play) and it will hopefully end up being one of the best Xbox games. It's worth noting that Halo Infinite preorders are live now, but until the game officially launches in December, we highly recommend the Master Chief Collection, which bundles all of the pre-Xbox One Halo shooters for an incredible price.

The next adventure in the saga

Halo Infinite

$60 at Best Buy $60 at Microsoft $60 at Steam

A new Great Journey awaits

Halo Infinite is sure to be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta experience and what was seen at E3 2021, we can't wait to play it at launch.

Finish the Fight

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

$40 at Microsoft (Xbox One) $40 at Microsoft (PC) $40 at Steam

Experience the entirety of Halo history

The Master Chief Collection is a collection of every Halo shooter from the pre-Xbox One era, offering incredible value at an incredible price.

The Surface Pro 8 goes up against the Surface Laptop Studio

Best overall

Surface Pro 8

From $1,100 at Microsoft

Pros

  • Excellent specs
  • Display is slightly sharper
  • Thinner and lighter
  • LTE option
  • More affordable

Cons

  • Less powerful overall
  • Shorter battery life

The Surface Pro 8 offers premium performance and a lower price in a thin and light package, making it the better overall choice for most people. However, people who need serious GPU power and don't mind opting for something a bit heavier will love the Surface Laptop Studio.

Best heavy duty

Surface Laptop Studio

From $1,600 at Microsoft

Pros

  • Best specs
  • More powerful overall
  • Plenty of RAM and storage options
  • Longer battery life
  • Innovative hinged display

Cons

  • More cumbersome
  • No LTE option
  • Expensive

The Surface Laptop Studio is nothing short of a beast, and its perfect if you need the best CPU and GPU power around. The innovative hinged display also makes the device incredibly flexible. However, it's pricey and is harder to take on the go, too.

Overall, while both of these Surface devices are superb, we think that the Surface Pro 8 will be the better option for most users because of the fact it's more portable and costs less while still offering excellent performance. If you're in need of something that can do it all with innovative hardware and some of the best specs on the market, though, the Surface Laptop Studio will be right up your alley.

Surface Pro 8 vs. Laptop Studio: Portability or power?

Both the Surface Pro 8 and the Surface Laptop Studio are premium devices outfitted with premium hardware and features, but the Surface Laptop Studio generally edges out its sister device in many respects. Its H-series 11th Gen CPUs are a cut above the G-series ones in the Surface Pro 8, and its NVIDIA RTX GPUs crush the Surface Pro 8's Intel Iris and Intel Xe integrated graphics. Both devices can be configured with up to 32GB of RAM, though the Surface Laptop Studio has an additional option for a 2TB SSD that the Surface Pro 8 does not. It's also got four speakers as opposed to the Surface Pro 8's two, and it even has a 2-3 hour advantage on battery life. Finally, the hinged design of the Laptop Studio is incredibly beneficial and allows you to use it as a laptop, as a "staging" device for gaming and movies, or as a full-blown studio workstation.

Surface Pro 8 Surface Laptop Studio
CPU Intel i3-1115G4
Intel i5-1135G7
Intel i5-1145G7
Intel i7-1185G7
Intel i5-11300H
i7-11370H
GPU Intel Iris Graphics
Intel Xe Graphics
Intel Iris Plus
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 Ti
NVIDIA RTX A2000
Memory 8GB
16GB
32GB
16GB
32GB
Storage 128GB SSD
256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD
Display 13-inch 2880x1920 (267 PPI) PixelSense Flow 120Hz touch display 14.4-inch 2400x1600 (201 PPI) PixelSense Flow 120Hz touch display
Audio Dual speakers with Dolby Atmos Quad speakers with Dolby Atmos
Biometrics Windows Hello-compatible camera Windows Hello-compatible camera
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4
1x Surface Connect
1x 3.5mm headphone/mic combo
2x Thunderbolt 4
1x Surface Connect
1x 3.5mm headphone/mic combo
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
LTE (optional)
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.1
Battery Up to 16 hours Up to 18-19 hours
Dimensions 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches 12.7 x 9.0 x 0.7 inches
Weight 1.96 pounds Up to 4 pounds

So why, then, are we recommending the Surface Pro 8 over the Surface Laptop Studio? Ultimately, it's because the Laptop Studio having the hardware edge doesn't necessarily mean that it's a device most people will use to its fullest potential. It may be the most powerful Surface ever made, but does the average laptop user really need that power? Generally speaking, most people use their laptop for general productivity, web browsing, movies, and (maybe) light gaming. The Surface Laptop Studio is overkill for these activities — most people will be better off with the thinner, lighter, and more affordable Surface Pro 8 (which still offers excellent performance). The Surface Laptop Studio is ideal for specific types of users, such as those that do more serious gaming, use 3D rendering programs, edit visual media, or develop software.

Notably, the Surface Pro 8 also has a few advantages of its own. Its display is a bit sharper than the Surface Laptop Studio's thanks to its higher PPI (pixels per inch) count, and it can also be configured with LTE if you want to stay connected on the go. It's also more compact and is easier to carry around thanks to its smaller dimensions and weight.

Surface Pro 8 vs. Laptop Studio: Which is a better buy?

Both the Surface Pro 8 and the Surface Laptop Studio are among the best Microsoft Surface PCs ever made, but if we had to recommend one over the other, it would be the Surface Pro 8. Its thin and light design, lower cost, and excellent performance make it a phenomenal option for the average user. It strikes the perfect balance between portability, power, and price.

If you're in need of a device with top-of-the-line CPU and GPU power or something that can transform into a workstation-friendly form factor, however, don't overlook the Surface Laptop Studio. It may be more expensive and a little more cumbersome compared to the Surface Pro 8, but its absolutely worth it if you're planning to put the extra horsepower and flexibility to good use.

For other excellent options, don't miss our coverage on the best Windows laptops available.

Best overall

Surface Pro 8

The perfect all-around laptop

From $1,100 at Microsoft

The Surface Pro 8 offers premium performance and a lower price in a thin and light package, making it the better overall choice for most people. However, people who need serious GPU power and don't mind opting for something a bit heavier will love the Surface Laptop Studio.

Best heavy duty

Surface Laptop Studio

Bring in the big guns

From $1,600 at Microsoft

The Surface Laptop Studio is nothing short of a beast, and its perfect if you need the best CPU and GPU power around. The innovative hinged display also makes the device incredibly flexible. However, it's pricey and is harder to take on the go, too.

Halo Infinite system requirements: Can my PC run it?

Is your PC up-to-snuff, Spartans?

The first Halo Infinite beta test proved to be a massive hit despite its rough edges, and the second one is finally available. But just how powerful of a PC do you need to play Halo Infinite, anyway? Microsoft and 343 Industries have answered that question by revealing Halo Infinite's full PC specs to the public. Here's what you need to know, including what the minimum and recommended specs for Halo Infinite are as how you can check if your PC meet these requirements easily.

List of Halo Infinite system requirements

Halo Infinite's minimum requirements will likely be fairly accessible for most players, as they're not too demanding. With that said, more powerful hardware never hurts to have, especially if you want to push for a sky-high framerate on one of the best PC gaming monitors available.

Here's what 343 Industries lists as the minimum required specs for Halo Infinite:

  • OS: Windows 10 RS3 x64
  • CPU: Intel i5-4440 or AMD FX-8370
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti or AMD RX 570
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 50GB

With this hardware, you'll be able to play Halo Infinite with decent visuals and an acceptable framerate. However, you're going to need beefier specs if you want to enjoy the game on higher settings with smoother FPS.

Here's what the developers list as recommended specs for Halo Infinite:

  • OS: Windows 10 19H2 x64
  • CPU: Intel i7-9700K or AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
  • GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2070 or AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT
  • RAM: 16 GB
  • Storage: 50GB

These specs will give you the power you need to play Halo Infinite at high settings with buttery smooth framerates, although it's worth noting that many of these components (particularly the GPUs) are hard to come by right now. If your specs don't match or surpass these recommended ones, you may want to turn some settings down.

Will my PC run Halo Infinite?

If you're unsure whether or not your PC meets the minimum and/or recommended specs listed above, don't worry — there's an easy way to check. All you need to do is do a quick analysis with the DirectX Diagnostic Tool, which allows you to review what hardware you've got installed in your system with just a few clicks. Here's how to use it.

  1. Click the Windows button on your taskbar.
  2. Type dxdiag.
  3. Click dxdiag in the search results. Windows will then show your PC specifications.
  4. Navigate to the System tab for details on your processor, memory, and Windows version.
  5. Navigate to Display tab for details on your graphics hardware and video memory (VRAM).

If a part of your PC isn't up-to-spec for Halo Infinite, you'll be able to tell with this handy tool. Don't forget to check out our guides to the best cheap graphics cards and the best budget CPUs if you need to make an upgrade, as the minimum specs for Halo Infinite are pretty affordable. Alternatively, you can also check out our roundup of all the best graphics cards and the best processors for your custom PC if you want to make some big upgrades to your rig. Hopefully you'll be able to find powerful GPUs in stock despite scalpers' efforts to ravage retailer inventories.

For more information on Halo Infinite itself and future betas, make sure you check out our full coverage on the Halo Infinite beta schedule. Also, make sure you read our guide on how to play the Halo Infinite beta so that you can properly sign up for the next flight if you haven't already.

The first Halo Infinite beta test focused primarily on Arena matches against AI bots, weapon drills, and a brief stint of Arena PvP before access to the test build closed. Players were also able to interact with a limited version of Halo Infinite's customization and progression systems. The current beta is centered strongly around Arena and Big Team Battle PvP, and it also includes a new training mode that allows players to practice against bots with "training wheels" like invincibility and infinite ammo. It also features a new map called Behemoth and a creative new weapon called the Shock Rifle that shoots deadly electric bolts. These bolts can ricochet off of players or map objects and hit other players in the immediate vicinity, giving it a unique functionality.

Unlike the previous beta, the current one is also being split up across two different weekends. Players will be able to try out Arena PvP from Sept. 24 to Sept. 26, while Big Team Battle PvP will be available from Oct. 1 to Oct. 3. PvP sessions will only be available during specified playtimes of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT / 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET. Training mode, weapon drills, and customization content can be accessed at any time. However, access to the beta will close on 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET each Monday.

Halo Infinite is expected to launch on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One, and Windows 10 (and Windows 11) PCs on Dec. 8, 2021. With any luck, it will end up being one of the best Xbox games ever.

A new journey awaits

Halo Infinite

$60 at Microsoft $60 at Amazon $60 at Best Buy $60 at Steam

The next big adventure

Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021 and Gamescom, we can't wait for the full release.

Here's everything we know about the next Halo Infinite beta

Join the Halo Insider Program today, Spartan.

343 Industries and Microsoft are planning to launch Halo Infinite later in 2021, and based on what was said during the Xbox E3 2021 show, 343 Industries is planning to use the Halo Insider Program to roll out test flights before the game launches. These test flights help the developers identify and fix bugs that may have otherwise gone unnoticed (check out my spotlight of the Master Chief Collection's incredible 2020 journey to see just how effective Insider flighting has been for 343 Industries thus far), and they also give fans an opportunity to go hands-on with Halo projects before they release.

Considering the game in question is Halo Infinite, that's quite an exciting prospect. You'll need to sign up for the Halo Insider Program to have a chance at participating in Halo Infinite beta playtests, but thankfully the process to do so isn't difficult at all and will only take a few minutes. Here's a quick guide on how to sign up and become a Halo Insider.

Halo Infinite beta:

What is the Halo Infinite beta and 'flighting'?

Test flights are periods of time in which 343 Industries provides Halo Insiders with access to a test build of a game. These flights usually last about a week or two and are active 24 hours a day, but could be shorter or longer and may also have more specific start and end times. The content available in the flight can vary widely depending on what 343 Industries wants to test. For Halo Infinite, we expect that the flights will focus on the multiplayer primarily, but may include campaign content down the line.

Halo Infinite's flights will operate mostly the same way, with the Halo Infinite team planning to release different technical previews and betas for players to test, each with a different focus. The goal is for 343i to collect information they otherwise wouldn't be able to collect on their own, in order to "stress test" Halo Infinite ahead of a wider launch.

When is the start time and date for the Halo Infinite beta?

  • Last flight: The previous Halo Infinite beta flight ran from Thursday, Jul. 29, 2021, until Monday, Aug. 2, 2021.
  • Next flight: The current Halo Infinite beta flight will run from Friday, Sept. 24, 2021 until Monday, Sept. 27, 2021 and Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 until Monday, Oct. 4, 2021.

The first official Halo Infinite beta test flight recently took place on Xbox One, Xbox Series X and Series S, and Windows 10 PCs (via Steam). When future flights occur, Halo Insiders should check their email address and their profile on Halo Waypoint to see if they were chosen to participate in the flight. If so, they should then follow the official instructions on how to download the Halo Infinite beta. Notably, all players who registered as a Halo Insider before Sept. 13, 2021, are able to participate in the second test flight according to 343 Industries.

Access to the second beta is now live, but the flight will only have matchmaking active at specific times during each test day. These times are as follows:

  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT / 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET
  • 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET

The Halo Infinite Insider program will likely feature multiple flights spread across several weeks or even months in the future, so there is no definitive start or end time for all Halo Infinite testing. Most of the flights will likely live relatively short lives before 343i and the Halo community moves on to the next one, so we'll update this section and our guide below regularly.

If you want to stay up to date with every Halo Infinite flight as it happens, be sure to bookmark our ultimate guide for the Halo Infinite beta schedule and start time, which will include dates and related times for every flight as it happens.

What can I expect from the Halo Infinite beta?

Players can expect Halo Infinite's beta tests to be centered around the game's action-packed and sandbox-driven multiplayer experience. Halo Infinite's multiplayer has been broken down by 343 Industries in a recent overview, with the developers explaining that the core focus of the game is to encourage players to use anything they can find on the map to take down other players skillfully and creatively. Flights will test a lot of aspects of the game, including Halo Infinite's weapons and Halo Infinite's maps and locations.

In terms of game modes, we know that traditional Arena modes, as well as the brand new Halo Infinite Big Team Battle with 24 players will be available for beta testing. It's also possible that campaign content will enter beta testing at some point, too, but right now there's no official word on this.

Every flight will likely focus on a different element of Halo Infinite, with 343i wanting to collate feedback and suggestions to help push Halo Infinite to the finish line. Early flights of the Halo Infinite beta, called technical previews, will focus more on the foundational technologies of the game and will likely be very rough around the edges. To keep track, be sure to bookmark our guide on all the Halo Infinite beta known bugs and issues.

What are all the flights in the Halo Infinite beta?

We're expecting Halo Infinite to feature multiple flights and beta builds on the road to launch later this year, and it could become easy to lose track of them over time. We're going to update this section regularly with every Halo Infinite flight, what content they covered, and how Halo Infinite has evolved with the help of the passionate Halo community.

The first flight

Halo Infinite's first flight was a technical preview that focused on early stress tests for Halo Infinite's servers and commerce engines, and various elements of the game, including:

  • Arena maps. Three maps (Bazaar, Recharge, and Live Fire) from the Arena game mode were introduced in the first Halo Infinite test, letting players explore the environments for themselves.
  • Gameplay vs. bots. On the three aforementioned maps, players were able to square up against the newly introduced bots, which are positioned as a way for new players to become accustomed to the game through the new Halo Academy.
  • Gameplay vs. players. During the evening of Aug. 1, the developers briefly enabled Arena PvP between players.
  • Weapon drills. Players were also able to use an assortment of Halo Infinite weapons for the first time through the Halo Academy weapon drills. The weapons featured included:
    • MA40 AR
    • BR75
    • MK50 Sidekick
    • CQS48 Bulldog
    • Needler
    • VK78 Commando
    • S7 Sniper
    • Plasma Pistol
    • Pulse Carbine
    • Ravager
    • Heatwave
    • Skewer
  • Battle Pass and menu UI. An important aspect of any game is the UI players use to navigate, and 343i is looking for feedback here. Players were able to test the Halo Infinite menus, customization, and Battle Pass UI. Players were even given a bit of Halo Infinite currency to help with the testing, although anything that was unlocked will not carry over to the main game.
  • New Halo Waypoint. Halo Waypoint is being rebuilt from the ground up for Halo Infinite, including a new mobile app. The first Halo Infinite technical preview included the first tests for the new Waypoint experience on web, Android, and iOS.

If you want to learn more about the first Halo Infinite flight, you can check out the stream above (which also includes plenty of hands-on footage of Halo Infinite, including debut Halo Infinite footage on Xbox One and a full match played on Xbox Series X).

The first Halo Infinite flight ran from July 29 to Aug. 2, 2021, and was available through Steam for PC players. Because this was the first Halo Infinite flight, the number of players that were invited to participate is relatively small. Future flights should include many more players.

The second flight

Developers have provided some details about what to expect in the second Halo Infinite test flight in the July "Inside Infinite" blog post as well as within a recent Halo Infinite Development Update video. Here's what you can expect:

  • Arena PvP. The developers have confirmed that future flights will include a longer and more focused test of Halo Infinite's Arena PvP modes.
  • Big Team Battle. 343 Industries has also confirmed that it's planning on testing Big Team Battle, Halo Infinite's premiere 12v12 game mode, in the second test flight.
  • Behemoth and Fragmentation maps. Two maps we know about but haven't been able to play yet are Behemoth and Fragmentation, both of which appear to be Big Team Battle maps based on trailer footage. Behemoth features sandy terrain that reminds us of Zanzibar/Last Resort from Halo 2 and 3, while Fragmentation looks a lot like Valhalla from Halo 3 and 4. We expect to be able to play on both of these maps during any future Big Team Battle tests.
  • Vehicle combat. Big Team Battle wouldn't be Big Team Battle without vehicles, so we anticipate their presence in the second flight if it includes the mode. Light vehicles may appear in Arena tests as well, as the developers have confirmed that they'll be in some of the game's Arena maps. Some of the vehicles we're expecting to see based on previous trailers include:
    • Warthog
    • Rocket Warthog
    • Razorback
    • Mongoose
    • Ghost
    • Chopper
    • Wraith
    • Wasp
    • Banshee
    • Scorpion
  • Expanded customization test. Though the initial Halo Infinite flight only included a small number of customization items to unlock and use, we anticipate that the developers will want to expand what's available to beta players in the future to test the unlock system thoroughly.

In terms of when players can expect the second Halo Infinite beta flight to begin, we know that it's slated to launch on Sept. 23, 2021, although matchmaking won't begin until the day after on Sept. 24. The second weekend of the testing begins on Sept. 30, 2021, though matchmaking will again not be available until Oct. 1, 2021.

How can I sign up for the Halo Infinite beta?

The Halo Insider Program is 343 Industries' official system for testing upcoming Halo experiences, and it proved itself very effective with the Master Chief Collection. Both Xbox and PC players (through Steam and the Windows 10 Store) can sign up for the program, and since Halo Infinite will be released on both of those platforms, testing will likely be done on both platforms for the game.

To get started with your registration, follow the steps below.

  1. Visit the Halo Insider page on Halo Waypoint.
  2. Click Signup.
  3. Under "Sign in to your Xbox Live account," click Sign In.
  4. Sign in with your Microsoft Account credentials.

  5. Grant Halo Waypoint access to your Xbox Live information if requested.
  6. Confirm that you are 18 or older.
  7. Confirm that you agree to the Halo Insider Program Confidentiality Statement.
  8. Click Join the Program.

  9. In the provided fields, enter your preferred email, location, time zone, and experience with Halo games.
  10. Click Continue.
  11. If you're an Xbox player, click Yes when asked if you'd like to be considered for console flighting.
  12. Fill out your console ownership and setup details and then click Continue.

  13. If you're a PC player, click Yes when asked if you'd like to be considered for PC flighting.
  14. Follow the on-screen instructions to obtain and upload your PC specifications with Windows 10's DirectX Diagnostic.
  15. If you use Steam, click the Link Steam Account button and login with your Steam credentials.
  16. Click Continue.

  17. When asked about flight availability, select the days and times you are typically available for test sessions.
  18. Click Complete Signup.
  19. Open the Halo Insider email sent to your provided address.
  20. Click Verify my Email Address in the email.

You're done! Your Halo Insider profile will automatically pop up once you're finished, and your information can be edited at any time if something changes. Keep in mind that the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles haven't been listed as consoles you can say you use yet, so if you own one of these consoles, check back frequently and select the appropriate option when it's added. You'll also need to sign up for the Xbox Insider Program if you play on Xbox since you'll need access to the Xbox Insider Hub application.

Will there be rewards in the Halo Infinite beta?

Previous Halo betas and flights have granted certain rewards to testers, like unique nameplates and other cosmetic items, but it's not been clear whether that will be the case for Halo Infinite.

What we do know is that players should assume that any progression or unlocks in a Halo Infinite flight will not carry over to the main game, including purchases and cosmetic items. In fact, the first Halo Infinite flight gives players a load of in-game currency and encourages them to buy everything they can (to test the commerce engine).

It has been confirmed that Halo Infinite Insiders will get a unique nameplate when Halo Infinite launches that was also present in Halo 5 and partially in Halo: The MCC, so there's at least one reward heading our way for helping to shape Halo Infinite.

Will there be an open beta for Halo Infinite?

While Insider test flighting is confirmed, many wonder if a traditional public beta will be held for the game. At the time of writing, this is unclear. Many believe that 343 Industries will hold a beta because, in a 2015 interview with Game Informer, Head of 343 Industries Bonnie Ross stated that all future Halo titles would have a beta following the disastrous launch of The Master Chief Collection.

"Going forward, you will never see a Halo game coming out without a beta. It (The Master Chief Collection) was obviously painful for our fans and for us," Ross said. "But it won't happen again."

However, it's also entirely possible that 343 Industries considers Insider test flighting to fit the definition of what a "beta" is. It's also important to keep in mind that Ross's comments were made years before the Halo Insider Program was created; the Insider Program may be a system that 343 Industries developed for long-term use to keep its word. Ultimately, only time will tell whether Halo Infinite will have a traditional-style open beta.

When is the release date for Halo Infinite?

Halo Infinite is expected to release in Holiday 2021 on the Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows 10 PCs. It's expected to cost $60 when it releases (the multiplayer is free to play) and it will hopefully end up being one of the best Xbox games. In the meantime, we highly recommend the Master Chief Collection, which bundles all of the pre-Xbox One Halo shooters for an incredible price.

The next adventure in the saga

Halo Infinite

$60 at Best Buy $60 at Microsoft $60 at Steam

A new Great Journey awaits

Halo Infinite is sure to be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta experience and what was seen at E3 2021, we can't wait to play it at launch.

Finish the Fight

Halo: The Master Chief Collection

$40 at Microsoft (Xbox One) $40 at Microsoft (PC) $40 at Steam

Experience the entirety of Halo history

The Master Chief Collection is a collection of every Halo shooter from the pre-Xbox One era, offering incredible value at an incredible price.

The Halo Infinite beta is live on Xbox and PC, focuses on Arena PvP

Big Team Battle is coming next weekend.

What you need to know

  • The Halo Infinite beta is now live on Xbox and PC.
  • The test will run throughout the weekend, but there will also be another test next weekend.
  • This weekend's test focuses on Arena PvP, while next weekend's will focus on both Arena and Big Team Battle.
  • The beta also has a training mode where players can play against bots offline with "training wheels" features like god mode and infinite ammo.
  • PvP and bot AI matchmaking begin on Sept. 24 and are only available between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT / 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET. Training mode and weapon drills are always available.
  • This weekend's test includes a new map called Behemoth as well as a new weapon called the Shock Rifle.

The Halo Infinite beta is now live on both Xbox and PC, provided you signed up to be a Halo Insider and were invited to participate in the test. Based on what the developer has shared regarding the Halo Infinite beta schedule, the beta will be available until Monday, Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. PT / 1 p.m. ET. At this time, access to the test build will close. Access will reopen during the following weekend from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3, however.

In terms of what content players can enjoy during the beta test, 4v4 Arena PvP will be available during this weekend's test while 12v12 Big Team Battle and Arena will be available next weekend. Players will be able to play on a new vehicular Arena map called Behemoth, and will also be able to use a new weapon called the Shock Rifle that deals lots of damage and can arc off of players and map objects. Additionally, players will also have access to matchmaking against AI bots as well as an offline training mode that allows players to play against bots with "training wheel" features like invincibility or infinite ammo.

Concept art of the Behemoth map.

Unlike the previous Halo Infinite beta test, matchmaking against other players and AI bots will only be active during certain hours on each testing day. Specifically, matchmaking will only be available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT / 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET and from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET. Players are be able to access the training mode, weapon drills, and customization content before, after, and between these playtimes.

If you signed up for the Halo Insider program before Sept. 13, 2021, you'll be able to participate in this beta test. Make sure you check your email and your Halo Insider profile for everything you need to get in the game (also, refer to our Halo Infinite beta download guide).

Halo Infinite is expected to launch in full on Dec. 8, 2021. The campaign costs $60, but the multiplayer suite will be completely free-to-play. Halo Infinite preorders are also available now, and there are a few different editions to choose from that come with special bonuses and collectibles.

A new journey awaits

Halo Infinite

$60 at Microsoft $60 at Amazon $60 at Best Buy $60 at Steam

The next big adventure

Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021 and Gamescom, we can't wait for the full release.

Hyperkin announces Cortana Edition Duke Xbox controller

The controller is striking. Are you going to get one?

What you need to know

  • Hyperkin has announced a Cortana Edition Duke Xbox Controller.
  • The controller uses a wired connection and features precision analog triggers and vibration feedback.
  • The controller features a deep purple color similar to the color of Cortana in Halo: Combat Evolved. It also has an image of Cortana herself on the right side.
  • The controller can be preordered now for $80 and is expected to release on Nov. 15, 2021, which is Halo: Combat Evolved's 20th Anniversary.

Following the success of the Hyperkin Duke Xbox One controller, Hyperkin has chosen to create a brand new version of its callback to the original Xbox controller with the Cortana Edition Duke Xbox controller. This version of the controller, created in celebration of 20 years of Halo, has a deep purple color reminiscent of Cortana in Halo: Combat Evolved. The design also prominently features a picture of Cortana herself on the right side of the controller, and there's even a small Cortana "montage" video built into the Xbox button that plays when you press it.

The controller, like the original Hyperkin Duke, also comes with precision analog triggers and vibration feedback. It uses a wired connection and is compatible with both Xbox consoles and Windows PCs. The huge chassis may be difficult to use if you have small hands, but most people generally don't have issues using the Duke otherwise.

Do you think the controller is one of the best Xbox accessories for retro players, or are you not a fan? Let us know in the comments. The Cortana Edition Duke Xbox controller is expected to release on Nov. 15, 2021, which is Halo: Combat Evolved's 20th Anniversary. The controller costs $90 and can be preordered now from Hyperkin's website.

Bet you can't stick it

Hyperkin Cortana Edition Duke Xbox controller

$90 at Hyperkin

A blast from the past

This Cortana version of Hyperkin's Duke is quite a striking option if you're looking for a retro-style Xbox controller.

Halo Infinite concept art treasure trove released ahead of beta launch

"Beautiful" doesn't even begin to describe these artworks.

What you need to know

  • 343 Industries has shared over 60 pieces of official Halo Infinite concept art.
  • The artworks were shared ahead of the launch of the Halo Infinite beta.
  • Hundreds of concept art pieces like these will be available in the upcoming artbook The Art of Halo Infinite by Dark Horse Comics.

Ahead of the launch of the next Halo Infinite beta later this evening, 343 Industries has chosen to publicly release over 60 pieces of concept art in a new blog post. In the post, 343 Industries' Head of Creative Joe Staten explained that due to a mistake, several concept images were included in the files of the beta test build that is being deployed to Halo Insiders later today. Instead of delaying the beta test so that the images could be removed from the build, the studio instead decided to share all of the concept artwork ahead of time. Staten confirmed that none of the images spoil the Halo Infinite campaign in any way.

"This art represents a wide range of ideas that we explored early in pre-production and that we planned to share at a later date, as part of Infinite's pre-launch promotion and other initiatives such as the upcoming "The Art of Halo Infinite" from our partners at Dark Horse," Staten said. "For a time, we used these images as loading screens for internal studio builds — and that's how they accidentally ended up in the Tech Preview build."

Have a look at some of the concept pieces below (the rest are available to download in the post):

If you enjoy concept artworks like these and want to see more, the upcoming artbook The Art of Halo Infinite from Dark Horse Comics will be a must-buy for you. The book will contain hundreds of concept images like these, and if it's anything like previous Halo concept art books, it will also contain lots of details about how and why 343 Industries' art teams designed Halo Infinite's world, characters, weapons, vehicles, and more the way they did. The book is expected to release on Dec. 14, 2021 and can be preordered for $36.

Halo Infinite itself is expected to officially launch on Dec. 8, 2021, and the second beta is expected to go live this evening. For more details on the beta, including when it will be available and what content it will include, review our coverage of the Halo Infinite beta schedule and check out our guide on how the Halo Infinite beta download process works. When the game launches in full, the campaign will cost $60 but the multiplayer will be free-to-play.

Amazing artwork

The Art of Halo Infinite

$36 at Amazon

The foundations for Halo Infinite's world

The Art of Halo Infinite will feature hundreds of artwork pieces that showcase how 343 Industries' artists conceptualized the world of Halo Infinite from the ground up.

A new journey awaits

Halo Infinite

$60 at Microsoft $60 at Amazon $60 at Best Buy $60 at Steam

The next big adventure

Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021 and Gamescom, we can't wait for the full release.

À partir d’avant-hierMicrosoft

We pit the Surface Pro 8 against the legendary Dell XPS 13

Best overall

Dell XPS 13 (9310)

From $951 at Dell

Pros

  • Excellent specs
  • Plenty of RAM and storage options
  • 4K display option
  • Less expensive
  • No separate keyboard purchase

Cons

  • Less flexible overall
  • Worse battery life
  • No 120Hz display option

The Dell XPS 13 will be the better choice for most people since it has a lower price and more display options. However, the clamshell design makes the Dell XPS 13 less flexible than the Surface Pro 8, and it also has worse (albeit good) battery life.

Best convertible

Surface Pro 8

From $1,100 at Microsoft

Pros

  • Excellent specs
  • Plenty of RAM and storage
  • More flexible overall
  • Better battery life
  • 120Hz display

Cons

  • More expensive
  • No 4K display option
  • Type Cover sold separately

The Surface Pro 8 is one of the Dell XPS 13's closest competitors due to its equally superb specs and its convertible design, but it's more expensive. Also, the Type Cover is sold separately, meaning you have to spend even more.

Overall, the Dell XPS 13 will be the better choice for most people due to the fact that it's more affordable across the board and doesn't require purchasing the keyboard separately. With that said, the Surface Pro 8 is a phenomenal device that goes toe-to-toe with the Dell XPS 13's specs, and also offers additional flexibility thanks to its convertible nature and slightly better battery life.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Surface Pro 8: Clamshell or convertible?

In several ways, the Dell XPS 13 and the Surface Pro 8 are very similar. Both devices feature near-identical CPU and GPU specs, and both also have tons of options for lots of RAM and storage (the Dell XPS 13 has an additional option for a 2TB SSD as well as a microSD slot). Both also have fantastic displays; the Dell XPS 13 even has a 4K variant available, though the Surface Pro 8 has the edge in terms of refresh rate as its display is 120Hz. The devices both also support Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0, though the Surface Pro 8 can also be configured with LTE connectivity if you want internet connectivity on the go and don't mind the increased cost or the impact on battery life.

Dell XPS 13 Surface Pro 8
CPU Intel i3-1115G4
Intel i5-1135G7
i7-1185G7
Intel i3-1115G4
Intel i5-1135G7
Intel i5-1145G7
Intel i7-1185G7
GPU Intel UHD Graphics
Intel Xe Graphics
Intel Iris Graphics
Intel Xe Graphics
Memory 8GB
16GB
32GB
8GB
16GB
32GB
Storage 256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD
128GB SSD
256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
Display 13.4-inch FHD+ 1920x1200 60Hz InfinityEdge non-touch anti-glare display (500 nits)
13.4-inch FHD+ 1920x1200 60Hz InfinityEdge touch anti-glare display (500 nits)
13.4-inch OLED 3.5K 3456x2160 60Hz InfinityEdge touch anti-reflective display (400 nits)
13.4-inch UHD 4K 3840x2400 60Hz InfinityEdge touch anti-reflective display (500 nits)
13-inch 2880x1920 (267 PPI) 120Hz PixelSense Flow touch display
Biometrics Windows Hello-compatible camera Windows Hello-compatible camera
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4
1x microSD card slot
1x 3.5mm headphone/mic combo
2x Thunderbolt 4
1x Surface Connect
1x 3.5mm headphone/mic combo
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
LTE (optional)
Battery 10-14 hours Up to 16 hours
Dimensions 0.58 x 11.64 x 7.82 inches 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches
Weight Up to 2.8 pounds 1.96 pounds
Price Starts at $1,000 Starts at $1,100

The primary things that separate the Dell XPS 13 and the Surface Pro 8 are pricing and form factor. Every single configuration of the Dell XPS 13 is more affordable than their Surface Pro 8 equivalent, which makes the XPS 13 more affordable and accessible overall — especially since the Surface Pro 8's Type Cover keyboard is sold separately. That being said, the convertible design of the Pro 8 does make it more flexible, and its Type Cover even comes with a handy slot for charging and storing a Surface Slim Pen 2.

Dell XPS 13 vs. Surface Pro 8: Which should you buy?

While both the Dell XPS 13 and Surface Pro 8 are fantastic, we ultimately feel that the Dell XPS 13 will be better for most people since it delivers the same top-notch performance as the Surface Pro 8 for a lower cost. There's also an option for a 4K display, a 2TB SSD, and a slot for additional microSD storage that you can take advantage of.

If you want the versatility of a convertible, slightly better battery life, LTE connectivity, or a 120Hz display, the Surface Pro 8 is a superb alternative. It may be more expensive than the Dell XPS 13, but it's one of the best Microsoft Surface PCs yet, and we definitely recommend getting it if its advantages appeal to you.

For more high-quality options to consider, don't miss our roundup of the best Windows laptops available.

Best overall

Dell XPS 13 (9310)

The king holds onto its crown

From $951 at Dell $1,693 at Amazon

The Dell XPS 13 will be the better choice for most people since it has a lower price and more display options. However, the clamshell design makes the Dell XPS 13 less flexible than the Surface Pro 8, and it also has worse (albeit good) battery life.

Best convertible

Surface Pro 8

Arguably the best Surface yet

From $1,100 at Microsoft

The Surface Pro 8 is one of the Dell XPS 13's closest competitors due to its equally superb specs and its convertible design, but it's more expensive. Also, the Type Cover is sold separately, meaning you have to spend even more.

Which Surface Pro models does Kensington's SD7000 Docking Station support?

Best answer: The Kensington SD7000 Docking Station supports the Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 5, Surface Pro 6, and Surface Pro 7.

Why get a Kensington SD7000 Docking Station?

The thing that makes the Kensington SD7000 Docking Station so great is that it allows you to turn your Surface device into a minimalist home PC. It's sturdy and well-built, constructed with a combination of plastic and metal, which makes it fantastic for holding your Surface Pro securely in place. In addition, it also has a massive array of ports, including:

  • 1x USB Type-C (data only)
  • 4x USB Type-A 3.0
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • DisplayPort++ v1.2
  • HDMI 2.0
  • 3.5mm combo audio port

These different ports can be used to connect your Surface to external monitor displays or data storage devices. Lastly, the station has a wide range of movement, which gives you the freedom to adjust the screen angle and height to something that works best for you.

Which Surface Pro works best with this station?

The Kensington SD7000 Docking Station works with several recent Surface Pro devices: the Surface Pro 4, Surface Pro 5, Surface Pro 6, Surface Pro 7, and 2021's Surface Pro 7+.

It does not work with Surface Pro 8.

However, which one should you choose?

All five of these are great, but the Surface Pro that will take advantage of this docking station the most is the Surface Pro 7+ due to the large improvements in processing power and the better GPU. Both of these improvements positively impact everything you do on a computer, so it's worth spending the extra money on the newest Surface model for this reason.

It's important to note that Surface Pro 7 is for consumers, whereas Surface Pro 7+ is more for business, but anyone can buy it. The Pro 7+ has a larger battery and newer 11th Gen Intel CPUs, including an option for LTE, which makes it a better choice over the older Surface Pro 7.

If you want to play some video games, then the Surface Pro 7+'s hardware advantages are a must-have. Previous Surface devices have never been that good for gaming due to the lack of power, but the Surface Pro 7+'s improvements make it the first one that can handle PC games admirably. You won't be able to use the highest graphics options, but you can still make games run great and look good enough to play with some settings tweaks.

Best docking station

Kensington SD7000 Docking Station

$400 at Amazon $424 at Walmart

From Surface Pro to PC

The Kensington SD7000 Docking Station is a fantastic dock that gives you the power to turn your Surface Pro into a mini-PC.

Best Surface Pro

Surface Pro 7+

$900 at Microsoft

Big things in a small package

The Surface Pro 7+ is the strongest Surface Pro device Microsoft has made yet, featuring large improvements to both CPU and GPU power.

We matched the Surface Pro 8 against the Surface Book 3

Best overall

Surface Pro 8

From $1,100 at Microsoft

Pros

  • Better CPU options
  • Better integrated graphics
  • Can be configured with LTE
  • Better ports
  • More affordable

Cons

  • Worse GPU options
  • Slightly worse battery life
  • Smaller storage maximum

The upcoming Surface Pro 8 will be the better choice for most people overall due to its stronger CPUs, better integrated graphics, LTE availability, and its more useful selection of ports. However, people who need options for raw graphics horsepower will be better served by the Surface Book 3.

Best power

Surface Book 3

From $1,600 at Microsoft

Pros

  • Better GPU options
  • Slightly better battery life
  • Larger storage maximum

Cons

  • Worse CPU options
  • Worse integrated graphics
  • Can't be configured with LTE
  • Worse ports
  • More expensive

If you need a laptop that can deliver lots of GPU power for gaming, rendering, or editing, the Surface Book 3 will be ideal for you. It also has a higher storage maximum and slightly better battery life compared to the Surface Pro 8. Unfortunately, it has weaker processors, worse ports, and it can't be configured with LTE.

Overall, the Surface Pro 8 is the better choice for most people thanks to its cutting-edge CPUs, capable integrated graphics, LTE option, better ports, and lower price. With that said, don't overlook the Surface Book 3 if you're in need of a device with lots of GPU power. It may not have the best processors or ports, but it's got enough juice in the graphics department to power everything from gaming to advanced 3D rendering.

Surface Pro 8 vs. Book 3: Processing or graphics?

The main difference between the Surface Pro 8 and the Surface Book 3 is that the former has top-of-the-line processors, while the latter can be outfitted with some beefy graphics horsepower. The Surface Pro 8 has a wide range of 11th Gen Intel CPUs available that outperform the Book 3's 10th Gen options, but the Book 3 can be configured with powerful GPUs like the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti and the NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000. The integrated Intel Xe Graphics in the Surface Pro 8 are better than the Book 3's aging Intel Iris Plus integrated graphics, but if you're serious about getting a strong GPU for gaming, video editing, or 3D rendering work, the Surface Book 3 is the clear winner. Both devices can be configured with up to 32GB of RAM, and both have excellent touch displays with high resolutions and quality color gamuts.

Surface Pro 8 Surface Book 3
CPU Intel i3-1115G4
Intel i5-1135G7
Intel i5-1145G7
Intel i7-1185G7
Intel i5-1035G7
Intel i7-1065G7
GPU Intel Iris Graphics
Intel Xe Graphics
Intel Iris Plus
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
NVIDIA Quadro RTX 3000
Memory 8GB
16GB
32GB
8GB
16GB
32GB
Storage 128GB SSD
256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
2TB SSD
Display 13-inch 2880x1920 (267 PPI) PixelSense Flow touch display 13.5-inch 3000x2000 (267 PPI) touch display
15-inch 3240x2160 (260 PPI) touch display
Audio Dual speakers with Dolby Atmos Dual speakers with Dolby Atmos
Biometrics Windows Hello-compatible camera Windows Hello-compatible camera
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4
1x Surface Connect
1x 3.5mm headphone/mic combo
2x USB-A
1x USB-C
2x Surface Connect
1x SDXC card reader
1x 3.5mm headphone/mic combo
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
LTE (optional)
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
Battery Up to 16 hours Up to 17.5 hours
Dimensions 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches 12.3 x 9.14 x 0.51 inches
13.5 x 9.87 x 0.568 inches
Weight 1.96 pounds Up to 4.20 pounds

Outside of the CPU and GPU department, the Surface Pro 8 comes out on top with its modern ports, which notably includes Thunderbolt 4. The Pro 8 can also be outfitted with LTE connectivity for more effective mobile usage, and it also has a considerably lower price tag overall. The Surface Book 3 has a few advantages too — namely, an option for a 2TB SSD and a slightly better battery life — but we ultimately feel that unless you have a specific need for a powerful dedicated GPU in your laptop, you should get the Surface Pro 8.

Surface Pro 8 vs. Book 3: Which should you buy?

Both the Surface Pro 8 and the Surface Book 3 are incredibly attractive devices that are sure to make anyone happy, but between them, we think that the Surface Pro 8 will be the better choice for most people since the improved performance of its 11th Gen Intel processors will be very valuable for productivity and recreation. It also has Intel's advanced Xe integrated graphics available, which are strong enough to handle everything from the basics to light gaming and media editing. It's also got modern Thunderbolt 4 ports and a lower price, too.

Don't overlook the Surface Book 3 if you need a specialized Surface that packs lots of GPU horsepower, however. Its 10th Gen Intel CPUs aren't as good as the 11th Gen ones found in the Surface Pro 8, but its various NVIDIA GPU options crush the Surface Pro 8's Intel Xe integrated graphics when it comes to serious gaming and advanced video editing or 3D rendering tasks. It can also be configured with more storage and has a slightly better battery life as well.

If neither of these PCs are right for you, make sure to check out our roundup of the best Windows laptops available.

Best overall

Surface Pro 8

Best all-around option

From $1,100 at Microsoft

The upcoming Surface Pro 8 will be the better choice for most people overall due to its stronger CPUs, better integrated graphics, LTE availability, and its more useful selection of ports. However, people who need options for raw graphics horsepower will be better served by the Surface Book 3.

Best power

Surface Book 3

Heavy duty

From $1,600 at Microsoft $2,700 at Amazon

If you need a laptop that can deliver lots of GPU power for gaming, rendering, or editing, the Surface Book 3 will be ideal for you. It also has a higher storage maximum and slightly better battery life compared to the Surface Pro 8. Unfortunately, it has weaker processors, worse ports, and it can't be configured with LTE.

Surface Go 3 specs: Will new Intel processors be the difference maker?

Not much has changed with Surface Go 3, but what has changed is significant.

At the recent Microsoft Surface 2021 event, Microsoft unveiled the Surface Go 3, the third iteration of the ultra-portable tablet that has been shaking up the industry ever since the original was released in 2018. Thanks to its tiny 10-inch size and low price tag, the Surface Go line has been hugely beneficial for students, budget buyers, and people who need a device that's extremely easy to carry.

Something that a lot of people don't like about the Surface Go and Surface Go 2, however, is how limited its performance capabilities are. The Intel Pentium Gold 4415Y and 4425Y processors that the base models of previous Surface Go devices shipped with just weren't powerful enough to provide an ideal user experience. The Surface Go 2's optional Intel Core m3-8100Y helped, but the device's performance still felt dated compared to many competing convertible laptops. This was somewhat expected given the Surface Go's tiny chassis and rock-bottom price range, but it was still disappointing regardless.

With the Surface Go 3, Microsoft has addressed the CPU issues of previous generations by refreshing the Surface Go with two new processor options: the entry-level Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y and a 10th-Gen Intel Core i3-10100Y, both of which are significantly more capable than the Surface Go processors of yesteryear. Other improvements include a small bump to battery life (10 hours to 11 hours) and the presence of Wi-Fi 6, but beyond that, the Surface Go 3 isn't very different from its predecessors. Have a look at the official specs below:

Category Surface Go 3
Operating system Windows 11
Display 10.5 inches, 3:2 aspect ratio
1920x1280 (220 PPI) resolution
Processor Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y
Intel Core i3-10100Y
Memory 4GB
8GB
Storage 64GB eMMC
128GB SSD
256GB SSD
Expandable storage microSD
Surface Pen 4,096 levels of pressure, tilt support
Camera 5MP front-facing with Windows Hello
8MP rear auto-focus
Security Windows Hello face sign-in
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6: IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax compatible, Bluetooth Wireless 5.0
LTE Advanced Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE Modem
Ports 1x USB-C, 1x Surface Connect, microSDXC card reader, 3.5mm headphone jack
Audio 2W stereo speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
Battery Up to 11 hours
Dimensions 9.65 x 6.9 x 0.33 inches (245mm x 175mm x 8.3mm)
Price Starting at $399

The fact that Microsoft isn't making any significant changes to the design of the Surface Go with this latest model may disappoint some, but did the Surface Go need any changes? As my colleague Daniel Rubino noted in his Surface Go 2 review, the design of the device was already impeccable. The issue was that Microsoft couldn't find a way to get more CPU horsepower into the 10-inch chassis, but that problem has now been solved — on paper, at least. We won't know how well the Surface Go 3 performs in practice until we get our hands on it, but all signs point to a significantly faster and smoother user experience.

The addition of more battery life and Wi-Fi 6 compatibility are nothing to scoff at, either. Even though these are minor improvements, an extra hour of battery life or a faster and more reliable Wi-Fi experience can be seriously helpful in situations where you're going to be away from a charger for a long time or have sensitive work to do and can't afford to deal with Wi-Fi connection mishaps.

What are your thoughts on the Surface Go 3? Do you think it could end up being one of the best Microsoft Surface PCs, or do you think that Microsoft should be doing more with this new version of the device? Let us know. Notably, Surface Go 3 preorders are now available with a starting price of $399.

The little Surface that could

Surface Go 3

From $399 at Microsoft

The latest generation

The Surface Go 3 is the most advanced Surface Go yet, featuring snazzy modern Intel processors, improved battery life, and Wi-Fi 6 compatibility.

Titanfall future uncertain, according to Respawn

The beloved shooter franchise may never make a comeback.

What you need to know

  • Respawn Entertainment Community Coordinator Jason Garza has confirmed that "there's nothing there" for the future of Titanfall, Respawn's fast-paced shooter franchise.
  • Respawn has committed to maintaining Titanfall and Titanfall 2, however, and will continue to combat the recent surge of hackers and server problems.
  • Garza noted that Respawn has "too many other games in the works," indicating that we can expect new projects from the studio moving forward.

Update Sept. 22 (9:57 p.m. ET): Respawn has Tweeted that "Titanfall is the very core of our DNA," indicating that a new game may come in the future.

In the wake of the massive success of Respawn Entertainment's Apex Legends, many fans of the developer's 2014 shooter Titanfall and its 2017 sequel, Titanfall 2, have been concerned that the studio won't return to the Titanfall series in the future. These fears have unfortunately been confirmed during a recent livestream, in which Respawn Entertainment Community Coordinator Jason Garza stated that Respawn currently has no plans to make new Titanfall content.

"Don't get your hopes up, man. I've said this before. We don't have anything in the works," Garza said. "There's nothing. There's nothing there. We've got too many other games in the works right now."

This is devastating news for Titanfall fans, but there is a silver lining. In the comments of the stream, Garza confirmed that Respawn is developing solutions for the recent waves of hackers and server issues that have plagued Titanfall and Titanfall 2's multiplayer servers. "We are still working on the current situation, but as always, cant really telegraph those moves publicly," Garza said.

Notably, Garza's comments indicate that Respawn is working on several new games right now, which suggests that we may see new titles from the developer in the near (or far) future. They won't be Titanfall games, but perhaps they'll be part of a brand new first-person shooter IP that fans will love.

Titanfall 2 is currently available for $20 on Xbox and PC. The price often gets discounted down to $5, and you should get it when it does, as it's easily one of the best Xbox shooters available despite the game's recent issues.

Update Sept. 22 (9:57 p.m. ET) — Respawn responds

Respawn has responded by Tweeting that "Titanfall is the very core of our DNA" and ended the Tweet by saying "Who knows what the future holds," suggesting that a new Titanfall game may be developed by the studio moving forward.

An underrated gem

Titanfall 2

$20 at Microsoft (Xbox) $20 at Amazon (PC)

Futuristic warfare has never been cooler

Titanfall 2 is potentially the last game we'll ever get in the Titanfall series. Its "hyperkinetic" gameplay and unique Titan mechs make it an experience unlike any other.

The Surface Pro 8 and Surface Go 3 go head-to-head

Best overall

Surface Pro 8

From $1,100 at Microsoft

Pros

  • Better CPUs and graphics
  • More RAM and storage
  • Longer battery life
  • Better ports

Cons

  • Much more expensive
  • No microSDXC reader

The Surface Pro 8 will be the better choice for most people overall, as its stronger specs, battery life, and port selection make it ideal if you want a top-notch user experience. With that said, the Surface Go 3 is much more affordable and is also more capable than its predecessors, making it an excellent alternative.

Best budget

Surface Go 3

From $400 at Microsoft

Pros

  • Much less expensive
  • Has a microSDXC reader

Cons

  • Worse CPU and graphics
  • Less RAM and storage
  • Shorter battery life
  • Worse ports

The Surface Go 3 is an incredibly affordable alternative to the Surface Pro 8 that packs a solid amount of power into a small, compact package. The Surface Pro 8 will still be the better choice if you don't mind paying premium for excellent specs, a longer-lasting battery, and better ports, though.

We ultimately feel that due to its impressive specs, battery life, and port selection, the Surface Pro 8 will be the better choice overall for most people in this matchup. Don't overlook the Surface Go 3 if you need something less expensive, though, as the third iteration of Microsoft's 10-inch mini PC is the mightiest one yet.

Surface Pro 8 vs. Go 3: Power or affordability?

The primary difference between the Surface Pro 8 and the Surface Go 3 is the power of their specs. The Surface Pro 8 is the winner in this regard by far, as its 11th Gen Intel processors and integrated graphics are much better than the Surface Go 3's budget-friendly hardware. The Surface Pro 8 also comes with significantly more options for RAM and SSD storage capacity. Additionally, the Surface Pro 8 also comes with cutting edge Thunderbolt 4 ports and a battery that lasts five hours longer, making it the more flexible device overall.

Surface Pro 8 Surface Go 3
CPU Intel i3-1115G4
Intel i5-1135G7
Intel i5-1145G7
Intel i7-1185G7
Intel Pentium Gold 6500Y
Intel i3-10100Y
GPU Intel Iris Graphics
Intel Xe Graphics
Intel UHD Graphics 615
Memory 8GB
16GB
32GB
4GB
8GB
Storage 128GB SSD
256GB SSD
512GB SSD
1TB SSD
64GB eMMC
128GB SSD
256GB SSD
Display 13-inch 2880x1920 (267 PPI) PixelSense Flow touch display 10.5-inch 1920x1280 (220 PPI) PixelSense display
Audio Dual speakers with Dolby Atmos Dual speakers with Dolby Audio Premium
Biometrics Windows Hello-compatible camera Windows Hello-compatible camera
Ports 2x Thunderbolt 4
1x Surface Connect
1x 3.5mm headphone/mic combo
1x USB-C
1x Surface Connect
microSDXC card reader
1x 3.5mm headphone jack
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
LTE (optional)
Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
LTE (optional)
Battery Up to 16 hours Up to 11 hours
Dimensions 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches 9.65 x 6.9 x 0.33 inches
Weight 1.96 pounds 1.2 pounds
Price Starts at $1,100 Starts at $400

The Surface Go 3 has a few advantages of its own, however. It's much less expensive than the Surface Pro 8 is, which makes it an excellent alternative for people on a budget. The Surface Go 3 is also significantly more capable than previous Surface Go devices, which means that its performance is expected to be quite good even though the Surface Pro 8's will be much better. The Surface Go 3 also comes with a microSDXC card reader that you can use to add additional storage.

Surface Pro 8 vs. Go 3: Which should you buy?

Both the Surface Pro 8 and the Surface Go 3 look fantastic, and we expect both of them to end up being some of the best Microsoft Surface PCs available. With that said, we feel that the Surface Pro 8 will be better for most people since it has significantly better performance, battery life, and ports for peripherals or accessories. It may be more expensive, but it's also more versatile — especially since the new Surface Pro Type Cover includes a slot for the Surface Slim Pen 2 for charging and storage.

The Surface Go 3 isn't a device to scoff at, however, especially since it features snazzy new Intel CPU options that significantly outperform previous Surface Go processors. They may be weaker than the Surface Pro 8's 11th Gen offerings, but they're still pretty good for general computing. And when you consider that the Surface Go 3 only costs about a third of what the Surface Pro 8 does, it's clear to see why it's an excellent budget alternative.

For other great options, check out our roundup of the best 2-in-1 laptops and best Windows laptops.

Best overall

Surface Pro 8

Truly premium

From $1,100 at Microsoft

The Surface Pro 8 will be the better choice for most people overall, as its stronger specs, battery life, and port selection make it ideal if you want a top-notch user experience. With that said, the Surface Go 3 is much more affordable and is also more capable than its predecessors, making it an excellent alternative.

Best budget

Surface Go 3

The little guy

From $400 at Microsoft

The Surface Go 3 is an incredibly affordable alternative to the Surface Pro 8 that packs a solid amount of power into a small, compact package. The Surface Pro 8 will still be the better choice if you don't mind paying premium for excellent specs, a longer-lasting battery, and better ports, though.

Microsoft Office 2021: Everything we know

Microsoft's world-renowned productivity app suite is getting a 2021 version.

Microsoft Office, Microsoft's suite of productivity apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, has been immensely popular among both individuals and businesses for many, many years. The apps within Microsoft Office are some of the best Windows 10 apps available for completing work and schoolwork, and because of that, Microsoft Office has become the global standard for productivity. Every once in a while, Microsoft releases a new version of Office and its apps that feature several enhancements and additions. These improvements make the already-great Office user experience even better, which naturally leads to increased work efficiency.

The latest version of Microsoft Office to release was the 2019 variant, but Microsoft has recently announced that a new 2021 version of Office will launch in the near future. Here's everything you need to know about Microsoft Office 2021, including when it's releasing, where you'll be able to download it, what's new with the new version of Office, and more.

Microsoft Office 2021 release date

Microsoft has recently announced that the consumer version of Microsoft Office 2021 will release alongside Windows 11 on Oct. 5, 2021. Additionally, a special version of Office called Office LTSC that has most of the upgrades coming in Office 2021 was released on Sept. 16.

Based on comments from Microsoft's Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365 Jared Spataro, Office LTSC is meant for specific business circumstances rather than individual customers. "We have built Office LTSC for a limited set of specific situations: regulated devices that cannot accept feature updates for years at a time, process control devices on the manufacturing floor that are not connected to the internet, and specialty systems that must stay locked in time and require a long-term servicing channel."

For more information on how to get access to Office LTSC, check out Microsoft's Overview of Office LTSC 2021 and Deploy Office LTSC 2021 pages.

Microsoft Office 2021 system requirements

There aren't any publicly released system requirements for Microsoft Office 2021 yet. That being said, we don't expect that the system requirements between Office 2019 and Office 2021 will change much, if at all. Therefore, if you have a device that can support Office 2019, there's a very good chance it will also be able to run Office 2021 without issues. Here's a look at what Office 2019's system requirements are:

  • CPU: 1GHz dual-core processor
  • GPYU: DirectX 9 or higher with WDDM 2.0 or higher
  • Memory: 4GB RAM
  • Storage: 4GB of available space
  • Display: 1280x768 screen resolution
  • Browser: Current version of Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Chrome, or Firefox
  • .NET version: Some features require .NET 4.6 or higher
  • Other: Some Outlook features require Microsoft Edge WebView2

What's new with Microsoft Office 2021?

Compared to Microsoft Office 2019, Microsoft Office 2021 boasts several new improvements and enhancements. Here's a breakdown of the additions you can expect to see throughout the full Microsoft Office 2021 app suite:

General

  • Visual refresh designed with clean monoline iconography in mind
  • New stock media content
  • Microsoft Search bar in all apps for general search queries
  • Performance improvements
  • Updated Draw Tab with new Point Eraser, Ruler, and Lasso additions
  • Support for OpenDocument format 1.3
  • Sketched style outline option for shapes
  • Addition of a Hex color value box when picking colors

Microsoft Excel

  • XLOOKUP search for finding information in tables and ranges
  • Dynamic array functions, including FILTER, SORT, SORTBY, UNIQUE, SEQUENCE, and RANDARRAY
  • LET function that assigns names to calculation results
  • XMATCH function that searches for a specified item and then provides the item's relative position

Microsoft PowerPoint

  • Record Slide Show now features options for presenter video recording, ink recording and laser pointer recording
  • You can replay ink strokes to illustrate things step by step or visualize a thought process
  • You can see slide elements in screen-reading order and rearrange them as necessary

Microsoft Outlook

  • Email translation for over 70 different languages will be supported
  • Annotate email images with your finger, pen, or mouse
  • Instant Search feature allows you to quickly find specific emails

Microsoft Access

  • Updated Linked Table Manager with refresh, relink, or remove options
  • Addition of SQL DateTime2 data type
  • Tab manager that allows you to see active tabs, rearrange tabs, or close database objects

Microsoft Visio

  • New Azure stencils and shapes
  • New AWS stencils and shapes
  • Workplace Social Distancing template and stencil

Where to download Microsoft Office 2021

Like previous versions of Microsoft Office, we expect that you'll be able to download Microsoft Office 2021 from Microsoft's official Office website by logging into the site after purchasing Office 2021. This hasn't been confirmed by Microsoft yet, but this system hasn't changed in a long time, and we have no reason to believe it will any time soon.

For more information on how the Office download process currently works, view Microsoft's download guide.

Can you upgrade from Office 2019?

It currently isn't known whether or not Microsoft will offer Office 2019 users a way to upgrade directly to Office 2021 for a reduced cost, but we're not expecting that it will. This is because Microsoft didn't allow Office 2016 users to upgrade to Office 2019 without paying full price for the new version, and there's no indication that that policy is changing.

With that said, you're in luck if you use Microsoft 365, which is Microsoft's subscription-based alternative to one-time purchases of Microsoft Office. Microsoft has previously stated that all Office apps and services are automatically updated with the latest features and improvements through Microsoft 365, which implies that Microsoft 365 users will receive the benefits of Office 2021 through the service.

Microsoft Office 2021 price

Following the announcement of Office 2021, Microsoft's Jared Spataro confirmed that when it releases, the price of Office 2021 will be the same as the cost of Office 2019. This means that versions of Office 2021 will cost the following amounts:

  • Office Home & Student: $149.99
  • Office Home & Business: $249.99

Assuming Microsoft 365 gives subscribers access to the additions of Office 2021, you'll also be able to enjoy the new-and-improved Office 2021 version of apps like Word and Excel through the service. Here are the prices of all available Microsoft 365 plans:

  • Microsoft 365 Personal: $69.99/year or $6.99/month
  • Microsoft 365 Family: $99.99/year or $9.99/month
  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic: $5/month per user
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard: $12.50/month per user
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium: $20/month per user
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for Business: $8.25/month per user

Productivity Suite

Microsoft 365

From $7 at Microsoft Store

Productivity across work and life

The Microsoft 365 subscription for individuals and families leverages AI-powered features and benefits inside Microsoft Office, including Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Excel, as and also enhances Microsoft Edge, Teams, and Family Safety across Windows 10, Xbox, Android, and iOS.

Halo Infinite: 343i breaks down second beta, Big Team Battle

We get to play Halo Infinite for two weekends? Rad.

What you need to know

  • 343 Industries has broken down details about Halo Infinite's second beta as well as Big Team Battle, the Academy training mode, and more in a new blog post.
  • The second beta will be available on the weekends of Sept. 23-26 and Sept. 30 to Oct. 3. Matchmaking will be limited to 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT / 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET on each day the test is active.
  • The first weekend will focus on 4v4 Arena PvP, while the second will focus on 12v12 Big Team Battle PvP.

In a new "Inside Infinite" blog post, 343 Industries has shared several new details about the second Halo Infinite beta as well as the game's Big Team Battle mode, Academy training mode, and progression systems. In the post, it's confirmed that the second Halo Infinite beta test will be split up across two weekends. The first weekend will focus on 4v4 Arena PvP, while the second weekend will focus on 12v12 Big Team Battle PvP.

The first test will run from Thursday, Sept. 23 to Sunday, Sept. 26, while the second test will run from Thursday, Sept. 30 to Sunday, Oct. 3. Players won't be able to play on the Thursdays before each weekend test, but they will be able to download and install the test builds of Halo Infinite. Additionally, matchmaking servers will only be available between the hours of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT / 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. ET and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT / 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. ET each day during the test weekends. The developers acknowledge that this ultimately means that there will be less time to play compared to the previous Halo Infinite beta schedule, but state that "it's critical to our primary goal of ensuring that our online services are ready for launch." The beta's Training Mode, Weapon Drills, Battle Pass system, and customization will always be accessible throughout the weekend.

The developers also provided several details about the design and structure of Halo Infinite's Big Team Battle mode in the post. 343 Industries explains that their primary goal with Halo Infinite's Big Team Battle is to make the experience feel bigger and more action-packed than ever before while still preserving and encouraging teamwork and strategy. To accomplish this, the developers have added four more players to each team and have implemented a dynamic vehicle spawning system that "escalates" over the course of a match. For example, "standard" vehicles like Ghosts or Warthogs may spawn at the start of a match, but as the game goes on, more powerful vehicles will appear, with heavy ones like Scorpion and Wraith tanks entering the battlefield towards the tail end of a match. Notably, Halo Infinite's equipment items will also have more uses in Big Team Battle.

343 Industries also touched on the game's Academy mode, which will feature a full-blown tutorial at launch and will eventually get Vehicle Drills to go alongside the game's suite of Weapon Drills so that players can practice using the entire Halo Infinite sandbox. There are also plans to implement training modes that you can play with your friends after the game launches on Dec. 8.

Finally, the developers spent some time explaining how Halo Infinite's progression systems will work. Players will be able to earn experience and rank up their Halo Infinite Battle Pass by completing daily and weekly challenges. Daily challenges consist of simple tasks like completing and winning matches and will provide a consistent and stable "XP drip," while weekly challenges have a wide range of objectives that encourage them to play specific game modes, use specific weapons or vehicles, or perform specific actions (like sniping a vehicle driver).

Weekly challenges reward significantly more experience than dailies, and if you complete all of your weekly challenges, you'll be given an Ultimate Challenge that rewards you with a coating or emblem unlock once you finish it. 343 Industries also noted that in addition to the standard seasonal Battle Passes, Halo Infinite will also have occasional limited event Battle Passes with unique rewards. These passes will be separate from the main one, and players will only be able to progress them in the first week of each month before they go away (progress is saved between weeks).

Overall, there's a ton of information in this post and we can't cover all of it here, so I highly recommend reading through the full post. Also, make sure to tune into the Halo Twitch channel on Wednesday Sept. 22, as the developers are planning to go over information about the second beta test in a livestream. Halo Infinite is expected to launch on Dec. 8, 2021 on Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One consoles, and Windows PCs. The campaign costs $60, though the multiplayer is completely free-to-play. Halo Infinite preorders are available now, though it's important to keep in mind that the game will also be available on Xbox Game Pass.

A new journey awaits

Halo Infinite

$60 at Microsoft $60 at Amazon $60 at Best Buy $60 at Steam

The next big adventure

Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021 and Gamescom, we can't wait for the full release.

Halo-themed solitaire and mahjong is now available, because why not?

Face cards are a lot cooler when you put Halo characters on them.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has released a brand new Halo theme for the Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Microsoft Mahjong.
  • The theme is available on PC and mobile for the Microsoft Solitaire Collection, but is only available on mobile for Microsoft Mahjong.
  • Both games are free, though you have to deal with ads if you don't upgrade to the premium versions.

Microsoft has officially announced the arrival of a Halo theme to the Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Microsoft Mahjong, both of which are games that users on Windows 10 and mobile devices can download for free. The Halo theme for Microsoft Solitaire Collection is available on both the PC and mobile versions of the game, while it's (strangely) only available on the mobile version of Microsoft Mahjong.

Microsoft has confirmed that the designs for each game's theme were created by Halo developer 343 Industries, with the themes prominently featuring several Halo characters as well as different pieces of Halo iconography. These include Master Chief, the Arbiter, Cortana, Atriox, the Didact, and more, as well as the UNSC logo and the Forerunner symbols for "Mantle of Responsibility" and "Reclaimer."

🔊 #Halo has landed in Microsoft Solitaire (PC & mobile) and Mahjong by Microsoft (mobile).

Check out the new @Halo Themes that were designed by 343 Industries for casual gamers throughout the universe.

Play now!
♣: https://t.co/KEYE7fhh24
🀄: https://t.co/F6hF7D6mSy pic.twitter.com/NSqhSP5EZB

— Microsoft Casual Games (@MSCasualGames) September 20, 2021

Both the Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Microsoft Mahjong are free-to-play, though both games feature ads unless you upgrade to their premium versions. You can get access to the premium version of the Microsoft Solitaire Collection through Xbox Game Pass for PC, though the service unfortunately doesn't give you access to the premium variant of Microsoft Mahjong.

Overall, it's pretty cool to see a theme based on one of Microsoft's best Xbox shooters come to these classic games, and while you'll never catch me playing either of these games, I'd be using this new Halo theme if I did. If you like solitaire and mahjong, give these themes a try while you're waiting for Halo Infinite and the Halo Infinite beta.

Games, games, games

Xbox Game Pass Ultimate

From $1/month at Microsoft $45 at Amazon (3-month subscription) $15 at Amazon (1-month subscription)

All your gaming needs, in one subscription

Grab an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription and enjoy access to tons of games on Xbox and PC, including the premium version of the Microsoft Solitaire Collection.

A new journey awaits

Halo Infinite

$60 at Microsoft $60 at Amazon $60 at Best Buy $60 at Steam

The next big adventure

Halo Infinite will hopefully be an incredible game filled with wonder, adventure, and more. Based on the beta and what was seen at E3 2021 and Gamescom, we can't wait for the full release.

Keep the noise down with these office-friendly keyboards

When you've got a busy day of office productivity ahead of you, it's best to use a keyboard that's on the quiet side. The reduced noise help you stay focused, which will no doubt ensure that you get your work done as efficiently as possible. Due to their high demand, there are many quiet keyboards available these days. This is great if you like to shop around, but it also makes finding the keyboard that's right for you rather difficult. Don't worry, though, because we're here with a roundup of some of the best keyboards that have been designed with silence in mind. Here's what we recommend.

Best overall

Logitech K780 wireless keyboard

Staff pick

The Logitech K780 is our overall favorite quiet keyboard, as it combines a sturdy design with large, silent keys, a slim frame for easy transportation, two years of battery life, and compatibility with almost every modern device in the world. It's got a neat tablet and smartphone stand built in, too.

$60 at Amazon $60 at Logitech

Best slim

Jelly Comb wireless keyboard and mouse

Jelly Comb's ultra-slim wireless keyboard is a fantastic choice if you need something very portable, as its razor-thin build makes it ideal for travel. It's also very affordable and comes with an included mouse, which is great if you're in need of one to go with your keyboard.

$45 at Jelly Comb

Best tenkeyless

Razer BlackWidow Lite TKL keyboard

If you'd like to cut down on horizontal space by getting rid of the number pad, the Razer BlackWidow Lite TKL is an excellent option. It's got a durable design, silent Razer Orange mechanical switches, and O-ring sound dampeners. It also features RGB backlighting that can be customized and will make the keys easier to see in the dark.

$89 at Amazon $90 at Razer

Best membrane

Razer Cynosa V2 keyboard

If you'd prefer a membrane keyboard, Razer's Cynosa V2 is what we recommend. The keys are soft, silent, and comfortable, and the board itself is also resistant to liquid damages. Like the BlackWidow Lite, this keyboard also features RGB lighting that can be controlled and customized.

$52 at Amazon $60 at Best Buy

Best ergonomic

Logitech Ergo K860 ergonomic keyboard

The distinct hump design and inverted-V key layout of the Logitech Ergo K860 makes it an excellent choice for people who tend to have a lot of hand or wrist pain while at the computer. The keys on the board are also very silent, making this board perfect for cutting down on noise.

$120 at Amazon $122 at Best Buy

Best gaming-friendly

Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT keyboard

The Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT is an elite gaming keyboard that also fits into the office well thanks to its relatively silent Cherry MX Speed switches and sleek design. Corsair's RGB backlighting is just as customizable as Razer's, too. The K95 also comes with an awesome wrist rest that helps keep your hands free of soreness.

$160 at Amazon $160 at Best Buy

If we had to choose

While there are tons of excellent silent keyboards available right now, our pick for the best one overall is the Logitech K780. Between its great pricing, excellent build quality, silent and comfortable keys, and wide compatibility with PCs, laptops, tablets, and smartphones, there's an incredible amount of value here that we don't recommend passing up unless you're looking for something more specialized.

Folks who want a membrane keyboard should opt for the Razer Cynosa V2, which is an upgraded version of the original Razer Cynosa Chroma that combines soft and quiet keys with a sturdy design and awesome customizable lighting. The fact it's resistant to spillage is a nice bonus, too.

Lastly, if you need something that will help you with your hand and wrist pain, look no further than the Logitech Ergo K860. Its ergonomic shape and key layout makes it an excellent choice for ensuring comfort, and since its very silent, you won't need to worry about noise at all.

If none of the keyboards on this list is right for you, make sure you check out our breakdown of all of the best keyboards available for more options.

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