Tech round-up for September 22: Destiny 2 launches with impact, Tiles help you find things, eero mesh networking comes to Canada

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, eero comes to Canada with its second generation mesh networking solution and new Tiles help you find what you lost. But first, the launch of Destiny 2 has made an impact.

Destiny 2 is the biggest game release so far this year

Destiny 2 is certainly having a big impact.

Since the game was released on September 6, on numerous occasions more than a million gamers have been playing at the same time. On the Twitch gaming video network, it’s the number one game being watched.

Destiny 2 may also be the best first-person shooter game ever made.

That’s a hyperbolic claim, to be sure, but hear me out.

I’ve already admitted to being a fan of this franchise, having already spent a total of weeks playing Destiny, and a couple of dozen hours playing Destiny 2. I’ll admit that the game is not for everyone, but even if you aren’t into science-fiction space operas, there’s no mistaking what Bungie has accomplished here.

Mechanically, it’s even more satisfying than the first game. Whether navigating through the environments or engaging in combat, taking on the guise of a Guardian is a joy. The controls are responsive, the feedback crisp.

The stunning new locations, including a new bucolic setting on Earth, Saturn’s moon Titan, and Jupiter’s moon Io, are entirely distinct, the geographies unique, and the crumbling cities — once populated by humanity — shimmering with history.

These environments are much more spacious than in the first game, too. That gives us more to explore and also changes how we engage in combat.

The enemies are the same, although some movements and behaviours have been tweaked and it seems to me that the loot drops are more generous.

The role-playing elements, from character-upgrade paths to weapon and equipment improvements, have been simplified, as have the currency and token systems.

Things like fast travel and public-event timers are now built into the game so it’s easier to move from place to place to group up with other players.

There’s also a more coherent narrative in Destiny 2, and Bungie has seized the opportunity to better develop the three iconic characters that were role models to the hunters, titans, and warlocks in the first game but who weren’t much more than window dressing there.

So we get more excellent acting from Gina Torres (Ikora Rey), Lance Reddick (Zavala), and Nathan Fillion (Cayde-6), as well as fine performances from the talent who voice a host of new characters that round out the story.

There’s also more game here. In addition to the story missions, the public events, the strikes and raids — the first one was just released last week — there are dozens of side missions that give you more reason to adventure. It’s a lot like the first game, but with more context and substance.

With the combination of solo play, team play, cooperative group play, and competitive modes, Destiny 2 offers something for everyone. With first-rate gameplay and art direction, it’s the best first-person shooter yet.

Destiny 2 is now available on PS4 and Xbox One. The Windows version of the game releases on October 24.

New Tile Pro gadgets help you keep track of your stuff

If you’ve got a problem misplacing your keys, or you never remember in which drawer you stashed your passport, Tiles are your friend.

These are Bluetooth enabled gadgets with a small speaker that you can activate with your smartphone. If your keys are in the couch cushions, you’ll hear a tone to help you locate them.

The new Tile Pro gadgets work within a range of 200 feet and have better water and dust resistance. They complement the Tile Mate and Tile Slim, which is thin enough to be place in a wallet or passport.

The Tile Pro series are $45 each or two for $80, and the Tile Slim is $40 each. They are available at Amazon and Best Buy.

Second generation eero mesh networking arrives in Canada

I’ve written before about how difficult it can be to get Wi-fi working in larger homes, or houses with concrete construction (even lath and plaster plays havoc with Wi-fi signals).

But new mesh systems are great solutions because they use devices to extend the range of your wireless signal, and software to make it easy for you to move around while still getting the best signal possible.

eero recently released its second generation mesh system, and it’s the first time the networking setup has been available in Canada.

The system consists of a main router and one or more “Beacons,” which is eero’s term for its range extenders.

What’s great about eero is that the Beacons plug directly into a power outlet, so you don’t have to worry about where to place them or what to do with the power cable. But at the same time, the Beacons do not have an ethernet port, like the range extenders provided by other mesh networking systems, so you can’t get a better connection for your remote computer or set-top box.

You configure eero through a smartphone app, and it’s a simple, easy process. You also use the app to check the network and see what devices are connected to it. You can create profiles to curb your children’s use after bedtime, but the app does not give you the opportunity to prioritize traffic to certain devices, such as a game system.

eero, available at electronics retailers and online, is also more expensive than other mesh networking systems:

  • 1 eero + 1 eero Beacon: $399
  • 1 eero + 2 eero Beacons: $549
  • 3 eeros: $699

While it’s a welcome addition to the networking options available to Canadians, eero’s price point puts it out of range for many consumers. And though being able to plug Beacons into any power outlet is convenient, the lack of an ethernet port is a drawback.


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