Tech round-up for May 22: Huawei versus the world, Huawei P30 Pro is tops for photos, Google Pixel 3a is best value, Rage 2 brings snark to catastrophe

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, closer looks at the Huawei P30 Pro and Google Pixel 3a smartphones and what makes Rage 2 worth playing. But first, why Huawei has its back against the wall.

The U.S. has everybody ganging up on Hauwei

Last week, United States President Donald Trump declared a national emergency relating to the U.S. tech infrastructure.

That led to restrictions on working with Chinese company, Huawei. Google said over the weekend it was restricting Huawei’s access to its software, including Android. Qualcomm and Intel, which make the chips used in smartphones, have also said they would stop selling to Huawei.

Things got worse on Wednesday as UK-based chip maker ARM stopped all active contracts, support entitlements, and any pending engagements. Huawei relies on a licensing agreement with ARM to make its own chips.

On Monday, the Department of Commerce announced it had granted a “temporary general license” to allow American companies to plan for the replacement of any Huawei equipment. This gives everybody three months to get things in order.

Huawei has reportedly been stockpiling chips and is building software and an app storefront, suggesting the company has been anticipating this kind of shift.

Huawei sold the second most smartphones in the first quarter of this year, behind Samsung and ahead of Apple. Only a fraction of those sales were in the U.S.

Huawei P30 Pro takes impressive photos and video

Everybody has a different priority with their smartphone. Some people really want to be able to take the best possible photos with their device. If that’s you, then you should be wielding the Huawei P30 Pro.

No other handset can deliver the quality of images, photographs or video, that the P30 Pro can.

Even the software enhancements that come with Google’s Pixel 3 smartphones can’t deliver the same crystal quality that you’ll get from the P30 Pro.

And despite the world ganging up on Huawei at the moment, the P30 Pro is still a great choice for device, because it’s already running Android 9 Pie, the most recent operating system, and Google has committed to ensuring that existing Huawei handsets will get supported with updates.

If you’re looking for great photos from an Android handset, the Huawei P30 Pro is it.

Google Pixel 3a provides best value in a smartphone

Smartphone sales are in decline, which is one reason that the price of top tier devices continues to climb.

But smart device manufacturers are also seeing that appealing to different market segments is also a way to keep profit levels up.

That’s where Google’s Pixel 3a (5.6”) and Pixel 3a XL (6”) come in. These devices scale back on some of the premium design features without losing any of the functionality. Instead of a metal chassis you get plastic. There’s no water resistance. Instead of an iris scanner or facial recognition you have to use a fingerprint scanner. It’s got a single front camera instead of a double.

The only feature you might miss is the wireless charging, but that’s only if you’ve already been using it. If you haven’t, there’s nothing to miss.

Other than that, the two Pixel 3a handsets do pretty much everything as the Pixel 3 devices. For hundreds of dollars less.

The new Pixel 3a smartphones are available now in three colours in the following configurations:

  • Pixel 3a, 64 GB storage: $549
  • Pixel 3a XL, 64 GB storage: $649

Rage 2 is crazy, action-packed mayhem

There’s a lot of open world action games available to play these days. Add Rage 2 to the list. It’s kind of like Mad Max meets Big Trouble in Little China and has a mostly punk rock feel with a taste of disco to brighten things up a bit.

You play as Walker, a Ranger, which is an elite fighter equipped with technologically advanced equipment that gives you superpowers, who can be male or female. Regardless of your gender choice, your objective is to roam the post-apocalyptic wasteland resisting the authoritarian Authority.

Avalanche Studios, which came on as a co-developer of the game with Bethesda-owned id Software, has a track record for open world games with the Just Cause franchise and 2015’s Mad Max (published by Warner Bros. Interactive), and that experience shows here.

And while the world created here – the apocalypse came in the form of an asteroid – is outrageous, the writing doesn’t always work. Not all of the jokes land, for example. I found myself cringing at the many attempts to be farcical that instead came across as juvenile.

For an open world game the story is abbreviated, but the sandbox here provides plenty of enjoyment for those who like their carnage with tongue firmly implanted in cheek. Bethesda has promised that there are going to be in-game events and activities happening in Rage 2 in the months ahead, so there will be plenty of reason to go back to the Wasteland to wreak more havoc on its denizens.

Rage 2 is available now for PS4, Windows, and Xbox One.

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