Technological World for December 2: Jabra Elite 85t are unmatched, video calling with Fire TV Cube, gamers gaming more says ESAC, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War returns to story

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, making video calls with Amazon’s Fire TV Cube, gamers are playing more games, and Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is a welcome return to story. But first, the amazing Jabra Elite 85t wireless earbuds.

The Jabra Elite 85t wireless earbuds are unmatched

I’ve been trying out lots of different wireless earbuds this year, and I’ve just discovered my favourites. The Elite 85t from Jabra ($300) are amazing. The earbuds are oval, and fit nicely into my ear canals without feeling like they are penetrating my skull, and they are light, so they don’t feel like they’re falling out all the time.

The sound quality is excellent and people who I’ve called have said my voice comes through clearly, so the microphones – there are six of them; three on each bud – are doing a good job.

The Elite 85t also have active noise cancelling, and with the Jabra app on your smartphone you can adjust the level. That app also gives you full control over the sound so you can equalize it however you want.

All of that is great, but there are two things that Jabra does with these that I’ve not experienced with other earbuds I’ve tried. The first is that the controls are more responsive than anything else I’ve tried. There’s a button that depresses when you tap it, so you know it’s responding to your taps.

The second is that the Elite 85t can be connected to two devices at the same time. That means I can be watching a movie on my iPad, and when I get a call on my iPhone the playback on the iPad will pause when I answer the call, and then start up again after the call is complete.

The Jabra Elite 85t will give you over five hours of listening with ANC on and come in a charging case that has five full charges in it. The case can be charged wirelessly.

Now you can make video calls with Amazon’s Fire TV Cube

If you’ve got a Fire TV Cube attached to your television, you’re going to be able to make video calls to other Alexa-enabled devices.

You’ll need to connect a webcam that captures a minimum resolution of 720p and 30 frames per second, but once you’ve done that you can use the voice commands to make or receive calls on your television.

The Fire TV Cube comes with an Alexa Voice Remote, can display up to 4K video, and comes with many streaming services preloaded.

The update has started to roll out to customers in North America.

There is additional functionality rolling out to all Fire TV devices, including the three configurations of the Fire TV Stick available.

You can query Alexa and have your response on a screen overlay and you can get Ring doorbell camera notifications on your television and even have the security camera video streamed to your TV set.

Gamers playing more during pandemic, says ESA Canada

A new study shows that 61 percent of Canadians said they’d played a video game in the past month, and they also say that they’ve been playing more games during the pandemic. In all, 23 million Canadians are playing video games regularly.

The Entertainment Software Association of Canada is the trade organization for the industry in Canada, and in a release, president and CEO Jayson Hilchie said that, “Canadian gamers recognize the power of play and they are engaging more and more in the immersive and connected experiences that our industry creates.”

While adults tend to play on mobile devices, kids and teens have been playing more on consoles.

Kids and teens have been getting more involved with streaming, both watching others play and sharing their own play.

And parents who game are sharing the experience with their kids, with 69 percent playing with their younger children and 60 percent playing with their teens.

In a study released last year, the ESAC reported that the Canadian video game industry “directly contributed an estimated $2.6 billion to GDP in Canada in 2019.”

New Call of Duty game brings the Black Ops narrative back to the Cold War

By giving us a single-player campaign and a narrative that is tied to historical events, Black Ops Cold War is the best Call of Duty game in years.

I was a teenager in the ’80s, and anything that takes me back to that time – book, movie, or game – immediately gets my attention.

Black Ops Cold War opens with a digital Ronald Reagan – he was the U.S President at the time – authorizing the creation of a cover ops team. The fictional storyline is triggered by the siege of the U.S. embassy in Tehran which ended violently in early 1981.

It’s called Cold War for a reason. The bad guy is a Soviet agent and you’ll be chasing him through time, including a flashback mission in Vietnam.

You play as cover operative codenamed Bell, and you can configure Bell any way you want, even selecting a backstory for the character. You work with a team of other agents, operating out of a safehouse base where you can choose missions that progress the story forward.

There are also side missions you can embark on that have an increased likelihood of success if you’ve collected intelligence in the story missions.

Black Ops Cold War provides the usual crazy set pieces, like the taking down of a cargo plane with a remote control car loaded with explosives, alongside exploits behind enemy lines.

It’s a welcome return; there was no story campaign at all in the last Black Ops game, which focused on multiplayer modes instead.

Cold War’s multiplayer integrates with Activision’s free-to-play Call of Duty: Warzone so progression and weapons unlocked in Cold War will carry over with you, and you’ll be able to use the gear from Warzone and Modern Warfare (2019) in the Cold War multiplayer.

You can also use those multiplayer loadouts in the popular Zombie mode which has players facing waves of enemies.

But it’s the single-player narrative that sets Black Ops Cold War apart. It’s like playing an action spy novel, full of conspiracy and plot twists, and there’s delight in having the narrative unravel as you move through the story.

Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War is available now for PS4, PS5, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S/X. Rated mature.


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