Welcome to Tech Bytes! In this series, we bring you the biggest news hitting the Tech and Gaming fields, putting it into an excellent, simple brief for you to quickly catch up on so you’re up to speed over dinner and drinks.
Welcome to 2024! And with the new year comes a whole new cycle of tech and gaming news. January starts big, with announcements of Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone and a debut gameplay reveal of MachineGames’ newest title, among others. We look at all the highlights for January 2024 with our Tech Bytes round-up!
Samsung announces the new Galaxy S24 series
For 2024, Samsung is revealing the Galaxy S24 line — their latest flagship smartphone series. Made up of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, Galaxy S24+, and Galaxy S24, these phones look similar to their predecessors (Galaxy S23), but the difference is found on the inside.
Samsung has implemented Galaxy AI into the phones, bringing many AI-based features for users to take advantage of. One of the highlights is Live Translate, which brings real-time translation for calls, letting you have a two-way phone conversation with a non-native speaker. Photo editing also gets a boost with new tools that let you remove reflections and even tweak the position of a subject in an image through Generative AI. Meanwhile, the Circle to Search feature adds convenience to searching; all you have to do is circle your screen, and it immediately brings up results related to what you’ve selected.
Hardware changes for the series include a new Titanium frame for the Galaxy S24 Ultra, while the Galaxy S24+ and Galaxy S24 get smaller bezels that enable a larger overall usable display. The Ultra also receives an updated 50MP 5x telephoto camera, enabling crisper photos at that range.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 series will be available at the end of this month, starting at S$1,928 for the Ultra as well as S$1,288 and S$1,528 for the Galaxy S24 and Galaxy S24+, respectively. Check out our hands-on preview of the Galaxy S24 series, which details much more about what the new phones are capable of.
MSI Claw is another Steam Deck competitor
After murmurings and leaks in early January, MSI officially unveiled their attempt at a handheld gaming PC during CES 2024. Called the MSI Claw, the device is a new Windows-based gaming handheld, similar to the very popular Steam Deck and its alternatives.
What’s different about the MSI Claw and the rest is with its internals. Instead of an AMD processor, MSI’s iteration comes with an Intel one — specifically, the new Meteor Lake Core Ultra processor. The processor enables support for Intel’s XeSS upscaling technology, which the company says can help the device run AAA games more easily.
It will come with a 7-inch IPS display with a screen resolution of 1080p. The screen’s refresh rate will be up to 120Hz and will have a variable refresh rate (VRR) for a smoother visual experience. The handheld will also be equipped with the largest battery yet among similar devices. It’s a 53Wh battery that will offer approximately two hours of battery life under full load.
MSI plans to sell three editions of the machine to consumers in the first half of the year, with prices ranging from US$699 to US$799.
Blizzard cancels their new survival game
While 2023 was a big year for great games, it was also a year with many layoffs within the gaming industry. Unfortunately, that trend has also spilt into 2024, with Microsoft recently announcing that they have laid off 1,900 employees. Activision Blizzard bore much of the cuts, resulting in their survival game being cancelled.
This new survival game was revealed by Blizzard in 2022, promising a brand-new universe since 2016’s Overwatch. While it was first announced to be releasing for PC and consoles, that will no longer be the case. Matt Booty, head of Xbox Studios, says that with the shake-up affecting multiple teams within Blizzard, the decision was made to end development on the title and shift them to “one of several promising new projects Blizzard has in the early stages of development.”
Blizzard Entertainment President Mike Ybarra and Co-founder and Chief Design Officer Allen Adham will both be leaving their roles amid the layoffs, marking a significant structural change within the company. Blizzard has since announced that Johanna Faries, who has previously been the Head of Call of Duty esports, will take over Ybarra’s role as President.
First look at MachineGames’ new Indiana Jones game
We finally got our first glimpse at the new Indiana Jones game by MachineGames. First announced in 2021, the title now has a full name: Indiana Jones and the Great Circle.
The game’s story will be set in 1937, between the events of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The plot follows Indiana Jones’ journey to stop the sinister forces attempting to harness the ancient power connected to the Great Circle, which will take him to various locations like Egypt, Rome, and Thailand.
Players will fully take on the role of Indiana Jones, with the game played in a first-person perspective. For combat scenarios, there is the option to use stealth or engage in direct combat, where you can make use of Indy’s iconic whip to distract, disarm, and attack enemies. Outside of combat, there will also be various puzzles to tackle, which could unearth surprises. While the game will be linear, the developers have said there will be open-area maps to explore.
The game is slated to release this year, where it will launch for Xbox Series consoles and PC.
NVIDIA reveals the Super line for the RTX 40-series GPUs
The Super cards from NVIDIA are making their debut for the RTX 40-series. There will be three versions for people to look forward to — RTX 4080 Super, RTX 4070 Ti Super, and RTX 4070 Super.
Starting with the RTX 4080 Super, NVIDIA is equipping the card with more CUDA cores and a faster memory at 736GB/s of bandwidth, still drawing up to 320 watts of power. That provides an up to 5% performance bump over the RTX 4080; it is only a slight increase, but it will also cost US$200 less.
As for the RTX 4070 Ti Super, its memory has been increased to 16GB of G6X over the RTX 3070 TI’s 8GB. Similarly, it will also feature more CUDA cores too. These upgrades will translate into a roughly 10% performance increase compared to the RTX 4070 Ti.
Finally, the RTX 4070 Super will run better than an RTX 3090 card while using less power at its maximum of 220 watts. A performance boost of around 17% for 1440p gaming is also expected over the RTX 4070, with the card likewise upgrading the number of CUDA cores.
The RTX 4080 Super will launch at the end of January for US$999, while the RTX 4070 Ti Super and RTX 4070 Super are already on sale for a retail price of US$799 and US$599, respectively.
LG’s UltraGear Gaming Monitor switches between 240Hz and 480Hz
At CES 2024, LG showcased its latest lineup of UltraGear OLED gaming monitors. Of the three monitors they unveiled, one includes the unique ability to switch refresh rates from 240Hz to 480Hz with a button press.
The LG UltraGear 32-inch 4K gaming monitor (model 32GS95UE) comes equipped with the new Dual-Hz feature, which lets it switch from its default 4K resolution and 240Hz refresh rate to a Full HD resolution with a lightning-fast refresh rate of 480Hz. Through a hotkey or joystick’s directional switch, the monitor applies the new resolution and refresh rate for whatever occasion — 4K 240Hz for story-driven games and FHD 480Hz for fast-paced competitive titles.
Alongside the Dual-Hz feature, the monitor will also possess an impressive 0.03ms response time, which aids in eliminating motion blur. It also comes equipped with an integrated front-facing sound system hidden behind the OLED panel, featuring two woofers and support for DTS Virtual:X.
No release date was revealed for the LG UltraGear 32-inch 4K gaming monitor, but it is expected to launch this year.
This marks January 2024’s edition of Tech Bytes, and we hope this round-up gives you insight into tech to be excited about. Check with us again in February 2024, as we bring you more byte-sized news every month!
Photos of Samsung Galaxy S24 Series by Leo Chia of the DANAMIC Team. Additional visuals courtesy of Bethesda Softworks, MSI, Activision Blizzard, NVIDIA and LG Electronics Singapore.