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💰 Sony's 33% price increase, 🎮 Lenovo's new handheld, 📆 PlayStation Portal release date
Read today's banner-ad-free tech headlines, and our 👍 winners & 👎 losers
🐦 Ask Matt Swider on Twitter or Instagram for hand-picked deals from Walmart / Best Buy / Amazon / B&H Photo / Samsung / GameStop / Xbox Game Pass / PlayStation+ / 🔥Microsoft Office Windows $35 / 🔥MS Office Mac $35
Ugh. Sony! How could you?! The latest price increase affects its PlayStation+ service, which is required for PS5 online multiplayer and free monthly games. It went from $60 to $80 per year, a whopping 33% price hike. Ouch!
Luckily, I found the only reliable PlayStation Plus discount code (it’s been selling out daily given the news, so try every day). I scouted a similar Xbox Game Pass Ultimate deal when Microsoft had its price bump. Gotta save up for that $699 Lenovo Legion Go, the newest PC gaming handheld I tested (below) – it’s bigger and (maybe) better than the Asus ROG Ally and Steam Deck.
I’m also prepping for Microsoft Surface (Sept 21) & Google Pixel 8 (Oct 4) launch events (I got my invites to both). Even sooner, expect my iPhone 15 Pro Max deep dive following Apple’s event (Sept 12), just like I did for Samsung’s Fold 5 & Flip 5.
Have a great, relaxing and safe Labor Day Weekend… except for the following epic losers in our Winners & Losers weekend wrap-up 😉
Details below ⤵️
📆 Your Calendar
🕸️ Today, Sept 1, Fri: Spider-Man 2 PS5 bundle release date
🆓 Sept 5, Tues: New PS+ Essential games can be downloaded
🌠 Sept 6, Wed: Starfield releases (biggest Xbox game in years)
💰 Sept 6, Wed: PS Plus price hike kicks in (get your discount now)
🟦 Sept 11, Mon: Discover Samsung sale begins (week-long deals)
🍎 Sept 12, Tues: iPhone 15 launch event date confirmed
🩸 Sept 19, Tues: Mortal Kombat 1 (pre-order live) release date
📦 Sept 20, Wed: Amazon’s launch event everyone forgot about
💻 Sept 21, Thurs: Microsoft Surface launch event (we got our invite!)
⚽️ Sept 29, Fri: EA Sports FC 24 (pre-orders live) release date (formerly FIFA)
📱 Oct 4, Wed: Google Pixel 8 & Pixel Watch 2 launch date (we got our invite!)
Let’s get on with this week’s newsletter ⤵️
Today’s tech 👍 winners & 👎 losers
👎 💰 BIG Loser: You’ll have to pay up to $40 more a year for PS Plus Premium (Yes, up to 35% more). But we have a discount code that’s selling out daily
The price of a 12-month subscription to PlayStation Plus Essential will increase 33% on September 6, and PS Plus Premium will cost $40 more a year. Sony says the price hike will enable it to “continue bringing high-quality games and value-added benefits”, but I’m not convinced. With a lack of day-one releases, no cloud gaming, and Sony’s high pricing this generation, this latest change feels unfair.
📈 PlayStation Plus Essential - $79.99 USD (was $59.99)
💰 PlayStation Plus Extra - $134.99 (was $99.99)
💸 PlayStation Plus Premium - $159.99 (was $119.99)
The price hike starts on September 6, so use our PlayStation Plus discount code to save before that happens.
👍 🎮 Winner: Lenovo made a true PC gaming handheld with Nintendo Switch vibes
The Lenovo Go is official, and it’s packed with some seriously impressive specs. With an 8.8-inch screen, 144Hz refresh rate, and detachable controllers – it’s the Swiss army knives of PC gaming handhelds. What’s more the Lenovo Legion Go price is competitive at $699, putting it in direct competition with the Asus ROG Ally. It’s out this October, and I got to test it out for a few hours.
💰 Lenovo Legion Go costs $699, shockingly in line with its weaker rivals
📆 Launches in October, in time for your Black Friday shopping
📺 8.8-inch 144Hz screen feels massive vs its 7-inch competitors
👏 Detachable controllers, kickstand & internal specs are also impressive
🤓 Supports the Lenovo Legion AR Glasses which cost $329
👍 📆 Winner: We have invites to the Google Pixel launch event in October. Here’s what to expect from our coverage
Not to be outshined by Apple’s event, Google’s Pixel 8 and Pixel Watch 2 will break cover just 22 days after the big iPhone 15 reveal. The Made by Google launch event takes place on Wednesday, October 4 at 10am ET, and we’ll be in attendance to keep you up to date with all the biggest announcements.
📱 Google’s Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro are set to be revealed on October 8
🤖 We’ll probably see more of Google’s new AI wizardry, akin to Google Duet
⌚️ Pixel Watch 2 likely w/ a bigger battery (top con in my Pixel Watch review)
🤓 Read our Google Pixel 7 & Pixel 7 Pro review for an idea of what to expect
👍 🛍️ Winner: Starts the day before the big Apple event. What timing!
Samsung’s current Labor Day sales just started, but even more discounts will launch the following week, the day before Apple takes the stage to launch the iPhone 15. Curious how they works, right?! The real winner? YOU! Perfect timing for consumers no matter which platform (iOS or Android) you prefer.
😮 Early access: Sept 8 to 10 @ 9am ET (we’ll have this exclusive link go live then)
📆 Officially: Sept 11 to 17. Fresh all-day deals daily @ 9am ET (same link)
⚡ Flash deals run daily from 12pm to 4pm ET (but often sell out)
💵 $1 SmartThings Station flash sale will return (follow me on X for that alert)
📺 Expect 4KTV & monitor price drops; boosted Z Fold 5 & Flip 5 incentives
👍 🎮 Winner: It might not be for everyone, but it definitely serves a purpose
Not everyone’s sold on the PlayStation Portal (previously known as Project Q), but there are 3 reasons why I decided to buy one now that pre-orders have gone live:
📺 It frees up the TV and means I can game in any room in the house
⚡️ It’s an eco-friendly option as I don’t have to turn on my 65-inch 4K TV
🌍 I can technically play the best PS5 games anywhere, if there’s decent WiFi
These three reasons alone make the PlayStation Portal a tempting proposition, and it’s nice that my experience won’t be hampered in any way thanks to the DualSense controller and 8-inch LCD screen. Yes, WiFi speeds will play a big part and the lack of Bluetooth is a big negative, but Sony clearly thinks there’s demand for such a device.
👍 🥳 Winner: You can now pre-order the PlayStation Portal from PlayStation Direct
Sony was vague about the PlayStation Portal release date, but now we finally know when we can get our hands on the Remote Play streaming device: November 15, 2023. At $199, it’s certainly a polarizing piece of hardware, but there’s no doubt it will appeal to some gamers who want to play the best PS5 games away from the TV. Pre-orders are now live, but only from PlayStation Direct.
📆 The PlayStation Portal is out November 15, 2023
💰 It costs $199 and lets you Remote Play your PS5 games
🏡 You need to use WiFi, and it’s recommended to use it at home
🤞 However, it should work outside the house, WiFi speeds permitting
👎 🎶 Loser: We’re still wrestling with PS Portal’s limitations. The fact that you’ll need these PS5 earbuds if you want wireless audio feels like a forced buy
With the PlayStation Portal pre-orders taking place now, more than two months ahead of the November 15 release date, it won’t be long until Sony announces the pre-order of its PS5 Earbuds, the Pulse Explore.
😡 The big con: You’ll need to these (or a PS5 Pulse Elite wireless headset) to enjoy ANY wireless audio on PS Portal; Sony’s handheld doesn’t have Bluetooth.
Are you still game? Well…
📆 Expect a release date and pre-order for the PS5 Earbuds any day
👉 They’ll likely launch in November, same month as the PlayStation Portal
💰 PlayStation Earbuds cost $199 and offer lossless audio
😊 They work on PS5, PC and Bluetooth devices and the PlayStation Portal via PlayStation Link
👍 Winner: We’re testing these new ANC (Active Noise Cancelation) earbuds
I love testing tech, and when a company like Jabra comes to me claiming to have “the world’s toughest earbuds,” my ears perk up (and then my AirPods fall out). It’s still too early to tell where they’re rank in our forthcoming Best Earbuds buying guide, but so far they feel more comfortable than most buds, and it’s a huge perk for long music and podcast listening.
🤗 $249 Jabra Elite 10 focus on comfort. Lightweight & cushiony eartips with robust 10mm speaker sound, Spatial Sound with Dolby Head Tracking, Jabra Advanced ANC and six-mic call tech. 6h of playback (27h with the case)
💪 $199 Jabra Elite 8 Active focus on durability. Military-grade toughness (MIL-STD-810G), so they’re as waterproof, dust-proof and drop-proof as they get, yet still fairly lightweight. Adaptive Hybrid ANC, Spatial Sound by Dolby, six mics onboard and 6mm speaker sound. 8h of playback (24h with the case)
👍 🆓: Here’s what PS Plus Essential subscribers can download from September 5
PlayStation 5 and PlayStation 4 owners who subscribe to PS Plus Essential, Extra and Premium can download three new titles on September 5. The headline title for PS5 is Saints Row, a reboot and reimagining of the series that offers a more off-the-wall take on Grand Theft Auto.
📆 You have until October 2 to claim these free games
👍 Even if you don’t plan on playing them, add them to your library before they’re gone
😢 You’ll lose access to these games if your PS Plus subscription expires
😃 But you can play them again if you resubscribe
👍 🥽 Winner: Meta’s next batch of free VR games is here
If you subscribe to Meta Quest+, which launched on July 1 and costs $7.99 a month, you can download two new VR games for your Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest Pro headset. The two titles are available now and you’ll have until September 31 to claim them.
🔴 Red Matter: Story-driven puzzle adventure game set in a dystopian sci-fi Cold War
🎣 A Fisherman’s Tale: Break the laws of physics and twist reality in this intriguing puzzle adventure game
🆕 Timing: New games come to Meta Quest+ on the first of each month
🤔 🍄 Loser: “Thank you, Mario. But our princess (Switch 2) is in another castle”
I really love the forthcoming Nintendo’s Switch OLED in “Mario Red,” but it’ll be a hard no for me on October 6. 1) I already have enough special edition Switch consoles and 2) Nintendo Switch 2 rumors are growing. The true successor won’t launch before March 2024, according to Nintendo, but I can hold off a few months and just stick to buying Super Mario Bros. Wonder on October 20.
🛍️ You can pre-order Nintendo Switch Mario Red Edition today
📆 Release date is next month: October 6
🤔 But a “Nintendo Switch 2” may finally launch early next year
🍄 Super Mario Bros. Wonder launches on October 20
🎁 3 Winners: I’ve extended the giveaway due to Twitter (X) API limits, so August’s giveaway is an even bigger September giveaway to coincide with the iPhone launch
I still have a rare Halo Xbox console, PS5 Disc and Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom on hand to give away. I intended to pick a winner in August, but Twitter’s change to X and new API limits forced us to rework the ol’ automated Twitter picker (September 12 update: and actually buy a new API while importing old entries manually).
Good news: everyone’s current entries count and new subscribers will be able to enter through a new picker I had to purchase. Good luck!
🎁 Winners will be announced next week (September 22)
📝 You can sign up through a new method coming soon (new API)
🐦 The new Twitter picker will work with the X platform (coming soon)
There’s a lot more content on The Shortcut every day for FREE and PAID subscribers. Thank you for your feedback in the email replies ❤️