Pre-orders now being accepted for Oculus Rift PC bundles

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Today is the big day for those looking to save a bit of coin on the purchase of an Oculus Rift and a PC to power the experience as Amazon, Best Buy and the Microsoft Store are now accepting pre-orders for Rift bundles.

Pricing starts at $1,499 for the Asus G11CD-B11 bundle which includes a desktop powered by a quad-core Intel Core i5-6400 processor alongside 8GB of memory and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 graphics card. If you recall, the recommended specs from Oculus VR call for an Intel Core-i5 4590 or greater, at least 8GB of RAM and an Nvidia GTX 970 / AMD 290 equivalent or better.

In terms of pure processing power, this entry-level Asus bundle just barely meets the recommended hardware specs.

On the opposite end of the price spectrum is the Alienware Area 51 bundle. For $3,149, you’ll get a desktop loaded with Intel’s Core i7-5820K processor (six cores, 12 threads), 16GB of RAM and an Nvidia GTX 980 video card. This configuration also comes with a 128GB SSD and a traditional 2TB hard drive.

Each bundle also includes an Oculus Rift VR headset, sensor, remote, an Xbox One controller and two games: Lucky’s Tale and EVE: Valkyrie Founder’s Pack.

As of writing, the only three PC makers participating in the Oculus Ready PC programare Asus, Dell and Alienware (Dell’s gaming-minded subsidiary). That’s likely to change moving forward, assuming of course that Oculus sticks with the program.

If you have the time and / or know-how to build your own system, that’s probably the best route to go as you can get the exact combination of hardware you’re after. Another option is to simply upgrade your existing machine if it doesn’t quite meet Oculus’ recommended specs.

LG G5 impresses with cutting-edge hardware, innovative modular design

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All eyes were on LG as the technology company took the stage at the Sant Jordi Club in Barcelona, Spain, hours before South Korean rival Samsung to unveil its flagship smartphone for 2016, the LG G5. We had a pretty good idea of what to expect thanks to a series of leaks and thankfully, LG didn’t disappoint.

The LG G5 features a 5.3-inch Quad HD IPS Quantum display (2,560 x 1,440 / 554 PPI) that’s powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor and Adreno 530 graphics alongside a hearty 4GB of RAM – all packed inside a full-metal unibody design.

LG introduced an always-on display with its LG V10 smartphone. With the LG G5, they’re taking it a step further by integrating the always-on function into the main display by selectively backlighting only a small part of the overall display. This affords the benefits of an always-on display without the need for a goofy secondary display; it consumes just 0.8 percent battery life per hour.

The LG G5 is offered with 32GB of local storage (expandable to up to 2TB via microSD card slot) and features a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, an 8-megapixel wide-angle camera, an 8-megapixel front-facing shooter and a removable 2,800mAh battery. The primary rear camera captures images using a 78-degree lens and is flanked by a 135-degree wide-angle shooter which LG says is the widest available in any smartphone.

Connectivity-wise, the LG G5 features 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, an X12 LTE modem and has a USB Type-C connector. It’ll ship with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, we’re told.

As impressive as the LG G5 is on its own, what really makes the handset stand out is its modular design and ecosystem of peripherals.

The LG Friends, as they’re collectively called, are modular components that deliver added functionality to the LG G5. The bottom section of the handset slides out, allowing you to quickly replace the battery and / or swap in an alternative module.

The CAM Plus module adds a camera grip as well as physical buttons for power, shutter, record and zoom, allowing you to shoot with one hand should you so desire. The CAM Plus also offers autofocus and exposure locks and includes a 1,200mAh battery of its own, booting the handset’s total battery capacity to 4,000mAh on-the-fly.

The Hi-Fi Plus with B&O Play is a digital-to-analog converter (DAC) that was developed in collaboration with Bang & Olufsen. It supports 32-bit, 384Khz high-definition audio playback either as a module for the LG G5 or as a standalone DAC for use with any smartphone or PC.

To say it was a busy day for the South Korean technology company would certainly be an understatement as LG also showcased a series of non-modular accessories including the LG 360 VR headset, the LG 360 CAM, the LG Rolling Bot, the LG Tone Platinum Bluetooth headset and H3 by B&O PLAY earphones.

The LG G5 will be offered in silver, gold, pink and titan color schemes when it goes on sale globally early next month (AT&T has already committed to carrying it). No word yet on pricing.