The VR headsets (and games) that we recommend to students

After long days of lectures, quizzes and research papers, you deserve to take your mind off school for a bit. What better way to decompress than by jacking into virtual reality for a few minutes of tranquility? It doesn’t have to break the bank, either. The 32GB Oculus Go will only set you back $200 and it offers the most convenient mobile VR experience you can get. Unlike the Gear VR or Google Cardboard, you don’t need a phone to power the Go — just pop the headset on and that’s it.

If you have some extra cash to spare (gotta love financial aid overages), you could pick up the headset responsible for starting the modern VR renaissance, the Oculus Rift. The flagship device is available as a bundle with a pair of Touch motion-control-wands and two motion sensors for $400. Sure, it costs twice as much as a Go, but if you want full-on AAA game experiences in VR it’s the best option, assuming you have a capable PC. Choosing this over an HTC Vive will also save you $100, which leaves plenty of money to grab a few games.

Speaking of, Downward Spiral: Horus Station should definitely be on your list. A space-thriller at heart — you’re exploring a derelict orbital station — it should fill the gap between late-night viewings of Event Horizon and Alien quite nicely. Maybe best of all, it makes use of the Rift’s built-in 360-degree soundfield incredibly well.

If you were bummed that Nintendo didn’t include Duck Hunt with the NES Classic Edition, there’s a VR game called Duck Season with your name written all over it. Ostensibly, it’s a tribute to the light-gun game of yore. There’s an anthropomorphic dog, and he eagerly runs into the weeds when you’ve shot a duck out of the sky. Then the game takes a turn for the macabre. He returns, mouth frozen in a ghastly smile, holding the fowl by its limp neck. As the narrative progresses, it only gets creepier. Bet you didn’t expect this would be a horror game, did you?

It’s the type of thing you should definitely bring out next time your friends are over. The downside of Duck Season‘s chills is your hands and face are likely to be clammy when you pass the headset. To help prevent the spread of communicable disease on campus, pick up a VR Cover starter pack. The kit comes with a detachable padded ring for the eye-side of your headset, and a generous amount of disposable liners. Humans are gross, but sharing a VR headset with people from your floor doesn’t have to be.

Find all of our picks for virtual reality in our 2018 back-to-school guide and while you’re there, find 100-some odd picks in 13 other categories.

Check out our complete 2018 back-to-school guide and find all of our student-friendly buying advice right here!

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When does Apple release new iPhones?

iPhone buying decisions vary from person to person, and not everyone cares about having the latest version. This works for a lot of consumers since you can generally buy any modern iPhone and have a positive experience — especially if you’re upgrading after a few generations.

Every summer I hear from family members who are super excited that they just bought a new iPhone. If I mention that a new model is just around the corner and we even have an idea about what will be different, it never changes their buying decision. That can be hard for me to understand, but it works for a lot of people. Just look at Apple’s iPhone sales numbers during the quarter before a new model is introduced.

If you do care about buying the latest iPhone as soon as it comes out, it’s not too hard to guess when new iPhones will be introduced based on recent launches.

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iOS 12 developer beta 8 for iPhone and iPad expected today after beta 7 pulled

We expect Apple to release iOS 12 developer beta 8 for iPhone and iPad today after pulling iOS 12 developer beta 7 on Monday. The release earlier this week included initial performance issues that eventually caused Apple to pull both the OTA update and IPSW restore images for the build.

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The Full Nerd ep. 63: Nvidia's GeForce RTX 2080 appears, AMD's 32-core Threadripper reviewed

In  this episode of the Full Nerd, Gordon Mah UngBrad Chacos, and Adam Patrick Murray geek out over a monstrous new class of desktop processor and the future of graphics cards…which could arrive in less than a week!

Yes, Nvidia formally unveiled its Turing GPU and Quadro RTX hardware this week, and they provide a glimpse of what PC gamers can expect in the next generation of GeForce graphics cards. We won’t need to wait long, it seems. Not-so-cryptic secrets in a recent Nvidia video strongly hint that the GeForce RTX 2080 will launch next week at Gamescom. You read that right: RTX not GTX. R is for raytracing! We dig into the specs revealed so far.

After weeks of unboxings and exclusive interviews with AMD’s computing chief, the beastly 32-core Threadripper 2990WX ($1799 on Amazon) has finally hit the streets. And as Gordon puts it, “For those of us who actually do push pixels around for a living, this new 32-core Ryzen Threadripper is Thor’s hammer falling right into your hands with a crackle of lightning and thunder.” But do you need it? Find out as we discuss the findings from Gordon’s Threadripper 2990WX review.

Witness it all in the video embedded above. You can also watch The Full Nerd episode 63 on YouTube (toss us a follow while you’re there!) or listen to it on Soundcloud if you prefer the audio alone.

Speaking of audio, you can subscribe to the Full Nerd in iTunes (please leave a review if you enjoy the show). We’re also on StitcherGoogle Play, or you can point your favorite podcast-savvy RSS reader to: http://feeds.soundcloud.com/users/soundcloud:users:226190044/sounds.rss 

Have a PC- or gaming-related question? Email thefullnerd@pcworld.com and we’ll try to answer it in the next episode. Be sure to follow PCWorld on FacebookYouTube, and Twitch to watch future episodes live and pick our brains in real time! 

To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.

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The WhatsApp founder who left Facebook is still employed, in an apparent move to vest stock

WhatsApp cofounder Jan Koum announced his departure from the Facebook-owned subsidiary in April, but he’s still employed, reportedly stalling until his remaining stock options vest.

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Facebook confirmed to CNBC that Koum is still an employee, despite an April Facebook post in which he said it was time to “move on.”

But the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday Koum hasn’t shown up since July and is instead taking advantage of a practice commonly known in Silicon Valley as “rest and vest” in which executives remain on the payroll and wait for stock options to free up. Koum said his goodbyes back in May, but has yet to fully leave, the newspaper reported.

A Facebook spokesperson said Koum is employed and working on “various projects and helping transition WhatsApp leadership.”

Facebook bought WhatsApp for $19 billion in 2014, its largest-ever acquisition. Koum’s corresponding employment offer included restricted stock units with a four-year quarterly vesting period, meaning those options wouldn’t be free until the end of 2018.

Each quarterly payout from the stock options has earned Koum in the neighborhood of $400 million, based on variations in Facebook’s stock price. His last stock award of more than 2 million shares is set to vest in November, WSJ reported, and would be worth roughly $350 million as of Tuesday’s stock price.

Koum’s planned departure would have meant both WhatsApp founders had left Facebook in the years since the sale. The messaging service’s other founder, Brian Acton, left in 2017.

Read the full story from the Wall Street Journal.

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