Yep, that’s a van, all right. A tall one, too.
You know how something becomes virtually invisible after you see it often enough? That’s the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in a nutshell. Take some time to look around, and you’ll notice an army of Sprinters crawling your local roadways, whether they’re delivering packages or carrying roofing materials to a job site. These workhorses are ubiquitous for a reason: They’re really, really good at what they do. And with a new generation now in the wild, the Sprinter makes an even better case for itself.
LikeVersatile and capableAbundant standard safetyExcellent infotainment
Don’t LikeMercedes-Benz pricingMBUX lacks a couple key upgrades
New look, same capabilities Mercedes-Benz’s vans don’t stray too far from the rest of the family in terms of style. Most of that is apparent in the front end, which picks up slimmer headlights that more closely resemble the peepers on other Mercs. My tester’s unpainted lower body panels actually look pretty boss against glossy black paint — and besides, it’s a work vehicle, why paint the bumpers if they’re just going to get dinged up? The black steel wheels are pretty badass, too. If you feel like a good laugh, allow me to point out that this van’s Jet Black paint job actually adds $1,015 to the Sprinter’s bottom line. That’s the Mercedes-Benz we all know and love. It doesn’t matter if you’re the CEO or the guy driving the van — the automaker will nickel and dime you without respect for socioeconomic strata. Then again, this is no paupermobile: My 144-inch 3500XD Crew 4×4 model starts at $51,885, but after options, it’s pushing $72,000.
Step up into the Sprinter — I’m a tall guy, yet I definitely emitted Dad Groans climbing into and out of this thing — and you’re met with a surprising mix of luxury-car bits and proper work-ready trimmings. The floor looks easy to hose down, and the entire dashboard is made of plastic that even GM might think twice about using in its passenger cars, but that’s because these things need to withstand long days of abuse. Yet, the leatherette seats have the same feel as those on lower-end Mercs, and both the steering wheel and infotainment screen are plucked straight from the passenger car segment, adding a dose of fancy to an otherwise utilitarian getup. This specific steering wheel, by the way, is part of a $1,210 Driver Convenience Package that also adds heated electric mirrors and blind-spot monitoring. Since this is the Crew model, my tester comes with a second row of seats, but those can be unbolted to make room for more… well, whatever. Not like there isn’t room to spare behind that second row, though: Hauling a half-dozen trees and topiaries back from the garden center leaves gobs of room to spare. Those who will really put this van to work will appreciate the number of tie-down spots on the walls and floor, but the upfitting community will be more than happy to step in and add shelving or whatever else workers may need. Front-row storage is the tops, too, thanks to overhead pockets, cubbies atop the dashboard panel and twice as many cup holders as there are seats.
Drives like a van, rocks tech like a Mercedes My purpose for my time with the Sprinter is straightforward: Hauling plants that are too tall or unwieldy for a crossover. Bear in mind this is small potatoes on the work-vehicle spectrum, but it accomplishes my task with ease.
The Sprinter is never fully laden during my time with it, because I don’t have 5,000 pounds of materials just chillin’ in my backyard to max out the payload rating, but even when empty, the van isn’t a bad drive. Yes, it’s loud, but that’s because there aren’t any interior panels behind the front row. Yes, it’s bouncy, but that’s because my tester rocks the optional 4×4 setup with more ground clearance and capability. Yes, it’s slow, but that’s because its 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6, which is good for 188 horsepower and 325 pound-feet of torque, is more concerned about hauling literal tons of stuff. The steering is light and the brakes are confident. Visibility is excellent, as the Crew variant has glass on its sliding doors and mirrors so you can see just about everything. And for what you can’t see, the Sprinter packs a roof-mounted backup camera with impressive resolution, making precision parking (or parking in general, if you’re not used to vans) a breeze. Blind-spot monitoring, part of the aforementioned Convenience Package, is a savior if you’re not used to judging vehicle distance in a van, but having both straight and curved mirrors on each side is a big help, too. Vans never feel cushy, per se, but the driver’s setup in the Sprinter is pretty darn good for a work vehicle.
There are some other impressive passenger-car baubles on the Sprinter, too. The Premium Package ($1,240) adds automatic emergency braking, active lane-keep assist, the MBUX infotainment system and wiper blades that incorporate fluid nozzles for more effective cleaning. Adding to that, the $2,530 Premium Plus Package enlarges the MBUX screen while adding embedded navigation and wireless device charging, in addition to improving the instrument cluster and installing parking sensors. Speaking of tech, it all works flawlessly. MBUX is one of the better luxury-car telematics getups in the industry, and its responsiveness and natural-language voice recognition fit right in here, even if you have to pay a pretty penny for it. The 10.25-inch screen fills the dashboard nicely, and if you don’t opt for wireless charging, there’s a USB-C port for juicing purposes. Weirdly, though, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both absent from this iteration of MBUX, and the same goes for the Wi-Fi hotspot. Last year, I was lucky enough to test all of the Sprinter’s new safety tricks in a closed environment at a Mercedes-Benz Vans facility in Europe. A year later, I’m happy to say that these systems work just as well in the real world. Adaptive cruise control is nice and smooth, while the brake-based lane-keeping assist isn’t as harsh to engage as I remember. Crosswind assist isn’t as heavy-handed as it was in my head, either, which actually got a little white-knuckle-y when my tester got blasted with some heavy gusts. Since the Sprinter 3500XD Crew is a heavy-duty vehicle, the EPA doesn’t require fuel-economy estimates. Going off the van’s internal computer, though, I see highway fuel economy between 13 and 18 miles per gallon, with that figure lowering in the city. Throw a ton of tools in the back, though, and those numbers won’t stay that high for long. A cutting-edge infotainment system? In my cargo van?
Down to brass tacks Looking at the competition, the 2020 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter has earned the three-pointed star on its grille. Its payload ratings are among the highest in the segment (3,700 to 6,200 pounds, depending on trim), and it’s the only van to offer four-wheel drive with a low-range transfer case, although the Ford Transit does make a less robust AWD system available. The Sprinter’s only weak spot is towing, where its 5,000-lb maximum lags behind body-on-frame rivals like the Nissan NV, which nearly doubles that figure. And then there are the comfort and tech upgrades, which… well, I think it’s obvious how Fords, Nissans and Chevrolets fare there. Yes, Chevrolet still builds the Express, and yes, it barely looks different than it did at the beginning of the George W. Bush administration. If you’re shopping these vans, it’s hard to deny the allure of the Sprinter. It’s expensive, but that money is converted into one of the hardest-working mules on terra firma, with the optional capability to serve those well off the beaten path.
Resident Evil Village synopsis, ending, post-credit scene explained – CNET
What’s got Chris Redfield smiling? Capcom Resident Evil Village’s crazy ride won over fans of the series to become one of the most popular Resident Evil games ever. More than 100,000 gamers played the game concurrently on Steam on launch day, and it was the platform’s top-selling game, according to Steam Database. Resident Evil Village also…
What’s got Chris Redfield smiling?
Resident Evil Village’s crazy ride won over fans of the series to become one of the most popular Resident Evil games ever. More than 100,000 gamers played the game concurrently on Steam on launch day, and it was the platform’s top-selling game, according to Steam Database. Resident Evil Village also took the top spot on the UK sales charts according to GameIndustry.biz Monday. Players enjoying the scares and gore in Resident Evil Village on since it came out on Friday for PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox Oneand PC are also coming to terms with the plot of the game that harkens back to Resident Evil 7 where protagonist Ethan Winters made his debut. Series mainstay Chris Redfield also plays a big part in the Resident Evil Village with his shocking actions at the start of the game leading to a lot of questions.
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There’s a lot to unpack, so let’s get started. Be warned, SPOILERS follow.What happened in Resident Evil Village? Ethan and now-wife Mia have been moved from the US to a village in Transylvania, Romania by Chris Redfield for their protection. It’s been three years since their move and the two started a family with the birth of their child, Rose. When Rose is six months old in seemingly a regular evening, the night is disrupted with a sniper shot to Mia’s chest. After a barrage of gunfire, Mia is on the floor dead and Chris comes into the house while shooting her dead body a few more times. A confused Ethan is taken into custody by Chris’ team who also abduct Rose. As he’s being transported, something crashed the van Ethan was in and he has to go to a village to find Rose and Mia. Ethan comes across the village’s supposed guardian, Mother Miranda, and her disciples: Lady Dimitrescu, Donna Beneviento, Salvatore Moreau, and Karl Heisenberg. After taking down one after another, Ethan finds Rose’s body parts have been put into containers for some ritual. After collecting all four, he learns why Mother Miranda did this (see below) and that she was impersonating Mia when Chris’s team attacked her at the start of the game. In a short segment where the players control Chris, Mia is found and she explains that Ethan is actually made of the same mind-controlling mold used by Eve, the bioweapon antagonist from Resident Evil 7. After he destroyed Mother Miranda, Ethan makes the ultimate sacrifice again to save both his wife and newly found daughter thus ending the game, but there are still some lingering questions. What’s the deal with Mother Miranda?The game’s main villain lost her daughter Eva to the Spanish flu, a real-life pandemic that ran from 1918 to 1921 and caused an estimated 50 million deaths. Stricken with grief, Miranda wandered into a cave to die and happened upon the Megamycete — the source of the mold from Resident Evil 7 and Village. Its regenerative properties made her immortal, and she realized it absorbed the consciousness of those who died. That meant Miranda could bring her daughter Eva back to life. She started experimenting on the villagers as she sought the perfect vessel.The “Mia” Chris killed in the game’s opening was actually Miranda in disguise. She kidnapped the real Mia Winters, wife of protagonist Ethan Winters, and used her for experiments, eventually taking her place in order to snatch their daughter Rose. The Winters’ baby, being the child of parents who’d been infected by mold, was apparently the ideal vessel for Eva’s return.Mother Miranda makes a big impression in her first confrontation with Ethan.
Is Ethan Winters really dead? In a move likely to surprise everyone playing the game, Miranda removed Ethan’s heart like a Mortal Kombat fatality. As he seemingly laid dead, a vision of Eveline, the antagonist from the last game, appeared to him. She might look like a little girl, but Eveline was actually a bioweapon with power over mind-controlling mold. She was created by The Connections, a criminal group, after Miranda supplied them with a sample of the mold. Ethan killed Eveline in the previous game’s final battle after she mutated into a giant mold beast.In Village, Eveline shows Ethan a quick flashback revealing that after his fight with a possessed Mia at the start of Resident Evil 7, family patriarch Jack Baker killed him with his “Welcome to the family, son” punch and stomp to the head. However, thanks to Eveline’s mold, Ethan essentially became a “super” being with the ability to heal himself and attaching torn-off limbs quite easily with healing items. This power isn’t quite as flashy as the abilities of the rest of Eveline’s victims, but it was enough for Ethan to stop them all. It turns out Jack Baker killed Ethan in Resident Evil 7.
In Village, we get a clue about Ethan’s status early in the game. When Lady Dimitrescu feeds on his blood during their first encounter, she says it’s “starting to go a little stale.”After Eveline’s revelation, Ethan comes back to life and defeats Miranda. With his body failing, he makes one final sacrifice to make sure Mia and his daughter Rose are safe — he destroys the Megamycete, seemingly cutting off the source of Miranda’s power and ending her for good.So is Ethan really dead? He’s about as dead as a character can be in a game about zombies. It seems like Capcom did kill him off, as we see a grown-up Rose visit his grave and the final message saying “The father’s story is now done.” But with so many organizations developing bioweapons, it’s possible our faceless hero could turn up in Resident Evil 9 or some future game. What will happen with Rose? If Ethan doesn’t come back for the next Resident Evil game, his daughter appears to be a possible replacement. The final scene flashes forward to a grownup Rose, implying she became an agent with the new Umbrella under the tutelage of Chris Redfield. She also wields some sort of power, which was the reason why mother Miranda kidnapped her. Rose’s powers are most likely equivalent to Eveline’s use of mold in Resident Evil 7, since the agent who tracked her mockingly calls her “Eveline.” It also seems that a sniper was prepared to shoot Rose if she got out of control, but the agent tells them to stand down.Is Rose the next Resident Evil hero?
As for whether we’ll see her in Resident Evil 9, it’s up in the air. There are still a lot of the Resident Evil characters we haven’t seen in some time — aside from the remakes — like Claire Redfield, Leon Kennedy and Jill Valentine. Who was in the final scene? As Rose and the agent who finds her drive off in the distance, there appears to be someone walking on the street in the opposite direction. It appears the vehicle stopped seemingly next to the person walking. Using the in-game photo mode, it appears the person is Ethan as evident by the hand wounds. Is that Ethan?
There are two theories on this. One is that Ethan did survive and took the 15-year route to make it to his own gravesite. The second, and likely theory, is that Capcom simply re-used his character model in order to troll players. We won’t know what is the truth until the release of some downloadable content or Resident Evil 9. What happened with the BSAA?When players briefly take control of Chris towards the end of the game, there are multiple mentions of the BSAA, or Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance. Longtime Resident Evil fans will remember the introduction of the organization in Resident Evil 5, which brought back Chris as a member of the BSAA. The UN-backed group tracks down bioweapons and destroys them, but for some reason, the BSAA has started using them as soldiers, as evidenced by a zombie in military gear it deployed to the village. Chris didn’t like what he saw from the BSAA.
Just like how Umbrella went from bad company to good company in Resident Evil 7, maybe the BSAA flipped as well. The BSAA could also be a focus of some future downloadable content for Resident Evil Village, but Capcom has yet to announce any such plans. What’s with the Umbrella logo? One of the big questions raised in the early trailers for Resident Evil Village centered on the Umbrella logo found in a stone structure. At the end of the game, we learn that Oswell Spencer, one of the founders of the Umbrella Corporation, visited the village when he was a medical student, some years before the formation of the company. Spencer was inspired by the umbrella-looking design on the Giant’s Chalice at the village and decided that would be the logo for his company. Is that an umbrella?
Seeing how Miranda was infecting villagers with the mold gave him the idea to use a virus to further human evolution. Her plan to resurrect her daughter wasn’t quite ambitious enough for Spencer. He parted ways with Miranda and discovered the Progenitor virus in Africa (as seen in Resident Evil 5), which led to the development of the T-virus that was the start of the zombie outbreak in the original Resident Evil. This usage of the logo has little to do with the story of Resident Evil Village and is more of an Easter egg for longtime fans. However, its presence is dripping with symbolic meaning, since Spencer’s encounter with Miranda at an impressionable time inspired him to research viruses. Miranda’s quest to resurrect her daughter indirectly kicked off the events of the whole series and is the reason bioterrorism is a constant threat in the Resident Evil universe.When did Miranda replace Mia? Didn’t Ethan notice there was something up with his wife?It’s hard to determine when the switch happened. Considering Rose is still an infant, Miranda probably took over Mia within the past few weeks or even months. As for why Ethan didn’t notice, well he is a little slow. He does have mold for brains after all, but he’s still a badass.
Monday’s best deals: Arcade1Up X-Men (save $150), Creality 3D printer (save $140), more – CNET
Here’s a quick TV recommendation if you’re looking for something new: Resident Alien, starring Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Rogue One), debuted earlier this year on SyFy, a lighthearted but occasionally dark mishmash of Starman, Northern Exposure and maybe a little Independence Day. It’s free to stream on Peacock Premium (albeit with commercials), but right now you…
Here’s a quick TV recommendation if you’re looking for something new: Resident Alien, starring Alan Tudyk (Firefly, Rogue One), debuted earlier this year on SyFy, a lighthearted but occasionally dark mishmash of Starman, Northern Exposure and maybe a little Independence Day. It’s free to stream on Peacock Premium (albeit with commercials), but right now you can buy Resident Alien Season 1 (HD) from Amazon for just $9. Well worth it, in my humble opinion — and don’t take my word; the show has a 93% Rotten Tomatoes score. With that out of the way, let’s talk about two of my favorite subjects: gaming (both console and arcade) and 3D printing. Get ready to bust open the piggy bank.
Android vs. iPhone: 7 things Apple phone owners wish they could do – CNET
Android phones have some features that make iPhone owners jealous. Óscar Gutiérrez/CNET The argument between iPhone and Android owners is as old as both platforms, and one I can’t see coming to an end anytime soon. With each announcement and release of major updates, both sides like to point out copied features or updates that…
Android phones have some features that make iPhone owners jealous.
The argument between iPhone and Android owners is as old as both platforms, and one I can’t see coming to an end anytime soon. With each announcement and release of major updates, both sides like to point out copied features or updates that the other operating system lacks. In a lot of ways, the debate feels similar to politics, both sides just can’t find common ground. For example, Google recently announced the Android 12 developer beta. It’s available for only the very brave to try out right now, and while there’s not a lot of consumer-facing features activated in it quite yet, we do know that Google is borrowing the iPhone’s microphone and camera use indicators to enhance privacy. And more recently, Google announced it will start requiring Android app developers to list all the different types of personal data an app collects about users in its Play Store listing, just like Apple added in iOS 14.Conversely, when Apple released iOS 14 the iPhone gained new home screen widgets and the option to create custom app icons. Yea, Android users had fun with that oldie but goody.Even though Apple keeps adding Android-like features to iOS, Android users still have plenty of bragging rights over iPhone users. From being able to use two apps at the same time to Google Assistant and more customization options are, for now at least, some of the features Android owners can claim as their own. Below are seven things Android still does better than the iPhone. Facts. Don’t worry, though. I’ve given Android the same treatment by highlighting what the iPhone does better. Also facts.
Surprising Android tricks an iPhone can’t do
Use the apps you want, not the apps Google wants you to Yeah, yeah, yeah. Apple added the ability to set your default app for email or web browsing in iOS 14, but that’s it. Google has always given Android users the ability to set their default apps for a number of different tasks. Want to use a different app for text messaging than what came preinstalled? Do it. In fact, you should use Google Messages as your default app for its sweet chat features that are getting closer to being an iMessage equivalent. Finding the setting for default apps can take a little digging, but at least it’s there.
Screenshots by Jason Cipriani/CNET
It isn’t hard to see which apps have been labeled as default on your Android device: Open the Settings app and go to Apps & notifications > Default apps. To change the defaults, select the app category, such as Phone app or Browser app and choose from the options.Google Assistant is always ready for you.
Google Assistant for the all the winsiPhone users have Siri, but Android gives you Google Assistant. Google Assistant is a much more sophisticated tool than Apple’s Siri for a slew of reasons, but the most important one is that it makes use of Google’s impressive database. Google Assistant can understand common requests for businesses and names, plus it gets requests right more often than wrong. It also returns high-quality responses, drawing from Google Search, a tool that Siri doesn’t have access to. Google Assistant also tightly integrates with the phone’s other functions, to tell you when it’s time to leave for your next meeting and warn you that traffic will be heavy on the way home. If you have any Google Home or Nest Home smart speakers or other compatible devices, you can also use Assistant on your phone to control smart devices around your house like lights, outlets or your thermostat — even from afar. Split Screen is easy to use on an Android phone and increases the versatility of a phone.
And it’s built right into your Android device. “OK, Google” and “Hey, Google” are the two wake phrases. If you need help knowing what to ask, you can ask Google Assistant for a list of commands: “OK, Google, What can you do?” iPhone owners can also install the Google app to use Assistant, but it’s not built in and it’s not the default personal assistant. Split-screen mode gives you two apps at the same timeEven though iPadOS supports using multiple apps at the same time, iOS 14 and the iPhone do not. Android users, however, have had split-screen apps since 2016 with the release of Android 7.0 Nougat. Using two apps is helpful if you’re trying to look up a contact’s phone number to send to someone on Facebook Messenger, or if you need to reference information in a document when composing an email. It’s unclear why Apple hasn’t added this feature to the iPhone yet, but perhaps it has something to do with the size of the app windows on the iPhone’s display as compared with the larger iPad. Move icons around to arrange them, or delete them and only use the app drawer.
The easiest way to use split-screen mode is to open the multitasking view and tap on the app’s icon at the top of its multitasking card — it’s the same icon you use to launch the app from your home screen. Select Split screen from the list of options, then select the second app you want to have open at the same time. (These steps might vary depending on which Android phone you use. For example, Samsung phones have their own version of the interface.) You can adjust the size of each app by dragging the small handle between the two apps to expand or decrease how much space each app takes up. Support at the OS-level for a stylus is a killer feature.
The stylus is mightier than an Apple Pencil Not every Android device supports a stylus, but Android owners at least have the option to buy a phone like the Galaxy Note 20, Galaxy S21 Ultra or even Motorola’s Moto G Stylus. Having built-in stylus support means you can write notes, create sketches and edit photos with precision. It’s a tool that many users like, and on Android, it’s definitely an option. With Samsung expanding its S Pen to more devices like the S21 Ultra, one has to assume other Android-makers will follow. Samsung has led the way for years on bringing new features to Android, often beating out Google. Either way, Android fans already have some worthy options if they want a stylus. Rumors have circulated for years that Apple would bring Apple Pencil Support to the iPhone, but we’ve yet to see it happen. Customize your home screen just how you like it Apple’s approach to the home screen is still locked to placing all installed apps in a rigid grid, although you can now add widgets to the home screen and use custom app icons to mix up the overall look. However, the home screen on Android devices don’t follow a grid layout, allowing you to place apps anywhere you’d like. Both platforms let you make folders containing groups of apps. The benefit of Android’s approach is that you can customize the home screen by arranging app icons in any pattern of your choosing. The way your Android phone’s home screen looks is because of its launcher. But you’re not stuck with what comes preinstalled.
Use launchers to fully customize your phone Launchers are the epitome of Android customization. These apps let you completely change how you interact with the home screen, the app drawer and even the app icons on your phone. Using a launcher on your Android phone allows you to customize almost every aspect of how your phone looks and behaves, making your phone even more personal than it already is. Launchers like Nova Launcher, Microsoft’s Launcher, Apex Launcher and Action Launcher all add their own twists and features to your Android phone. For example, another popular Android launcher, Evie, emphasizes using a search bar to quickly find and open apps, or anything else on your Android phone for that matter. It’s minimalism at its finest. I recommend taking some time to research the various launchers, trying a couple of them and really customizing the look and feel of your phone. Just be forewarned: The deeper you dive into the world of launchers, the more time and energy you’re going to spend on tweaking your setup. It’s hard to imagine a world where Apple ever lets something like this happen for the iPhone, although it appears it is loosening its grip on how much iPhone users can change the look of their home screen. The Wallpapers app is a must for any Android user.
Never get bored with automatically changing wallpapers If taking the time to find and customize a launcher feels like a lot of work, there’s another way to make your Android phone constantly feel fresh and it’s yet another thing your iPhone friends can’t do — use Google’s Wallpapers app. The Wallpapers app refreshes the wallpaper on your home screen and lock screen daily, without you having to do a thing. There are several different categories of wallpaper styles to choose from. Pick your favorite and let the app take care of the rest. Personally, I like to use the geometric shapes category. The wallpapers are unique and colorful. Granted, the iPhone now has wallpapers you can pick from that change based on whether or not dark mode is activated, and if you take the time to find or build a Shortcut, you can automate changing your wallpaper on a schedule — but it’s not as easy to use as the Wallpapers app. If you’re ready to switch to Android, or are looking to get more from the Android phone you already own, check out our list of the best Android phones of 2021. If you’re new to Android, make sure to change these Android settings right away. Then after that, we have some helpful tips for using Android 11.