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Here is everything we know so far about ‘Westworld’ season 2

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With Westworld heading into season 2, HBO is building hype for the show’s already much-anticipated return. We’re stuck in a waiting period until April, but in the meantime, the network is making it possible for a number of lucky fans to hunt for clues during an immersive experience, as discussed below. The second season will continue the often-twisted, always-intriguing story inspired by novelist Michael Crichton’s 1973 film of the same name.

Season 2 will return viewers to the complex fantasy sci-fi world that features artificially intelligent robots who, as it turns out, don’t always do their job of letting the human guests fulfill their fantasies. Read on for everything we know so far about Westworld season 2, and be prepared: Spoilers lie ahead.

A Westworld experience

HBO has quite the plan to celebrate Westworld at the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals in Austin, Texas, in March. The network announced February 21 that it is building an actual park based on the show that will be open to visitors from March 9 to March 11.

The park is more than two acres in size, and it will feature locations like the Coronado hotel and the Mariposa Saloon. There will even be actors playing “hosts” that visitors can interact with throughout their visit.

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Perhaps the most exciting part of the entire experience is the fact that it offers season 2 clues. Visitors will be able to look for them as they go through the different parts of the park, and they will be able to try to uncover others in their conversations with hosts.

Let’s hope they share whatever they discover. The experience lasts about two hours, and keeping with the theme, visitors will be taken to and from the site in a Delos shuttle. There is, unfortunately, a limited number of slots available.

HBO made half of them available online at the website DiscoverWestworld.com, and they filled up quickly. However, more will open up during SXSW.

A secret website and new parks

The Westworld Super Bowl trailer was more than just a good ad; it contained at least one huge clue for the truly observant and clever. At the 33-second-mark, there are white bars above one of the android bulls, and as Redditor Askin1 discovered, you can read it in binary code and translate it to 52.89.126.34.

When you enter that in a browser bar, you’ll find yourself at the website DelosDestinations.com. The secret website is for the fictional company that owns Westworld — and five other parks.

A total of six parks is more than we expected, but we did know there would be more. The existence of at least one other park, Samurai World, came up in Season 1, and in the movie Westworld, there were two others, Roman World and Medieval World.

In fact, when asked about them, the series’ creators hinted that we could see them in Season 2 (we discuss that further below). With the website revealing six parks, it looks like the scale of the series could be even bigger than we imagined, which is exciting. New worlds would open up all kinds of possibilities, giving the show room to grow, not to mention run for numerous seasons.

So far, information about these other parks is sparse. The Delos Destinations website has plenty of information about Westworld, but Park 2 (presumably Samurai World) features a blurry image and Parks 3-6 say that reservations are “closed to the public.” Still, its worth poking around the site. Who knows what other clues are hiding?

A super trailer and premiere date

HBO made a big event even bigger when it debuted a new trailer for season 2 of Westworld during Super Bowl 2018.

It also revealed the premiere date for the much-anticipated season. Fans of the series will want to mark their calendars: The dark sci-fi series returns to HBO with a new season at 9 p.m. ET Sunday, April 22.

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The Super Bowl trailer for Westworld was directed by series co-creator Jonathan Nolan and is set to a cover of Kanye West’s Runaway performed by series composer Ramin Djawadi.

A blast from the past

Although Westworld star Jimmi Simpson previously confirmed that he will be in season 2, reprising his role as William, the young Man in Black, not everyone was in the know.

During the Television Critics Association press tour on Tuesday, January 9, a reporter asked him if he would return, and he was surprised to hear the question. The confusion made him tight-lipped.

Jimmi Simpson as William “I thought it was already a thing,” he said, according to The Wrap. “But now that you’re asking me, I’m gonna shut up.”

He didn’t exactly shut up, though. Instead, he confirmed that yes, he will “pop in” to show us more of the Man in Black’s past. He then delved into areas of the character that he wishes Westworld would show.

“I wish there was exploration between the time when William’s heart is broken and we see the result. I’ll say that,” he said. “I want to know how much it takes and how hard he tried not to go there.” Ahem, Westworld writers, please take note, because that does sound interesting.

Production halted due to wildfires

Wildfires in Southern California have resulted in production of the latest season being halted, according to a statement from HBO. “Due to nearby wildfires,” notes the network, “Westworld stopped production earlier today and will resume filming as soon as it’s safe to do so.” Filming for the series’ second season takes place near Santa Clarita, where the Rye fire is currently situated.

Several other fires are ongoing in the state as well, including the Thomas fire in Ventura County and Creek fire in nearby Sylmar. Production should resume once the fires have been put out, though the Santa Ana winds are making that difficult.

New season, new parks

The Man in Black (Ed Harris) and Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) If you thought the wild west park was Westworld’s only fantasy-fueled funhouse, think again.

In season 2, we expect to be introduced to three new worlds — but maybe more. In addition to Samurai World, hints of which were teased in the season 1 finale, the series’ showrunners, Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, made comments in October teasing additional worlds. When asked specifically about why Roman World and Medieval World weren’t a part of season 1 at a panel, Nolan responded, “We had to save something for season 2.”

In the film, these parks are also owned by Westworld creator Delos and also enable people to live out their fantasies. They should make for interesting new backdrops for the story as it continues to unfold.

The (young) Man in Black is back

We didn’t get confirmation that William (Simpson), the young version of the Man in Black (Ed Harris), would be back when he appeared at San Diego Comic-Con 2017, but the actor finally made the news official on July 30. Responding to a fan on Twitter, he wrote, “Yessir, William will be black.

I mean back.”

Yessir, William will be black. I mean back. — Jimmi Simpson (@jimmisimpson) July 30, 2017

While internet forums had long speculated, it took until the season 1 finale for Westworld to reveal that William was indeed the park visitor who became the Man in Black.

However, fans were left with plenty of unanswered questions regarding his character’s evolution. With Simpson returning, it looks like we’ll start to get additional pieces of the puzzle. In fact, Simpson dropped hints along those lines during Comic-Con, indicating that Nolan and Joy plan to delve further into the intriguing character’s backstory, as reported by Westworld Watchers.

The bloodshed has already begun

HBO gave us a first look at Westworld season 2 during San Diego Comic-Con in July, teasing — yes, you guessed it — a lot of gore.

There is plenty of blood in the preview, from Maeve (Thandi Newton) and Lee Sizemore (Simon Quarterman) finding corpses inside Delos to Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) and Teddy (James Marsden) gunning down guests on the open plains.

#ICYMI: Watch the first #Westworld Season 2 trailer returning in 2018. pic.twitter.com/KzOVeFB5zu — Westworld (@WestworldHBO) July 24, 2017

We all-but knew season 2 was going to usher in further brutality, but the preview confirmed the direction we are headed.

A host gets a bigger (and deadlier) role

It’s no surprise the death toll at Westworld is poised to grow, and after the bloody events of the season 1 finale, it sounds like we’ll see at least one lesser-known host get involved in the upcoming violence. That character is Angela, the host who has long greeted the park’s visitors.

The actress who portrays her, Talulah Riley, has been promoted to series regular for season 2, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Angela (Talulah Riley) As a source indicated, the “host whose beatific face welcomed guests to Westworld for decades,” will get a darker role in season 2: “Angela will prove to be one of the last faces many guests will ever see.” That sounds appropriately ominous.

An unsurprising renewal

The official confirmation for Westworld season 2 came in November after just seven episodes had aired, but the news was hardly surprising.

Not only had the show been drawing positive reviews from critics, viewership was extremely strong, ultimately topping even the debut season of HBO’s current ratings behemoth, Game of Thrones. The renewal did come with somewhat bad news, though, namely that Westworld fans would have to wait till 2018 for season 2. Although we’re still in for several months of waiting, it’ll all be worth it if the show’s second season can live up to its debut.

Updated February 22: We added information about the Westworld experience for SXSW.

Editors’ Recommendations

Asus ZenBook 13 vs. Dell XPS 13

Matt Smith/Digital Trends

Although you can find many great budget laptops out there today, the sweet spot in laptop pricing and hardware, as far as we’re concerned, is just north of £1,000. There are some truly stellar entries in that ballpark, including our favorite for the past few years, the Dell XPS 13. But there are always pretenders gunning for that throne and Asus has a new potential competitor that has us intrigued.

In this head to head, we’ll pit the Asus ZenBook 13 UX331UN vs. Dell XPS 13, to see which comes out on top in all of the most important categories. To see how the new Dell XPS 13 measures up against the larger Dell XPS 15 2-in-1, check out our comparison between the two.

Specifications

Asus Zenbook 13 UX331UN

Dell XPS 13

Dimensions 12.2 x 8.5 x 0.55 inches 11.9 x 7.8 x 0.46 inches (0.3 at thinnest) Weight 2.47 pounds 2.67 pounds Processor 8th Generation Intel Core i5, i7 8th Generation Intel Core i5, i7 RAM 8GB or 16GB 4GB, 8GB or 16GB Graphics Intel HD 620 or Nvidia MX150 with 2GB GDDR5 Intel HD 620 Display 13.3-inch wide-wide angle (touch optional) 13.3-inch InfinityEdge Resolution 1080P or 4K 1080P or 4K Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD (PCIe optional) 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD (PCIe optional) Networking 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2 Ports SB© USB-C, 2 x SB© USB-A, HDMI, headset, microSD SB© USB-C, 2 x Thunderbolt 3, Headset, microSD Webcam VGA webcam 720P webcam Operating System Windows 10 Windows 10 Battery 50 watt-hours 52 watt-hours Price £1,000+ £1,000+ Availability Now Now Review Full review: 7/10 Hands-on

Design

Asus’ laptops have never been the most striking.

Even its recent entries haven’t done much to change that, though it does appear to have taken some measures to improve the aesthetics of its new ZenBook 13 to bring it more in line with its pricing. With some subtle tweaks to the angling, a reduction in bezel size and a new, matt finish to the dark blue paint job, it certainly looks better than previous entries in this range. The Dell XPS, on the other hand, is arguably one of the best looking laptops available today.

Its latest refresh is slightly flatter and looks far more modern than its predecessors. It’s soft-touch, carbon fiber interior is still lovely to look at and feels great. Its bezels are thinner than ever too, practically making it an edge-to-edge display, which is more than can be said for the new Zenbook, despite its new slimmer design.

Both laptops are trim elsewhere too, although the XPS 13 just pips the ZenBook 13 there too, coming in a few fractions of an inch shorter and thinner. The ZenBook does manage to undercut the competition on weight though, shedding 0.2 of a pound compared to the Dell design. That weight loss may come at the expense of frame stability, as we noticed some flex in the display during our hands-on.

Elsewhere in the designs, the ZenBook 13 has a little more port flexibility with the inclusion of two SB© USB-A ports, as well as an HDMI output that supports up to HDMI 1.4. There’s no Thunderbolt 3 support though and the webcam is only VGA, compared to the 720P version that the XPS 13 sports. Although both designs have their perks, the overall look and feel of the XPS 13 is hard to beat, even if the ZenBook’s legacy ports give it a little more connectivity flexibility.

Winner: XPS 13

Hardware

Although the configuration options for both the Asus ZenBook 13 and Dell XPS 13 are similar, there are some notable differences that are worth considering. Both systems offer eighth-generation Intel Core i5 and i7 CPUs (8250U and 8550U respectively) and up to 16GB of RAM, though the base version of the XPS 13 comes with 4GB. The ZenBook starts with 8GB.

Storage options are a little more varied with the UX331UN, starting at 128GB of M.2 solid state storage (SSD), but both systems offer up to 1TB, with an optional PCIe drive. The biggest difference between the two is in the graphics department. Where the Dell XPS 13 offers no additional graphics support beyond the on board Intel HD 620 chip included with the processor, Asus offers an Nvidia MX150 with 2GB of GDDR5.

That’s not a particularly powerful graphics chip, typically comparable to a desktop GTX 1030, but it’s significantly more powerful than Intel HD graphics — even if it’s throttled a bit. All things considered, both systems should perform comparably in typical Windows tasks, but with the additional oomph of a dedicated graphics processor, even a slightly limited one, the ZenBook 13 should be the more powerful system with 3D applications and gaming. Winner: ZenBook 13

Display

The XPS 13 offers two resolution options for laptop displays: A standard 1080P, full-HD panel and a much more detailed, 4K choice, which gives both laptops native support for the latest consumer media source.

Whichever resolution you opt for though, both come in the 13.3-inch form factor and have fantastic color accuracy — it’s some of the best we’ve ever seen on a display outside of a MacBook Pro. The ZenBook 13, on the other hand, only offers a 1080p display — and it didn’t fare quite as well in our testing. It loses to the XPS 13 in pretty much every category, ranging from contrast ratio to color accuracy.

Winner: XPS 13

Mark Coppock/Digital Trends

Portability

Portable laptops need to be compact, lightweight and have plenty of battery life and both the XPS 13 and ZenBook 13 have all those in spades. The physical dimensions are a bit of a toss up, as though the ZenBook is the slightly lighter notebook, it’s not by enough of a margin that general usage will make it too noticeable. Likewise, the XPS 13, although smaller, is not so much so that it’s going to make an enormous difference to your day.

The kicker is likely to come in terms of battery life. Although there are only a few watt-hour difference between the batteries that both laptops employ, claimed battery life is a little different. Asus claims that the Zenbook 13 can offer up to 14-hours battery life.

While that’s stellar, it’s not as much as Dell’s claimed 19-hours. Whether neither top the Surface Book 2, the XPS 13 wins out over over the ZenBook 13, giving it the overall edge in portability. Winner: XPS 13

Price and availability

Arguably the most important category, nothing else matters if a product is too expensive or hard to find.

This is where the Asus laptop could really give Dell a run for its money, as both systems start out at £1,000. The ZenBook has a substantially more attractive configuration at that price point. For your money you get a Core i5-8250U CPU, 8GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and the distinctive MX150 graphics chip.

The XPS 13 in comparison, has the same CPU, but just 4GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and just onboard Intel HD 620 graphics. You only need to bump up your budget by £150 to get the same sort of hardware — sans the MX150 graphics chip — with the XPS 13, but it’s still the more expensive option. The 2017 Dell XPS 13 is an alternative, as it can be purchased for as little as £800, but that does come with older hardware.

With all that in mind, at the time of writing, the above configuration of the ZenBook 13 UX331UN is the only one available. Even still, you get a better deal with the ZenBook 13, especially if you want to be able to play games on the side. Winner: ZenBook 13

Close, but no cigar

It’s rare that a laptop can come close to toppling our long-running mid-range laptop champion and the ZenBook 13 UX331UN made a valiant effort.

With a discrete graphics chip nestled inside its newly trim design, decent battery life, and display options, it came closer than most to becoming our new favorite. The GPU is certainly a distinguishing factor, but without the However, the overall package just isn’t quite enough to sway us.

Although the XPS 13 appears to be the more expensive offering right now, its wider array of (buyable) hardware options, its better-designed chassis and weight distribution, its new look and feel, and stellar battery life, mean it’s not leaving its cozy spot in our hearts just yet.

Overall winner: Dell XPS 13

Editors’ Recommendations

Uber’s ExpressPool service offers cheap fares, but you’ll have to walk a bit

If you’re a ridesharing fan, what’s more important, convenient pick-ups and drop-offs or cheap fares? If it’s the latter, then you may be interested to know that Uber has just launched its first new service in three years. Called ExpressPool, it works by grouping together riders going in the same direction and designating a single pick-up point for everyone, not more than a couple of blocks from where you made the ride request.

So, yes, it’s likely to mean a little exercise and taking a bit longer to the moment when you actually climb in the car, but with fares reported to be up to 50 percent cheaper than UberPool, and up to 75 percent cheaper than UberX, what’s not to like? The new ExpressPool service is available now via Uber’s app to riders in Los Angeles, San Diego, and Denver. It’s also up and running in Boston and San Francisco where it was tested over the last few months, and by the end of the week will be available in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, and Miami.

A nationwide rollout is planned “soon,” the company said. ExpressPool will be seen as a response to similar offerings by rivals, among them Lyft Line, which often works out cheaper than UberPool, Uber’s service that matches riders with other riders going in the same direction, but picks them up wherever they make the ride request. Uber says that with Pool rides, time can be wasted picking up additional riders along the way, but with ExpressPool you’ll all be picked up in the same spot with no detours en route, which could end up making the trip just as quick as a Pool ride.

Essentially, if you don’t mind walking a block or two, Pool Express looks like a sensible option for riders keen on value for money.

“Walking and waiting help us make more optimal matches and provide better, straighter, faster routes with fewer detours, delivering an even more affordable and consistent option than [Uber]Pool to consumers,” Uber’s Ethan Stock explained in a blog post outlining the new service, adding that Express fits with its long-term plan of easing congestion and cutting pollution by “getting more people into fewer cars.”

Editors’ Recommendations

The best running apps for iOS and Android

Running is one of the best ways to keep yourself in shape and in good health. However, one of the most difficult things about running is staying motivated and engaged so you can accomplish your fitness goals. Luckily, technology can be a great tool to keep you engaged and motivated — especially when the desire to get off track or quit starts to kick in.

Here, we’ve rounded up 12 of the best running apps available for Android- and iOS-compatible devices. They offer GPS tracking, the ability to share stats with friends, and even the option to challenge friends to competitions. Many of these running apps are fully compatible with the Apple Watch and Android Wear, too.

So, let’s dust off our running shoes and put on our best looking pair of shorts. It’s time to run our way to better health. Exercise is just one piece of the puzzle to stay in good health.

Check out our picks for the best fitness apps for the iPhone or your Android device, apps that help you stay healthy all year round, and the best Fitbit device for every active lifestyle.

Strava

This fun running app makes it feel as if you’re playing a game with your friends. It offers GPS tracking but also allows you to see a feed of your friend’s activities, allowing you to challenge them along the way. You’ll also be able to see how you stack up against others, set goals, see leaderboards, and join monthly challenges.

You can also share your activities via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Thanks to its robust community and the designer’s commitment to keeping it fresh, Strava remains one of the best running and fitness apps available. Download now for:

Android iOS

Runtastic

Doctors recommend you should aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise every day. This makes Runtastic the perfect app for those who like listening to audiobooks or podcasts while exercising. Its Story Running features allows you to download stories for just £1 and each track is roughly 40 minutes, making it the perfect time for a good workout.

The app is also optimized for both Android Wear and the Apple Watch. Download now for: Android iOS

Runkeeper

Runkeeper is another great running app which boasts a user community of more than 50 million runners.

Staying motivated is very important and Runkeepers social approach is perhaps its best feature. It allows you to stay inspired and motivates you with rewards, along with a host of sharing features. It has Apple Watch, iTunes, and Spotify integration and works with other health apps such as Fitbit or MyFitnessPal.

Download now for: Android iOS

MapMyRun

MapMyRun built a member community of more than 40 million people, due in large part to the fact it’s just a great running app. There’s a specific Routes feature which allows you to find nearby places to run, as well as tools for saving and sharing them with your friends.

The app can also automatically track runs and you can sync any data with devices from Garmin, Fitbit, Jawbone, and Under Armour (who happen to be the brand responsible for the app these days). With its deep customization and rewarding social features, MapMyRun is a triumph. Download now for:

Android iOS

Nike+ Run Club

Nike+ Run Club is a running app that takes an adaptive approach to your training. Based on your goals and fitness level, it adjusts the training to better suit your progress. Not only does the app help you stay motivated by integrating with social apps like Facebook but it also allows you to send a shoutout to a friend to help them stay motivated.

There’s no denying how much easier it is to accomplish your fitness goals when you have someone working toward them with you and Nike+ Run Club further proves this. Download now for: Android iOS

Endomondo

This is a great, GPS-enabled app that allows you to track running, walking, biking, and a slew of other sports.

Logged data is sent to Endomondo’s website so you can analyze your stats and progress — friendly competition with others in the community is also encouraged. While the baseline app is free, you can go with a Premium option which lets you enjoy the app ad-free while offering weather information and other added perks. You’ll also have access to more detailed statistics, including calories burned per month, running distance by year, and other useful metrics.

Download now for: Android iOS

RunGo

RunGo is the best app to use if you want to discover new places while you run. With turn-by-turn voice navigation, you can select more than 100,000 routes around the world, or build your own.

The app clearly tells you where to turn, even if you’ve gone a bit off course. You can also use it offline and it’s fully compatible with the Apple Watch. It also takes advantage of ARKit for iOS 11, integrating augmented reality into its features.

Monthly subscriptions cost £2 while a yearly subscription runs for just £10. Download now for: Android iOS

Couch to 5K

This running app dares to make a substantial promise.

Couch to 5k asks you to spend 20 or 30 minutes training, three times a week and promises that in nine weeks time, you’ll be ready to finish your first 5k race (roughly 3.1 miles). A one-time purchase of £3 allows you to choose between four virtual coaches and the app also features GPS support, an in-app music player, and offers you the ability to share your workouts via Facebook. Download now for:

Android iOS

Wahoo

Wahoo Fitness’ main attraction is its robust compatibility, which allows it to integrate with more than 50 third-party apps and 240 individual products. It allows you to upload workouts to a host of top-tier training websites, including MapMyFitness, Nike+, Strava, MyFitnessPal, and several others. You’ll also be able to use this app with heart rate sensors, bike speed sensors, and even some specialized gym equipment.

Download now for: Android iOS

Zombies, Run!

An incredibly unique fitness app, Zombies, Run!, turns your workouts into a real-life adventure. It’s a running game that casts you as the hero in a zombie adventure story — one where you must race to save your life and the lives of others.

The first four missions are free but after that, you’ll need to unlock new stories on a weekly basis. The app does allow you to unlock more than 240 missions by upgrading to a Pro membership. If you want to work out while having fun, this is the way to go.

Download now for: Android iOS

WeavRun

If music is your true inspiration for running, then WeavRun was designed just for you. This innovative app syncs your favorite music to your footsteps, increasing the beat as you speed up and decreasing the beat as you slow down.

In addition to simply tracking cadence and making automatic tempo adjustments, you can choose to enter your desired steps-per-minute and challenge yourself to keep in tune with the music. The app also includes GPS run tracking, seamless sharing, and is fully integrated with Strava and other running apps. The best part?

The app functions so that it doesn’t sacrifice the quality of the music — ever. It never distorts songs or stretches them beyond their original compositions. Download now for:

iOS Android

My Run Plan

This is not just another running app — My Run Plan is an advanced fitness tool for serious runners. This application builds a training plan tailored to your needs. It really is all about you, too, as it focuses completely on your schedule, your goals, and your performance.

How does it work? Set a running goal and input schedule information before letting the app’s algorithm give you customized training guidance. You can even reach out to USATF-certified coaches for questions regarding training, nutrition, or for help with injuries.

It costs £9.99 for a monthly plan. Download now for: iOS Android

Additional information

If you want to read more about how tech and health are getting more integrated, read our picks for the best fitness trackers and how Fitness AR uses ARKit augmented reality to share your workouts.

Update: We’ve added links to related articles and added the WeavRun and My Run Plan apps.

Editors’ Recommendations

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