The Samsung Galaxy Note 5 is finally official, alonsgide the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus and the two together paint a comprehensive picture of what the ideals and goals of Samsung are for the next few years. Although the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus is the premium, slightly gimmicky, but definitely interesting launch of the year, while the Galaxy Note 5 is the more common, yet still unique, new device in the Note series. Last year’s Galaxy Note 4 is still considered one of the best smartphones on the market, and the Galaxy Note 5 will actually have a hard time convincing people to switch from the Note 4. But what happens when the new Nexus line-up becomes official on September 29?
Google is prepping a new Nexus line-up of devices, with the Nexus 5 2015 as the leading release of the year. An event that is most likely the launch event and birthday of the new Nexus family of devices has been scheduled for September 29, so in a matter of weeks, we should have the new Nexus 5 2015 and maybe even Nexus 7 2015 and Nexus 6 2015 sitting in our laps. But Google is getting into even more serious competition than last year, as Apple’s new iPhone 7 is set to launch today and Samsung’s fresh line-up of devices is more popular than ever. That scenario begs the question: will the Nexus 5 2015 be more worth the investment than the already available Galaxy Note 5? Our guess would be: YES, but let’s see what the Galaxy Note 5 has to offer and what the rumors about the Nexus 5 2015 suggest.
The Galaxy Note 5 release happened in August in a dedicated Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event, and while first impressions of the phone were a bit disappointed, as fans expected more from the new handset than they got, reviews of the device are still overwhelmingly positive, emphasizing the good performance and design of the phone, but still condemning the lack of a removable battery and microSD card slot. But people seem to be getting used to living in the cloud and using cloud storage instead of the more unstable SD storage, which ultimately is a positive development. Still, there are supporters of microSd slots with good arguments, and the same goes for removable batteries.
Samsung focused a lot on the Galaxy Note 5 design, making the phone the ultimate example for premium design and user interface. A metallic body with a sealed in battery, a new, revamped stylus and an excellent display, as well as a golden finish and a shiny glass back panel make the Galaxy Note 5 a truly appealing device. The Nexus 5 2015 on the other hand, will most likely be less of a premium device and more of an affordable one, which is actually a plus rather than a minus for the handset. According to leaked images of the back panel of the Nexus 5 2015, the device will most likely sport a largely polycarbonate chassis with a metal frame.
That’s not as interesting as the polished, chamfered, shiny design of the Galaxy Note 5, but the upside of it is that it will most likely keep the cost of the device in retail lower than other flagship smartphones. the front of the Nexus 5 2015 is still a mystery, but sources say that the collaboration between LG and Google for this device will result in a design that is similar to the LG G4 or even the Asus ZenFone 2. A bezelless appearance is a given, and most people also expect front-facing dual speakers to be present, which would be an excellent addition to the feature-list of the Nexus 5 2015.
The design of the Nexus 5 2015 appears to be a bit more ergonomic than that of the Galaxy Note 5, even though the small curves of the latter do provide for excellent hold, even if the device is among the largest smartphones on the market. The Nexus 5 2015 however will most likely sport a significantly smaller display, which will most likely make the handset much more portable and more easy to maneuver than the Galaxy Note 5. When it comes to size and footprint, the Nexus 5 2015 will most likely be about as thick as the Galaxy Note 5 at about 7.5 mm, but its footprint will be significantly smaller due to the smaller display.
The Galaxy Note 5 display is just as impressive as the Galaxy Note 4 display, but it brings nothing new to the handset family in this respect. The 5.7-inch Super AMOLED display comes with a neat QHD resolution of 1440*2560, offering the user a bright, sharp, crisp display like none other. The large size of the display combined with the revamped stylus make for an excellent writing experience and make using the S Pen a true pleasure for those who truly understand the purpose of the Note family of devices. Compared to that, the Nexus 5 2015 will probably lack a couple of features, like the stylus.
The Nexus 5 2015 display will most likely be a good deal smaller than the Galaxy Note 5 display, as rumors suggest its size will be between 5.1- and 5.2-inches. QHD resolution is most likely to be present, as FHD seems no longer the standard that most smartphone users are looking for when shopping for a new device. Still, the screen of the new Nexus is expected to feature something new, similar to Force Touch, but with an added twist. We can’t confirm that rumor, even though many say a new type of input method will be used by Google and LG when designing the handset. Our best bet is a simple, AMOLED display that measures 5.2 inches – that’s because surveys and studies have shown that that’s the ideal size for most smartphone users.
Moving on to hardware, the Galaxy Note 5 excels, as does the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, which has the same specs. Under the hood, the Galaxy Note 5 is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 7420, backed by 4 GB RAM and 32 or 64 GB internal storage. The processor is the same as in the new Galaxy S6 line-up, but performance has been improved thanks to new TouchWiz features designed especially for the S Pen stylus. The user experience when it comes to performance is pretty awesome, but TouchWiz does tend to mess things up on occasion. If you’re a fan of stock Android, the Galaxy Note 5 software won’t really be your favorite.
The Nexus 5 2015, on the other hand, will be a haven for stock Android lovers, as the handset will most likely be launched with Android 6.0 Marshmallow, stock on board. With the optimization and new features of Android 6.0. the Nexus 5 2015 should end up being a powerhouse and it will definitely be able to compete agains the performance records of the Galaxy Note 5. We can’t say for sure yet, but rumor has it that the device will sport a Snapdragon 808 CPU, 4 GB RAM and the same storage options as the Galaxy Note 5. Add fast charging, wireless charging, LTE into the mix, and the two flagship smartphones almost seem like equals.
The camera of a smartphone has become very important over the years, and Samsung demonstrated its commitment to satisfying camera needs with the last few handsets. Starting with the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung was crowned the king of smartphone photography, at least in the mainstream flagship market. But that doesn’t mean that there’s a lot of improvement options out there, as technology is struggling to keep up with demand. Nonetheless, the Galaxy Note 5 camera is just as good as the Galaxy Note 4 camera, sporting a 16 MP camera with optical image stabilization, autofocus and dual-LED flash. On the front, there’s a 5 MP camera, pretty standard.
The Nexus 5 2015 camera setup should end up being impressive, as the camera was one of the biggest problems of the predecessor, the LG Nexus 5, launched in 2013. With a lot of feedback and surveys, Google and LG will most likely focus on the camera performance of the new flagship, and rumors reflect this tendency. Leaks suggest either a dual camera with motion- or depth-sensing capabilities and a massive 16 MP sensor with OIS and autofocus, either a 12 MP camera with OIS and autofocus. We’ll have to wait and see which configuration prevails, but our hunch is that no matter which it is, the camera will be excellent. The front camera will most likely be a similar 5 MP shooter as on the Galaxy Note 5.
One of the most appreciated improvements done with the Galaxy Note 5 was battery life. Last year’s Galaxy Note 4 was a champ at that, with a two-day battery life with moderate use. Samsung went even further, and the new Galaxy Note 5 can even go almost three days with moderate use, which is pretty exemplary in an industry where battery life is the biggest problem. The unit harbors a 3000 mAh battery, which works awesomely well with the Exynos processor, fast charging and wireless charging. The same battery performance is expected of the Nexus 5 2015, too.
USB Type-C is the new standard, and the Nexus 5 2015 will most likely use it. The Galaxy Note 5, however, remains at microUSB 2.0, which is a bit of a bummer. Nonetheless, the older port does not impact the user experience that much, as we’re used to fiddling with USB cables and stuff like that on occasion. Fast charging bypasses too much hassle, so I wouldn’t necessarily consider the lack of USB Type -C a big flaw. Still, the Nexus 5 2015 will beat it in this department.
Last, but not least, the Galaxy Note 5 price is high. It’s really high and compared to the Galaxy Note 4, it’s not worth it. Although software-wise, stylus-wise and design-wise, the changes are awesome, the actual improvements made compared to the predecessor are minimal. That means that switching isn’t worth it. The Galaxy Note 5 price starts at $750 unlocked and goes up to $840, depending on the configuration. The Nexus 5 2015 price is estimated to be between $350 and $450, which is a huge difference.
If the specs of the Nexus 5 2015 turn out to be the ones we’ve mentioned, the Galaxy Note 5 might be the loser. Although a magnificent phone with extraordinary features, the Galaxy Note 5 is far too little of an upgrade and far too high of a price to be called a good deal. The Nexus 5 2015, however, if we’re right about the price, is an even better deal than the OnePlus 2, which says a lot about the industry and how it’s changing. We’re curious to see if our predictions are accurate and we will be back with an updated comparison once the Nexus 5 2015 goes official, so stay tuned.
4 Most Interesting Crossovers in Gaming
Gaming crossovers are a great way to bring in new people and drive up interest in a title. With that being said, crossovers aren’t as rare as they once were. More and more gaming companies are now embracing crossovers, to the point that some may say that it has lost its appeal. And while this is true to some degree, there are still crossovers that are really effective when it comes to adding a whole new dimension to a game. To prove our point, we’ve put together a list of five of the most interesting crossovers.
Forza Horizon 4: Halo
Forza Horizon 4 is the eleventh installment in the Forza series. The Forza series is known for its ability to emulate realistic racing conditions and offer accurate representations of real-world cars. And while they’ve partnered with car manufacturers before, Forza Horizon 4 features one of the most interesting collaborations in the entire series.
For a series that prides itself on realistic racing, Forza also knows when to cut loose and have a little fun. Nothing exemplifies this more than the Halo crossover that features Master Chief and the iconic Warthog.
Fortnite: Travis Scott
Fortnite is no stranger to crossovers. But if we had to pick one as the most interesting it would have to be the Travis Scott concert. Not only did this crossover include custom skins and emotes but it also paved the way for one of the most unique digital experiences of 2020.
The Verge’s article on the Travis Scott crossover details that the crossover included an interactive digital concert that turned the Fortnite island into a music stage. What’s great about this crossover is that it hints towards a future wherein music and video games will be working hand in hand to deliver immersive musical experiences to millions of people from all over the world.
Merge Dragons: Rick and Morty
When you think of the popular TV show Rick and Morty, a fantasy puzzle game isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. This is what makes this Rick and Morty crossover so interesting. The sheer absurdity of this crossover shows what gaming collaborations can achieve when one thinks outside the box. The game features original dialogue spoken by the characters that matches their characteristics from the show. It is a fun addition to the puzzle game.
However, this crossover shouldn’t be too surprising as Rick and Morty have appeared in other games, demonstrating how they have become pop culture icons. The comic nature of the duo makes them perfect for every type of genre, including slot games. Foxy Bingo’s pop cultured-themed slots include an official Rick and Morty game that features the iconic imagery and characters from the show. The show has also produced its own game in the form of the Pokémon-clone Pocket Mortys. One thing that all of these games have in common is that they maintain the show’s penchant for fun and wacky adventures. This is seen in Merge Dragons with the exclusive cow-dragon hybrid featured in the crossover event.
Mortal Kombat 11: Rambo
While crossovers in fighting games aren’t exactly new, Mortal Kombat has always had a knack for creating interesting crossovers for their iconic fighting game. One way that they’ve done this is with the inclusion of popular film characters. The franchise has had everyone from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Jason of the Friday the 13th franchise appear in their games.
However, the latest iteration of the game may have topped all of the previous crossovers. This is because Mortal Kombat 11 features John Rambo of the legendary Rambo franchise as one of its available fighters. To add to this, CNet’s article on Mortal Kombat 11 details that Sylvester Stallone voiced the digital John Rambo. This is certainly a treat for fans of the popular action film franchise, as they can finally play as one of the most influential action heroes of all time.
Loot Crate vs. The Curiosity Box: A Beginner’s Guide to Subscription Mystery Boxes
With all the loot box shenanigans we’ve witnessed this year, you might have, while searching for more information, accidentally stumbled across something by the name of Loot Crate. Unlike the reviled loot boxes, Loot Crate isn’t a digital gambling scam. Instead, Loot Crate is a physical, subscription-based mystery box you receive in the mail that contains a bevy of geek-related material. Moreover, Loot Crate isn’t the only available service. Alongside the vanilla Loot Crate Classic, the Loot Crate company supplies geeks with anime-themed items with Loot Anime, gaming swag with Loot Gaming (Loot Crate also sells Halo, Minecraft, Fallout, Call of Duty, and Destiny 2 themed boxes), and film/TV merchandise with Harry Potter, Firefly, Marvel, and Star Trek themed boxes. Loot Crate also has a rival in the form of Geek Fuel, which is more expensive than Loot Crate Classic but contains more (and more expensive) merchandise. While I don’t have a Geek Fuel box to compare to a Loot Crate, I received a different subscription box for Christmas, The Curiosity Box. This mystery box is a joint venture between the company behind Geek Fuel and the YouTube Channel VSauce, which is admittedly cool. So, without further ado, let’s get into what sets apart a Loot Crate from a Curiosity Box and determine which is right for you.
WHAT’S THE SAME
On the surface, Loot Crate and The Curiosity Box seem similar. They arrive in big cardboard boxes and contain random items. Well, not precisely random; each box focuses on a different theme, and the items provided center around that theme. While a lot of geeks subscribe to these boxes for various bits of swag, perhaps the biggest draw is the exclusives. The companies behind these subscription services make deals with other firms to create unique pieces of merchandise that are literally impossible to find anywhere else, aftermarket/marked up eBay sales notwithstanding. Some of these exclusives are just color variants of readily available products, such as a glow in the dark Funko POP Groot figure and orange Quantum Mechanix Tribble.
Most exclusives, however, aren’t available elsewhere in any other form and include items like the The Walking Dead art print, the Yeti temporary tattoo, the tower of magnetic rings, and “collectible” pins.
Furthermore, while most exclusives are decorative, some are practical items, such as a pen shaped like the Sledge Saw from Dead Rising 3 and light-up beverage coasters with periodic symbols.
Finally, these subscription boxes have some of the most awesome, exclusive, geeky shirts this side of ThinkGeek or Hot Topic.
The exclusive items tend to be the best pieces of merchandise in each box and are usually worth the price of the subscription alone. Usually.
Let’s get this out of the way: the most obvious differences are the prices and subscription models. Loot Crate Classic is about $20 per box and comes once a month, while The Curiosity Box is well over $50 and arrives once every three months. More importantly, these boxes are designed for two completely different audiences. The Loot Crate (and likely by extension Geek Fuel) is aimed primarily at adults or older teenagers and provides geek-related decorations and practical items, such as the Dead Rising 3 pen, Star Wars and Deadpool fridge magnets, and a Mega Man car air freshener.
Also, Loot Crate tends to include non-exclusive products that are part of a series. Case in point, during my brief stint with Loot Crate, I received (among other things) a Kidrobot Glow in the Dark Ooze Action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle vinyl figure and a Funko ReAction Alien figure. I got Donatello and the titular Alien, respectively, but I easily could have found Leonardo or Ripley in my Loot Crate subscriptions instead. However, since The Curiosity Box is almost exclusively made up of exclusive items, there is no element of randomness and everyone receives the same merchandise.
While Loot Crate caters to the video game, movies, comics, television, and everything pop-culture side of geekdom, The Curiosity Box is more science oriented and is designed for the family. For example, parents who bought the Summer 2017 Curiosity Box got to enjoy a t-shirt, a set of periodic table beverage coasters, a magnetic ring tower, a t-shirt, and a Nikola Tesla (as a sloth) enamel pin, while children will have fun with a temporary tattoo, a unique embroidered sticker patch, a solar system wall decal and poster set, a mobile microscope, and a castle cross-sections book. Finally, the Summer 2017 Curiosity Box came with the Universe Sandbox 2 Steam game, which is fun for all ages.
Since each Loot Crate and Curiosity Box contains new themes and items, you might find the contents of one particular box more to your liking than another. For example, one Curiosity Box contained a “grow your own glow in the dark crystals” kit, while another included a plush of The Curiosity Box’s mascot, the orange octopus Inq. Meanwhile, past Loot Crates have contained a Batman mug, a Doom Marine Funko POP figure, and the One-Punch Man manga.
While I only have personal experience with Loot Crate and The Curiosity Box, they are not your only options for subscription boxes. Geek Fuel is another decent mystery box, and it has come with its fair share of good products, including a South Park: The Fractured But Whole shirt, a Loony Toons Kidrobot blind box vinyl figure, and an exclusive Legend of Zelda pixel sword power bank. While I cannot recommend the Loot Crate, Curiosity Box, or Geek Fuel (or other) subscription boxes enough, you should research each to know what you should expect from these services. Sure, you technically can’t know what to expect since each box is supposed to be a mystery, but look into each specific subscription and figure out which one is right for you. Which do you think tends to have the best exclusives? Which box caters to your interests? These questions are important and will severely impact your enjoyment. Of course, luck also plays a big role, but that’s also part of the fun.
Google Drive will Shut Down in 2018
It seems like yesterday when Google introduced Google Drive 5 years ago. Back then, people didn’t have a good grasp about what Cloud Storage did. Nowadays, there are many Cloud Storage services that it’s only a matter of preference to choose one for your file keeping needs. However, what struck me as an oddity was how Google Drive will pull their Google Drive service come 2018.
That’s right, Google Drive will completely shut down on March 12, 2018. With the software no longer being supported on December 11, 2017. People will have several warnings about this, for now, so they will have plenty of chance to switch to the new version of Drive, Backup and Sync.
This new program is basically a combination of the features between Google Drive and Photos. It’s readily available now for Windows and OSX systems and will be the new host for the Cloud storage. Alternatively, users can get a hold of Drive File Stream, which will become available on September 26, 2017.
The core differences between DFS and BaS come when you compare how they help customers. As shown in the image below:
A day without Google Drive.
It seems like users will have their first experience without Drive today though. Because as of this morning, the service was down for many users who constantly used the GSuit app. According to the independent site Downdetector, more than 7,000 users are experiencing issues with the service. This has been going on since 10:04 AM EDT, but the number of reports has been lowering afterward. You can check the stats here.
It’s a shame to see Google Drive go. To be frank, it was my preferred Cloud Storage option besides MEGA. However, it’s not a huge inconvenience considering they are not shutting down a Cloud Storage service altogether. So we at least have that.
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