The iPad Pro is now official and it is the first hybrid device from Apple that acts as both a notebook and a tablet. With the launch of the iPad Pro, many noticed that the slate was very close in pricing to the MacBook Air line-up of the company, as well as to other similar 2 in 1 devices from Dell, Microsoft, Asus, Acer, Lenovo and others, too. So is the iPad Air a good investment or would the MacBook Air be better?
We think the MacBook Air would be better for most use cases, as it offers much more in terms of specs and functionality, but without a touchscreen to make it fun. At the same time, in the same price range, we came across the rather popular Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 13.3 inch hybrid device and decided that it would be nice to make a quick price comparison between these two to see which would be the better investment.
Although one is a notebook and the other a hybrid, their common price tags, which are surprisingly close to each other, are the same as the iPad Pro. With that in mind came the question: notebook or hybrid? While personally I would always choose a hybrid over a notebook, because my needs are more satisfied by a touchscreen, let’s see how two of the most popular devices size up next to each other and which gets the prize for bang for buck.
The MacBook Air 13.3 inch model is the latest notebook from Apple that aims to make productivity light and thin, with a clear emphasis on design. The MacBook Air features a brilliant 13.3 inch display with a 1440*900 resolution that has great viewing angles and brightness levels that are great for even outdoor activities. Although the resolution could have been better, the display is as high-end as one would need on such a device.
Under the hood, the MacBook Air features a fifth-generation Intel Core i5 processor, 4 GB RAM and 128 GB internal storage. You can add another 4 GB RAM to that if you feel the need, although OS X Yosemite, which comes preinstalled, works just fine with 4 GB RAM as well. Nonetheless, if you use heavy apps like Photoshop and other video editing software, extra RAM might come in handy in the long run.
Apple outfitted the MacBook Air with a generous battery which grants the 13.3 inch model about 12 hours of battery life, which is impressive for a notebook. Other Apple products, including the iPad Pro, might be infamous for their bad battery lives, but that’s not the case with the MacBook Air, which holds its own pretty well against the competition. Battery life is one of the biggest pros of the MacBook Air and one of its most appreciated features.
Connectivity-wise, the MacBook Air is certainly well-endowed, especially compared with the new MacBook with Force Touch, I mean 3D Touch. It’s thin, light and still manages to give the user all the ports and outputs that they might need: 2 USB 3.0 ports, Thunderbolt 2 port, MagSafe 2 power port, Mini DisplayPort and a microSD card slot. The setup is completed by the standard FaceTime camera which is excellent for video conferences.
The design of the Apple MacBook Air is exemplary for notebooks, as it manages to stay thin and light while using premium materials in its construction. Although the large bezels around the screen are criticized by many, once you get past that and get used to the user experience, you will quickly accustom to the display. Disregarding that minus, the device is easy to use, has a wonderful backlit keyboard and trackpad and is remarkably easy to carry around, which makes it great for commuters, freelancers and generally those always on the run.
BestBuy is having a MacBook Air sale right now, which means you can actually get a MacBook Air for only $900 with the configuration presented above in this comparison. Considering that Apple sells this variant of the MacBook Air for a $1000 price, the BestBuy sale is a good find and you should definitely take advantage of it while it lasts. This MacBook Air price is one of the best ones of the year, so that adds a bit to the notebook’s bang for buck score in my mind.
Moving on to the Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 13.3 inch model, one of the main and most important differences is the display. Unlike on the MacBook Air, the Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 display features a 10-point touchscreen which completely revamps the device’s use cases. With a full Windows 10 OS preinstalled, the Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 is more of a hybrid than the MacBook Air. But is it actually better?
Compared to the MacBook Air, the Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 hybrid is not much wider or longer, but it is a bit thicker. Although a convertible with a touchscreen and a keyboard, the device is actually quite thin in its category and can be considered a good rival even against the ultra-thin and light iPad Pro. Compared to the MacBook Air, the differences are negligible honestly. Nonetheless, the hybrid weighs almost a pound more than the MacBook Air, which is a minus in the portability department.
The display of the Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 is pretty good compared to the MacBook Air display, having a resolution of 1920*1080. The differences aren’t that big and the MacBook Air’s LED-backlit IPS display is better at color accuracy, contrast and brightness and offers up a very good user experience. From the UX point of view, the Dell convertible’s display is comfortable to use, but it’s not as good in brightly lit places as the MacBook Air. The fact that it’s a touchscreen balances things out, though.
Under the hood, the Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 comes with the same 5th generation Intel Core i5 processor as the MacBok Air, but it comes with double the amount of RAM, namely 8 GB RAM, out of the box, which adds quite a lot of appeal compared to Apple’s own variant. Storage-wise, the Dell convertible gets 500 GB of internal storage, which is a good deal more than what the Apple MacBook Air has to offer. The same CPU, more RAM and more internal storage give the Dell device a significant bonus in the face of the MacBook Air.
Connectivity-wise, the Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 is as well-endowed as the MacBook Air, although geared more towards general hardware rather than Apple-made hardware. That means that we get a microSD card slot, an HDMI port, 3 USB 3.0 ports and audio jack. The 2 in 1 design of the device allows for many different use cases, similarly to the Lenovo Yoga line-up of devices.
The backlit keyboard of the Dell device isn’t as great or as tactile as the one on the MacBook Air and the trackpad could do with some improvement, but otherwise, the design of this convertible revolves around versatility. The hinge on the side works muhc like a watch hinge, with the keyboard having he mobility to be tucked behind the display when using the device as a tablet. It can also be positioned in a tent mode and various other angles for convenience, which adds a big bonus to Dell in the design department, compared to the MacBook Air.
Battery life on this hybrid is definitely not as good as on the MacBook Air, having about 7 hours of autonomy on one charge. That’s a lot less than what the MacBook Air has to offer, and Apple’s device takes the lead in the battery life department, but is that enough to warrant a choice or is the Dell device still good enough? Depends on your needs.
With that out of the way, let’s talk price. The Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 price for the i5 configuration with 8 GB RAM is currently $750 on BestBuy, and that’s a true steal. Compared to the MacBook Air price, the winner should be clear: Dell. The Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 has a lot more to offer than the MacBook Air. The touchscreen, the versatile, mobile design, the higher resolution, more RAM and more internal storage space make the Dell Inspiron 2 in 1 a clear winner. Sorry, Apple. Unless you’re determined to get something with great battery life like the MacBook Air, the Dell hybrid should be enough for your basic needs and more.
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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