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Apple iPad Pro vs Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 – are tablets still a thing?





Analysts were saying for the past couple of years that tablets are outdated and no longer popular, as the tablet market started dwindling. It seems they were wrong, or people decided to reconsider their options and saw versatility in large touchscreen devices, as the Apple iPad Pro and Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 are two of the most popular devices that the community is discussing. The iPad Pro and Galaxy Tab S2 are the newest tablets from their makers and both aim to be the dominating forces of the tablet market – or the trend-setters of the future. Will they succeed in bringing people back to tablets and hybrids? If so, which of these two flagship models is the better option for the average consumer? To get an idea, we’ve compiled a short comparison of features, design, specs and performance. Read on!

One of the important things that we should remember is that the iPad Pro is shiny new and it’s not yet available globally. Pre-orders are live and all, but until the tablet starts shipping, we’ve limited possibilities of testing and reviewing the device. The Galaxy Tab S2 is more widespread, as it was launched this Summer ahead of the September 9 Apple event where we saw the two new iPhone 6S units, the iPad Mini 4 and of course, the iPad Pro and its Pencil and keyboard accessories.

Nonetheless, we can get a good idea of how these tablets compare to each other by analyzing tests and specs, as well as performance reviews, design elements, benchmark results and real life usage reports. Based on these, we should end up with a pretty comprehensive idea as to what each tablet has to offer and which offers the better value for money aka bang for buck. Let’s get right into and see which of these two new slates will take the trophy this year.

Design-wise, you might have already guessed which is the more stylish and premium out of the two tablets. Apple has always been concerned with making their devices appealing, durable and stylish at the same time by using high-end materials and engineering processes. The iPad Pro reflects the same design language that the newly launched iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus do, and most people who have actually held the slate said that it was comfortable and easy to use, even if the iPad Pro seemed like a large, cumbersome device at first.

The iPad Pro measures only 6.9 mm in thickness, making it one of the thinnest (if not the) tablet of this size. Also, it’s very light at 1.6 pounds, which is yet another plus for the slate and user experience. Although the 12.9-inch display is massive, the thin bezels surrounding it combined with the aluminum casing and lightweight body make the iPad Pro easy to hold and use. Although your arms will definitely get tired after an hour or so, the user experience with the tablet remains top-notch and admirable.

The Galaxy Tab S2 on the other hand, is not as premium as the iPad Pro. Samsung used their usual polycarbonate materials with this one, but its footprint is still considerably smaller than that of the new iPad. Although the Galaxy Tab S2 has a considerably smaller display that measures 9.7 inches, it can still compete against the iPad Pro because it’s still in a large size that’s fit for various different tasks. Like the iPad Pro, the Galaxy Tab S2 prides itself with a lightweight, thin body that measures 5.6 mm in thickness and weighs only 390 grams, less than a pound.

Although thinner and a bit different than the iPad Pro, the Galaxy Tab S2 is a bit easier to use because of its 4:3 aspect ratio that fans applauded and because of its lightweight body that’s a lot smaller than that of the iPad Pro. As for the user experience, my opinion is that the Galaxy Tab S2 is big enough for comfortable usage for any type of activity, while the iPad Pro seemed a bit too large for me. If you consider using the Apple Pencil or the Smart Keyboard alongside the iPad Pro, then it’s an excellent experience, but if you want to use it as a tablet, it won’t be as comfortable as the Galaxy Tab S2.

The display part of this comparison doesn’t really need comparing. We all know that if Apple is good at something, it’s making Retina displays with 3D Touch incorporated, as demonstrated by the iPad Pro. The massive 12.9-inch Retina LED-backlit display of the iPad Pro is stunning, featuring a 2732-by-2048 resolution. Outdoor viewing is a breeze, and viewing angles are surprisingly good. 3D Touch has its benefits and iOS 9 uses them wisely, but the screen is the highlight of the tablet even without 3D Touch.

The Galaxy Tab S2 isn’t as flashy as the iPad Pro, as its display is not as bright and not as immersive, but it certainly is capable of offering a very good viewing experience, especially with the 4:3 aspect ratio. The display measures 9.7 inches and comes with a 1536 * 2048 resolution, which is decent enough for the display. The Super AMOLED panel is sharp as hell, sharper than the IPS LED-backlit display of the iPad Pro, but the lack of 3D Touch compensates for that. I would pretty much call it even with these two in matter of display, but it depends on use case.

Apple wanted to make the iPad Pro a veritable competitor against the Surface Pro 3 and the upcoming Surface Pro 4, which is why the company tried turning it into a hybrid sort of device. Since the iPad Pro can be used as a tablet and as a notebook with the keyboard, powerful hardware was necessary to make its performance smooth. Although not as smooth as the Surface and iOS 9 is not exactly suitable for what Apple wants the iPad Pro to do, it’s a good user experience in the end. Mac OS would have been a much better deal, and we can’t understand why Apple didn’t go with that option and make a true hybrid. Alas, iOS 9 has many new modes that take advantage of the large screen estate like split screen, multitasking and many others.

Under the hood, the iPad Pro comes with the brand new Apple A9X SoC backed by the M9 motion coprocessor, 4 GB RAM and 32 or 128 GB internal storage. As you can imagine, performance on iOS 9 is impeccable on this tablet and everyone who has tested its mettle has come to the conclusion that while there’s enormous potential there, iOS 9 can’t do what a hybrid is supposed to do. Mac OS is what’s missing from the iPad Pro, which is a huge minus for Apple this time.

The Galaxy Tab S2 doesn’t come too close in specs, although it does have its own high-end hardware to boast with. Performance is pretty darn good, and the tablet moves pretty fast, even with TouchWiz on board of Android 5.0.2 Lollipop. Performance could have been better if it was stock Android, though. Nonetheless, the Galaxy Tab S2 holds its own pretty well for a tablet this size and this pricing. It comes with an octa-core Exynos processor, 3 GB RAM and 32 or 64 GB internal storage.

That configuration helps the Galaxy Tab S2 compete against the iPad Pro, but it doesn’t get it to the point where one could say that it’s better. Although performance and user experience are seamless, the Tab S2 could have been a lot better. Now that’s not to say it’s not fast as it is! The Tab S2 can do anything you want it to and it won’t stutter a bit, but TouchWiz does occasionally hang and bug out, so to speak, so there’s definitely room for improvement.

Battery life is an integral part of any tablet, which is why the market for tablets has become thinner in the past few years. Tablets find it hard to keep up with usage, as their large displays consume a lot of power. Power, on the other hand, is scarce in these devices as manufacturers tend to put design ahead of battery life and make their devices thin and light instead of making them battery life champions. It’s a trade-off that many have come to have a love-hate relationship with. Regardless, both Apple and Samsung have made strides in this department and battery life for both these devices is pretty good.

The battery life on the iPad Pro is supplied by a 38.5-watt-hour battery that Apple said would offer 10 hours of usage with Wi-Fi and 9 with a cellular connection, which sounds pretty darn good. Now in real life, the iPad Pro battery life is closer to 8 hours on Wi-Fi than it is to 10 hours and to 7 hours than to 9. That still leaves us thinking that the battery life of this device is pretty acceptable for current state of affairs. While these tests were performed recently, we can’t say for sure whether the models that will be shipped out to customers will have the same autonomy. If we’re lucky, Apple’s advertised autonomy will be real and then the company can truly pride themselves with the slate. Let’s hope for that.

The Galaxy Tab S2 on the other hand features a rather large 5870 mAh battery, which should provide users with the same 10-hour battery life on Wi-Fi. Real life tests suggest that the real number for autonomy is about an hour or so below that estimation, which is still pretty decent for a 9.7-inch device. Since the cellular model is still a bit of a controversy, we can’t say for sure if that battery will handle 4G use with the same rhythm. Since both these tablets are still totally new and mostly untested, don’t take these battery life estimates for granted. The end result could be better or worse.

Apple has always been good with cameras, which is why many people create high-quality content by using just their iPhones or iPads. The iPad Pro continues down on that trail and while Apple could have made the camera much better on the device, they didn’t see a need for it, and they’re probably right. There’s an 8 MP iSight camera on the rear, complete with autofocus and LED flash and a FaceTime camera on the front. The camera performance of the iPad Pro is comparable to that of the iPhone 6 (not the 6 Plus, mind you that has OIS), which is pretty darn impressive in my opinion.

The Galaxy Tab S2 is not as fancy, although Samsung knows its camera business well, too. The tablet sports an 8 MP camera with autofocus  on the rear and a 2.1 MP camera on the front. No flash! How can you not put a flash on a tablet in 2015? That’s a huge minus for the slate. Samsung’s camera app is better, with a bit of manual control here and there, but overall, the camera is worse than on the iPad Pro, so Apple’s hybrid is a clear winner in this department.

It’s also a clear winner in the speaker department, as the iPad Pro features dual stereo speakers on the bottom and the quality of audio that they produce is impressive. The Galaxy Tab S2 doesn’t have dual stereo speakers, which is not that big of a problem but it still stands as a minus for the slate in the face of the iPad Pro. Speakers are important on tablets, as people tend to use them for movies and entertainment more than for other tasks, which is why Apple’s slate could be the better choice for those.

The iPad Pro is one of the most expensive tablets on the market, topping even the Surface Pro 3 (its base model at least). The iPad Pro with Wi-Fi and 32 GB storage costs $800, the 128 GB Wi-Fi model costs $950 and the cellular version with 128 GB storage costs $1080, which is quite a lot to pay for a tablet, even if it’s a large Apple one. Pricing doesn’t work for Apple’s advantage and it never has. Pricing is a soft-spot for every person, but it’s especially noticeable with Apple products, as people don’t get why they’re so expensive if they don’t offer that much more than the devices that they can buy for less than half the price.

Anyhow, the Galaxy Tab S2 price is much more friendly, as the Wi-Fi 32 GB model costs only $400. Still a bit expensive for a tablet, it’s a decent price that is hard to beat, especially in this performance range (high-end devices). The Galaxy Tab S2 price is $380 right now for the 8-inch 32 GB Wi-Fi model, the 9.7-inch model with the same specs costs about $500 from Amazon. That’s half the price Apple is asking for the iPad Pro, but is the Galaxy Tab S2 truly the bang for buck champion? No, it’s not.

The Galaxy Tab S2 has very little to offer, aside from a thin, lightweight design. The iPad Pro wins with its great camera, speakers, 3D Touch, display and with performance. It does need a premium and it’s definitely one investment that you need to think through, but if it comes down to these two and you’re not restricted by a budget, definitely go for the iPad and add the keyboard if you want a great hybrid experience. The Galaxy Tab S2 is a good tablet, with a nice display and smooth performance, but shelling out $400 for it is only worth it if you’re on a budget. Cold, right? Which would you say is best in terms of value for money?

As part of the editorial team here at Geekreply, John spends a lot of his time making sure each article is up to snuff. That said, he also occasionally pens articles on the latest in Geek culture. From Gaming to Science, expect the latest news fast from John and team.


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.

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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 HaloMinecraftFalloutCall of Duty, and Destiny 2 themed boxes), and film/TV merchandise with Harry PotterFireflyMarvel, 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.


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.

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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.

Thousands of users reported Google Drive issues

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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