Samsung Galaxy Note 4 will still beat the iPhone 6S
A new rumor about Samsung launching the Galaxy Note 5 earlier than expected, in August, has been spreading around. Sources say that the South Korean smartphone giant came up with the early Galaxy Note 5 release date in order to do Apple in, as it were. Simply put, people at Wall Street Journal are saying that Samsung wants to outsmart Apple by launching the new Note 5 ahead of the anticipated iPhone 6S launch. Samsung themselves deny these claims, but the rumor stands nonetheless. But people seem to be forgetting about the Galaxy Note 4. Few people realized last year that the Galaxy Note 4, however expensive, was not the second place when it comes to smartphones. The iPhone 6 Plus might have beaten the Galaxy Note 4 when it comes to specs, but Samsung’s phablet remains the better performer.
Before thinking that these ramblings are from a Samsung fanboi, let me assure you these opinions are not biased by preference towards either of these brands. With that being said, although not my number 1 flagship of the year 2014 (OnePlus One might be my first choice), the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is admittedly the best. Upon its launch, it was innovation, versatility and a slightly subdued bitterness as a consequence of TouchWiz. TouchWiz in fact is one the illest things about the Galaxy Note 4, but only thanks to its S Pen features, which make the included stylus considerably more appealing than without.
Even though some might not agree with the Galaxy Note 4 being superior to the iPhone 6 Plus, its performance and features prove that is a more future-proof phone that what Apple gave us last year. Some people are saying that the iPhone 6S will still be behind the Galaxy Note 4 from this point of view, which is a surprising statement to make without knowing what the iPhone 6S will be. There are thousands of pieces of information about the iPhone 6S price, release date, features and design all over the internet, but close to none of them confirmed by the company. Which makes one wonder why anybody would be so sure about the superiority of the Galaxy Note 4 to all other smartphones, even those running other mobile operating systems.
That leads us to believe that the iPhone 6S features won’t be as impressive as they are expected to be, because let’s face it: the iPhone 6 or 6 Plus are great devices and Apple a lot of the problems of iOS with new features. Although iOS 8 was buggy at first, Apple did manage to balance it out and the user experience can be quite wonderful for fans of the operating system. The build quality is premium as usual, but there wasn’t too much innovation put into the device. Although the iPhone 6 Plus camera is awesome, the rest of the phone relies on its appearance more than it does is extras. Performance is definitely exemplary and the Apple A8 chipset is well-balanced from battery management and speed viewpoints, too. What’s missing from the iPhone 6 Plus is innovation, which I’m sure Apple will do with the iPhone 6S.
The Galaxy Note 4 is much more surprising than Apple’s flagship, at least from Samsung users’ point of view. The S Pen is amazing, it glides without a problem and air gestures are more fun than they are cumbersome, the 5.7 inch QHD display with a 1440*2560 resolution is crisp, sharp, clear and great to look at, even outdoor. Compared to the iPhone 6S display, it should be just as marvelous. Apple uses LED-backlit panels for their phones, and that surely is a given for the iPhone 6S build. Besides that, a force touch feature embedded in the display is also rumored to be part of the new design, as is Touch ID embedded in the display. The first option seems more likely, and that already innovates more than the Galaxy Note 4 with its beautiful display. One would say, myth debunked. But unless Apple slaps a 4K resolution or a sapphire screen on the iPhone 6S, the Galaxy Note 4 display is the winner of this round.
Even though the Exynos chipset in the new Samsung Galaxy S6 surpasses the Snapdragon 805 CPU found in the Galaxy Note 4, the latter still handles every task that you give it, regardless of its field or genre. Although Android Lollipop and TouchWiz have their quirks, the Note 4 performance is buttery smooth, always. Power management was aced with the Galaxy Note 4, the device living through two full days of moderate use without a problem. iPhones are not know for their great battery lives, and unless Apple decides to innovate with the iPhone 6S, there aren’t too high expectations in the battery department. Performance of the Apple A8 chipset in conjunction with iOS 9 is exemplary however, and the competition in this field gets tough. Both smartphones get As for performance, but the Note 4 could have been better. Although TouchWiz has been improved since the Samsung Galaxy S5, it’s still not quite there. With the Galaxy Note 5, Tizen might be the culprit and that’s an interesting approach we should look out for.
Apple missed an opportunity, one might say, with the iPhone 6 Plus. Although it’s offputting to see 1 GB RAM on a 5.5 inch flagship smartphone, the iPhone 6 Plus performs quite well. Nonetheless, Apple could have made a lot of progress in this field if they wanted to. iOS does have its flaws, but when those are fixed (and they usually are), the system is fluid and easy to use. Customizability is almost unheard of, but that only leaves the user with a distraction-free user experience, which many appreciate. Still, there’s room for improvement, and hopefully that will happen with the iPhone 6S or iPhone 6S Plus.
Battery life might not be improved in the iPhone 6S enough to surpass the Galaxy Note 4 high scores, but performance will most likely be surprising. Which is where the weakness of such an early theory is. Since Apple keeps its lips tightly shut about their releases until the official iPhone 6S launch event, we can’t know for sure what the company is planning to do with the next big thing. But it’s looking rather good, judging by rumors. The question, however, remains: will the Galaxy Note 4 still be better? In the end, the answer to that question will most likely be subjective, which doesn’t resolve the issue at hand.
The iPhone 6 Plus and Galaxy Note 4 are the two best smartphones when it comes to camera performance and quality. The Lumia 1020 should not be forgotten, but the Note 4 and 6 Plus are excellent examples of how smartphone photography can become really professional. Apple is rumored to be introducing a new type of sensor and a dual camera into the iPhone 6S, and this is where Samsung’s Note 4 will face some competition. Hell, the Galaxy Note 5 will have to be very impressive to beat DSLR-quality photography, if the rumors are true. Although the Galaxy Note 4 camera is considered by the majority to be the superior camera when compared to the iPhone 6 Plus, Apple seems to be focused on leading in the field, and there are high expectations of the iPhone 6S. Even if the Galaxy Note 4’s 16 MP camera with OIS is impressive, it’s not hard to surpass in our fast-moving times.
Design could also factor into this discussion, but that’s probably where the most rumors lie. The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 is the first Samsung flagship to have a metal edge after the mid-range Galaxy Alpha set the path. The metal frame and sturdy construction of the Note 4 make it easy to use even though it has a massive 5.7 inch display. It comes with thin bezels on all sides, which is a feature Apple has not yet mastered with the iPhone 6 Plus. Although Apple’s phones are definitely better in terms of build quality, they do have a quirk that not all people enjoy. The top and bottom bezels are rather large, and while the bottom one does house Touch ID which takes up a lot of space, Apple could find a way around that and sources say that’s what they’ll do with the iPhone 6S. The Galaxy Note 4 has some neat curves around its corners to make it easier to hold, while the iPhone 6 Plus is slippery. If Apple goes with the sleek design, they should find some more textured materials and a more practical approach to engineering the chassis if they want to create a body that feels more stable than that of the Galaxy Note 4.
What will determine whether the Galaxy Note 4 still remains superior to the iPhone 6S, even though it’s a year older, is innovation. If Apple can make a smartphone that both business users and casual smartphone users can rely on as a daily driver, that might be a home run. But if the iPhone 6S turns out to be something that people call “gimmicky” more than anything innovative, the Galaxy Note 4 might keep its metaphorical trophy in many people’s minds. Now, it depends on Apple and what they do.
The company does have a lot to fear for, because Samsung is very proud of the Galaxy Note 4 and plans to surpass it by a mile. The company is surely under pressure, as expectations of the Galaxy Note 5 are higher than ever. Although demands of 4K are low, the rumor mill still churns out information about build quality and a new OS, as well as a new stylus and a projector. If the Galaxy Note 5 has a projector that works with the stylus, the iPhone 6S doesn’t have a chance. But since this is all just rumor, let’s take it with a grain of salt and enjoy the rumor mill! Comment down below what you think the iPhone 6S should get if it wants to be the best smartphone of 2015! What do you think of the Note 4? Does it have a shot next year or are times moving too fast?
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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