LG G4 vs LG G5 – going down the premium road
LG is one of the most popular smartphone manufacturers in the world and has risen to such popularity in a relatively short time. The LG G3 was launched in 2014 and it was the first flagship from the company to gather a serious fandom. This year, they launched the LG G4 and the LG V10 flagships to mostly positive reviews, but people seem to be ready for something new. The company’s next phone is supposed to be the LG G5, whose release date is pegged for February or March 2016, but what will that change?
The beans have already been spilled about the LG G5, or at least a few details of its design have emerged from within LG’s home country. Apparently, the LG G5 design will stray from the usual smooth plastic elements that we got used to with the LG G3 and LG G4. A metallic unibody is going to be the main difference between the LG G5 and LG G4, although what kind of impact that will have on the handset’s design is uncertain. Metal is a harder material to work with and since the company’s flagships tend to be relatively affordable compared to Samsung, Apple, HTC and others, a metallic design might impact the LG G5 price negatively.
The plastic design of the LG G4 is simple enough, almost the same as its predecessor. Nonetheless, an overwhelming number of Android fans enjoyed it because it allowed for a removable battery, removable back cover and microSD storage. These features used to be representative of the Android community, but since the Nexus line-up started becoming popular, major manufacturers in the industry have slowly started dropping these signature features. The same is going to happen with the LG G5.
Samsung surprised everyone when it renounced a few of its signature features from the Galaxy S5 and implemented a different strategy when it launched the Galaxy S6. Instead of a plastic design, removable battery, waterproof case and expandable storage, Samsung decided to go with a metal and glass design and emphasize premium design instead of user-friendly and customizable features. The trend is obvious in other manufacturers as well, so I doubt there’s a way out for those who used to like these features.
The LG G4 was a surprising release exactly because of this reason. While others launched phones with sealed components and no storage expansion, LG launched the LG G4 and even the LG V10 with these features on board. There are pros and cons to having them, but these features are undoubtedly helpful for power users. The consumer market doesn’t concern itself that much with durability and power user needs, so it’s not surprising that features developers and tech-savvy people enjoyed were removed in favor of flashier designs. Of course, Samsung as well as others, added other bonuses to compensate for the changes, such as wireless charging, fast wireless charging and a lot of faster internal storage with better technology. Is that what’s going to happen with the LG G5?
The LG G5 is very likely to sport a metal unibody, which inevitably means little opportunities for at-home fiddling. Metal unibodies seal batteries inside and use trays for SIM card access, usually. While we don’t know what kind of approach engineers will take with the LG G5 release, the handset will most likely keep at least one neat feature – like expandable storage. With the help of pull-out trays, LG could easily keep fans happy by providing them with the option of expandable storage while compensating for the lack of removable battery with a larger cell that can be wirelessly charged in a short amount of time.
With that in mind, one of the main differences we should see between the LG G4 and the upcoming LG G5 concern design and its limitations. So, we’re going to have a metal unibody, a non-removable battery, fast wireless charging and expandable storage – most likely up to 2 TB, like with HTC’s One M9. With this setup, I believe balance could be reached and the Android community would still be able to consider LG the same old supportive brand with pretty good update cycles and prices.
Since we’re on a financial topic already, let’s see how the LG G5 price is expected to change due to the new design. If metal is going to be the main component of the flagship, we should expect a rise in its price, too. Metal, aluminum and magnesium are materials used often in smartphone design, but we know that they do require more time and money to process and engineer. In my opinion, the metal LG G5 should still be relatively affordable and LG will no doubt keep its slightly lower prices for the sake of its fans. The LG G4 price at launch was around $500, depending on market and such, so we expect the LG G5 price to be just slightly higher, at maybe $550 if we only consider the design change.
The LG G4 price right now sits at around $400, which is more than an excellent price to pay for the handset. Considering that mid-range smartphones from Samsung, HTC and others already cost that much, it’s definitely one of the smartphones with the best value for money on the market. I might even go as far as to say that long-term, it’s a much better investment than even a OnePlus device (be it the X or 2, same deal). If LG keeps its prices so competitive, and all signs point towards it, the LG G5 release should be a very memorable one.
However, if we consider the LG V10 price, design and features, we might end up with a very different price estimate for the LG G5. The LG V10 price is between $650 and $750 for an unlocked unit. The handset has quirky extras like the secondary display and massive screen, which are surely going to be omitted from the LG G5 design. However, the hardware within the new flagship will most likely be newer and better, and we’ve a good idea what to expect in that department at least.
The LG G4 was launched last year featuring a 5.5-inch IPS display with QuadHD resolution, Snapdragon 808 CPU, 3 GB RAM, 32 GB internal storage, microSD expandable storage up to 128 GB, 16 MP rear camera with laser autofocus, optical image stabilization, 8 MP front camera and a removable 3000 mAh battery cell within. Android 5.1 Lollipop is now on board the handset, and wireless charging is also enabled or rather, optional. The phone is also capable of fast charging thanks to Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 standard. Impressive for a $400 device right? Much more so than the $1000 iPhone 6S Plus, despite all that 3D Touch goodness.
The LG G5 specs are going to have a hard time topping those features, especially since it looks like the South Korean company is going to follow down the Samsung road and focus on design and redesign with this launch. I honestly hope that won’t be the case and LG focuses just as much on providing an affordable, yet premium user experience and performance as on offering a premium, shiny design. With that in mind, this is more of a wishlist, but it’s also based on research and insider information about the LG G5 development process.
Apparently, the LG G5 will use the Snapdragon 820 processor, because LG’s Nuclun SoC hasn’t really reached a viable point of development for flagship devices. 4 GB RAM are rumored to be on board all variants, but our sources tell us there will be at least one model of the LG G5 featuring 3 GB RAM. Apparently, internal storage will get a big bump in the flagship, insiders telling us to expect to have at least 64 GB internal storage on the base model, with a 128 GB variant also expected. I don’t think LG would have much to gain from the development of any larger storage configuration model, so the handset will most likely top out at 128 GB. If there’s a microSD slot included, that will be more than enough. Actually, if the LG G5 will be available in a 128 GB model, there won’t even be that much need for a microSD slot, although it would still be nice to be able to hold on to media and switch it out.
Since the battery of the LG G5 is going to be sealed in, we expect it to be at least a bit bigger than the LG G4 battery, which measures 3000 mAh and is good for about two days of regular use. The LG G5 battery life should at least try to hit the 3-day mark and if rumors are true, it might. Apparently, LG is working on new battery tech, and while it’s supposed to be mainly flexible, it is also supposed to provide longer autonomy. People familiar with the matter revealed that LG might be using cells 4200 mAh big in the LG G5, which could be a nice bump compared to the LG G4. Unfortunately, if the metal design leak is accurate, the battery won’t be removable. However, Quick Charge 3.0 should provide super-fast charging, so that can be viewed as a bit of a consolation feature.
Pinpointing display technology might be a bit of a harder task. The LG G4 display is stunning, and many agree that it’s not yet time to make upgrades in this respect. However, at least a minor upgrade is due and I suspect that LG will start using AMOLED panels in the LG G5. Although Sony’s Xperia Z5 Premium has a 4K display, popular opinion says we don’t need such high resolutions on smartphones. With that in mind, I think we can safely say that the LG G5 display will measure 5.5-inches and come with QuadHD resolution. The display tech might change and a higher water resistance might also be added to the phone, facilitated by the metal design, so we definitely have a few things to look forward to.
So, the question that remains is whether the LG G5 release date is actually as close as perceived. The LG V10 isn’t even a month old, and the LG G4 is still a very future-proof device. Nonetheless, the release cycle for the company’s flagship is ending, and fans will want to at least see a new version, if not buy one. As such, I think it’s safe to say that the LG G5 release is pretty much happening, although it might occur later than expected. The LG V10 needs to get some feedback, which LG most likely wants before it starts mass-producing the LG G5. Who knows, maybe it’s already in mass production, but we don’t know it yet.
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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