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HTC One M9 vs Galaxy S6: which will steal the limelight at MWC 2015?





The MWC 2015 show is very close, kicking off on March 2nd and lasting through the 5th, having every mobile tech enthusiast on their toes about the exhibitions at the show. But truly, the hype is all around March 1st, because that’s when HTC and Samsung are going to launch their flagships for the year 2015. The Taiwanese company is going to unveil the HTC One M9, and even an HTC One M9 Plus variant, while the South Korean company will be taking the wraps off the Galaxy S6 and its dual-edge variant, the Galaxy S6 Edge. That adds up to four possible new flagships for the year and we couldn’t be more excited. We’ve exactly a week to wait until we can officially get our hands on the HTC One M9 and the Galaxy S6, but I’m sure the wait will seem like ages have past, and I’m most likely not the only one who is feeling this way right now.

March 1st will be one of the biggest days in the mobile industry this year, as we have huge promises from both HTC and Samsung with regard to their upcoming flagships. The HTC One M9 and Galaxy S6 have already acquired quite a bunch of fans, not to mention the millions of articles they are the headlines of. In spite of having only rumors and a few teaser images and videos to go by, most tech enthusiasts already have a good idea about what these phones will pack when they are launched. We can’t say too much about their design and how they’ll end up looking like eventually, but we still have a good deal of renders and video teasers out in the open to inspire our ideas.

Since we’re off on the design elements here, let’s keep on track and go from there. Be mindful, as most of the information about design and specs we’re providing are based on rumors and leaks. We will let you know each time we have a feature listed confirmed by the manufacturing company. We’ll start with the HTC One M9, just because there seem to be higher hopes about it among fans at the moment. The HTC One M9 is rather mysterious, as compared to the Galaxy S6 it doesn’t have any official teasers out and about, which means we’ve nothing to go by when dissecting the future specs of the phone. Regardless, let’s imagine we can rely on information found on the internet and try and form an image of the HTC One M9 in our heads. I’ll give you a minute until you have that in your third eye’s view.


The latest leak about the HTC One M9 includes a hefty set of pictures labeled as “official press pictures”. These leaked images appeared on an online retail site from Germany called Cyberport, and MobileGeeks have quickly picked them all up and shared them with the world. The listings not only reveal the design of the phone, but also contain full specification sheets, which is rather neat. Now this leak can be considered reliable, but we’d rather not compromise our reputation (which is still forming, thank you very much). Still, the images seem to be quite real and when pics like this show up on retail sites, usually the hint towards the real thing or are actually provided by the company. In that case, we are a bit disappointed, as the HTC One M9 design is not that different from the HTC One M8. If you’re thinking: “but the One M8 looks great!”, you’re entirely right.


We do love the HTC One M9 design in these photos, but we are still disappointed a bit, because if this turns out to be the real deal, it’s nothing new. It’s basically the same metal chassis with obnoxiously large bezels. The chassis isn’t the problem here, the bezels on the bottom and top are. Many were hoping that HTC would bring down the size of those metal parts, as the HTC logo could have been put in another place if it was that necessary. We do understand that those bezels house hardware, too, but we’re sure the BoomSound speakers don’t occupy that much and the surrounding hardware could have been positioned in such a way as to give us a more appealing design on the phone. Alas, we’re hoping these images aren’t real.


Overall, the HTC One M9 doesn’t look half-bad, aside from those bezels. The rounded shape of the back panel seems to be there, alongside the beautiful brushed metal finish. It seems the company has tweaked the color schemes a bit, as we’ve got a gunmetal grey variant and a silver/gold variant, too. The silver/gold variant is most interesting because it comes with golden bezels on the front, but the back is covered in a silver finish, which makes it look rather appealing and fashionable, a bit in the color-block style advertised by clothing designers like Prada, Gucci and Chanel. Fashionable, indeed! There’s also a rumored silver variant for those who like to keep it classy. The back panel of the HTC One M9 shows off that squarish camera sensor, and we can clearly tell that it’s a doozy and it looks rather industrial. We like it.

Now, let’s see what’s this about the Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge. Even if I’m not taking on the HTC One M9 Plus because it’s an uncertain release, I need to discuss both the Galaxy S6 and its Edge variant, because they are both  confirmed for the MWC 2015 show and Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event. Let’s start with the Galaxy S6, the simple one without any innovative, hanging, curved, edge-display. Samsung hasn’t released any photos of the device that would help us create a complete image of the upcoming flagship, but it has released 4 video teasers and a few teaser images that fill us in on quite a few traits the phone will have.

The latest video teaser, which you can view below this paragraph, puts great emphasis on metal and reflections. That mostly confirms what we’ve already known for months now: the Galaxy S6 (and the Galaxy S6 Edge) will have full-metal unibodies and an anti-reflective coating to go with it. We have seen Samsung delve into metal design with the Galaxy Alpha and the Galaxy Note 4, but those only had mere metal frames, whereas the Galaxy S6 will have the full industrial treatment, about which we are curious. At the same time, Samsung is inferring thinness and a lightweight body, which corroborates the “Project Zero” ideal of the company. Back in the Fall of 2014, Samsung made it clear that they would start from scratch with the Galaxy S6, meaning the design and the UI at the same time, so the metal, lightweight, thin body seems to be on track with that philosophy.

From the teaser video, we can also see some curved display action there, which no doubt points at the Galaxy S6 Edge. According to our sources, the Galaxy S6 Edge won’t be a smaller version of the Note 4, instead it will be the realization of the Xiaomi Arch concept: two curved edge displays, one on each side. That will definitely look odd a phone, but hey, all in the name of beauty, right? We’re most excited about the Edge variant of the flagship, because we’re curious about two things: what can we do with two edge displays that’s really special? What’s the price going to be? We will get these answers, hopefully, on March 1st.

Other design elements aren’t revealed, but previously leaked images suggest that the Galaxy S6 bottom and sides will resemble the iPhone 6: chamfered, smooth edges, perfect for slipping out of your hands. Curious? One week to go! Since the teaser videos are emphasizing “the things around” as sources of inspiration from design, we’re guessing that metal and glass will be involved in the body of the phone. SamsungMobile responded to a tweet asking about the phone being metal with “that’s a hard one”. Interpret away, but we’re guessing it might not be all-metal as we think, rather similar to the Galaxy A7, which is currently the thinnest phone Samsung has ever made.

Moving to specifications, let’s see what we can muster up about the HTC One M9, for starters. As I’ve mentioned earlier, HTC hasn’t come forward with any notable information about what kind of specs the handset will sport. That’s a downer, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have our sources, not to mention hundreds of leaks and images posted online, saying that the HTC One M9 will be a powerhouse. We tend to agree with those forecasts, as it would be redundant of HTC to come out with anything less than its competitors. In consequence, HTC One M9 specs should include the very latest hardware (and software).


The previously mentioned German listing gives us a bit of insight in the matter, confirming most of the leaks and information we’ve come across so far. First off, the octa core 2.0 GHz Snapdragon 810 CPU is the one running the show, as previously rumored, so there’s no doubt that the HTC One M9 will be a powerhouse that will rival all the flagships on the market now and most likely the Galaxy S6 and LG G4, too, once they are launched. With that CPU, Android 5.0 Lollipop and the new Sense 7.0 UI should come along for the ride, making the HTC One M9 a formidable piece of hardware. Even though the One M8 is still on Sense 6.0 and Lollipop, once the new flagship is launched, Sense 7.0 should also start rolling out to older devices.

Since we’re on the topic of Sense and stuff, we also found out the motto of the One M9: One Life. In the listing, the motto is completely unveiled, saying ” You only have one life. Show off your style”. While that’s more reminiscent of design (and maybe an old ’90s song), it also gives us a hint about features and UI design, in my mind. Sense 7.0 should bring design improvements that would make the interface resemble Material Design even more, probably adding a few extra features in the meantime. Coupled with the Snapdragon 810 and Lollipop, Sense 7.0 will make the HTC One M9 hella’ snappy.


Most likely, the HTC One M9 will emphasize performance and battery life more than display technology, which leads us to believe that we’re going to get a 5 inch display with a FHD resolution of 1920*1080. With that kind of display, you’ll still get a pixel density optimal for viewing, yet the handset will keep performance and battery life at maximum levels, most likely becoming the winner in the latter section. Even though the race towards QHD is intensifying, if HTC keeps it classy, the HTC One M9 should become the handset with the best battery life on the market. I don’t know about you guys, but I prefer battery life over a QHD display, but each to their own.

The Galaxy S6 isn’t going to be far ahead in the performance and size department. According to leaks and judging by the teaser videos emphasizing “color flow”, we are expecting to see a 5.1 inch display with full-on QHD resolution of 1440*2560, which should come in the form of a Super AMOLED panel that is coated with some anti-reflective material. As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of QHD, but if Samsung finds a good way to make use of such a high resolution display, I’m down.

As for processing power, rumors say that the South Korean company will opt for their own Exynos chipsets this time, even though last month everybody was convinced the Snapdragon 810 CPU would be featured on the Galaxy S6. Since Qualcomm’s processor has had overheating issues and the company has confirmed that it had lost a big client recently, we’re assuming Samsung is who they were talking about. Although Exynos chips tend to perform really well, most people would rather choose Snapdragon chips because they seem to be more reliable and feature fast charging and LTE. I’m sure that if an octa core Exynos chip will end up in the Galaxy S6, Samsung will endow it with enough features to make it competitive.

Now for the camera! Everybody is hoping for a vastly improved camera to be featured on the HTC One M9, and judging by the huge sensor we’ve seen leaked, not to mention the hundreds of rumors, HTC will be living up to those expectations. Remember to take this with a grain of salt, but our sources tell us we’re going to see a 20.7 MP sensor on the rear, complete with optical image stabilization and a few nifty photography features. The front camera will be a rather generic 5 MP wide-angle sensor, which will be enough for the selfie culture taking over youngsters today. A dual LED flash should also be featured on the rear and HTC should add some improvements to the Eye Experience camera software, too, so we’re in for a bang.

The Galaxy S6 will also bring forth something new when it comes to the camera, as teasers reveal a camera module similar in design with that on the HTC One M9. Some sort of laser autofocus and maybe an improved flash will be added to the camera on the rear, as teasers say “we should find clarity in darkness”. That definitely sounds religious to me, but hey, we’re talking about a smartphone here, not a book. Anyhow, we don’t know what to think about the teaser posted on the company’s Twitter account, but if we didn’t know better, we’d think we’re looking at optical zoom. Speaking of, optical image stabilization should also come along for the ride, alongside the 20.7 MP sensor on the rear.

The front camera will most likely feature 5 MP, but we’re more inclined to believe a lesser number for that, around 2 or 3 MP. There should be some neat camera software tweaks introduced, too, as the teaser video is hinting at some 4K shooting, maybe slow-mo, maybe some background defocus manipulation things, but we don’t know for sure what to make of it. As the teaser puts it, the Galaxy S6 will come with “great vision” and a “unique view”, so we’re getting very curious about the camera setup.

Last, but not least, lets talk about battery. The HTC One M9 should definitely up the battery size, bringing it well over 3000 mAh in the HTC One M9. That could be easily done if the design doesn’t change that much as there are many new battery options out there. Just Google Ulephone and you’ll see what I’m talking about. We are hoping for a massive battery because we are rooting for week-long battery lives on modern smartphones. We know that’s a bit far-fetched, but HTC could come pretty close to that with an FHD resolution and upgraded processor and software. The Galaxy S6, however, will reportedly have an even smaller battery than the Galaxy S5, which is worrisome. Sources say it will measure around 2550 mAh, which is rather little for a QHD resolution smartphone. Samsung is keeping it positive, though, as it teases wireless charging as a very important feature in the phone. The company has never released a phone with built-in wireless charging, opting instead for proprietary cases that gave phones that features. It seems the Galaxy S6 will be a “first” for Samsung, as the company has heavily emphasized that 2015 is the ear of wireless. We’ll see.

As you can see, both the HTC One M9 and the Galaxy S6 are shaping up to be magnificent releases, but we are still feeling a bit of disappointment about each, if we look at the information we have so far. With the HTC One M9, we would like a different design that what we’ve seen before, or else the company will be called just as generic as Samsung, a strategy which has backfired for the company lately. Otherwise, some might be bothered if the handset isn’t launched with a QHD resolution display, but I think it’s not warranted because there aren’t too many uses for such a high resolution display nowadays.

With the Samsung Galaxy S6, we’re going to be very disappointed if we get a small battery, because its predecessor can rarely go through a full day already. That would mean very bad battery life for the Galaxy S6, with or without wireless charging. Since we’re on that topic, having built-in wireless charging doesn’t really help with “not stopping”, because you still have to set the phone down to charge. Unless it’s got a backup batter back built into the chassis, I don’t see how wireless charging will help. On the same topic, having a non-removable battery is not really appealing to me. Alas, we’ll see the truth at the MWC 2015.

What do you guys think? Will the HTC One M9 turn out to be the better flagship? Or will the Galaxy S6 be wonderous and innovative? We only have a few days left until we find out for sure, so stay tuned for full coverage of the Samsung and HTC events, as well as the entire MWC! We’ll have minions in Barcelona, so be prepared and stay tuned!

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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