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Samsung Galaxy Alpha vs Moto G: why bang for buck matters

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The Samsung Galaxy Alpha is more of a legend: the device with which Samsung decided that premium means something for customers. The Galaxy Alpha is one of those over-priced Samsung mid-rangers that is not worth the money, but constitutes an important stepping stone in Samsung Galaxy history. Thanks to the positive opinions about the Galaxy Alpha design, we got to have the Galaxy Note 4 and the Galaxy S6 and the Galaxy S6 Edge even. But the Galaxy Alpha also stands as an example of what not to do if you want people to buy your smartphones. I will demonstrate these mistakes through a specs and features comparison between the 2014 Moto G second generation and the Galaxy Alpha and by the end of this block of gibberish, you will probably agree with me on this: overpriced and premium do not result in a good phone. At least not in the case of the Galaxy Alpha.

Now first off, we should praise Samsung and its Galaxy Alpha for one thing: design. As I’ve said before, the Alpha is the moment when people decided that this South Korean smartphone manufacturer can actually make sexy phones. The Galaxy Alpha got a full metal frame and inspired the creation of the Galaxy A3. A5 and A7 and even the Galaxy E3 and E5. All those smartphones are relatively low-key mid-rangers and the Galaxy Alpha is the only memorable mid-range smartphone the company has launched last year. But they did it extremely well. Regardless of the fact that TouchWiz sucks, the price is too high and there aren’t many features to make use of, this mid-ranger looks amazing.

The Galaxy Alpha is the first metal phone from Samsung and the company did rather well with the design. It made the edges smooth, with little curves to help it settle into your hand, a cool feeling on the back panel makes you think of a premium smartphone, the neat Super AMOLED panel makes you squint in less than ideally lighted environments and you feel sexy just by holding this phone in your hand. But then you remember that you paid $300 for a glorified Moto G.

Since we’re on the topic of the Moto G second generation, let’s see why this phone is so much more popular and so much better actually than the Galaxy Alpha. Its design is rubbish, compared to the Alpha, but it’s sleek, slim and friendly. It’s the standard Motorola design, with a plastic body and a generic feeling to it. There’s nothing special about the Moto G 2014 design, aside from the front-facing speakers. It almost looks like a mid-range LG smartphone from a distance, so you get my drift.

The Moto G 2014 isn’t a shiny phone and it isn’t a powerhouse, but it’s in the same mid-range category as the Galaxy Alpha. Before you scream that the Alpha has much better specs, consider this: TouchWiz. TouchWiz makes the Alpha slow down a lot, compared to the near-stock Motorola Moto G 2nd generation. Now that doesn’t mean that the Samsung mid-ranger is a slow phone or that it’s less powerful, but it does mean that you’re going to occasionally encounter lag and sluggishness, especially when it comes to animations within the UI. The Moto G isn’t better on paper, but it does feel like it works smoother and in a more light-weight way. With the Galaxy Alpha, sometimes I got the impression that I was working with an outdated phone and using apps that were not suited for it. It all depends on usage as well, because for some people, the Galaxy Alpha might work flawlessly, while for others, it might be awkwardly slow.

But let’s see about those specs and how big of a difference there truly is between the Moto G 2nd generation and Galaxy Alpha. The Moto G comes with a 5 inch IPS display with a 720*1280 resolution that adds up to 294 ppi pixel density. The Galaxy Alpha display is a Super AMOLED panel with the same 720*1280 resolution, but it has a higher ppi of 312 because we’re looking at a smaller, 4.7 inch display. The display quality is a bit better on the Galaxy Alpha and the Super AMOLED does behave better in outdoor environments, but the difference is negligible in my opinion.

Moving on to hardware, as we’ve discussed software already, in the Moto G 20144 we get a Snapdragon 400 CPU clocked at 1.2 GHz backed by 1 GB RAM and 8 GB internal storage. The galaxy Alpha gets an octa core Exynos 5 Octa 5430 CPU backed by 2 GB RAM and 32 GB internal storage. As you can see, the Galaxy Alpha does have better specs, more RAM and more storage, but the Moto G has a microSD card if you need more storage and it actually performs just as well in real life situations. The Galaxy Alpha will be able to run graphics-intensive games like Asphalt 8, but the Moto G will stutter with those.

Where the real difference is between these two mid-rangers is the camera. The Moto G gets a sensible 8 MP shooter with an LED flash on the rear and a 2 MP shooter on the front, while the Galaxy Alpha camera is a superior 12 MP sensor with LED flash and a 2.1 MP selfie camera. The pictures you take with the Galaxy Alpha are neat, clean and clear, with the usual overexposure issues that seem to happen with every smartphone (almost), but the Moto G 2nd generation’s 8 MP camera also performs rather well comparatively. It handles low-light decently and it’s very fast to respond. The Galaxy Alpha camera tends to be slow to start and takes a longer time to process the photos, but it does give you better images.

The Moto G 2nd shines when it comes to speakers, though. They’re not Moto X or Nexus 6 good, and in no way BoomSound good, but they’re better than the bottom speaker on the Galaxy Alpha.  You still only get one speaker on the front, on te bottom, but it’s still better than the bottom speaker on the Galaxy Alpha. Recently, I’ve come to understand that people value speakers more than I would have thought. I’m a headset person and I almost never use the speakers on my phones, but there are many smartphone users out there who need good speakers and they’ll get them for a good price with the Moto G. With the Galaxy Alpha, speakers are clear and useful, but they’re not as good in my opinion.

The last thing that we need to discuss are features and battery life. The Galaxy Alpha gets a fingerprint sensor, which is a big plus, but it has a pretty small battery that measures 1850 mAh. The Moto G 2014 doesn’t have a fingerprint sensor, but it does have a beefy 2070 mAh battery which can go a long way, surprisingly. The battery life on Samsung phones has always been a bit of a hit or miss, as light users will get great battery life out of them, but power users will end up charging on a daily basis with the Galaxy Alpha. The Moto G 2014 handles heavy use better and that’s a plus in my book.

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In conclusion, we can agree that ultimately, the Galaxy Alpha is a better phone than the Moto G 2nd generation: better camera, more storage, fingerprint sensor and metal body. But does it warrant double the price of the Moto G 2014 which can be had for as little as $170 unlocked? When deciding such things, we do need to take into account personal preference. The Galaxy Alpha design is great and it looks far more premium that the Moto G does. But the Moto G does performance and shelf-life surprisingly well for the price, so my conclusion would be that if we’re talking bang for buck, the Moto G 2nd generation is the winner. If we’re talking sass and features, we need to pay the premium.

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.

Gadgets

Spotify is providing refunds for Car Thing as it confronts a lawsuit regarding the malfunctioning of the streaming device

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Spotify is receiving ongoing criticism for its choice to terminate support for Car Thing, its in-car streaming device, which was announced in May. According to the company, the device will become inoperable after December 9, 2024. Gen Z users on TikTok are sharing videos to express their dissatisfaction with Spotify’s decision and its suggested measures, such as transitioning to Android Auto or CarPlay. The users point out that they often lacked access to integrated infotainment systems in their cars, which makes them a prime target market for a specialized player like Car Thing.

The streaming service’s in-car device hadn’t been on the market long enough to become outdated. The product was introduced in February 2022 but was subsequently discontinued within the same year. However, the company assured customers who had already purchased units that it would continue to provide support and maintenance. Prior to its release, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek indicated that there was a significant consumer interest in this product. During an earnings call with investors, Ek reported that over 2 million users had registered on the Car Thing waitlist in anticipation of its launch.

While Spotify did not disclose official figures, it is probable that Car Thing did not meet expectations or did not justify further investment in the current challenging economic climate. Spotify, on the other hand, terminated approximately 1,500 employees towards the end of last year. This followed previous rounds of layoffs earlier in the year that impacted hundreds of employees.

Car Thing users, on the other hand, are not concerned with the company’s financial issues; their primary concern is the functionality of the device or, at the very least, receiving a refund for the $90 cost.

As a result, some individuals have attempted to lodge their complaints directly with Spotify by sending direct messages on the X platform using the handle @SpotifyCares or by utilizing different email addresses associated with Spotify that have been shared on Reddit. As a result, certain users have reported that Spotify provided them with multiple months of a premium subscription as compensation for their inconvenience, whereas others have stated that they inquired with customer service and were informed that no reimbursements were being offered.

According to Spotify, they have recently implemented a refund procedure for Car Thing. However, the user must present evidence of purchase in order to be eligible for the refund.

Car Thing users were officially informed about the availability of customer support through a second email sent on Friday of last week, in response to the increasing criticism and dissatisfaction caused by the discontinuation of Car Thing. Within the message, Spotify provides users with the appropriate customer support link to contact the company. The email does not guarantee any reimbursements but states that users can contact us for inquiries.

Although a refund might appease a certain segment of the user population who are dissatisfied with Car Thing, numerous individuals are earnestly imploring the company through TikTok videos and comments on Spotify’s TikTok posts to refrain from rendering their device inoperable. (Indeed, grievances regarding the Car Thing have become so prevalent on Spotify’s videos that the algorithmically generated search recommendation on certain videos is “what is the spotify car thing.”)

“Spotify, I kindly request that you refrain from subjecting me to any further distress.” “I have a strong affection for my automobile,” expressed Carla, a TikTok user known as @carlititica on the platform.

“Depressed,” expressed another user, @nikkilovestech. “They seem to encourage people to use their phone, which is a source of distraction,” she stated in the video description while demonstrating a Car Thing mounted on her dashboard. In her video, she also addressed the issue of electronic waste resulting from the discontinuation of a fully functional product.

Spotify is still facing challenges regarding the discontinuation of Car Thing, despite the introduction of a refund process that has not been widely publicized. According to Billboard, Spotify is currently dealing with a class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The lawsuit alleges that Spotify deceived customers by selling them a product that would soon become outdated, and then failing to provide refunds. The lawsuit was initiated on May 28th.

While Spotify is unable to provide a comment regarding the lawsuit, a representative did share the following statement regarding Car Thing:

The objective of our Car Thing investigation in the United States was to gain further insights into individuals’ auditory habits while driving. In July 2022, we made a public statement declaring our decision to cease any future manufacturing activities, and now we must bid farewell to the devices altogether. The deactivation of all Car Thing devices will occur on December 9, 2024, giving users until that date to continue using them. To gain further knowledge about the various methods available for listening to Spotify in your car, please refer to the For The Record section. Car Thing users can contact Customer Support for any inquiries by visiting: https://support.spotify.com/us/contact-spotify-support/

While the issues surrounding Car Thing may not impact all of Spotify’s user base, this development coincides with a period when users are already dissatisfied with being required to pay additional fees for features they consider essential to a music service, such as access to lyrics, a feature that Spotify recently made available only to paying subscribers. Furthermore, users are expressing dissatisfaction with Car Thing and are issuing ultimatums to discontinue their subscription to Spotify due to the introduction of paid access to lyrics.

Furthermore, Spotify raised its subscription fees last year, and Bloomberg has reported that another price hike is imminent in 2024.

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Mobile Devices

3 Video Games About Women’s Health

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Video games have transcended entertainment to become powerful tools for promoting health and wellness. One notable genre in this realm is fitness gaming, exemplified by titles like Hatsune Miku Fit Boxing, which motivates players to engage in physical activity to enhance their fitness levels. Building on this foundation, developers have ventured into women’s health with games designed to raise awareness and empower players to take control of their well-being. Here are 3 video games on women’s health that provide valuable health information and foster a sense of agency to uplift women around the world.

Tampon Run – Menstrual health

Created by Girls Who Code alumnae Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser in 2014, Tampon Run is an old-school 8-bit online game where the main character, Luna, lobs tampons to destroy enemies, who will confiscate the tampons if she lets them pass by. Interestingly, the concept of weaponized tampons is based on a real incident that occurred in 2013, where Texas state troopers confiscated tampons as potential projectiles, but not guns, from visitors observing a vote on abortion restrictions at the Texas State Capitol. The goal of Tampon Run is to destigmatize periods and menstrual products, which, up until recently, have not been properly studied to measure their absorbency, which underscores the need to address menstrual health so that women can get better care.

In between tossing tampons, Luna shares empowering messages about how periods are a natural part of women’s lives and should not be a source of shame or embarrassment. The game is available to play on the Tampon Run website and can be downloaded from the Apple App Store for iOS users.

PCOS Vitality – PCOS

Polycystic ovary syndrome is a complex hormonal condition and the leading cause of female infertility that affects approximately 5 to 6 million women in the US, according to the Endocrine Society. Common features of the condition include having irregular menstrual periods, hyperandrogenism, and polycystic ovaries. Additionally, some studies estimate that up to 88% of women with PCOS are overweight or obese. While there are weight loss programs helping women tackle PCOS, focusing on aspects like lifestyle, symptom management, diet, and other tips for how to lose weight with PCOS, the condition itself remains grossly under-researched. For some women, it may take years to confirm that they have PCOS, as there are other disorders that mimic PCOS signs and symptoms that must be excluded.

The lack of research has extended to a lack of awareness among the general population and is what clinicians from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland are trying to address with the 2023 game PCOS Vitality. Essentially a learning tool, the game takes users through a simple obstacle course. As you click toward the finish line, you are asked simple trivia questions about PCOS. The game is free to play on Focus Games’ website.

Bound by Blood – Period poverty

Period poverty refers to the lack of regular access to period products, painkillers, or underwear during a menstrual cycle. In the US, where 16.9 million menstruating women live in poverty, two-thirds cannot afford basic menstrual products. Period poverty has also been associated with mental health issues and urinary tract infections.

Available to play on the itch.io website, Bound by Blood was created by Jessica Gates in 2017 and aims to educate players about the reality of period poverty. Users take the character of Beth, a homeless woman who wakes up in her car and realizes that she’s started her period. Players then make a series of choices to try to stay as hygienic as possible in spite of lacking resources such as menstrual products and clean restrooms. There isn’t really a way to “win” the game, and it is instead a peek into the reality of life where period products are inaccessible and how this affects women’s quality of life.

Through these games, players not only gain valuable insights into various aspects of women’s health but also find themselves actively engaged in their own well-being. As developers continue to explore this emerging field, the potential for video games to serve as educational tools and catalysts for change in healthcare remains promising

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Consoles

Despite popular belief, PS4 sales in the UK skyrocketed last year

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PS4 sales in the UK climbed by a shocking 633 percent year-over-year in 2023, so apparently the old system isn’t dead yet. The previous year’s very limited supply of the system is likely a major factor in this figure, since the console’s lifespan was drastically reduced because of chip shortages caused by the pandemic. Still, it’s proof that PlayStation’s original platform has unmet demand.

With the very low prices of PS4 software (both in-store and online at the PS Store), this strategy makes a lot of sense. Plus, it’s future-proof, so there’s no harm in stocking up on PS4s while new-gen pricing is still high, since if you decide to switch to a PS5 in the future, you can transfer all of your purchases across. Not to mention that the majority of new releases still come out on the PS4, with several offering free PS5 upgrades.

While the percentage rise may seem huge, real PS4 sales will probably be much lower. It’s a sign that the gadget, which is now a decade old, isn’t completely dead yet, and we expect it to keep receiving maintenance for a while longer. Of course, this is great news for Sony, because the company would rather have PS4 players playing on its last-gen gadget than none at all, even if it would love to have them upgrade to PS5.

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