In 28th July 2015, Motorola announced the release of two Moto X series smartphones and the expected Moto G 3rd generation. Motorola Moto X Style or Pure Edition as it is known in the US, was the leader of the announcements and was set to be released in September. At a better price range, with some specifications differences, Motorola set the Moto X Play launch date to mid-August and although it goes under that name internationally, in the US it is sold as the Verizon Droid Maxx 2. The affordable, yet very improved Moto G was released right after its announcement in July and by now people are starting to realize that other than the price range, Moto X Play and Moto G 3rd gen don’t have significant differences.
Design, Body, and Durability
Both phones come in similar designs and if until this year only the Moto X series offered the Moto Maker option, now the Moto G series can also be customized through the option, letting you choose the front, back and accent colors for your device.
As for the smartphones bodies, Moto X Play is slightly larger and slimmer. Moto G’s dimensions are 5.59 x 2.85 x 0.46 inch (142.1 x 72.4 x 11.6 mm) while Moto X Play size is 5.83 x 2.95 x 0.43 inch (148 x 75 x 10.9 mm). As the dimensions slightly differ, the X series smartphone weights a little more, but gains extra points by using a Nano-SIM card, while the G series phone is still built for Micro-SIM.
A big difference between the two comes in their building material, the Moto G phone taking a lead. The Moto X Play smartphone has a water repellent nano-coating which is IP52 certified, but the Moto G is IPX7 certified, which means it is waterproof and it resists 30 minutes immersed in water.
Display, Resolution and Camera
The Moto X Play has a 5.5” display with 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution allowing 1080p Full HD streaming, while Moto G offers a 5” display with 720 x 1280 pixels resolution and 720p Full HD streaming. Although the displays quality is slightly different, their display type and protection is the same. Both phones have an IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with 16M colors and Corning Gorilla Glass 3 built display protection.
Both smartphones have 5 MP Front cameras, but the Moto G front camera also offers features like Auto HDR and Display Flash. As for the Moto X Play, it wins by having a 21 MP (5248 x 3936 pixels), highly performant rear camera, while the Moto G 3rd gen rear camera was only upgraded to 13 MP (4128 x 3096 pixels). Both rear cameras offer features like auto-HDR, geo-tagging, face detection, touch focus and panorama and when it comes to video settings, Moto G and Moto X Play can capture 1080p HD video (30 fps).
Performance, Storage, and Connectivity
Keep in mind that from the start the Moto X series were built to be more performant than their more affordable G series, but as of this year the 3rd gen’s performance starts to get close to the least performant smartphone of the X series.
Motorola Moto G has a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor with a quad-core 1.4 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU combined with the Adreno 306 graphics processor and it has 2 storage options. The Moto G can either have 1 GB RAM with 8 GB storage or 2 GB RAM with 16 GB storage, both versions supporting up to 32 GB microSD cards.
On the other hand, the Moto X Play comes with a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 615 processor with an octa-core 1.7 GHz Cortex-A53 CPU coupled with the Adreno 405 GPU. As for storage, Moto X Play has 2 GB RAM with either 16 or 32 GB storage and can support up to 128 GB microSD cards.
By having a more advanced processor the Moto X Play will be faster, but when it comes to storage Moto G starts to reach the storage capacity of its rival, although Moto X Play seems to win in that aspect too. But when it comes to connectivity things seem to be tied again. Both devices work with 4.0 LE Bluetooth and 802.11 Wi-Fi, have GPS incorporated and are 4G devices. Also, both smartphones have Micro USB v2.0 and 3.5mm headset jack connectivity.
Battery and Software
The 2015 Motorola smartphones come with non-removable Li-Ion batteries, but the difference can be observed in their physical battery capacity. The Moto G 3rd gen is powered by a 2470 mAh battery, officially lasting up to 24 hours with medium usage. The Moto X Play has a 3630 mAh battery that should last up to 48 hours with medium usage, but by taking in consideration its larger Full HD display, let’s just assume it lasts for about a day and a half. Theoretically, Moto X Play should last longer that Moto G, but their small performance and display differences might even up the battery life of the devices.
When it comes down to software, both Motorola devices have the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop Operating System with the added Moto app which allows voice commands, reads out texts while driving and includes other personalized features. Also, both devices are planned to be upgraded to the Android 6.0 Marshmallow OS in the near future.
As expected since their announcement, the Motorola Moto G 3rd generation doesn’t quite reach Motorola’s Moto X Play specifications, but they are pretty close. Although, Moto X Play is faster in performance, has a better quality display and rear camera and it might last longer when considering battery life, the new Moto G seems to be more durable by being waterproof not only water repellent, is now customizable with the Moto Maker option and works with the same Android OS.
When it comes to price ranges, Moto G is still one of the best affordable Android smartphone on the market by being available from $180, while Moto X Play doesn’t quite have a fixed base price and it is ranged between $300 and $400.
In my opinion, Moto G 3rd generation is an excellent and affordable smartphone and it comes close to the Moto X Play’s specifications. Even if Moto X Play is a very performant smartphone, its price seems a little too much, considering the fact that Moto X Pure Edition (Style) has even better specifications and starts from $400.
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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