By November, Microsoft released its first Windows 10 smartphone, the Microsoft Lumia 950 which instantly entered the high-end smartphone race. Specification wise, Lumia 950 can easily compete with Samsung Galaxy S6 the huge difference being the Operating System. The biggest question everyone has, is if it’s worth it to chose a Windows 10 phone over the very popular Apple iOS or the highly performant Android OS. Lumia 950 might get some popularity over Samsung Galaxy S6 as the Samsung smartphone has been released in April, people already had a chance to try it out, but again all Android users are already expecting news about Samsung Galaxy S7. Some people call the Samsung Galaxy S6 the perfect phone but it does still have some minor features that could be improved and it is interesting to see what Microsoft Lumia 950 can bring to the smartphone market so it could surpass Samsung’s Galaxy legacy.
Design, Body and Durability
When it comes down to design, Samsung Galaxy S6 is a classic example of a beautifully manufactured smartphone. As for the Microsoft Lumia 950, it doesn’t have anything unique, but it has a very approachable design. The fact that Lumia 950 looks like almost any Android smartphone on the market right now ironically makes it appealing.
The difference in footprint is almost imperceptible as Samsung Galaxy S6’s dimensions are 5.65″ x 2.78″ x 0.27″ (143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm) while Microsoft Lumia 950 has 5.71″ x 2.88″ x 0.32″(145 x 73.2 x 8.2 mm) but the Galaxy smartphone is somewhat slimmer which might be an important feature to more pretentious buyers.
Both smartphones have a durable casing and the display is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 3 in Lumia’s case and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 in Samsung’s Galaxy case. Although released later. Microsoft Lumia 950 didn’t quite reach the level of protection when it comes to the smartphone’s display that Samsung Galaxy did. Both smartphones use nano-SIM cards, but Samsung also offers the Samsung Pay feature.
Display, Resolution and Camera
Although the difference between the 5.1″ super AMOLED display that Samsung Galaxy S6 has and the 5.2″ AMOLED display Microsoft Lumia 950 was built with is yet again almost unimportant, Microsoft did improve their device with a better camera and image quality. As Samsung Galaxy S6 stuck to a 16 MP primary camera with all its image improvement features and a 5 MP front camera which can video-record 1440p and also has an auto-HDR feature, Microsoft Lumia 950 based its device on better photography. The Lumia 950 has a 20MP primary camera with Carl Zeiss optics and other important sensors included that make the device seem like an actual camera. For the front camera, they stuck to performance and built their smartphone with a 5MP one that can shoot videos in 1080p. Most probably the improved camera is the main attractive feature of the Microsoft Lumia 950, but Samsung Galaxy S6 is not further behind as Samsung constantly tries to improve image quality with all sorts of features.
Performance, Storage and Connectivity
Although both companies use different types of processors, the difference is not that perceptible when comparing the performance both smartphones have. Of course, Samsung Galaxy S6 is powered by Samsung’s 64-bit Octa-core Exynos 7420 with Quad-core 1.5 GHz Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 2.1 GHz Cortex-A57 combined with the Mali-T760MP8 graphics processor, probably the best performing combination yet.
On the other side, we have Microsoft Lumia 950 powered by a 64-bit Qualcomm MSM8992 Snapdragon 808 on a Dual-core 1.82 GHz Cortex-A57 and quad-core 1.44 GHz Cortex-A53 combined with the Adreno 418 GPU. Although the Microsoft smartphone might seem less powerful, its performance is enough to sustain a Windows 10 OS with all its other features.
Storage doesn’t come short for neither of them as they both run on 3GB RAM and have 32GB internal storage. While Samsung Galaxy S6 can be bought with either 32/64/128GB of internal storage, Microsoft Lumia 950 can extend its storage capacity with a microSD card up to 200GB. Even after its release, Android users have complained about Samsung Galaxy S6 lack of microSD card slot which limits the storage capacity of the smartphone.
As all high-end smartphones require, both devices support 4G network connectivity and have the latest version of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and micro-USB connections. An interesting feature that creates some kind of a difference between the smartphones is the fact that while Galaxy S6 has a fingerprint sensor, Lumia 950 has an iris scanner. Both features are somewhat new to the smartphone scene but most definitely interesting and interactive.
Battery and Software
It seems that Microsoft tried to have better battery capacity as they’ve built the Lumia 950 with a 3000mAh battery that can possibly last more than a day. As for Samsung Galaxy S6, it is powered by a non-removable 2550mAh battery, but they should consider improving the battery capacity in their next generations of Samsung Galaxy smartphones. An important feature that both devices have when considering battery life is that they both support wireless charging.
Unfortunately, Samsung Galaxy S6’s Android software can only be upgraded to Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, with Android 6.0 Marshmallow pegged for a January 2016 rollout. As for Microsoft’s Lumia, 950, it’s the first smartphone powered by Windows 10 and expectations are high but considering Windows 10’s performance on PC’s and laptops do expect a lot of bugs that will need fixing. In the end, nothing is certain and Microsoft could have done a better job with their mobile OS.
Overall, Samsung Galaxy S6 is one of the toughest competitors that any high-end smartphone has to meet but Microsoft Lumia 950 manages to almost go head to head with the most popular Android smartphone. As both smartphones have a similar price range of $500-600 it makes it harder to decide between them. It all comes down to performance which the Android smartphone has already proven to be close to flawless while the Windows 10 phone’s situation is yet to be evaluated. But Lumia 950 does have that better camera that could make a difference for people passionate about photography.
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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