The Apple iPhone 6 has swepped across the world like a thunderstorm ever since its launch in September, but will it be able to stand up to what’s next? You’ve probably read all about how the iPhone 6 compares to the HTC One M9, the new Galaxy S6, the edgy Galaxy S6 Edge, the LG G Flex 2 or the upcoming LG G4. Many are forgetting that legendary OnePlus is also prepping their new flagship of the year, the OnePlus 2 (or two, however your prefer). This launch, in my opinion, is going to be equally important in the tech and smartphone world, because OnePlus is known for setting mind-bogglingly low prices. The iPhone 6 sizes up nicely to the original “flagship killer”, the OnePlus One, which leads us to believe that it won’t be as competitive when the OnePlus 2 is launched sometime in the middle of the year.
The OnePlus 2 release date isn’t clear yet, but the company has hinted at the fact that it would be released in the first half of 2015, which suggests that by the time we hit Summer, we might already see the new affordable flagship in their store. The iPhone 6 is a remarkable smartphone, with a relatively good track-record so far, but so is the OnePlus One. If the Chinese company maintains their low pricing and still manages to release a flagship smartphone with impressive specs. We know everything there is to know about the iPhone 6, but we can’t say the same about the OnePlus 2 just yet. Although there are many rumors out there, most of the specs and features of the phone are merely assumptions.
Nonetheless, it is interesting to try and forecast what a flagship will bring forth and how it will measure up to one of the most popular smartphones of the year, the iPhone 6. We can debate whether my own assumptions may be right about the OnePlus 2 in the comments below, as well as whether it will manage to outdo the iPhone 6 when it comes to performance, features, user interface and camera performance. First off, let’s see what the iPhone 6 specs are all about, and see what the iPhone 6 prices are for the different variants.
First off, the iPhone 6 display,. which has been considerably improved compared to its predecessor, is a 4.7 inch LED-backlit IPS panel which gets a 750*1334 resolution that adds up to a comfortable 326 ppi pixel density. The iPhone 6 display features immersive properties thanks to the LED-backlit panel and the no-gap technology between the touchscreen and the display, which makes for a good user experience, great viewing angles and outdoor visibility. Although resolution could have been better, the ppi pixel density is optimal for a phone this size. Moreover, if the display size seems small to you, you can always go for the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a massive 5.5 inch display which has an even better resolution. Since the 6 Plus is intended to be a niche device, the iPhone 6 seems like the more suitable version to compare to future flagships like the OnePlus 2.
Moving on from the iPhone 6 display, we get to the hardware specifications. The iPhone 6 processor is a dual core 1.4 GHz Cyclone ARM v8-based Aooke A8 CPU, which makes for smooth sailing when it comes to iPhone 6 performance ratings. The processors is backed by PowerVR GX6450 quad core graphics, 1 GB RAM and either 16, 64 or 128 GB internal storage, no microSD card included. Although performance is smooth, we need to mention that iOS 8.2 is not the best OS when it comes to customization and openness. I’m sure many Apple fans are used to the Apple ecosystem, so there’s not much to say about that aspect, as we know that the OnePlus 2 will most likely get OxygenOS, a custom ROM that is based on Android and will feature high levels of customization, making the user experience better for smartphone enthusiasts.
The iPhone 6 camera has also received an upgrade compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 5s, as the rear shooter is an 8 MP iSight camera which comes with phase detection autofocus and dual tone flash. It gets quite a few features, including the possibilty to shoot 1080p video at 60fps, which results in pretty high quality footage. The only problem we’ve found with the iPhone 6 camera performance is that low-light sometimes tends to results in noisy photos, while video footage is shaky in certain conditions because of the lack of optical image stabilization. If you feel the need for such a feature like OIS and think that it would help your overall experience, you can always get the iPhone 6 Plus which has some built in, or maybe find some camera extensions on the market. The front camera on the iPhone 6 is a 1.25 MP FaceTime shooter with face detection, HDR, which makes it a decent selfie-camera, but not something you would write home about.
When it comes to endurance and durability, the iPhone 6 gets an aluminum unibody, chamfered edges, a sturdy display with an oleophobic coating and ion-strenghtened glass, so it won’t be easy to break and scratch, although it’s not nearly impossible to do so. The features are what stand out with the phone, as the iPhone 6 battery measures only 1810 mAh, which doesn’t provide much juice for extended use. You’re going to have to keep a charger with you most of the time, as the iPhone 6 battery life will max out at the end of the day, but that depends on how you use it, of course. We get a fingerprint sensor and Apple Pay as extra features built into the phone and rumor has it that Apple will open up the iPhone 6 NFC chip to developers later this year, so that users will be able to get more out of it, aside from Apple Pay.
Since that’s all the must know information we can make use of when comparing the iPhone 6 with the OnePlus 2, let’s move on to what we think the OnePlus 2 will bring in terms of design, features, specs and OS. First off, as I mentioned before, OxygenOS will most likely run the show, as the team behind Paranoid Android have mostly finished designing the new custom ROM under OnePlus patronage. OxygenOS has been released and unveiled yesterday, and you can download OxygenOS directly from OnePlus right here. Also, be sure to check out the bug list, as there are a few. The installation guide for OxygenOS on the OnePlus One has also been posted in the forum, so you can check that out, too. That makes us believe that the new OS will be pre-loaded on the OnePlus 2 when it is launched. To give you a taste of how it will be different from the iPhone 6 iOS features, check out the video below with some of the features demonstrated by the team behind OxygenOS.
The OnePlus 2 release date is most likely going to fall somewhere between April and June, but we’re rooting for an April OnePlus 2 release date nonetheless. The company has been quite mum about the development of the new smartphone, so we don’t have a lot to base are hopes on, save for our own excitement. When it comes to designing the OnePlus 2, it will most likely get a bit of an inferior build compared to the iPhone 6 build, as employing a lot of metal in the design would raise costs and OPO fans seem to be pretty happy with the build they got with the first flagship killer. That being said, we do expect the company to use some neat LED notification lights on the top or bottom of the phone, or maybe on the sides, similar to what Samsung did with the Galaxy S6 Edge.
The OnePlus 2 design and appearance might be more flashy than on the iPhone 6, as rumor has it that the Chinese company will try to slim down bezels to a minimum o nthe sides, and the top and bottom. We’re not sure how much they are going to modify the overall footprint of the phone compared to the One, but fans seem to be interested in getting a bit of thinner bezels, yet they seem to be content with having a thicker phone, with a big battery inside. Rumor has it that the OnePlus 2 battery will be massive, measuring about 4000 mAh, which combined with the new OxygenOS, Android 5.0 Lollipop and most likely, the FHD display, should make for at least 3 days of moderate to heavy use. That would be quite impressive, especially when compared to the iPhone 6 which doesn’t always manage to get you through the night.
The OnePlus 2 display will most likely stay at 5.5 inches, but our speculation is that OnePlus might launch a smaller version of the phone, the OnePlus 2 Mini, which will more directly rival the iPhone 6 as it might have a 4.7 or 4.9 inch display. Since we can’t confirm that hunch, please let us know if you would like a smaller version of the new flagship killer, just for the fun of it. The resolution of the upcoming phone will most likely stay at FHD, meaning 1080*1920, adding up to about 401 ppi pixel density on a 5.5 inch display and a lot more on a smaller one, which would result in a bit of a brighter, crisper, sharper viewing experience than with the iPhone 6 display. It would most likely be able to more directly rival the iPhone 6 Plus instead, but we might even see QHD resolution popping up. The display will be protected by Corning Gorilla Glass 4, that’s for sure.
Since Qualcomm have launched their new processor, the Snapdragon 810, we might see that being incorporated into the OnePlus 2. Our hunch is that it won’t go that way, rather OnePlus will choose the Snapdragon 808 processor instead, which will most likely provide performance that will be just as good, in our opinion. As we can’t say for sure how well OxygenOS behaves at the moment, as we haven’t tried it just yet, we can’t say if the OnePlus 2 performance will be better or worse than the iPhone 6 performance. We could also suggest the Snapdragon 805 as a possible piece under the hood. That issue will only be settled once the device is launched. Other hardware specs of the OnePlus 2 should include 16 or 64 GB internal storage and about 3 GB RAM, if not 4 GB.
The OnePlus 2 camera will most likely be a 16 MP sensor on the rear with optical image stabilization and a dual-LED flash, and a 5 MP shooter on the front. Since we don’t know the type of sensor the company will be using, we can’t say for sure if the double amount of MPs will actually make the phone take better pictures than the iPhone 6. The iPhone 6 camera is one of the best ones out there, so it’s a bit difficult to top that performance by any company. We’ll just have to see.
If all these specs and features turn out to be true, the OnePlus 2 will have a pretty good shot at taking on the Apple iPhone 6 and even the iPhone 6 Plus. But one crucial aspect we haven’t discussed yet is pricing. The iPhone 6 price is currently set at $650 for the 16 GB version, $750 for the 64 GB version and $850 for the 128 GB version. Those are pretty steep prices for a smartphone that doesn’t seem to be as high-end as other flagships out there. The OnePlus 2 price will most likely be between $300 and $450,. depending on configuration. That’s our guess, but since the Chinese company is still trying to offer cheap flagships that run extremely well to the public, it seems like the most likely pricing to adopt.
In conclusion, while we can’t say for sure how the iPhone 6 will size up next to the new OnePlus 2, the rumors and speculations about the device make it seem like a better buy already. We shouldn’t draw rash conclusions though so we’re going to say that the iPhone 6 is better right now, but we will have to get back to you on that once the OnePlus 2 release date and specs are clear and out in the open. What do you think OnePlus needs to do in order to make the OnePlus 2 a better buy than Apple’s latest flagship?
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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