Verizon is teasing the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 with the tagline: “the perfect phone for imperfect people”, hinting at a shock-proof, shatter-proof construction of the device. Manufacturers like Samsung seem to have dropped their affinity for durable smartphones, choosing appealing design elements and gimmicky features instead. Motorola seems to have noticed the lack of available durable Android smartphones and has created the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 in order to target customers that feel disappointed. Although Sony still kept its waterproof certification with the Xperia Z5 family, Samsung has dropped such features from its flagship smartphones. The South Korean company still offers the Active version of the Galaxy S6 as the durable variant users can get, but for a premium price. Motorola aims to fix that with the Droid Turbo 2 and Verizon is going to help.
The Motorola Droid Turbo 2 will be launched on the 27th, alongside the Droid Maxx 2. Verizon and Motorola will be holding an event together to launch the new devices, and while these particular smartphones will be Verizon-exclusive models, international variants will also be made available. Apparently, the Droid Turbo 2 international variant is called the Moto X Force, while we’re not sure if the Maxx has an international variant yet. It will most likely have one, but our antennae haven’t picked up its code-name yet. While most people are looking forward to the international version, we’ve decided that comparing the Verizon-exclusive Motorola Droid Turbo 2 to the newly released Google Nexus 5X would be a good idea for a variety of reasons.
First off, the Nexus 5X is Google’s current main flagship, right next to the Nexus 6P that Huawei made with the company. Many people are thinking of getting the Nexus 5X in order to experience the stock Android user interface, as well as the unique features of the device and the timely updates that it will be enjoying in the future. Trust in Motorola updates has declined ever since Lenovo took over, as the company seems to be having problems with customer support. However, if we think about how the company is improving and in what stage the acquisition is, our best bet is that Motorola will be getting back on track in the next few months.
With that in mind, the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 sounds like a magnificent machine that is geared towards Android users and active smartphone users at the same time. Holding off on purchasing the Nexus 5X until the international version becomes available might be a good idea, because the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 is said to end up being one of the most powerful and durable devices of the year. At the same time, expectations of the device include a more affordable pricing, for both the Verizon-branded variant and the international Moto X Force. While we can’t confirm pricing yet, the specs of the device are more or less confirmed by the companies involved in the launch, so we have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Let’s get down to it, shall we?
The Motorola Droid Turbo 2 key features will be found in its design. Motorola and Verizon spilled the beans about the new device being in the Motorola Moto Maker program. Before buying the handset, customers will be allowed to use the Moto Maker customization platform to choose the back panel, accents and design features that they would like to see on the phone when it arrives. This is the first time this opportunity is given to Droid fans, and I’m sure many will love the opportunity of customizing a power-user smartphone like the Droid Turbo 2. However, some important design elements are going to be present on the phone, regardless of how you customize it.
One such element would concern the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 display. According to Verizon documentation leaked by Android Police, the Droid Turbo 2 will have a shatterproof glass display. This information has been leaked repeatedly, with Verizon themselves releasing a video on their Twitter account showcasing the Droid Turbo 2 falling towards an ominous-looking cement pavement. Dangerous situation, emphasizing that the Droid Turbo 2 will be geared towards clumsy or active people, depending on the case. Last year’s Droid Turbo already sported such durability features in the form of a kevlar construction, but the shatterproof screen is new and it seems to be popular with fans of the company and fans of Android.
The Droid Turbo 2 design is still a mystery, because we have hardly seen how the device looks viewed from the front. We’ve seen various snapshots of the back of the device, which looks strikingly similar to the Moto X Style or Moto X Pure Edition. Motorola carried over the back button design, but it doesn’t seem like there will be biometric security included in the new smartphone. However, the button placement of the Droid Turbo 2 might be changed to be similar to other Moto X smartphones, to help with the Moto Maker customization options for accents.
From the photos in the Verizon documentation leak above, we can see that the Droid Turbo 2 design seems to have thinned down a bit, as well as refined the screen-to-body ratio. The device looks thin and has seemingly thin bezels on the sides, with symmetric bezels on the top and bottom of the device. The design doesn’t seem to stray from previous handsets that much and goes along with the design ethics Motorola has adopted over the past year. The Droid Turbo 2 will have the Verizon logo embedded near the bottom of the back panel, but this might end up being removable depending on how the Moto Maker platform will work for this device. Our guess is that the Verizon logo won’t go away unless you get an international Moto X Force, which is the one I’m waiting for right now.
Taking the Nexus 5X and comparing its design to that of the Droid Turbo 2 is quite a challenge. That’s because when it comes to materials Motorola will use in the durable smartphone, we’re pretty much in the dark. While last year, kevlar and silicone were the main ingredients, this year, we expect different things to happen. Based on the fact that Verizon revealed that the handset would support microSD cards up to 2 TB, we suspect the handset’s construction to be mostly polycarbonate, with a possible metal frame as seen in the images above. The Nexus 5X has a similar design, with plastic all around the device.
Compared to the Droid Turbo 2, the Nexus 5X has the added benefit of a fingerprint sensor, which will most likely be omitted from the Droid. However, the Droid will also sport IP68 certification next to the shatterproof glass display, which adds another bonus for the Motorola-branded handset. A MIL-STD-810G military certification for durability has also been leaked in FCC documentation, so that’s another feature the Droid Turbo 2 will have extra compared to Google’s Nexus 5X. The usability of these features depends on the user. While the Nexus 5X is designed for power users in love with the stock Android experience, Droid devices are designed for smartphone users that do less resource-hungry tasks on their phones but need the extra protection for their lifestyle.
The Nexus 5X has brought a lot of improvement compared to the first Nexus 5 from LG. It added more performance, features, better battery life and a much better display and camera. The Nexus 5X display measures 5.2 inches and has a resolution of 1080*1920. The Droid Turbo 2 display will up the ante, as Verizon and Motorola spilled the beans about a 5.4-inch Quad HD display with a 1440*2560 resolution. With QuadHD becoming the new standard, the Droid Turbo 2 can be considered to be more future-proof than the Nexus 5X in the display department. The shatterproof glass also contributes to its score in its department, seeing as worrying about destroying the screen in your first week of usage will be obsolete, hopefully. Although the Nexus 5X also has Gorilla Glass 3 protection, shatterproof glass sounds a tad more secure.
Under the hood, the Droid Turbo 2 specs will include a Snapdragon 810 CPU, backed by 3 GB RAM and 32 or 64 GB internal storage. As mentioned above, the handset will support microSd expansion up to 2 TB, the new norm. Android 6.0 Marshmallow with additional Motorola and Verizon features should be in charge of performance, with a 3760 mAh battery handling the charge. According to leaked Verizon documentation, the Droid Turbo 2 battery life will be at two days with regular use, which is pretty decent. It’s not new, innovative or revolutionary and it certainly could have been made better, it’s decent.
Comparatively, Google and LG have outfitted the Nexus 5X with a slightly inferior Snapdragon 808 processor, backed by 2 GB RAM and 16 or 32 GB internal storage. The handset comes with no microSd card slot, but it has a pretty decent two-day autonomy with its built-in 2700 mAh battery. The Nexus 5X comes with USB Type C and fast charging, although it does not support wireless charging. The Motorola Droid Turbo 2 will also feature fast charging, as per Verizon, which is pretty neat, but nothing has been said about the phone supporting wireless charging, which is a bummer.
The Droid Turbo 2 will have a couple of things in common with the Nexus 5X, although most of them have to do with connectivity. NFC, Bluetooth 4.2 and 4G LTE are going to be on board the device, with Verizon planning to launch new internet plans for the device ,too. That’s a rumor, so take it with a grain of salt. The Nexus 5X has the advantage of Google Fiber and fast software updates, which are obviously missing from the Droid Turbo 2. Verizon has been improving its update schedule however, so maybe the Droid Turbo 2 will be fast to get OTA updates than its predecessor. The Nexus 5X will be first to get updates, though, so there’s a decision that needs to be made here. It depends on your, this one.
Moving on, the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 camera is going to be a 21 MP sensor with optical image stabilization, phase detection autofocus and dual-tone LED flash that could end up being an RGB flash. The front camera will be a wide-angle selfie-camera and while leaked photos don’t seem to show it, some rumors suggest it will have a flash up front accompanying it. Front flash isn’t that important, but it would be nice to have it on the new handset. If it’s not going to be featured, I’m sure nobody will consider its absence a deal-breaker.
The main element that will make a big difference in this comparison is pricing. The Nexus 5X price is really affordable this time around, with a starting price of $380 for the 16 GB model and a price of $430 for the 32 GB variant. You can order them both from the Google Nexus store. While it’s not the cheapest ever, and we would have liked more value in this phone, it’s pretty affordable and neat. The Motorola Droid Turbo 2 should have a competing price if it wants to do well in today’s saturated smartphone market. The features that it will supposedly carry are impressive, but its pricing will be crucial, as always. Rumors are that the Droid Turb 2 price will be set at around $450 for the base model, which is pretty acceptable. If the 32 GB Nexus 5X price is $430, and it has inferior specs and features, the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 would definitely be a better option if the price is right. I think that if the handset price stays under the $500 mark for the base model, Motorola and Verizon have a winner. The 64 GB model should cost up to $600 in my opinion, although that sum is already a bit too high. Since pricing is the only thing left unconfirmed, we’re wondering how well the Droid Turbo 2 will do in this area.
Hopefully, the Motorola Droid Turbo 2 price will not be deal-breaker, because the handset seems to be pretty nicely engineered. With the durable design and shatterproof glass, it will present interest to a segment of Android users that has been feeling left out recently. Durable phones aren’t trendy anymore, even though we have thousands of daily reports of damaged phones. Motorola wants to combat that, and the Droid Turbo 2 might be a good approach. With only a few days left until the official launch, we couldn’t be more excited. What would be the deal-breaking Motorola Droid Turbo 2 price for you? How high are you willing to go if the phone is as interesting as it is said to be?
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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